Your Guide To 43 Downtown Tucson Restaurants

Last modified on July 13th, 2018 at 9:40 am

Ever wonder if you’re missing out on a hot new restaurant or just aren’t aware of a cool, hidden spot?

Below is a list of various restaurants located around downtown Tucson. From authentic Mexican cuisine to local cafés and coffee shops, each restaurant offers a unique atmosphere with diverse menus and experiences.

Whether you just want to pop into a café for a hot drink or enjoy a sit-down dinner with your significant other, downtown has a lot to offer.

47 Scott

47 N. Scott Ave.
House Cheese Slate at 47 Scott (Credit: Jackie Tran)

House Cheese Slate at 47 Scott (Credit: Jackie Tran)

What does 47 Scott bring to the table? Quintessential American comfort foods combined with high quality ingredients and a cozy, brick decor make for the perfect night out. Mac & Cheese and Steak Frites are just two dishes easy to find in many restaurants, but not the way 47 Scott does them. Pair their menu with an extensive drink list and you’ve got yourself quite the get together spot with family and friends.

Favorite Items:

  • Stack of Grilled Cheese – sourdough, three cheese blend, sweet & spicy dipping sauce
  • Brick House Old Fashioned – bacon-washed rye, demerara syrup, Angostura bitters

For more information, visit 47 Scott.

Agustín Kitchen

100 S. Avenida del Convento
AZ Filet Mignon at Agustin Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

AZ Filet Mignon at Agustin Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Take the streetcar to its final stop and you will arrive at Agustin Kitchen, a modern American restaurant with classic french techniques. Relish over a menu of Brûléed Local Goat Cheese, Oysters, and homemade Gelato in their bright and open dining space. After your meal walk around the Mercado San Agustin courtyard and enjoy the nearby shops.

Highlighted Items:

  • AK Baked Oysters – Piave, lemon, roasted garlic, citrus moonshine 
  • Kurobuta Pork Jowl – brined & smoked, white beans, kale, radicchio, apple & candied ginger salad, beet beurre rouge 

For more information, visit Agustin Kitchen.

Baggin’s

33 N. Stone Ave.
Baggin's (Photo Credit: Baggin's)

Baggin’s (Photo Credit: Baggin’s)

Baggin’s has been bringing sandwiches with a kick of southwestern flavor since 1984, and continues to provide lunchtime favorites for on-the-go customers. While you’re downtown don’t forget to try one of their specialty sandwiches like the Unforgettable Baggin’s or indulge in a grilled creation like the Southwestern Tuna.

Favorite Sandwiches: 

  • The Cowboy – grilled chicken breast, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato and homemade ranch dressing on an eight inch roll
  • Southwestern Tuna – grilled tuna, jalapeños, cheddar cheese, tomatoes on sourdough
  • Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese – melted cheddar cheese, cream cheese, chopped jalapeños on Italian white bread

For more information, visit Baggin’s.

Barrio Brewing Co.

800 E. 16th St.
Hola Hefeweizen from Barrio Brewing (Photo credit: Barrio Brewing)

Hola Hefeweizen from Barrio Brewing (Photo credit: Barrio Brewing)

Barrio Brewing Co. offers a range of house-made microbrews, including Taylor Jayne’s Raspberry Ale and the well known Barrio Blonde. Enjoy your favorite beer with classic pub food, including their Beer Sponges, two soft pretzels served with beer mustard. Make sure to try the Barrio Blanco IPA, while you nosh on a warm pretzel.

Popular Items:

  • Potato Skins –five potato skins loaded with cheddar and monterey jack cheese, bacon, and scallions, served with a side of buttermilk ranch
  • Pub Fried Fish Tacos – lightly battered and flash fried cod in fresh flour tortillas with cabbage, fresh pico de gallo and habanero cream sauce, served with Charro beans
  • Diane Burger–sliced white mushrooms and onions sautéed in butter, fresh garlic, parsley, and red wine topped with melted Swiss cheese

For more information, visit Barrio Brewing.

Batch Cafe & Bar

118 E. Congress St.
Donuts at Batch Cafe & Bar (Credit: Batch Cafe & Bar)

Donuts at Batch Cafe & Bar (Credit: Batch Cafe & Bar)

Batch certainly isn’t your typical craft cocktail bar. Opened in January 2016, Batch is known for its whiskey and doughnuts. They have no fancy mixers, but instead, just whiskey and bourbon. For their doughnuts, their creativity is key. They have unusual doughnuts, such as Pink Blueberry with Fruity Pebbles.

Go-To Items:

  • El Churro – holed doughnut, cinnamon sugar coating
  • Hello Mr. Cobb – romaine, greens, avocado, chicken, blue cheese, bacon, tomato, hard-boiled egg, poppy seed dressing

For more information, visit Batch Cafe & Bar.

