13 Spots Near Four Tucson Theaters For Dining Before a Show

Last modified on July 10th, 2018 at 10:21 am

Fox Theater (Photo Credit-Fox Theater)

With the fall season upon us, a few favorites come out of the woodwork, namely, cooler weather, an overload of pumpkin spice, and our favorite classic theater performances. If you love the drama of The Phantom of the Opera or the whimsy of Annie, you don’t want to miss out on the upcoming theater season.

Below is a list of dining options near four Tucson theaters. So don your finest garb, enjoy a sit-down dinner just a walk or short drive away from an evening of fantasy, elaborate costumes, and unforgettable music.

3 Spots Near Centennial Hall

1020 E. University Blvd
Centennial Hall (Photo Credit: UA Presents)

Centennial Hall (Photo Credit: UA Presents)

Centennial Hall, built in 1937 stands tall with its iconic red brick and circular archways just seconds from University Blvd. It is rumored that a few ghosts still reside in the historical theater, so don’t be alarmed by a few footsteps or murmurs. This historical venue offers an extensive variety of Broadway musicals, classical music, jazz, ballet and modern dance. 

For more information, please visit UA Present’s Centennial Hall.

Wilko

943 E. University Blvd
Full Spread at Wilko (Credit: Lacey & Suede)

Full Spread at Wilko (Photo Credit: Lacey & Suede)

Wilko offers a warm, rustic atmosphere just a hip, hop and a step away from Centennial Hall. The eatery features fresh gastropub fare with an extensive wine, cheese and cured meats menu.

Must-trys:

  • Heirloom Melon & Spec–Smoked prosciutto, mint, lemon
  • Risotto –Roasted onion, summer squash
  • Spring Hen–Half of a chicken, charred okra panzanella, pickled watermelon

For more information, please visit Wilko.

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Pasco

820 E. University Blvd
Chicken & Veggie Flatbread from Pasco (Photo Credit: Pasco)

Chicken & Veggie Flatbread from Pasco (Photo Credit: Pasco)

Looking for reimagined comfort food with fresh local ingredients and outdoor seating? Then Pasco is your place. Make sure to try one of their craft cocktails before heading to the venue.

Favorites:

  • Crispy Pork Belly Bruschetta–Sweet onions and cabernet strawberry jam
  • Goat Cheese with Herbed Panko & Roasted Beets–Organic spring mix, chive vinaigrette, red pepper coulis, grilled red onions, poached farm fresh egg
  • House-Made Tagliatelle–Wild Mushrooms, peas, light parmesan sauce

For more information, please visit Pasco.

Arizona Inn

2200 E. Elm St
Tiny BLTs - Cheddar Chive Biscuits. Bacon, Arugula, Tomato Jam, and Bacon Mayo at Arizona Inn

Tiny BLTs – Cheddar Chive Biscuits. Bacon, Arugula, Tomato Jam, and Bacon Mayo at Arizona Inn

A slightly farther trek from campus, (an eight minute drive to be exact) delivers a dining experience fit for Bette Davis and Cary Grant. Take advantage of the Arizona Inn’s tranquil courtyards, sprawling lawns and undeniable elegance.

Standouts: 

  • Local Willcox Tomato Gazpacho
  • Ahi Tuna–Soy gelee and ginger scallion crème brûlée
  • Duck BreastForbidden rice, sugar snap pea sauté, sweet beet puree, orange gastrique and citrus slaw

For more information, please visit Arizona Inn.

4 Spots Near The Fox Theatre

17 W. Congress St
View at the Fox Theater in Tucson (Photo Credit-Fox Theater)

View at the Fox Theater in Tucson (Photo Credit: Fox Theater)

Fox Theater transports show-goers to the grandeur and elegance of the 1930’s with gold gilded paneling, and mosaic ceiling. Sit upon the ascended loft, and you are sure to feel like royalty while enjoying everything from comedy shows to music performances. You won’t miss the gleaming marquee spelling F-O-X in the heart of downtown, with plenty of dining options close by. 

