It's all too easy to write off a museum or park restaurant as 'just a museum or park restaurant.' Nothing fancy, nothing creative. But in the case of Tohono Chul Garden Bistro, you'd be mistaken. Woefully, painfully mistaken. Like, hang your head in shame now for thinking it. Okay, that's enough... perk up those ears.
Seriously though, Garden Bistro offers a modern, expansive, and colorful menu in a unique, historic space. And you can't beat the park surroundings.
But before we get to the heart of the matter (read: bottomless prickly pear margaritas and mimosas) take a look at some of Garden Bistro's more edible offerings.
First, they've completely reinvented themselves and added seasonally rotating inserts to the regular menu. Exciting, regionally inspired dishes, like Chicken + Blue Corn & Green Chile Waffle, which includes a breaded, flash fried chicken breast, and the Elote Salad made with fire roasted corn, avocado, and pickled cholla buds make appearances. Other dishes bring in a refreshing air of big city inspiration, like the Banana Brûlée Ambrosia Breakfast Salad and the Blue Corn Sopes, served with a cholla corn slaw and calabacitas.
But if the food isn't inducing salivation, the bottomless prickly pear margaritas and mimosas should. For $14, you can enjoy a never-ending flow of the sweet cactus nectar in the form of an icy, adult beverage. The drinks are available seven days a week - not just at brunch on the weekend - and require an entree purchase. (Unofficially, they should require a ride home, too.)
And don't forget, Tohono Chul is one of the few destinations in town that you can actually make a day, or at the very least a half-day out of. Forty-nine acres of preserved desert, which includes numerous gardens, a riparian habitat, 150 species of shrubs and trees, 300 species of cacti and succulents, 50 species of wildflowers, and much more await.
So get out there and spend a few hours enjoying the park. Just be sure to finish it off with a prickly pear margarita (or mimosa).
Tohono Chul Garden Bistro is located just outside the park on the grounds of Tohono Chul at 7366 E Paseo del Norte, near Ina and Oracle. Entrance into the Garden Bistro does not require park admission fee. For more information, including menu and hours, please visit tohonochulpark.org.
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