Cafe 54

54 E. Pennington St.
Cafe 54 vegetables (Photo Credit:Cafe 54)

Cafe 54 vegetables (Photo Credit:Cafe 54)

Located in Tucson’s art district, Cafe 54 is the perfect spot to grab a quick bite for lunch. It also serves as more than just a restaurant by offering “a unique employment training program for adults recovering from mental illnesses.” Menu items include salads, veggie burgers, Gyros, and Flat Breads. Make sure to try the desert of the day!

Highlighted Lunch Items: 

  • Turkey BLT – Turkey breast, center-cut bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo and swiss cheese on grilled white or wheat bread
  • The Hero’s Gyro – Tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, tzatziki sauce wrapped in a toasted pita. Choice of gyro beef, all natural grilled chicken breast or marinated baked tofu

For more information, visit Cafe 54.

Cafe a La C’Art

150 N. Main Ave.
(Credit: Jackie Tran)

(Credit: Jackie Tran)

Café à la C’Art provides a memorable experience for its customers with a close attention to detail and southwest cuisine menu items. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this café provides specialties like the Parmesan Crusted Turkey Croissant. You’ll feel like you’re at home in this quaint, country-style café surrounded by a patio covered in mosaic.

Go-To Items: 

  • The Rothschild – wine-braised beef brisket, roasted red peppers, chipotle aïoli, melted pepperjack, toasted kaiser
  • Grilled Flank Steak Salad – honey hoisin marinated, kalamata olives, roasted mini peppers, grape tomatoes, feta, grilled red onion, mixed greens, crispy onions, honey balsamic vinaigrette

For more information, visit Café à la C’Art.

Cafe Poca Cosa

110 E. Pennington St.
Plato Poca Cosa at Cafe Poca Cosa owner (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Plato Poca Cosa at Cafe Poca Cosa owner (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Cafe Poca Cosa offers “imaginative” cuisine highlighting different regions in Mexico. The menu changes twice throughout the day, providing customers with a unique experience each time they come in. Look out for a portable chalkboard menu that is brought to every table highlighting what chef and owner Suzana Davila is featuring for the night.

  • Menu items rotates twice daily, stop by to experience the cuisine. 

For more information, visit Cafe Poca Cosa.

Caffe Luce

245 E. Congress St.
Gibraltar at Sparkroot (Photo Credit: Jennifer Stash)

Gibraltar at Sparkroot, which has since become Caffe Luce. (Photo Credit: Jennifer Stash)

Caffe Luce offers coffee and tea, along with simple made dishes such as steel-cut oatmeal and pressed sandwiches. The construction of this coffee bar has a busy, urban-feel, using reclaimed barn wood and stainless steel accents, where customers can enjoy high quality coffee. Relax during the day or later in the evening where you can enjoy a selection of beer and wine.

Favorites to Enjoy With Coffee: 

  • Warm Nut Butter & Jam Sandwich on Classic Sourdough – peanut, almond butter or sun-butter with blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, apricot or fig jam
  • Pressed Gruyere Sandwich – Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, arugula and house made mustard on sourdough
  • Sweet Potato Tacos – three corn tortilla tacos with chevre, purple cabbage, pico de gallo

Keep up with Caffe Luce on Facebook.

Caffé Milano

46 W. Congress St.
Caffe Milano (Credit: Caffe Milano)

Caffe Milano (Credit: Caffe Milano)

Looking to take a trip to a quaint cafe in the heart of Italy? Caffe Milano will transport you in time with the help of chef Fulvia Steffenone. After establishing her own school of haute cuisine in Italy, Fulvia brought her art of cooking to Tucson. Sample from a range of Italian dishes including, Veal Scaloppine, homemade Tiramisu, and tomato, basil and mozzarella Bruschetta.

Featured Items:

  • Pollo al Marsala – Lightly floured and pan-sauteed chicken breast in Marsala cream sauce with garden peas
  • Spaghetti allo Scoglio – Shrimp, mussels, clams, sea scallops in  a spicy tomato sauce over spaghetti
  • Fragole al Limoncello – Strawberries with limoncello, ice cream and whipped cream

For more information, visit Caffe Milano.

Charro Steak

188 E. Broadway Blvd.
New York Strip Steak en Estillo Charro at Charro Steak (Credit: Jackie Tran)

New York Strip Steak en Estillo Charro at Charro Steak (Credit: Jackie Tran)

If Charro Steak sounds familiar to you, it is.

Ran by the famous Flores family of El Charro restaurants, Charro Steak is the family’s take on a Sonoran steakhouse. Don’t expect Charro Steak to be anything like Fleming’s, Outback Steakhouse, or Pinnacle Peak. The ranch-to-table meats provide an outstanding local experience.

Highlights

  • Boneless Rib Eye en Estilo Charro – fourteen-ounce rib eye steak topped with melted queso manchego, mesquite-charred chiles
  • Esquites con Crema – charred corn, crema, cotija, chile dust

For more information, visit Charro Steak.

