20 September, 2019, 21:34

Guide To 49 Downtown Tucson Restaurants

From authentic Mexican cuisine to local cafés and coffee shops, each restaurant offers a unique atmosphere with diverse menus and experiences.

Ever wonder if you’re missing out on a hot, new restaurant or some cool, hidden spot?

The various downtown Tucson restaurants span the gamut. From authentic Mexican, to Thai, to local cafés and coffee shops, each restaurant offers a unique atmosphere.

Whether your wanting to pop into a café for a hot drink, grab a cocktail at a speakeasy style bar, or enjoy a sit-down dinner, downtown has a lot to offer.

47 Scott

47 N. Scott Ave.
House Cheese Slate at 47 Scott (Credit: Jackie Tran)

House Cheese Slate at 47 Scott (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Quintessential American comfort food combined with high quality ingredients and a cozy, brick decor make for the perfect night out. Mac & Cheese and Steak Frites are just two dishes easy to find in many restaurants, but not the way 47 Scott does them. Pair their menu with an extensive drink list and you’ve got yourself a great get-together spot for family and friends.

Favorite Items:

  • Stack of Grilled Cheese – sourdough, three cheese blend, sweet & spicy dipping sauce
  • Brick House Old Fashioned – bacon-washed rye, demerara syrup, Angostura bitters

For more information, visit 47 Scott.

Agustín Kitchen

100 S. Avenida del Convento
AZ Filet Mignon at Agustin Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

AZ Filet Mignon at Agustin Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Take the streetcar to its final stop and you will arrive at Agustin Kitchen, a modern American restaurant with classic french techniques. Relish over a menu of Brûléed Local Goat Cheese, Oysters, and homemade Gelato in their bright and open dining space. After your meal walk around the Mercado San Agustin courtyard and enjoy the nearby shops.

Highlighted Items:

  • AK Baked Oysters – Piave, lemon, roasted garlic, citrus moonshine 
  • Lamb Osso Bucco – Corn? butter polenta, wilted greens, braised carrots, roasted tomato

For more information, visit Agustin Kitchen.


33 N. Stone Ave.
Baggin's (Photo Credit: Baggin's)

Baggin’s (Photo Credit: Baggin’s)

Baggin’s has served bagged sandwiches with a kick of southwestern flavor since 1984. They continue to provide lunchtime favorites for on-the-go customers. While you’re downtown, try one of their specialty sandwiches like the Unforgettable Baggin’s or indulge in a grilled creation like the Southwestern Tuna.

Favorite Sandwiches: 

  • The Cowboy – grilled chicken breast, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato and homemade ranch dressing on an eight inch roll
  • Southwestern Tuna – grilled tuna, jalapeños, cheddar cheese, tomatoes on sourdough
  • Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese – melted cheddar cheese, cream cheese, chopped jalapeños on Italian white bread

For more information, visit Baggin’s.

Barrio Brewing Co.

800 E. 16th St.
Hola Hefeweizen from Barrio Brewing (Photo credit: Barrio Brewing)

Hola Hefeweizen from Barrio Brewing (Photo credit: Barrio Brewing)

Barrio Brewing Co. offers a variety of microbrews, including the well known Barrio Blonde. In fact, it’s the longest running, continuously brewed beer in the state of Arizona. Enjoy with classic pub food, like “Beer Sponges,” two soft pretzels served with beer mustard.

Popular Items:

  • Potato Skins –five potato skins loaded with cheddar and monterey jack cheese, bacon, and scallions, served with a side of buttermilk ranch
  • Pub Fried Fish Tacos – lightly battered and flash fried cod in fresh flour tortillas with cabbage, fresh pico de gallo and habanero cream sauce, served with Charro beans
  • Diane Burger–sliced white mushrooms and onions sautéed in butter, fresh garlic, parsley, and red wine topped with melted Swiss cheese

For more information, visit Barrio Brewing.