For more information, please visit Fox Tucson Theatre.

Caffé Milano

46 W. Congress St
gli affogati - al cioccolato (Photo Credit: Caffe Milano)

gli affogati – al cioccolato (Photo Credit: Caffe Milano)

Right next door from the theater, Caffé Milano offers a menu of classic Italian dishes with a quaint, romantic atmosphere. End your meal with a sweet bite of tiramisu or panna cotta.

Go-to’s:

  • Scaloppine al Limonei–Veal scaloppine sauteed in white wine, lemon, capers
  • Gnocchi–Homemade potato dumplings with a fondue sauce of Fontina cheese
  • Fragole al Limoncello Strawberries with limoncello and ice cream or whipped cream

For more information, please visit Caffe Milano.

47 Scott

47 N. Scott Ave
trout at 47 Scott (Photo Credit: 47 Scott)

Trout at 47 Scott (Photo Credit: 47 Scott)

47 Scott brings vibrant flavor to a menu of mussels, pan-seared rainbow trout, and pork belly with blueberry reduction. Enjoy a romantic dinner in the eatery’s back courtyard under strings of twinkling lights and trees.

Standouts: 

For more information, please visit 47 Scott.

Cafe Poca Cosa

11o E. Pennington St
Cafe Poca Cosa (Photo Credit: Cafe Poca Cosa)

Cafe Poca Cosa (Photo Credit: Cafe Poca Cosa)

Cafe Poca Cosa offers an evolving menu of regional Mexican cuisine that changes twice throughout the day. Stop by to see what the chef and owner Suzana Davila is serving up.

For more information, please visit Cafe Poca Cosa.

Reilly Craft Pizza + Drink

101 E. Pennington St
Tucson Food Tours Reilly Craft Pizza & Pub

Burrata, Prosciutto and Peach Sample at Reilly Craft Pizza & Pub (Credit: Theresa Delaney)

Just a few blocks from Fox Theater, this is the perfect spot to enjoy elevated pizza and appetizers. If you have time to spare before the show, grab a drink in the eatery’s basement bar, filled with old school style and whimsy.

Favorites:

  • Brussel Sprouts–Sherry vinegar, house hot sauce, pecan brittle crumbs
  • Goat Cheese Mezzaluna–Summer squash, browned butter, thyme, pecorino
  • Meatball & Ricotta Pizza–Ricotta sauce, mozzarella, basil

For more information, please visit Reilly Pizza + Drink.

3 Spots Near Temple of Music and Art

S. Scott Ave
Temple of Music and Art (Photo Credit: Wikimedia)

Temple of Music and Art (Photo Credit: Wikimedia)

Nestled in downtown’s historic district, this venue is filled with charm and distinct character. The theater hosts a variety of off the beaten path performances, and is known for its provocative and creative plays. Disgraced, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play is set to begin in October and is “about the stories we tell our friends, the secrets we tell our lovers, and the lies we tell ourselves.”

For more information, please visit Arizona Theatre.

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Casa Vicente

375 S. Stone Ave
Ossobucco de Cordero en Salsa Campestre (Photo Credit: Casa Vincente)

Ossobucco de Cordero en Salsa Campestre (Photo Credit: Casa Vincente)

Chock full of lively music and Spanish style, Casa Vincente offers a variety of tapas menu items sure to satisfy all your cravings. Nosh on small plates rich with flavor, before a quick three minute stroll to the Temple of Music and Art.

Highlights: 

  • Sopa Pescador–A saffron seafood soup made from rich fish fumé
  • Paella del Campo–Chicken, rabbit, Iberian chorizo, and vegetable
  • Chuletas de Cordero–Small lamb chops sautéed in a rosemary, wine reduction

For more information, please visit Casa Vincente

Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails

135 S. 6th Ave
Zakuski Troika at Downtown Kitchen. Part of Around The Globe Moscow Menu. (Credit: Mark Navarro)

Zakuski Troika. Part of Around The Globe Moscow Menu. (Photo Credit: Mark Navarro)

Janos Wilder brings artistic style and global inspiration to the dishes at Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails. Within walking distance of all three downtown venues, this might just be the go-to spot this theater season.