The Cup Cafe at Hotel Congress

311 E. Congress St. 
Cast Iron Baked Eggs (Photo courtesy of Hotel Congress on Facebook)

Cast Iron Baked Eggs (Photo courtesy of Hotel Congress on Facebook)

Cup Cafe offers a full bar and dining room with features like a, Build Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar and Omelet Bar. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Cup Café’s menu offers items from their Tofu Scramble to Pan Seared Ruby Trout. Enjoy brunch after a long night dancing and enjoying live entertainment at Club Congress.

Standout Items: 

  • Cast Iron Baked Eggs – Two eggs, ham, leeks, and gruyère cheese, baked in cream and  fines herbes, with hotel potatoes, toast
  • Heartbreaker Warm goat milk’s brie, artichokes, harvest berry jam, roasted garlic, fresh apple, with crostini

For more information, visit Cup Cafe

Cushing Street Bar & Restaurant

198 W. Cushing St.
Cushing Street Bar and Restaurant (Credit: Wikimedia)

Cushing Street Bar and Restaurant (Credit: Wikimedia)

Cushing Street dates back to 1860’s, with historic furnishings and original walls made of mud and straw. Their menu items include flavorful fare such as the Sueño Burger with fresh roasted green chiles, bacon, and Swiss cheese. Every Saturday a Cool Jazz Band fills the restaurant with vibrant music and brings back memories of early Tucson.

Menu Items: 

  • Grilled Shrimp Quesadilla – roasted poblanos, and garlic sour cream
  •  Homemade Chocolate Mousse Parfait 

For more information, visit Cushing Street.

Diablo Burger

312 E. Congress St.
Señor Smoke from Diablo Burger (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Señor Smoke from Diablo Burger (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Diablo Burger offers burgers that are made from “100% local, grass-fed, open-range raised, antibiotic-free, and growth-hormone-free beef”. Not only are these burger good on the conscious, but good for the appetite as well. Burgers such as the Monk and Big Daddy Kane, Diablo Burger are standouts on the menu. Don’t pass up on a side of their fries with a variety of delicious sauces!

Noteworthy burgers:

  • Señor Smoke – ancho grilled onions, grilled avocado, bacon, cilantro & sriracha mayo
  • Big Daddy Kane – Bacon, sharp cheddar, sliced pickles and a house made special sauce
  • DB House – blackening spice, homemade pesto, topped with an over-easy fried egg

For more information, visit Diablo Burger

DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails

135 S. 6th Ave.
Seared Salmon + Grean Pea Coulis at DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Seared Salmon + Grean Pea Coulis at DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Downtown Kitchen and Cocktails delivers an especially unique dining experience. Menu items change seasonally and are inspired by flavors ranging from Asia to Latin America. Tantalize your senses with Grilled Minted Zucchini + Herbed Couscous and a Dark Chocolate Jalapeño Ice Cream Sundae. Great for group gatherings to enjoy specialty cuisine and drinks.

Must-Try Items: 

  • DOWNTOWN Burger – mushrooms, smoked poblanos, foie gras, manchego, bacon, caramelized onions on griddled torta bun + French fries
  • Dark Chocolate Jalapeño Ice Cream Sundae – chocolate ganache, candied pecans with whipped cream

For more information, visit Downtown Kitchen

El Charro Cafe

311 N. Court Ave.
Carne Seca Burro at El Charro on Court Avenue (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Carne Seca Burro at El Charro on Court Avenue (Credit: Jackie Tran)

El Charro is the nation’s oldest Mexican restaurant, featuring award-winning recipes like their Banderas Enchiladas and Hand-Made Chicken Tomatillos Tamales. The colorful and historic atmosphere provides an authentic Mexican experience; just order their special ¡Cerveza-Rita! and you’ll be dancing on the tables in no time!

Standout Items: 

  • Queso Fundido Melt – queso and crema with roasted corn and chips
  • Vegetarian Enchilada – calabacitas, avocado, roasted poblano peppers baked with cheese, sour cream with grilled fajita vegetable
  • Carlotta’s Clásico Chicken Mole – the chef’s famous chicken mole recipe served with rice and pinto beans stewed with bacon and vegetables
 For more information, visit El Charro.

El Minuto Cafe

354 S. Main Ave.
Carne asada burro from El Minuto Cafe (Photo Credit: Jackie Tran)

Carne asada burro from El Minuto Cafe (Photo Credit: Jackie Tran)

El Minuto Cafe has been serving Fine Mexican Food since 1939 in the original Barrio Viejo. This local, authentic restaurant offers items like Shredded Beef Chimichangas and their Combination Plate with a beef taco, tamale, cheese enchilada and beans. After your meal, take a walk around the historic neighborhood and take in the colorful homes and scenery.

Mouthwatering Items:

  • Cheese Crisp – topped with tomato, onion, and green chilies
  • Topopo Salad – bean tosada, chicken, lettuce, avocado, and cheese
  • Breaded Fried Shrimp – served with rice and beans

For more information, visit El Minuto.