Batch Cafe & Bar

118 E. Congress St.
Donuts at Batch Cafe & Bar (Credit: Batch Cafe & Bar)

Donuts at Batch Cafe & Bar (Credit: Batch Cafe & Bar)

Batch certainly isn’t your typical whiskey bar. Opened in January 2016, Batch is known for its whiskey and doughnuts. For the doughnuts, creativity is key. They offer unusual creations, such as Pink Blueberry with Fruity Pebbles.

Go-To Items:

  • El Churro – holed doughnut, cinnamon sugar coating
  • Hello Mr. Cobb – romaine, greens, avocado, chicken, blue cheese, bacon, tomato, hard-boiled egg, poppy seed dressing

For more information, visit Batch Cafe & Bar.

Berry Divine

245 E. Congress St.
(Credit: Berry Divine Acai Bowls on Facebook)

(Credit: Berry Divine Acai Bowls on Facebook)

Sedona-based acai bowl restaurant Berry Divine opened it’s first Tucson location in 2019.

Although its known for acai bowls, it also serves delightful smoothies.

Menu highlights:

  • Sedona bowl – a blend of acai, almond milk, strawberry, banana topped with hemp seed granola, strawberry, banana, honey
  • Vortex bowl — a blend of acai, coconut water, strawberry, blueberry, banana topped with hemp seed granola, blueberry, banana, chia and flax seed, toasted coconut, honey
  • Volcano bowl — a blend of acai, coconut water, pineapple, mango, strawberry, guarana topped with hemp seed granola, strawberry, blueberry, kiwi, coconut oil

For more information, visit berrydivineacai.com

Bombole Eatery

100 N. Stone
Paneer empanada, dahl, and rice at Bombolé Eatery (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Paneer empanada, dahl, and rice at Bombolé Eatery (Credit: Jackie Tran)

One of our favorite downtown Tucson restaurants, with fast counter service, great food, and a low price point. Bombole offers a hybrid of Indian and Mexican cuisines with their Indian empanadas. They also offer a fantastic lunch special.

Empanada options change frequently.

More info at eatbombole.com.

Cafe 54

54 E. Pennington St.
Cafe 54 vegetables (Photo Credit:Cafe 54)

Cafe 54 vegetables (Photo Credit:Cafe 54)

Cafe 54 is the perfect spot to grab a quick bite for lunch. It also serves as more than just a restaurant by offering “a unique employment training program for adults recovering from mental illnesses.” Menu items include salads, veggie burgers, gyros, and flat breads. Make sure to try the desert of the day.

Highlighted Lunch Items: 

  • Turkey BLT – Turkey breast, center-cut bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo and swiss cheese on grilled white or wheat bread
  • The Hero’s Gyro – Tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, tzatziki sauce wrapped in a toasted pita. Choice of gyro beef, all natural grilled chicken breast or marinated baked tofu

For more information, visit Cafe 54.

Cafe a La C’Art

150 N. Main Ave.
(Credit: Jackie Tran)

(Credit: Jackie Tran)

Café à la C’Art offers a memorable experience for its customer. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this café offers specialties like the Parmesan Crusted Turkey Croissant. You’ll feel like you’re at home in this quaint, country-style café surrounded by a patio covered in mosaic.

Go-To Items: 

  • The Rothschild – wine-braised beef brisket, roasted red peppers, chipotle aïoli, melted pepperjack, toasted kaiser
  • 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

For more information, visit Café à la C’Art.

Cafe Poca Cosa

110 E. Pennington St.
Plato Poca Cosa at Cafe Poca Cosa owner (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Plato Poca Cosa at Cafe Poca Cosa owner (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Cafe Poca Cosa offers “imaginative” cuisine highlighting different regions in Mexico. The menu changes twice throughout the day, providing customers with a unique experience each time they come in. Look out for a portable chalkboard menu that is brought to every table highlighting what chef and owner Suzana Davila is featuring for the night.

  • Menu items rotates twice daily, stop by to experience the cuisine. 

For more information, visit Cafe Poca Cosa.