Must-trys: 

  • Cucumber, Pistachio +Yogurt Salad –Preserved lemon, red flames, mint, pomegranate molasses
  • Clay Pot Fish Stew–Catfish, shrimp, chicken, bacon, mushrooms, chinese cabbage, ginger, rice wine, dashi broth
  • Caramel Sichuan Peppercorn Ice Cream + Almond Cookies-Chocolate sauce, candied ginger, sichuan peanut brittle

For more information, please visit Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails.

Penca

50 E. Broadway Blvd
Roasted Chile and Crema Sauce (Photo Credit: Penca)

Roasted Chile and Crema Sauce (Photo Credit: Penca)

Looking for refined Mexican fare and a fun atmosphere, then Penca is your place. Within minutes of Fox Theater, the Tucson Convention Center and the Temple of Music and Art, this is the ultimate pre-theater dining experience.

Standouts: 

  • Queso Fundido–Warm Oaxacan cheese, house made turkey achiote sausage, roasted poblano rajas, sautéed onions, and flour tortilla
  • Pozole–Turkey, hominy, cilantro, radish, green onion, chipotle salsa, lime and flour tortillas
  • Pescado de la Casa–Seasoned and grilled swordfish, hominy cafe, black bean puree, seasonal vegetable

For more information, please visit Penca.

3 Spots Near Tucson Convention Center

260 S. Church Ave
Tucson Convention Center (Photo Credit-Tucson Convention Center)

Tucson Convention Center (Photo Credit: Tucson Convention Center)

Built in 1971, the Tucson Convention Center is a relatively new addition to downtown. Known for holding the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show as well as Comic Con, this venue can certainly pack a punch. The fall season is expected to show Disney on Ice presents Frozen and A Southwest Nutcracker. Before the show, take a walk through the Barrio Viejo neighborhood and take in the colorful adobe architecture.

For more information, please visit TCC.

Cafe Desta

758 S. Stone Ave
Cafe Desta Ethiopian Cuisine

Cafe Desta Ethiopian Cuisine (Photo Credit: Cafe Desta)

If you’re going to Cafe Desta, expect an abundance of flavors, textures and a true taste of Ethiopia. The eatery is just a ten minute walk from the Tucson Convention Center and The Temple of Music and Art.

Go-to’s: 

  • Shorba–Soup made from red lentil, carrots, potatoes, onion, tomatoes and orzo
  • Tikil-Gomen–Cabbage, carrots and potatoes spiced with turmeric
  • Lamb Tibs–Cubes of lamb pan seared in clarified butter, onion, jalapeños and fresh rosemary with a garden salad, fosolia, and rice

For more information, please visit Cafe Desta.

Cushing Street Bar

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

Cushing Street Bar and Restaurant (Credit: Wikimedia)

Right across the street from the Tucson Convention Center, the Cushing Street Bar puts a southwest spin on fine dining with menu items such as the sueño burger and poblano pasta.

Highlights: 

  • Chèvre, Grapes, Crostini–Goat cheese marinated in olive oil with herbs de Provence
  • Cajun meatloaf with Ancho Agave Glaze–Mashed potatoes and roast seasonal vegetables
  • Homemade Gingerbread–A dollop of custard and candied lemon peel

For more information, please visit Cushing Street Bar.

El Minuto

354 S. Main Ave
Carne asada burro from El Minuto Cafe in Tucson, Ariz.

Carne asada burro from El Minuto Cafe in Tucson, Ariz. (Photo Credit: Jackie Tran)

El Minuto offers classic Mexican fare right down the street from the Tucson Convention Center. Enjoy a quick margarita and cheese crisp or a sit-down meal before your show.

Favorites: 

  • 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, please visit El minuto.

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