Elliott’s On Congress

135 E. Congress St.
Bacon cheeseburger w/ buffalo chicken pasta salad (Photo Credit: Elliots)

Bacon cheeseburger w/ buffalo chicken pasta salad (Photo Credit: Elliott’ss)

Elliott’s is an American restaurant that provides a relaxing ambience and great food to match. The eatery features a fully stocked bar with house-infused specialty vodkas, sporting flavors from basil to key lime. There is even Chocolate Covered Bacon, and fried PB&J’s. It is safe to say Elliot’s is nothing short of an experience.

Must-Try Items:

  • Jalapeño Boats – jalapeños baked with a mix of cream cheese, cheddar, shrimp and bacon. topped with a drizzle of sweet agave
  • Duck Sliders – orange-chili marinated duck, bacon, lettuce, tomato, Mandarin-mayo, wheat berry bread

For more information, visit Elliot’s

Elvira’s

256 E. Congress St.
Mole pipian rojo at Elvira's Restaurant in Tucson (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Mole pipian rojo at Elvira’s Restaurant in Tucson (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The up-scale Mexican restaurant Elvira’s expanded from their Tubac location and opened their second location in Tucson. The beautiful space features contemporary interpretations of Latin cuisine. Expect to see complex moles, Caribbean and Thai fusions, and tequila, lots of tequila.

Highlighted Tubac Menu Items:

  • Grilled Founder – served with a fresh salsa fresca of mango, cilantro, onion and lime
  • Rib-eye Tamarindo – grilled rib-eye smothered in a tamarind and chipotle sauce served with rice and vegetables
  • Caribbean Treat flamed bananas with Captain Morgan rum butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts over vanilla ice cream

For more information, visit Elvira’s.

Empire Pizza & Pub

137 E. Congress St.
Elote pizza at Empire Pizza & Pub (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Elote pizza at Empire Pizza & Pub (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Empire is a pizza joint with televisions, a jukebox and the atmosphere of a classic style bar. They serve Authentic NY Style Pizza, Salad, wings and dessert. If you spend your weekends dancing into the wee hours of the night, don’t worry they are open until 3 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Empire is the perfect place to enjoy a late night slice of pizza downtown.

Favorite Pies:

  • Blanco – white pizza with ricotta cheese, garlic, mozzarella
  • Bensonhurst – pepperoni, Canadian bacon, meatball, Italian sausage
  • Elote – roasted corn, cotija, cilantro, chipotle mayo, Tajín

For more information, visit Empire Pizza.

Even Stevens Sandwiches

178 E. Broadway Blvd.
(Image courtesy of Even Stevens)

(Image courtesy of Even Stevens)

While Even Stevens is based out of Utah, they’ve proven themselves as a valuable part of the Tucson community — and their sandwiches are great. The Tucson location features vintage eclectic design and custom mural work of the original showroom by Tucson artist Joe Pagac. Sales benefit the Community Food Bank of Southern ArizonaTucson Neighborhood Food PantryInterfaith Community Services, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Arizona.

Favorite Sandwiches:

  • Do Gouda – shaved New York steak, smoked Gouda, sweet onion marmalade, red onion, greens, sourdough
  • Turkey Day – turkey, Havarti, cran-peño jelly, slow roasted tomato spread, cucumbers, greens, French bread
  • Jackfruit Torta – jackfruit carnitas, pepitas, avocado, salsa morita, radish, lettuce, pickled onions, house vin, sweet bun

For more information, evenstevens.com.

Fired Pie  

350 E. Congress St.
Fired Pie (Photo Credit: Fired Pie)

Fired Pie (Photo Credit: Fired Pie)

If you want a customized pizza or are just eating on-the-go, come to Fired Pie and build your own original pizza and salad creation. Choose from a list of ingredients including, steak, capicola, fresh basil and oregano. If you have room for dessert make sure to try their warm chocolate chip pizookie with vanilla ice cream.

Pre-Constructed Options:  

  • Steak and Blu – mozzarella, thin sliced steak, mushroom, peppers, onion, and Gorgonzola
  • Spicy Southwest Salad – mixed greens, chicken, tortilla chips, roasted peppers, onions, olives, jalapeño, cilantro, mozzarella, chipotle ranch dressing
  • Fired Pookie – fired chocolate chip cookie dough topped with vanilla bean ice cream

For more information, visit Fired Pie.

The Funky Monk

350 E. Congress St.
Disco-tec-a pizza at Funky Monk in Tucson (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Disco-tec-a pizza at Funky Monk in Tucson (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Loungey restaurant and nightclub Funky Monk is all about having fun. Get funky on the dance floor with booming music and psychedelic vibes.

Highlighted Lunch Items:

  • Disco-tec-a – roasted corn, chorizo, mozzarella, cotija, garlic butter, chipotle aioli, cilantro, fresh lime, Tajín
  • 24 Karat Mac – gold cheese sauce, prosciutto, parmesan, white truffle oil, bread crumbs, toasted ciabatta
  • Funky Philly – shaved chicken, cheese sauce, ‘shrooms, roasted red peppers, caramelized onion, chipotle aioli

For more information, visit funkymonktucson.com.

