13 Places Crushing Chips and Salsa in Tucson

When I chip, you dip, we dip.

Last modified on September 19th, 2018 at 2:04 pm

Beef Fajita Machete, chips and salsa at Salsa Verde (Credit: Adilene Ibarra)

Chips and salsa, the poor man’s amuse-bouche.

These crispy, salty, corn tortilla delights alongside the many variations of tomato-based salsa, go better together. Not all chips and salsas are created equal. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find the same recipe twice. Every restaurant offers their take on the Mexican food precursor favorite.

Explore some of Tucson’s most colorful salsa bars.

BK Tacos

2680 N. First Ave. • 5118 S. 12th Ave.

Food Wars dubbed BK Tacos winner of BEST Sonoran Hot Dog in Tucson, and it’s possible that their salsa bar had something to do with it. It’s one of the only salsa bars that proudly features guacamole — the tasty kind with cottage cheese that’s beyond satisfying. They’ve got the usual fixings such as pico de gallo, green salsa (mild), a red salsa (hot), limes, cilantro, pickled onions, grilled onions, and cucumbers.

For more information, visit bktacos.com.

BOCA Tacos y Tequila

533 N. Fourth Ave.
Guacamole Duo at BOCA Tacos y Tequila (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Guacamole Duo at BOCA Tacos y Tequila (Credit: Jackie Tran)

How about having the chips and salsa bar come to you? BOCA Tacos y Tequila’s salsas are made fresh daily, and each flavor is a unique fusion of color and ingredients. They’ve featured cranberry salsa with chile morita, Sriracha and goat cheese salsa, and honey, chipotle and avocado salsa. Don’t forget their chips are fried-to-order!

For more information, visit bocatacos.com.

Calle Tepa

6151 E. Broadway Blvd.

At Calle Tepa, you can purchase a basket of chips for $1.99 and salsa it up to your heart’s content. Their salsa bar carries staples such as mild or hot, red and green salsa, garlic habanero, and chipotle. Hit them up for Happy Hour from 3-6 p.m. and enjoy $5 margaritas and $3.50 drafts.

For more information, visit calletepa.com. 

Casa Sanchez-Mom’s Mexican Food

8320 N. Thornydale Rd., Ste. 110

Free Chips and Salsa Bar!

Posted by Casa Sanchez-Mom's Mexican Food on Friday, April 27, 2018

This northside, family-owned Mexican restaurant offers self-serve bottomless chips and salsa. Go hungry and see if you can finish the President’s Burrito — a whopper of a burrito that comes with red chile beef, carnitas pork, rice, beans, sour cream, onions and salsa rolled in a handmade flour tortilla, smothered with enchilada sauce and cheese.

For more information, visit casasanchezaz.com. 

Chuy’s Mesquite Broiler

8195 N. Oracle Rd., Ste. 105 • 6741 N. Thornydale Rd. • 15318 N. Oracle Rd., Ste. 180 • 4695 N. Oracle Rd., Ste. 109 • 1645 W., Valencia Rd., Ste. 111

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Don’t be chicken, order at the register. Then help yourself at their chip and salsa bar. Though the salsa bar lacks variety, the chips are plentiful and unlimited. If you’re a fan of jalapeños, there are plenty to come by.

For more information, visit nwtucsonchuys.com.

Guadalajara Grill

1220 E. Prince Rd. • 7360 N. Oracle Rd. • 4901 E. Broadway Blvd.

It’s not a salsa bar, but it is tableside and made to order. You’re asked what level of spice you’d like, and then it’s off to the races. Tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime are thrown into a molcajete where it is ground to the perfect level of chunkiness to dip your chips into. Don’t forget to tip the nice lady making your salsa.

For more information, visit guadalajaraoriginalgrill.com.

El Guero Canelo

5201 S. 12th Ave. • 2480 N. Oracle Rd. • 5802 E. 22nd St.

El Guero Canelo gained notoriety for its Sonoran hot dog, however, it has certainly come a long way since its taco stand days. You can walk into any of the three locations expect to find daily dining deals such as three Carne Asada tacos and any drink for $9 on Mondays. From Friday to Sunday, you can pick up a breakfast burrito for $5.75 with enough sustenance to tide you over until the next morning.

