Tucson has an undeniable allure. This laidback desert oasis is the only spot in the world where the the Old West, serious hiking, and great Mexican food combine to feed your body, mind and soul extremely well.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive hotspot hit list for your next visit to the city, we’ve got you covered. From local favorites and higher cuisine iterations, to mashups of old, cool and new, we’ve got all the mucho foodie amor you could ever wish for.
50 East Broadway at Scott
This Mexico City cuisine and international bar is urban and hip, and serves some high art tequila/mezcal craft cocktails. Food & Wine Magazine describes Penca as one of the ‘best bars in America’, and we can see why. The food is notches above the norm, with chile-glazed ribs, pork, swordfish, moles, grilled cactus and, best of all, chocolate churros all coming out on top.
2905 E. Skyline Drive at Campbell Road
Happy Hour margaritas while lounging on the sunset-view patio, nibbling ‘esquites’ (grilled Mexican corn) and guacamole, is there anything better? Probably not, but you should definitely try the award-winning BBQ pork tacos while you're at it.
Downtown at Mercado San Agustin
130 South Avenida del Convento at Congress Street
Seis Kitchen, a food truck that recently opened a brick-and-mortar shop, is an award-winning Mexican street-food eatery with a difference. Locals enjoy the warm tortillas and chile-laden creations in the outdoor patio of a former Presidio Spanish fortress which dates back to 1775. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner but doesn’t serve liquor.
110 East Pennington Street
Tucked away in a quiet side street, Café Poca Cosa serves upscale Mexican cuisine with its signature greens and fruit. The colorful interior features menu chalkboards and the whole place has a cozy, welcoming feel - which is probably why the tourists love it.
58 West Congress Street
Slick, contemporary and fast Mexican street food in the business district. We particularly love the fresh spicy tacos. Be prepared though – young professionals and millennials slam the place noon and night.
311 North Court Avenue
6910 East Sunrise
7725 North Oracle
Since 1922 this legendary restaurant has won acclaim and business from travelers the world over, not to mention the respect of Gourmet Magazine which listed El Charro in its 21 most legendary American restaurants. The go-to quintessential Tucson Mexican restaurant, as the website says, ‘El Charro is Tucson’.
2480 North Oracle Road
5201 S. 12th Avenue
5802 E. 22nd Street
Tucsonans say you haven’t experienced Tucson until you’ve had a real Sonoran Hot Dog. Wrapped in grilled bacon and topped with beans, fresh onions, tomatoes, mayonnaise, mustard and jalapeno salsa before being served up on Mexican bread, this is an unshakeable local favorite. Taste it at El Guero Canelo and you’ll know why.
2545 East Broadway
7159 East Tanque Verde Road
7286 North Oracle Road
On a recent trip to perform in Tucson, Food Network star Alton Brown dubbed his experience here as “best bite of the day”. A grab-and-go tamale source loved by locals and visitors alike.