HiFi Kitchen & Cocktails

345 E. Congress St.
Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails (Credit: Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails)

Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails (Credit: Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails)

Club by night, restaurant by day, Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails provides an open atmosphere and huge patio in a highly stylized setting. You’ll want to get there semi-early if the club scene isn’t your cup of tea. But it is definitely a great place to sit and people watch while enjoying elevated pub food such as adult milkshakes and burgers.

Highlighted Lunch Items:

  • Cuban Sandwich – Slow roasted pork, ham, pickle, swiss, mustard and mayo on toasted ciabatta
  • Sunny Side Burger – Applewood smoked bacon, vine ripened tomatos, shredded lettuce, fried egg
  • S’mores Milkshake–Marshmallow vodka, graham cracker crumbles, marshmallow, chocolate syrup, whipped cream

For more information, visit Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails

HUB Restaurant & Ice Creamery

266 E. Congress St.
Pastrami & Rye at Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery

Pastrami & Rye at HUB Restaurant & Ice Creamery

HUB offers brunch, lunch, dinner, but most importantly, homemade ice cream. This loft-feel surrounded with brick walls and unique décor offers a dark, intimate ambiance in the evening. They serve menu items such as Pastrami HUB Hash and Chicken Pot Pie. End your meal with creamy, homemade ice-cream in unique flavors like Oatmeal Cookie Dough and Spiced Cider.

Favorite Items:

  • Glory Curds – Wisconsin cheddar curds flash-crisped with sriracha ketchup
  • Braised Pork Belly – 10-hour braised pork belly, serrano apple mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, agave cranberry gastric, micro greens
  • Lobster Pot Pie

For more information, visit Hub.

Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market

11 S. 6th Ave.
Deli at Johnny Gibson's Downtown Market

Deli at Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market

Johnny Gibson’s Market provides customers with an affordable breadth of items from tasty sandwiches to local cheese to a forgotten toothbrush. With an emphasis on locally sourcing produce, make sure to sample their variety of baked goods, deli offerings, fresh seafood, ice cream, and a wide selection of craft beer.

Standout Sandwiches:

  • Wildcat – turkey, herb cream cheese, avocado, onion bacon spread, onion, lettuce tomato
  • Veggie Heaven – hummus, herb cream cheese, hummus roasted veggies on 12-grain
  • Johnny’s Cubano – spicy dijonnaise, pickles, roasted jalapeños, ham, shredded pork shoulder, Swiss cheese

For more information, visit Johnny Gibson’s Market

La Cocina

201 N. Court Ave.
Brunch at La Cocina (Credit: La Cocina)

Brunch at La Cocina (Credit: La Cocina)

La Cocina is known as “Tucson’s Venue with a Menu”. Dig into one of their fresh, healthy dishes like the Quinoa Bowl with Braised Spinach and Roasted Vegetables. With a courtyard surrounded by plants, string lights, and candles, you’ll be sure to enjoy a refreshing experience for brunch, lunch and dinner.

Standout Dinner Items: 

  • Polenta Fries – topped with parmesan and served with remoulade
  • Southwestern Pot Roast – sirloin braised in a red wine gravy with onions, potatoes, and carrots, topped with a chile relleno and corn tortilla
  • Lemon Caper Penne –house smoked salmon or grilled chicken breast, lemon caper cream sauce, parmesan, and roasted red peppers

For more information, visit La Cocina.

The Little One (formerly Little Cafe Poca Cosa)

151 N. Stone Ave.
Breakfast Plato at the Little One, formerly Little Cafe Poca Cosa (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Breakfast Plato at the Little One (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Little Cafe Poca Cosa (The Little One) is considered “the tiny restaurant with a big heart”. Sister to the big Café Poca Cosa, this casual setting offers an experience you’ll never forget. The best part about this one is that you won’t leave without a hug and a kiss! But make sure to bring cash, as cards are not accepted.

Must-try Items:

  • Vegetarian Chile Rellenos – green Anaheim chile stuffed with cheese and lightly pan fried. smothered in tomato based salsa ranchera
  • Quesadillas Con Pollo en Mole Negro – two corn tortilla quesadillas stuffed with meted Monterey Jack cheese and topped with chicken mole
  • Cochinito Crema De Chipotle – tender pork slow roasted in a creamy, spicy smoked chipotle sauce

For more information, visit Little Cafe Poca Cosa.

Maynards Market & Kitchen

400 N. Toole Ave.
Buttermilk Fried Quail at Maynards Market & Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Buttermilk Fried Quail at Maynards Market & Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Maynards Market is a light, airy market where you can buy a variety of food, drinks, and other goods. This intimate area features a deli, coffee bar, bakery, and provides food such as Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins and Truffled Egg Salad. Maynards also features a small retail section where you can purchase items from vendors around the Tucson area. Maynards Kitchen features an elegant restaurant for dinner.

