25 Best Restaurants in Tucson for a Business Lunch

Last modified on January 15th, 2018 at 8:54 am

Seared Sea Scallops with kabocha puree, roasted cashews, shallots, Swiss chard, crispy summer and winter squashes, and dried apricot at Feast (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Not everyone can have the charm of Don Draper, but we can help you nail your next business lunch meeting by choosing the right restaurant.

First off, you want to be mindful of your guest’s diet — don’t bring a vegetarian to a steakhouse.

Next, service should be attentive to obtain the check at a moment’s notice, but also observant enough to not intrude on any important conversations.

“We’ve all been there,” said Matt Russell, CEO of public relations firm Russell Public Communications. “Getting a server that annoyingly hovers and checks in with you every 90 seconds. While the eagerness is intended to maximize guest enjoyment, this level of service can easily interrupt the rhythm of the table conversation. And if this a business lunch, that rhythm is critical. The best business lunches are at venues where the servers understand this.”

While sandwiches are often ideal for a lunch break, you’ll want something more formal than a deli for a lunch meeting.

“Business lunch implies that we have actual businesses to return to after the lunch hour,” Russell said. “With this limitation, long ticket times can be a deal-breaker. We shouldn’t be waiting for our dishes to arrive at 12:45 if we were seated at noon. Restaurants that are able to serve a memorable meal, with the right level of service, within the confinements of the clock are favorites of mine.”

The environment should also be quiet enough that you don’t have to raise your voice across the table. At the same time, you want it just loud enough for a sense of privacy from eavesdroppers.

With this criteria in mind, Russell’s favorites for a business lunch are Kingfisher, Wildflower American Cuisine, Feast, and Arizona Inn.

In alphabetical order, here are our picks for the best restaurants for a business lunch.

Agustin Kitchen

100 S. Avenida del Convento #150

The elegant, clean interior is balanced with antler chandeliers and rustic wood tables for an environment formal enough to take anyone without any of the stuffiness.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • AK Baked Oysters – piave, lemon, roasted garlic, citrus moonshine
  • Wilted Kale Salad – crispy tandoori garbanzos, feta cheese, kale pesto, Granny Smith apples
  • AZ Steak Frites – sirloin, fries, Whiskey Del Bac bavaroise sauce

For more information, call (520) 398-5382 or visit agustinkitchen.com.

Arizona Inn

2200 E. Elm St.

Arizona Inn’s AAA Four-Diamond Award-winning main dining room has attracted both business people and celebrities for decades.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Ahi Tuna – soy gelee and ginger scallion crème brûlée
  • Lamb Burger – house-made lamb patty, pickled onion, romaine, black garlic goat cheese
  • Duck and Waffles – duck confit, Belgian waffle, cherry compote, sriracha maple syrup

For more information, call (520) 325-1541 or visit arizonainn.com.

BIRD Modern Provisions & Bar

7109 N. Oracle Rd.

The surrounding windows bring in abundant natural light in the classy environment, while the back room allows more privacy if needed.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Roasted Veggie Salad – frisée, root vegetables, celery root purée, citrus
  • Roasted Cauliflower – eggplant nage, black garlic oil, raisin kale carrot slaw
  • Shrimp & Grits – Vermont cheddar, andouille, lemon jus

For more information, call (520) 441-9509 or visit fukushuconcepts.com.

Bottega Michelangelo

420 W. Magee Rd.
Interior at Bottega Michelangelo (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Interior at Bottega Michelangelo (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The recently renovated interior features a more open feel and wooden tables instead of the special occasion white tablecloth. Southern Italy-influenced dishes often involve red sauce, so try to avoid getting marinara or bolognese on your expensive business outfit.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Octopus – cannelini beans, fingerling potatoes, Calabrian chili oil
  • Swordfish – lemon, caper, white anchovy sauce, roasted vegetables
  • Porchetta – slow-roasted pork belly, house-made sausage, rapini, fingerling potatoes, apricot mostarda

For more information, call (520) 297-5775 or visit bottegamichelangelo.com.

Cafe a la C’Art

150 N. Main Ave.

The decor is more on the casual side, but the dishes are more refined. The room to place orders can get a little noisy, so choose one of the side rooms or the lovely patio for a more manageable volume level.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Grilled Salmon – oranges, fennel, kalamata olives, red onion, grape tomatoes, pea sprouts, organic greens, citrus-orange vinaigrette
  • 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
  • Gingered Apricot Almond Chicken Salad Sandwich – organic sprouts, butter croissant

For more information, call (520) 628-8533 or visit cafealacarttucson.com.