Caffe Luce

245 E. Congress St.
Gibraltar at Sparkroot (Photo Credit: Jennifer Stash)

Gibraltar at Sparkroot, which has since become Caffe Luce. (Photo Credit: Jennifer Stash)

Caffe Luce offers coffee and tea, along with simple made dishes such as steel-cut oatmeal and pressed sandwiches. The interior of this coffee bar features a busy, urban-feel, using reclaimed barn wood and stainless steel accents. The coffee is more of a dark roast as opposed to the third-wave trend of lighter roasts. Relax during the day or later in the evening when you can enjoy a selection of beer and wine.

Favorites to Enjoy With Coffee: 

  • Warm Nut Butter & Jam Sandwich on Classic Sourdough – peanut, almond butter or sun-butter with blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, apricot or fig jam
  • Pressed Gruyere Sandwich – Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, arugula and house made mustard on sourdough
  • Sweet Potato Tacos – three corn tortilla tacos with chevre, purple cabbage, pico de gallo

Keep up with Caffe Luce on Facebook.

Caffé Milano

46 W. Congress St.
Caffe Milano (Credit: Caffe Milano)

Caffe Milano (Credit: Caffe Milano)

Looking to take a trip to a quaint cafe in the heart of Italy? Caffe Milano will transport you in time with the help of chef Fulvia Steffenone. After establishing her own school of haute cuisine in Italy, Fulvia brought her art of cooking to Tucson. Sample from a range of Italian dishes, including Veal Scaloppine, homemade Tiramisu, and tomato, basil and mozzarella bruschetta.

Featured Items:

  • Pollo al Marsala – Lightly floured and pan-sauteed chicken breast in Marsala cream sauce with garden peas
  • Spaghetti allo Scoglio – Shrimp, mussels, clams, sea scallops in  a spicy tomato sauce over spaghetti
  • Fragole al Limoncello – Strawberries with limoncello, ice cream and whipped cream

For more information, visit Caffe Milano.

Charro del Rey

178 E. Broadway Blvd.
Lobster Tower del Rey at Charro del Rey (Credit: Melissa Stihl)

Lobster Tower del Rey at Charro del Rey (Credit: Melissa Stihl)

Downtown restaurant Charro del Rey, sister restaurant to Charro Steak, opened in 2019 with a focus on seafood and prime rib.

Not only is it making waves with its eco-friendly approach to business and half-off happy hour, but you can’t miss out on these menu favorites.


  • Branzino Veracruz — topped with a savory tomato sauce, olives, capers, nopalito, oregano, and roasted asparagus spears
  • Tower del Rey — seafood sampler built for two with lobster, oysters, crab legs, dos coronitas, oyster shooters, and shrimp.

For more information, visit charrodelrey.com.

Charro Steak

188 E. Broadway Blvd.
New York Strip Steak en Estillo Charro at Charro Steak (Credit: Jackie Tran)

New York Strip Steak en Estillo Charro at Charro Steak (Credit: Jackie Tran)

If Charro Steak sounds familiar, it is. Owned and operated by El Charro restaurants Flores family, Charro Steak is the family’s interpretation of a Sonoran steakhouse. The ranch-to-table meats provide an outstanding local experience.


  • Boneless Rib Eye en Estilo Charro – fourteen-ounce rib eye steak topped with melted queso manchego, mesquite-charred chiles
  • Esquites con Crema – charred corn, crema, cotija, chile dust

For more information, visit Charro Steak.

The Cup Cafe at Hotel Congress

311 E. Congress St. 
Cast Iron Baked Eggs (Photo courtesy of Hotel Congress on Facebook)

Cast Iron Baked Eggs (Photo courtesy of Hotel Congress on Facebook)

Cup Cafe offers a full bar and dining room with features like a, Build Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar and Omelet Bar. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Cup Café’s menu offers items from their Tofu Scramble to Pan Seared Ruby Trout. Enjoy brunch after a long night dancing and enjoying live entertainment at Club Congress.