Seasonal Favorites:

  • Sonoran Mushroom Toast – local Barrio levain, braised wild mushrooms, leeks, bacon lardons, Madeira cream sauce, preserved lemon, goat cheese, chervil
  • Roasted Beet Salad – red beets, local goat feta cheese, white Sonoran wheat berries, Merchant garden mustard greens, pistachio, burnt lime vinaigrette
  • Riesling Braised Lamb Shank – braised lamb shank, potatoes tartiflette, bacon lardons, braised greens, Maynards Garden carrot chimichurri, roasted leek pan jus

For more information, visit Maynards.

MiAn Sushi & Modern Asian Cuisine

88 E. Broadway Blvd.
Yellowtail Poki Bowl and Salmon Poki Bowl from MiAn Sushi & Modern Asian Cuisine (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Yellowtail Poki Bowl and Salmon Poki Bowl from MiAn Sushi & Modern Asian Cuisine (Credit: Jackie Tran)

MiAn’s menu highlights a combination of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese food.

Favorites:

  • Presidio Roll – red snapper, cucumber sweet chili, red onion, potato crisp, shallot crisp, ceviche (octopus, shrimp, white fish), micro cilantro
  • Salmon Belly Carpaccio – watercress, red onion, Garlic crisp, yuzu soy

For more information, visit miansushi.com.

Miss Saigon

47 N. 6th Ave.
Pho xe lua dac biet at Miss Saigon (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Pho xe lua dac biet at Miss Saigon (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Although Miss Saigon on Campbell is the most popular, the downtown location is open late and convenient for post-drinking slurping.

Favorites:

  • Vietnamese Spring Rolls – shrimp and broiled pork shredded green vermicelli wrapped in chilled rice paper
  • Miss Saigon Special Beef Noodle Soup – rare beef, broiled beef slices, tendon, tripe and beef meatballs
  • Jasmine Rice with Grilled Pork Chops Combo – Charbroiled pork chop, shrimp paste and shredded pork, served with jasmine rice

For more information, visit misssaigontucson.com.

Nook

1 E. Congress St.
Steak Salad at Nook (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Steak Salad at Nook (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Nook promises a kick in the morning with their menu of Cinnamon Roll Griddle Cakes, Maple Belly Benedict and Avocado Toast. Tucson’s vibrant personality is translated into their urban interpretations of home cooked food. If you are in a rush, don’t forget about their Grab and Go Delivery service, which will bring you your favorite items in 30 minutes or less in the downtown area.

Tasty Bites: 

  • Steak Salad – Arizona local hanger steak, arugula, sun dried tomatoes, zucchini, cartelized onion, fried egg, lemon vinaigrette

For more information, visit Nook.

OBON Sushi + Bar + Ramen

350 E. Congress St. 
Rainbow Poke Bowl at OBON Sushi + Bar + Ramen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Rainbow Poke Bowl at OBON Sushi + Bar + Ramen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Whether you are coming in for a quick bite during a night out, dinner with friends, or stopping by for lunch, OBON is a must-try. Named after the vibrant Japanese celebration of family and life, Brandon Katz hopes to bring a taste of Japan to Tucson. The menu offers everything from small plates of Soft Shell Crab with hafu sauce to Bulgogi Ribeye Steak, bento box lunch specials, an extensive sushi menu, ramen, and steam buns. 

Standout Items:

  • Rainbow Poke – fresh fish, cucumber, jalapeno, poke dressing, seaweed salad, avocado, sushi rice or mixed greens

For more information, visit Obon Sushi.

Penca Restaurante

50 E. Broadway Blvd.
Grouper with mole verde at Penca Restaurante (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Grouper with mole verde at Penca Restaurante (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Penca offers upscale Mexico City Cuisine and an extensive bar with international cocktails. Enjoy a variety of tasty bites within their modern and cozy space with old wood and brick surrounded walls. Menu items include Ceviche and Tacos and a Guacamole Board, with queso fresco, pico de gallo and tomatillo salsa.

Specialties:

  • Elote – chipotle-buttered grilled corn, herb aioli, queso fresco, green onion
  • Chile en Nogada – spiced fruit & pork-stuffed roasted poblano, served gently warmed with a walnut-sherry cream sauce
  • Mole de Guajalote – turkey in mole poblano, seasonal local vegetable saute, rice, tortillas

For more information, visit Penca.

Pie Bird Bakery & Cafe

177 N. Church Ave.
Pie Bird Pitaya Bowl (Photo Credit: Tucson Foodie)

Pie Bird Pitaya Bowl (Photo Credit: Tucson Foodie)

Pie Bird Bakery and Cafe will transport you into your grandmother’s kitchen with a delectable menu of freshly baked pastries, fresh fruit, Pitaya Bowls and homemade Quiche. Decorated like a kitchen from the 1950’s, enjoy a quick breakfast before work, or a weekend brunch with friends. Located in the Transamerica Building, don’t forget to check out this quaint dining experience.