Don’t forget their salsa bar is set up with grilled onion bulbs, radishes, pickled onions, limes, and salsa to complement whatever you order.

For more information, visit elguerocanelo.com.

Mr. Baja Fish

405 E. Wetmore Rd.
Salsa bar at Mr. Baja Fish (Credit: Adilene Ibarra)

Salsa bar at Mr. Baja Fish (Credit: Adilene Ibarra)

It’s not easy being a competitive Mexican and seafood restaurant in Tucson, but Mr. Baja Fish isn’t your run-of-the-mill fast food eatery. With flavorful dishes and generous portions, it’s no wonder they’re managing to stay in the game. Top off your Chile Relleno ($5.99) with some of their charred jalapeños, pico de gallo, spicy red salsa, or mild green.

For more information, visit mrbajafish.com.

Salsa Verde

210 N. Pantano Rd.
Beef Fajita Machete, chips, and salsa at Salsa Verde (Credit: Adilene Ibarra)

Beef Fajita Machete, chips and salsa at Salsa Verde (Credit: Adilene Ibarra)

Salsa Verde has quite the array of salsas, including:

  • Pico de gallo
  • House fire salsa (It’s spicy for sure, that wonderful back-of-the-throat kind of burn with flavors so deep, they’ll have you double dipping)
  • Cilantro crema (refreshing cilantro-based creamy salsa)
  • Chunky green salsa (crisp, refreshing, the kind whose base would make a killer tomatillo Bloody Mary).
  • Mild salsa (a beginner-level salsa without sacrificing flavor)
  • Avocado crema (avocado is good on anything)

For more information, visit salsaverderestaurant.business.site.

Sir Veza’s Kitchen & Kantina

220 W. Wetmore Rd.
Salsa bar at Sir Veza's Kitchen & Kantina (Photo courtesy of Sir Veza's Kitchen & Kantina)

Salsa bar at Sir Veza’s Kitchen & Kantina (Photo courtesy of Sir Veza’s Kitchen & Kantina)

The renovated Sir Veza’s now features a self-serve salsa bar:

  • Salsa de arbol (picante)
  • Salsa verde (classic tomatillo)
  • SV table salsa (this one was made for chips)
  • Salsa Oaxaca (reminiscent of a Sonoran dog in the best way)
  • Agua mole (creamy jalapeño flavor)
  • Salsa ranchera (the fruitiness of the habanero comes through)
  • Pico de gallo
  • Salsa rustica (roasted tomato)
  • Salsa del sol (another potent picante salsa)

Refills on the chips and salsa are $1.

For more information, visit sirvezas.com.

Street Taco & Beer Co.

58 W. Congress St. • 5870 E. Broadway Blvd.

With a purchase of $5 or more per person, you receive unlimited chips and salsa at Street Taco. Money well spent, if you ask us.

The chips are crunchy and coated in thick salt crystals with a hint of lime. The salsa bar is well stocked with a green tomatillo salsa — deceiving in appearance, but renders a flavorful burn — a mild red, and the fan-favorite, Salsa de Chile de Arbol.

Keep up with Street Taco & Beer Co. on Facebook.

The Quesadillas

2418 N. Craycroft Rd.

What The Quesadillas salsa bar lacks in size, it makes up for in flavor. Their salsas are fresh and seasoned well. Popular choices include their cilantro creme salsa that Yelp user Bethany W. said “is so good [she] can drink it.” They also offer a slightly-spicy pineapple salsa, as well as queso and beans.

For more information, visit queso520.com.

Tucson Tamale Company

7159 E. Tanque Verde Rd. • 7286 N. Oracle Rd.

When you think of Tucson Tamale Company, you probably don’t think of their salsa, but it’s far from being lackluster. Their salsa bar has favorites like Sherry’s Mild, Colettes’s Medium, and Todd’s Fire — a blend of spice and everything nice. Their hot sauce is also worth trying — they’ve bottled it and will ship it to you. Grab a bottle of Jalapeño Hot Sauce, Chipotle Habanero Hot Sauce or Habanero Hot Sauce.

For more information, visit tucsontamale.com.

Addie Ibarra, native Tucsonan, is a fierce lover of adventure, travels, and Star Wars. Her love of food and drink takes her to places far, far away.
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