Standout Items: 

  • Cast Iron Baked Eggs – Two eggs, ham, leeks, and gruyère cheese, baked in cream and  fines herbes, with hotel potatoes, toast
  • Heartbreaker Warm goat milk’s brie, artichokes, harvest berry jam, roasted garlic, fresh apple, with crostini

For more information, visit Cup Cafe

Diablo Burger

312 E. Congress St.
Señor Smoke from Diablo Burger (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Señor Smoke from Diablo Burger (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Diablo Burger offers burgers that are made from “100% local, grass-fed, open-range raised, antibiotic-free, and growth-hormone-free beef.” Not only are the burgers good on the conscience, but good for the appetite as well. Options, such as the Monk and Big Daddy Kane are standouts on the menu.

Noteworthy burgers:

  • Señor Smoke – ancho grilled onions, grilled avocado, bacon, cilantro & sriracha mayo
  • Big Daddy Kane – Bacon, sharp cheddar, sliced pickles and a house made special sauce
  • DB House – blackening spice, homemade pesto, topped with an over-easy fried egg

For more information, visit Diablo Burger

DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails

135 S. 6th Ave.
Seared Salmon + Grean Pea Coulis at DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Seared Salmon + Grean Pea Coulis at DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Famed local chef Janos Wilder’s Downtown Kitchen and Cocktails delivers a special dining experience. Menu items change seasonally and are inspired by flavors ranging from Asia to Latin America, and everything in between. Great for group gatherings to enjoy specialty cuisine and drinks.

Must-Try Items: 

  • DOWNTOWN Burger – mushrooms, smoked poblanos, foie gras, manchego, bacon, caramelized onions on griddled torta bun + French fries
  • Dark Chocolate Jalapeño Ice Cream Sundae – chocolate ganache, candied pecans with whipped cream

For more information, visit Downtown Kitchen

El Charro Cafe

311 N. Court Ave.
Carne Seca Burro at El Charro on Court Avenue (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

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

El Charro is one of the nation’s oldest Mexican restaurants and definitely the oldest of the downtown Tucson restaurants. Featuring award-winning recipes like their Banderas Enchiladas and the house carne seca, which is dried in a special cage outside the restaurant in the sun.

Standout Items: 

  • Queso Fundido Melt – queso and crema with roasted corn and chips
  • Carne Seca Plate – calabacitas, avocado, roasted poblano peppers baked with cheese, sour cream with grilled fajita vegetable
  • Carlotta’s Clásico Chicken Mole – the chef’s famous chicken mole recipe served with rice and pinto beans stewed with bacon and vegetables
 For more information, visit El Charro.

El Minuto Cafe

354 S. Main Ave.
Carne asada burro from El Minuto Cafe (Photo Credit: Jackie Tran)

Carne asada burro from El Minuto Cafe (Photo Credit: Jackie Tran)

El Minuto Cafe has served “fine Mexican food” since 1939 in Tucson’s Barrio Viejo neighborhood. El Minuto offers items like Shredded Beef Chimichangas and their Combination Plate with a beef taco, tamale, cheese enchilada and beans. After your meal, take a walk around the historic neighborhood and take in the colorful homes and scenery.

Mouthwatering Items:

  • Cheese Crisp – topped with tomato, onion, and green chilies
  • Topopo Salad – bean tosada, chicken, lettuce, avocado, and cheese
  • Breaded Fried Shrimp – served with rice and beans

For more information, visit El Minuto.

Elliott’s On Congress

135 E. Congress St.
Bacon cheeseburger w/ buffalo chicken pasta salad (Photo Credit: Elliots)

Bacon cheeseburger w/ buffalo chicken pasta salad (Photo Credit: Elliott’ss)

Elliott’s is an American restaurant that provides a relaxing ambience and great food to match. The eatery features a fully stocked bar with house-infused specialty vodkas, sporting flavors from basil to key lime. There is even Chocolate Covered Bacon, and fried PB&J’s. It is safe to say Elliot’s is nothing short of an experience.

Must-Try Items:

  • Jalapeño Boats – jalapeños baked with a mix of cream cheese, cheddar, shrimp and bacon. topped with a drizzle of sweet agave
  • Duck Sliders – orange-chili marinated duck, bacon, lettuce, tomato, Mandarin-mayo, wheat berry bread

For more information, visit Elliot’s


256 E. Congress St.
Mole pipian rojo at Elvira's Restaurant in Tucson (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Mole pipian rojo at Elvira’s Restaurant in Tucson (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The up-scale Mexican restaurant Elvira’s expanded from their Tubac location and opened their second location in Tucson. The beautiful space features contemporary interpretations of Latin cuisine. Expect to see complex moles, Caribbean and Thai fusions, and tequila, lots of tequila.