Breakfast Options:

  • Oatmeal – Oats steamed in coconut and almond milk, topped with a peach pecan crumble
  • Ham and Swiss Quiche – Ham and swiss cheese wrapped in a homemade crust, with a fresh green salad on the side
  • Pitaya Bowl – frozen dragon fruit, coconut flakes, house-made granola, seasonal fruit and bee pollen

For more information, visit Pie Bird.

PokeZone

54 W. Congress St.
PokeZone spread (Credit: Jackie Tran)

PokeZone spread (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Tucson’s first poke-focused restaurant, PokeZone offers poke in bowls, burritos, and more.

Featured:

  • Poke Bowl
  • Poke Burrito
  • Lidocaine – tequila, Fresca, orange juice, fresh Sichuan flower

For more information, visit pokezonetucson.com.

Reilly Craft Pizza + Drink

101 E. Pennington St.
Goat Cheese Agnolotti at Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Goat Cheese Agnolotti at Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Reilly is a modern Italian restaurant and artisan pizzeria with a casual setting. It has an urban feel with its vaulted ceilings and original chalk art on the walls. Menu items include delicious Stuffed Mushrooms in Lemon Broth and Fennel Sausage and Roasted Pepper Brick-Oven Pizza. Great for a relaxing meal paired with a glass of red wine.

Must-Try Items:

  • Brussels Sprouts – house hot sauce, sherry vin., pecan brittle crumbs
  • Goat Cheese Agnolotti – local oyster mushrooms, browned butter, Grana
  • Yukon Gold Potato & Pecorino Pizza – mozzarella, roasted garlic, rosemary

For more information, visit Reilly Pizza.

Seis Kitchen

100 S. Avenida del Convento
Seis-Chata, Chorizon con Papas breakfast tacos at Seis Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Cochata, Chorizon con Papas breakfast tacos at Seis Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Tucson’s first poke-focused restaurant, PokeZone offers poke in bowls, burritos, and more.

Favorites:

  • Cochinita Pibil – achiote roasted pork, pickled red onion, cilantro, queso fresco
  • Birria – guajillo chile-stewed beef, pico de gallo, queso fresco, fresh lime
  • Cochata – cold brew coffee, house horchata

For more information, visit pokezonetucson.com

Senae Thai Bistro

63 E. Congress St.
Gaeng Pa at Senae Thai Bistro (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Gaeng Pa at Senae Thai Bistro (Credit: Jackie Tran)

For a blend of authentic and contemporary Thai dishes with hyperlocal ingredients, visit Senae. Even though the vibe is elegant, lunch specials are still quite affordable.

Must-Try Items:

  • Som Thum – shredded green papaya, mixed with long beans, cherry tomatoes, and peanuts
  • Kao Soy – crispy egg noodles, served in yellow curry and coconut milk, garnished with pickled cabbage, red onions, and beansprouts
  • Pra Ram – grilled steak, served with fried Brussels sprouts, glazed with peanut sauce

For more information, visit senaethai.com.

Street Taco & Beer Co.

58 W. Congress St.
Tacos at Street Taco + Beer

Tacos at Street Taco + Beer

Street Taco and Beer Co. is bringing the heat with a menu chock full of delicious Tacos, Ceviche, and Warm Churros. Enjoy two or maybe five tacos at only 3 bucks a pop with a refreshing Agua Fresca. After an evening at the nearby Fox Theaters, sit along the outdoor bar and enjoy fresh tacos while watching the vibrant scene downtown. 

Tasty Tacos: 

  • Al Pastor –marinated pork taco with fresh cabbage slaw and condiments
  • Pollo Asada – grilled chicken taco with fresh cabbage and condiments
  • Asada – steak taco with fresh cabbage slaw and condiments

For more information, visit Street Taco and Beer Co..

Thunder Canyon Brewstillery

220 E. Broadway Blvd.
Smokey the Burger at Thunder Canyon Brewstillery (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Smokey the Burger at Thunder Canyon Brewstillery (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Since opening in 1997, Thunder Canyon Brewery has become an ample part of the brewing community. The brewery continues to celebrate their love of craft beer with a menu of pub favorites and classic comfort food. Enjoy a selection of local brews with a menu of scratch-made dishes.

Highlighted Items:

  • Scallop Bread house-made banger sausages simmered in beer, then grilled and served with garlic mashed potatoes and creamed leeks
  • Pub Chips – house salt-and-vinegar potato chips, house pickled red onion, scallions, fresh jalapeños, Oaxacan beer cheese, smoked blue cheese
  • Burrata Toast – house pulled mozzarella curd, sweet vermouth ricotta cream, house ciabatta, roasted Arizona grape tomatoes, fresh basil, stout balsamic reduction

For more information, visit thundercanyonbrewstillery.com.

Urban Fresh

73 E. Pennington St.
Healthy Heart Taco Salad at Urban Fresh (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Healthy Heart Taco Salad at Urban Fresh (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Urban Fresh is known as a “Vegucational Experience” due to its fresh, natural ingredients and health and wellness education. This plant-based restaurant offers quick and easy lunch options such as Nourishing Smoothies and abundent Green Salads. With its intimate café feel, Urban Fresh offers a unique and healthy experience.