Cafe Poca Cosa

110 E. Pennington St.
Main Dining Room at Cafe Poca Cosa (Photo Credit: Cafe Poca Cosa)

Main Dining Room at Cafe Poca Cosa (Photo Credit: Cafe Poca Cosa)

While we love sister restaurant the Little One, their loud music and cash-only policy can cause issues for business meetings. Thankfully, Cafe Poca Cosa features cuisine as spectacular. Its location under a parking garage also means easy access downtown.

The menu changes twice daily, but you can also trust the Plato Poca Cosa to be a memorable meal.

For more information, call (520) 622-6400 or visit cafepocacosatucson.com.

Cup Cafe at Hotel Congress

311 E. Congress St.

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Hotel restaurants are generally a safe bet for business lunch. Cup Cafe stands out with its spacious downtown patio and signature dishes.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Depot Salad – Piedmontese beef for its top sirloin along mixed local greens, heirloom cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan, avocado, smoked crispy onions, and roasted shallot dressing
  • Fish ‘N’ Chips – beer-battered cod, pepper slaw, spicy tartar sauce, lemon, papas fritas
  • Bunch of Crepes – chicken, bell pepper, onion, mushroom, leeks, spinach, manchego cream, dressed greens, fresh fruit

For more information, call (520) 798-1618 or visit hotelcongress.com.

El Berraco

2960 N. 1st Ave.
Lunch Combo with Shrimp Pastor Taco, Octopus Chicharrón Tostada, and Torito at El Berraco (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Lunch Combo with Shrimp Pastor Taco, Octopus Chicharrón Tostada, and Torito at El Berraco (Credit: Jackie Tran)

El Berraco’s dimly-lit environment features colorful tables and modern bossa nova tracks for an upbeat yet calm environment. The recently-launched lunch combo program features a self-ordering system on tablets to help keep the pace brisk.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Subvocados – avocados sliced in half and filled with salmon, fresh tuna with creamy oriental dressing
  • Shrimps al Grill – grilled shrimp brochetas with chile butter and chuqui salsa
  • El Octopus – grilled octopus, cilantro rice, special salsas

For more information, call (520) 620-9828 or visit el-berraco.com.

El Charro Cafe

311 N. Court Ave.
Carne Seca Burro at El Charro Café on Court Avenue (Credit: Jackie Tran)

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

An iconic local institution, El Charro’s carne seca and chimichanga are the stuff of legends.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Mole con Pollo – Chef Carlotta’s mole recipe over 100% natural, cage free grilled chicken breast with arroz blanco, frijoles charros, y tortillas
  • El Charro Carne Seca Recipes – your choice of carne seca recipe: lunch-size platter or burrito
  • Salmón Picado Flautas – guacamole garnish, calabacitas, arroz blanco

For more information, visit elcharrocafe.com.

Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar

220 N. 4th Ave.
Salmon Salad at Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Salmon Salad at Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar (Credit: Jackie Tran)

For a more casual business meeting, Ermanos’ order-at-the-bar system will help you get in and out.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Sonoran Meat & Cheese Board – Forbes’ Firecracker brat, house bacon, jalapeño jam, smoky cotija, compound butter, goat cheese, fruit, mozzarella chimichurri, pickled vegetable
  • Salmon Salad – arugula tossed in poblano vinaigrette, roasted red beets, red onion, goat cheese
  • Stuffed Peppers – roasted bell peppers, Rogue Oatmeal Stout braised quinoa, black beans, avocado, tomatillo salsa

For more information, call (520) 445-6625 or visit ermanosbrew.com.

Feast

3719 E. Speedway Blvd.
Seared Sea Scallops with kabocha puree, roasted cashews, shallots, Swiss chard, crispy summer and winter squashes, and dried apricot at Feast (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Seared Sea Scallops at Feast (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Feast’s monthly-changing menu and extensive wine selection makes it an easy go-to for repeat clients without worrying about it becoming stale. The jazz music isn’t too loud as well.

For more information, call (520) 326-9363 or visit eatatfeast.com.

Ginza Sushi

5425 N. Kolb Rd. #115
The Ventana Special roll at Ginza Sushi (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The Ventana Special roll at Ginza Sushi (Credit: Jackie Tran)

For a longer lunch, consider visiting Ginza. The Japanese izakaya is comparable to a gastropub or tapas bar, so order some beers and share multiple Japanese dishes as you discuss business.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Ginza Chirashi – supreme, deluxe seafood assortment (uni, toro, amaebi, etc.)
  • Chilean Sea Bass – miso marinated
  • Hamachi Kama – broiled yellowtail collar

For more information, call (520) 529-8877 or visit ginzatucson.com.

