5 of the Best Dishes You’ve Probably Never Tried in Tucson, Vol. 3

Delicious dishes off the beaten path need some love.

Last modified on January 8th, 2019 at 11:43 am

Radicchio Caesar Salad and Bianca slice at Pizza Luna (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Tucson has signature dishes that friends will casually recommend; Eegee’s fries or Sonoran hot dogs, for example.

But what about other dishes found elsewhere that are straight-up delicious? Or the ones off the beaten path? You should order these anyway because they need love, too.

Here are five of the best dishes you’ve probably never tried in Tucson.

Beef Larb

4 Seasons Restaurant, 1423 W. Miracle Mile

Although American breakfast is popular at 4 Seasons, don’t neglect the Thai menu.

If you love lettuce wraps, dive into a plate of Beef Larb. The cool leaves of iceberg lettuce pair marvelously with the combination of minced beef, chili, onion, cilantro, and other Thai aromatics.

For more information, visit 4seasonsaz.com.

Empanadas

Bombolé Eatery, 100 N. Stone Ave.

Like its also-awesome neighbor the Little One, Bombolé Eatery operates downtown Monday through Friday with limited daytime hours. While it’s most convenient for folks that work downtown, make the effort to find parking for a bite from this gem.

You can’t go wrong with any of the options here, but here’s a recommendation to start: a Matar Paneer empanada ($3.85) with a side of cilantro sauce. Indian cheese and peas mingle in a spicy tomato sauce for a comforting, hearty bite, augmented by the cilantro sauce’s zesty garlic kick.

For more information, visit eatbombole.com.

French Fries

Humble Pie, 2905 E Skyline Dr. Ste. 298

While a classic Belgian-style fry is true beauty in a simple form, fries can dress up well.

At Humble Pie, their fries are dressed with parsley, garlic, lemon zest, pecorino, and chili flakes for a bright-savory-spicy kick. Pair them with a side of garlic aioli to temporarily forget about ketchup.

For more information, visit humblepieusa.com.

Oxtail Soup

Island Plate Lunch, 5755 E. River Rd., Ste. 141

Available only on Friday and Saturday for a limited time, the hearty Oxtail Soup features a combination of oxtails, peanuts, ginger, baby bok choy, and shiitake mushrooms, served with rice and ginger soy sauce.

The oxtails, mushrooms, and peanut provide a rich body, while the ginger and bok choy balance it with a rejuvenating lightness. This soup is also a fantastic option if you have a cold or flu.

Keep up with Island Plate Lunch on Facebook or visit islandplatelunch.com.

Radicchio Caesar

Pizza Luna, 1101 N. Wilmot Rd. Ste. 119

With so many salads out there, why are we focusing on a Caesar? This Radicchio Caesar is no joke. For about half of the Tucson Foodie office, it’s the favorite salad—the other half haven’t tried it yet.

Pizza Luna blends mildly bitter radicchio with a zingy garlic anchovy dressing, delicate grated Grana Padano, and house-made croutons for a balanced-yet-bold bite that we can’t get enough of.

For more information, visit pizza-luna.com.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com.
  • Jim Fiorella

    I’m not quite sure whether Jackie Tran does what he does for free meals or if he gets a commission from the restaurants but I’ve spent hundreds of dollars trying the restaurants and dishes he recommends and over half are simply horrible. Period.
    No one can very highly recommend hundreds of dishes and hundreds of restaurants in a city as small as Tucson and have any credibility at all.
    Everything is simply spin today to make an ugly buck and people need to call people like Jackie out and hold him responsible.
    Sorry Jackie but you need to get a real job.

    • Hi Jim, Thanks for paying attention to our little food site that focuses on the greater Tucson area.

      We’re sorry you find some of Jackie’s recommendations ‘simply horrible.’

      We take a lot of pride in what we do. Jackie is one of the most knowledgable food experts we’ve found with extensive knowledge about food preparation, ingredients, and more. Over 100,000 people visit this site every month. We’ve been featured in major magazines and publications.

      Our credibility would be zero if all we did was ‘simply spin to make an ugly buck.’ On the contrary, we receive messages and are told in conversation almost daily thanking us for our great recommendations.

      So, yeah. There’s that.

    • Jackie

      Hi Jim,

      I don’t recommend any dishes that I didn’t enjoy. Any sponsored posts are marked as such and won’t be written as a personal recommendation.

      I’m sorry that you weren’t able to experience the dishes and restaurants in the same light that I have. Restaurants aren’t 100% consistent and taste is also subjective. I hope you were able to find at least some gems suitable for your taste.

      Thanks for reading.

    • Joe Thomas

      HAHAHAHA These do look terrible. Recommend french fries? Oh gosh ive never had those before. Come on they have red pepper and Parmesan on em, they aint special.

      • Jackie

        Don’t forget the lemon zest!

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