Delicious Items: 

  • Rainforest Purple Haze – smoothie of blueberries, acai, apple and black cherries
  • South of the Border Wrap –mushroom-adzuki bean mix, guacamole, pico de gallo, corn, spinach, roasted green chiles, wrapped in a chipotle tortilla
  • Yin and Yang – rice noodles, sunflower shoots, carrot, celery, zucchini, mint, orange segments, cashews, romaine mix, sesame ginger dressing

For more information, visit Urban Fresh.

Restaurants within walking distance of downtown:

5 Points Market & Restaurant

756 S. Stone Ave. 
5 Points

Smoked Salmon Benedict (Credit: 5 Points)

Just a few minutes from downtown, 5 Points Market & Restaurant offers a menu of fresh and delicious samplings. 5 Points is the perfect place for Sunday brunch, or a quick breakfast or lunch throughout the workday. Make sure to sample the Smoked Salmon Benedict and the freshly-squeezed juices. 

Breakfast items:

  • Smoked Salmon Benedict – English muffin, garlic basil cream cheese, smoked wild alaskan salmon, poached egg, and a balsamic reduction, served with a mustard potato pancake
  • Bandito Blanco –Mustard potato pancake, grilled shaved ham, poached egg, mornay sauce and pico de gallo with fresh herbs
  • Smoked Beet Sandwich – house smoked organic beets, local pecan ‘cheese,’ jalapeño-cabbage slaw, house-made organic ciabatta

For more information, visit 5 Points.

Cafe Desta

758 S. Stone Ave.
Cafe Desta Ethiopian Cuisine

Cafe Desta Ethiopian Cuisine

Looking for something off the beaten path? Try Cafe Desta, one of only two locations in Tucson (three if you count both Zemam’s) for authentic Ethiopian cuisine. Each menu item includes a complex and rich variety of spices highlighting the flavors of Ethiopia. Menu items include a variety of meat, vegetarian, and vegan stews. Mix and match dishes to create a truly unique experience.

Items to Try:

  • Kik – Yellow split peas cooked with onion, turmeric and herbs
  • Kaye Beg – Lamb cooked in a mixutre of spices with hot chilies and onions.
  • Kaye Asa –Fish cooked in hot chili powder onions and various spices

For more information, visit Cafe Desta.

The Coronet

402 E. 9th St.
Charred Achiote Octopus Tentacle at the Coronet (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Charred Achiote Octopus Tentacle at the Coronet (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The Coronet is nestled between downtown and Fourth Avenuemiss  in what was originally the Coronado Hotel. Filled with historic undertones, the Coronet doesn’t disappoint in offering a memorable dining experience. The menu is whimsical and seasonally inspired.

Highlighted Dinner Items: 

  • Seared Duck Heart Flatbread – North African black bean ‘pate’, pickled carrot, jalapeño, tangerine
  • Roast Cauliflower – roast half head of cauliflower, cashew freekeh, Roquefort, spinach, date molasses
  • Chocolate Pot du Creme – fresh cream, berries

For more information, visit Cafe Coronet

Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar

220 N. 4th Ave.
Fried chicken at Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar (Credit Jackie Tran)

Fried chicken at Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar (Credit Jackie Tran)

Come to Ermanos and enjoy your favorite local beer or wine over gourmet gastropub fare. Beers range from Dragoon, Iron John’s, Pueblo Vida to New York’s Ommegang and the well-known Tecate. Bring your friends and share a few plates of nachos, fries, and more.

Essentials:

For more information, visit Ermanos.
Let us know in the comments if we missed your go-to Downtown spot!

Sarah Pelfini is Tucson Foodie's 2015 summer intern. She is currently studying journalism and Chinese at the University of Arizona.
  • GayhawkAZ

    Oh, Ms. Pelfini, how it pains me to read a food blog and have the writer not proofread their spelling. (Please don’t tell me you relied on spellcheck to find your errors.)

    I certainly hope 47 Scott is selling MUSSELS and pomme frittes and not the “muscles” you mention in two(!) places. Cannibalism is so overdone these days.

    Good luck with your program at UA.

    • Sarah Pelfini

      Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention, GayhawkAZ. As a developing food writer, I genuinely appreciate your feedback.

      Although 47 Scott’s mussels are quite delicious, you must admit, pommes frites and muscles does sound rather scrumptious.

    • Stephanie

      More cannibalism with Grilled Founder at Elvira’s!

  • Barbara

    Where are my beloved Blue Willow and CRAVE Cafe? Tucson would not be Tucson without them.

    • They’re not downtown, that’s for sure. 😉

      • Barbara

        You’re right. My mistake. 🙂 That is an impressive list of restaurants!

  • James Ciphurphace

    Hi Sarah –

    Awesome list!

    I just have one question – any particular reason why ‘La Indita’ aka ‘The Best Mexican Restaurant In Tucson’ did not make this list?

    Thank you kindly.

    Kimchi James

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