Harvest on River

5605 E. River Rd. #201
Gnocchi Chicken Scallopini at Harvest on River (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Gnocchi Chicken Scallopini at Harvest on River (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Make sure you save room after your birthday dinner so that you can enjoy one of their fresh, homemade cupcakes or house-churned ice cream.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Grilled Brie – French brie served w/ crostini, fruit chutney & roasted garlic
  • Hemp & Chia Crusted Seared Ahi Tuna Salad – served on a bed of organic field greens w/ jicama, red bell pepper & daikon sprouts tossed w/ sweet cilantro-ginger dressing
  • Smoked Pork Tenderloin Tacos – house smoked rubbed pork tenders w/ caramelized red onions, chipotle aioli, avocado crema, queso fresco & pico de gallo

For more information, visit harvestonriver.com.

Kingfisher

2564 E. Grant Rd.
Oyster Bar Tasting at Kingfisher (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Oyster Bar Tasting at Kingfisher (Credit: Jackie Tran)

A Tucson staple since 1993, Kingfisher is the go-to for seafood and martinis.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Bay Scallop & Rock Shrimp Ceviche – charred tomatillos, lime, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, avocado, warm tortilla chips
  • Pan-Seared Cracked Pepper-Rosemary Crusted Ruby Trout – crispy pork belly, stone fruit chutney, swiss chard, Texmati rice
  • Shrimp Cake Special – one shrimp cake, cup of soup, 1/2 mesclun greens salad

For more information, call (520) 323-7739 or visit kingfishertucson.com.

Maynards Market & Kitchen

400 N. Toole Ave.

While the kitchen is only open for dinner, the market is open in the morning. Enjoy the patio that is quiet even though it’s a few feet away from train tracks.

“Maynards Market is my go-to lunch spot,” said Quinn Miller, campaign manager at Madden Media. “They have great salads and sandwiches. Plus it’s convenient to order and pay up front, so you can get right to business. You don’t have to worry about ordering, eating and paying the bill in time.”

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Duckin’ Kale Salad – baby kale, marinated shallots, duck confit, roasted butternut squash, blue cheese, candied walnuts, honey-grapefruit vinaigrette
  • Avocado Grapefruit – mixed greens, avocado, grapefruit, goat cheese, chiltepin lime vinaigrette, candied spiced almonds
  • Noodle Bowl – udon noodles, carrot, red onion, bell pepper, bok choy, garden vegetable, sesame seeds, ponzu soy dressing

For more information, call (520) 545-0577 or visit maynardstucson.com.

Nook

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

Steak Salad at Nook (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Take advantage of Nook’s bright and airy yet private patio.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Steak Salad – Arizona local hanger steak, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, caramelized onion, fried egg, lemon vinaigrette
  • Aloha Burger – Arizona local beef, grilled pineapple, Swiss, red cabbage, teriyaki sauce
  • Breakfast Tamale Pie – house-made sweet masa, fire-roasted chiles, cheese, two eggs

For more information, call (520) 622-6665 or visit nookdowntown.com.

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)

As easy as it is to love noodles, stay away from slurping during business lunch meetings.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Bird Bun – fried chicken, fuku sauce, Japanese mayo, scallion, cucumber
  • Poke (choose from tuna, salmon, or rainbow cilantro) – seaweed salad, jalapeño, crispy onions, scallions, cucumber, avocado, spicy poke dressing, rice
  • Tsunami Salmon Roll – cucumber, Avocado, jalapeño, zuke serrano, sweet pickled daikon and lotus root, salmon, kelp foam

For more information, visit fukushuconcepts.com.

Penca

50 E. Broadway Blvd.

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While we won’t stop you from trying Penca’s outstanding tacos on made-to-order corn tortillas, their elegant fork-and-knife entrees eat more neatly.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Ceviche – citrus-cured, brightly spiced diced snapper & octopus, lemon cucumber, Hailstone radish, tortilla chips
  • Relleno Oscuro – roasted poblano, amaranth, IPA-braised mushroom, pepita, aged goat cheese, cilantro, salsa pasilla
  • Ensalada de Cortez – cast iron-seared & herbed wine basted Sea of Cortez fish, Merchant’s Garden butter lettuce, ancho-dressed roasted sweet potatoes, cider-pickled gray squash, black beans

For more information, visit pencarestaurante.com.

Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink

101 E. Pennington St.
Brussels Sprouts at Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Brussels Sprouts at Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The lunch special features a pizzetta (mini-pizza) and side salad for $10. The cuisine is approachable enough for anyone but features gourmet details such as house-milled flour and house-fermented goodies.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Brussels Sprouts – house hot sauce, sherry vin., pecan brittle crumbs
  • Wheat Berry Salad – local wheat berries, roasted squash, arugula, goat cheese, Marcona almonds, sherry vinaigrette
  • Yukon Gold Potato & Pecorino Pizzetta – mozzarella, roasted garlic, rosemary

For more information, call (520) 882-5550 or visit reillypizza.com.

