Eating the Old Pueblo: 10 Best Restaurants for Exploring the Tucson Food Scene

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

In a city famous for its great Mexican food, Cafe Poca Cosa still stands out from the pack for its consistently elegant interpretations of regional Mexican fare. Seasonal menus are updated twice daily, but try the popular sampler dish if you can't decide what to order.

If you're looking to sample one of the city's newest culinary darlings, check out Penca in downtown, which is already becoming a destination for Mexican gourmands looking for upscale riffs on the cooking of central Mexico. 

If you're in the mood for classic French food with a contemporary twist - and who isn't - The Coronet is a charming and friendly outpost on Fourth Avenue. 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.

Read on to find more good dining options in Tucson. 

Occupying the space that was formerly The Abbey, Commoner & Co. has quickly become a magnet for Tucson foodies. The restaurant serves New American cuisine, carefully prepared by the kitchen, in a stylish but relaxed dining room with views of...  Read More

Chef Steven Schultz and Maudi Gourdin share their passion for organic, high quality food with the Wild Garlic Grill. Chef Schultz, a former chef at Lowes Ventana Canyon Resort, has created a restaurant that specializes in "California French"...  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

Located in the historic west side of Tucson, amid the recently developed Mercado District, Agustin Kitchen is a sophisticated New American bistro featuring an eclectic menu. You'll find carefully sourced meats (the menu boasts 100 percent...  Read More

Aqui Con El Nene has been a beloved Tucson Sonoran dog mecca for years, but you'll find more than just hot dogs. The restaurant, which began its life as a food truck, has grown and expanded to a brick-and-mortar location on the south side that...  Read More

Prep and Pastry opened in 2013, announcing itself as a "craft" breakfast, lunch and brunch destination in central Tucson. Essentially, this means dishes are made from scratch and crafted from locally sourced ingredients. The breakfast menu is...  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