Eating the Desert: 10 Best Restaurants in Tucson

The dynamic Tucson food scene has seen rapid growth in the past few years, highlighting the city's diversity while reaffirming its culinary past.

The original El Charro Cafe, one of the oldest Mexican food restaurants in the country, remains a force to be reckoned with on Court Avenue.

In a city famous for its great Mexican food, Cafe Poca Cosa stands out from the pack for its gourmet take on traditional Mexican food. Seasonal menus are updated twice daily, but try the popular sampler dish if you can't decide what to order.

If you're in the mood for classic French food with a contemporary twist - and who isn't - The Coronet is a breath of fresh air. Inspired by the charm and tradition of Old World rustic cooking, the brasserie-style restaurant and bar is located at Tucson's historic Coronado Hotel.

For a taste of elevated modern American comfort food, head to Cup Cafe, tucked away on the first floor of the Hotel Congress. With a modern eclectic menu of American comfort food, a revolving bakery case full of freshly-baked pies, and a lively open-air patio, the cafe is a hit with locals and visitors alike.

Finally, celebrate the local bounty with a visit to Pasco Kitchen & Lounge, a restaurant that specializes in "urban farm fare." Chef Ramiro Scavo takes fresh, locally-sourced ingredients to craft traditional American food that is irresistibly flavorful.

Pasco Kitchen & Lounge

Pasco Kitchen & Lounge describes its menu as "urban farm fare." We call it delicious. Traditional American comfort food and drink are crafted from the freshest ingredients, most of them sourced from local farms. The relatively small menu...  Read More

The original El Charro, founded in 1922, is the oldest Mexican restaurant in Tucson; the original owner, Monica Flin, is said to have invented the chimichanga. The restaurant also claims the impressive title of oldest Mexican food restaurant in...  Read More

47 Scott

This neighborhood bistro is a relative newcomer to the Downtown Tucson dining scene, but it has made quite a splash with its take on modern American comfort food, eclectic wines, hand-crafted cocktails, and micro brews. The seasonally changing...  Read More

The Amalour Revival Lounge specializes in farm-to-table cuisine using locally-sourced and organic ingredients. The menu brings elevated New American fare to midtown Tucson (the restaurant is located in the St. Philips Plaza) with a...  Read More

The trendy Hotel Congress has a happening little cafe that serves what many consider to be the best breakfast around. All the familiar favorites are offered, along with some more creative options such as the Boom Boom (scrambled eggs, cheese and...  Read More

Tucson Tamale Company's slogan is "unwrap happiness." Well said. With more than 30 different types of tamales, from meaty and spicy to hearty vegan treats, Tucson Tamale Company is your source for authentic and creative tamales in the Old...  Read More


People don't simply talk about Feast, they enthuse. The concept seems simple enough: excellent gourmet food (but nothing too experimental), reasonable prices, and the option to dine in or take out. The menu changes every month – call ahead or...  Read More

DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails
Photo courtesy of DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails

This lively downtown Tucson restaurant celebrates the city and its confluence of culinary traditions. Chef Janos Wilder has developed strong ties to the Southern Arizona gardeners and farmers for a farm-fresh menu with a strong emphasis on...  Read More

Chef and owner Susana Davila creates her own unique spin on Mexican cuisine, featuring techniques and ingredients borrowed from several regions. Cafe Poca Cosa has a menu that changes daily, but the specialties include fantastic chicken with...  Read More

The Coronet is a brasserie-style cafe situated at the historic Coronado Hotel near downtown Tucson. The restaurant serves old world rustic cuisine with a big comfy patio, plenty of shade, quiet music playing the background, and excellent coffee....  Read More


Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega has lived in the Arizona desert since she was a teenager. She works as a writer and editor in Phoenix with her four dogs and two cats.

She received her MFA in Creative...  More About Patricia

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