18 January, 2022, 17:17

Check Out Tucson Lifestyle Magazine’s 2016 Culinary Awards Winners

Every year, Tucson Lifestyle Magazine asks its readers to weigh in on food favorites ranging over a number of categories.

While you’ll have to pick up the magazine to see the full feature – complete with all of Thomas Veneklasen’s fancy photos of the top winners – below are some of the highlights along with a Tucson Foodie comment for each win.

Top Five

In alphabetical order:

  • Café Poca Cosa
  • The Grill at Hacienda Del Sol
  • Kingfisher
  • Le Rendez-vous
  • Vivace

Best American

Wildflower American Cuisine
Cold Smoked Salmon at Wildflower in Tucson (Credit: Wildflower)

Cold Smoked Salmon at Wildflower in Tucson (Credit: Wildflower)

TF says: Fox Restaurants’ flagship restaurant still stands and thrives 18 years after opening. A defining example of New American cuisine, other worthy contenders include Agustín Kitchen, Commoner & Co., and Proper.

For more information, visit foxrc.com.

Best Chinese

Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant
(Credit: Golden Dragon)

(Credit: Golden Dragon)

TF says: With limited hole-in-the-wall Chinese options in town, we don’t frequent this cuisine as often as we’d like, but in addition to Golden Dragon, check out China Szechwan, Jun Dynasty, and Ba-Dar.

For more information, visit goldendragontucson.com.

Best French

Le Rendez-vous
Boeuf Wellington (Credit: Le Rendez-Vous)

Boeuf Wellington (Credit: Le Rendez-Vous)

TF says: Le Rendez-vous fills a niche in town unparalleled. While a handful of restaurants offer modern interpretations of French or a mix of cuisines, Le Rendez-vous stands alone. If you’re looking for something French-ish and less traditional, check out Ghini’s and The Coronet.

For more information, visit rendezvoustucson.com.


Best Indian

Saffron Indian Bistro
Korma With Lamb at Saffron Indian Bistro

Korma With Lamb at Saffron Indian Bistro (Photo by Mark Navarro)

TF says: We recently highlighted 9 Indian Restaurants To Visit In Tucson, and of course included Saffron. For additional worthy contenders, check the post.

For more information, visit tucsonindianrestaurant.com.

Best Italian



TF says: Vivace remains one of Tucson’s most beloved restaurants. Two other Italian favorites to check out, which happen to both be just across the street from Vivace include Tavolino and NoRth.

For more information, visit vivacetucson.com.

Best Japanese


TF says: Sakura pretty much pioneered Japanese food in Tucson at a time when few, if any, were offering the cuisine. While Japanese restaurants can generally be categorized into those that offer teppan yaki and those that don’t, other worthy contenders include Yamato, Mr. An’s, and Sachiko.

For more information, visit sakura.tritigerdemo.com.

Best Mexican

El Charro
Carne Seca Burro at El Charro on Court Avenue (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

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

TF says: Originally opened in 1922, El Charro remains a favorite amongst locals and visitors. While no one offers carne seca like El Charro, great Mexican food can also be found at numerous locations in town such as El Merendero, Mi Nidito, and Lerua’s.

For more information, visit elcharrocafe.com.

Best Thai

Bangkok Café
Kang Masaman at Bangkok Cafe in Tucson (Credit: Marl Navarro)

Kang Masaman at Bangkok Cafe in Tucson (Credit: Marl Navarro)

TF says: Centrally located, Bangkok Café is indeed a great Thai option. If you’re looking to expand upon your Thai favorites, check out Bai Thong and Rita Ranch’s Sa-ing Thai, which we recently featured: Sa-ing Thai: Affordable & Authentic Thai Cuisine In Rita Ranch.

For more information, visit bangkokcafe.net.

Best Vietnamese

Miss Saigon
Bun Tom Nuong at Miss Saigon in Tucson (Credit: Mark Navarro)

Bun Tom Nuong at Miss Saigon in Tucson (Credit: Mark Navarro)

TF says: Tucson’s standard for Vietnamese, Miss Saigon has been on an expansion kick of late. You’ll never go wrong dining there, but if you’re looking to try something different, check out Pho #1 on Stone near Grant or Pho 88 on Campbell.

For more information, visit misssaigon-tucson.com.


Best Breakfast

Prep & Pastry
Prep and Pastry Blueberry Scone (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Prep and Pastry Blueberry Scone (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

TF says: You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t like Prep & Pastry. And, what’s not to like? Duck confit, pork belly, doissants, Exo Roast coffee – favorites that are tough to find on most traditional breakfast menus. For breakfast in a similar fashion (sans doissants) check out The Cup Cafe.

For more information, visit prepandpastry.com.

Best Brunch

The Grill at Hacienda del Sol
Hacienda del Sol

Hacienda del Sol (Credit: Hacienda del Sol)

TF says: Ask ten Tucsonans what their favorite brunch is, and chances are they’ll say Hacienda del Sol. It’s too bad you can’t camp out for five hours to really get your fill when partaking. Also worthy: Loews Ventana Canyon‘s brunch and Ritz-Carlton’s at Core.

For more information, visit haciendadelsol.com.

Best New Restaurant

Commoner & Co.
Steak from Commoner & Co. (Credit: Shannon Dudley)

Steak from Commoner & Co. (Credit: Shannon Dudley)

TF says: We recently partnered up with Commoner & Co. for a Tucson Foodie takeover pop-up dinner. Clearly, we’re fans. Other newbies to check out include El Berraco and Goodness‘s dinner.

For more information, visit commonertucson.com.


Best Vegetarian

Lovin’ Spoonfuls
(Credit: Lovin' Spoonfuls)

(Credit: Lovin’ Spoonfuls)

TF says: Lovin’ Spoonfuls has offered Tucsonans a meat free experience for a decade. Other vegetarian favorites include Govinda’s, The Tasteful Kitchen, and Veg In A Box.

For more information, visit lovinspoonfuls.com.

Best Sandwiches

Beyond Bread
Pretzel Reuben at Beyond Bread

Everything Reuben at Beyond Bread (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

TF says: No sandwich list is complete without mention of Beyond Bread. While they didn’t receive a mention in our most recent sandwich roundup, 13 Unique & Delicious Sandwiches To Eat In Tucson, we did shed some love on the popular bakery-sandwich joint in our 2014 roundup, 6 Great Spots For Sandwiches You Might Not Know About.

For more information, visit beyondbread.com.

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Best Burger

Photo Credit: Zinburger

(Credit: Zinburger)

TF says: It’s no surprise Fox Restaurants’ upscale burger joint consistently wins “best of” awards. Check out our own recent poll of favorite spots for burgers, “What’s Your Favorite Local Burger Joint?

For more information, visit zinburgeraz.com.

Best Cafe (tie)

Ghini’s French Café
Le Buzz
Ghini's French Caffe (Credit: Ghini's)

Ghini’s French Caffe (Credit: Ghini’s)

TF says: Both favorites, for sure. Ghini’s has consistently offered a delicious French inspired breakfast for over 20 years. Basted eggs standard? Yes, please. If you’re on the far east side, however, Le Buzz has some of the most crave-worthy baked goods in town.

For more information, visit ghiniscafe.com and lebuzzcaffe.com.

Tucson Lifestyle Magazine is a monthly magazine featuring an annual Culinary Awards reader survey. For more information visit tucsonlifestyle.com or the current Tucson Lifestyle’s 2016 Culinary Awards issue.

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Adam Lehrman started Tucson Foodie in late 2008 as a way to track his search for the best food Tucson had to offer.