Seis Kitchen

130 S. Avenida del Convento #100 • 1765 E. River Rd. #131

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Seis Kitchen provides approachable Mexican classics in a nicer environment while keeping an affordable price point. It’s a win-win.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Birria – guajillo chile-stewed beef, pico de gallo, queso fresco, fresh lime
  • Calabacitas – zucchini and squash sautéed in mojo de ajo, cilantro, red onion, guacamole, queso fresco
  • Market Fresh Seafood

For more information, visit seiskitchen.com.

Senae Thai Bistro

63 E. Congress St.
Som Thum at Senae Thai Bistro (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Som Thum at Senae Thai Bistro (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Easily the nicest Thai restaurant in town, Senae is still reasonably priced with a solid wine list.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Gai Yang Som Thum – Bone-in barbecued chicken, served with green papaya & carrot slaw and sticky rice
  • Karee Gai – julienned chicken, potatoes and scallions, stewed in yellow curry & coconut milk
  • Pad Se Ew – wide rice noodles, wok-fried with vegetables, eggs and soy sauce

For more information, call (520) 373-5335 or visit senaethai.com.

Wild Garlic Grill

2870 E. Skyline Dr. Ste 120
Las Cruces Chili Spiced Chicken Salad at Wild Garlic Grill (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Las Cruces Chili Spiced Chicken Salad at Wild Garlic Grill (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Dinner service is packed and bustling, but lunch service is quiet enough for a business lunch. The new location’s facade is also more inviting than the original location.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Las Cruces Chili Spiced Chicken Salad – baby field greens with mango, grilled pineapple, berries, seasonal fruit, Danish blue cheese, raspberry vinaigrette
  • Braised Red Quinoa and French Lentils – extra virgin olive oil, braised greens, roasted corn salsa, avocado tapenade taro chips
  • Chicken Farfalle Pasta – pesto, parmesan, organic veggies, cream

For more information, call (520) 206-0017 or visit wildgarlicgrill.com.

Wildflower American Cuisine

7037 N. Oracle Rd.

The accommodating service and varied menu help make Wildflower one of the most relaxed environments for lunch.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Cold-Smoked Salmon – chive crème fraîche, potato galette
  • Lobster Salad – lobster, artichoke heart, grilled asparagus, crispy potato, and white truffle vinaigrette
  • Wild Mushroom Agnolotti – Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, parmesan, charred rosemary

For more information, call (520) 219-4230 or visit foxrc.com.

Vivace

6440 N. Campbell Ave.
Fresh Burrata Served Two Ways at Vivace (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Fresh Burrata Served Two Ways at Vivace (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Daniel Scordato’s flagship restaurant Vivace earned a spot on OpenTable’s 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America list with its panoramic mountain view.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Fresh Burrata Served Two Ways – half with fresh tomato & basil oil, half over roasted beets with pistachio vinaigrette over an arugula garnish
  • Breaded Red Bird Farms Chicken Breast – green peppercorn cream sauce, garlic potato puree
  • Shrimp and Crab Cakes – asparagus aioli, arugula, mixed greens salad

For more information, visit vivacetucson.com.

Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar

1865 E. River Rd. Ste 101 • 6390 E. Grant Rd.
Zinburger from Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar (Credit: Fox Restaurant Concepts)

Zinburger from Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar (Credit: Fox Restaurant Concepts)

Zinburger tickles the boundary between casual and fancy, making it a safe choice for business lunch.

“The environment is perfect for conversation, the menu is varied enough to satisfy all tastes and dietary concerns, and the staff is attentive without being overbearing,” said Todd Anderson, managing partner of Anderson Financial Group.

Highlighted Lunch Items:
  • Zucchini Fries – parmesan, ranch
  • Zinburger – manchego cheese, Zinfandel-braised onions, lettuce, mayo
  • Seared Ahi Sandwich – avocado, coleslaw, tamari glaze, mayo

For more information, visit zinburgeraz.com.

What’s your pick for the best business lunch in Tucson? Let us know in the comments.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He eats Flamin' Hot Cheetos with chopsticks and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com.
  • Mary

    Stop including El Charro for any recommendations. Their food has gone way down over the years and it’s clear the chef’s have given up. It is NOT a good representation of GOOD Mexican food in this city.

    • TiroGrande

      Just an old timer chiming in, the food there doesn’t hold a candle to how good it was 30-40 years ago. Also, Café Poca Cosa, enough already!