Highlighted Tubac Menu Items:

  • Grilled Founder – served with a fresh salsa fresca of mango, cilantro, onion and lime
  • Rib-eye Tamarindo – grilled rib-eye smothered in a tamarind and chipotle sauce served with rice and vegetables
  • Caribbean Treat flamed bananas with Captain Morgan rum butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts over vanilla ice cream

For more information, visit Elvira’s.

Empire Pizza & Pub

137 E. Congress St.
Elote pizza at Empire Pizza & Pub (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Elote pizza at Empire Pizza & Pub (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Empire is a pizza joint with televisions, a jukebox and the atmosphere of a classic style bar. They serve Authentic NY Style Pizza, Salad, wings and dessert. If you spend your weekends dancing into the wee hours of the night, don’t worry they are open until 3 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Empire is the perfect place to enjoy a late night slice of pizza downtown.

Favorite Pies:

  • Blanco – white pizza with ricotta cheese, garlic, mozzarella
  • Bensonhurst – pepperoni, Canadian bacon, meatball, Italian sausage
  • Elote – roasted corn, cotija, cilantro, chipotle mayo, Tajín

For more information, visit Empire Pizza.

Fired Pie  

350 E. Congress St.
Fired Pie (Photo Credit: Fired Pie)

Fired Pie (Photo Credit: Fired Pie)

If you want a customized pizza or are just eating on-the-go, come to Fired Pie and build your own original pizza and salad creation. Choose from a list of ingredients including, steak, capicola, fresh basil and oregano. If you have room for dessert make sure to try their warm chocolate chip pizookie with vanilla ice cream.

Pre-Constructed Options:  

  • Steak and Blu – mozzarella, thin sliced steak, mushroom, peppers, onion, and Gorgonzola
  • Spicy Southwest Salad – mixed greens, chicken, tortilla chips, roasted peppers, onions, olives, jalapeño, cilantro, mozzarella, chipotle ranch dressing
  • Fired Pookie – fired chocolate chip cookie dough topped with vanilla bean ice cream

For more information, visit Fired Pie.

The Funky Monk

350 E. Congress St.
Disco-tec-a pizza at Funky Monk in Tucson (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Disco-tec-a pizza at Funky Monk in Tucson (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Loungey restaurant and nightclub Funky Monk is all about having fun. Get funky on the dance floor with booming music and psychedelic vibes.

Highlighted Lunch Items:

  • Disco-tec-a – roasted corn, chorizo, mozzarella, cotija, garlic butter, chipotle aioli, cilantro, fresh lime, Tajín
  • 24 Karat Mac – gold cheese sauce, prosciutto, parmesan, white truffle oil, bread crumbs, toasted ciabatta
  • Funky Philly – shaved chicken, cheese sauce, ‘shrooms, roasted red peppers, caramelized onion, chipotle aioli

For more information, visit funkymonktucson.com.

HiFi Kitchen & Cocktails

345 E. Congress St.
Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails (Credit: Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails)

Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails (Credit: Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails)

Club by night, restaurant by day, Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails provides an open atmosphere and huge patio in a highly stylized setting. You’ll want to get there semi-early if the club scene isn’t your cup of tea. But it is definitely a great place to sit and people watch while enjoying elevated pub food such as adult milkshakes and burgers.

Highlighted Lunch Items:

  • Cuban Sandwich – Slow roasted pork, ham, pickle, swiss, mustard and mayo on toasted ciabatta
  • Sunny Side Burger – Applewood smoked bacon, vine ripened tomatos, shredded lettuce, fried egg
  • S’mores Milkshake–Marshmallow vodka, graham cracker crumbles, marshmallow, chocolate syrup, whipped cream

For more information, visit Hi Fi Kitchen and Cocktails

HUB Restaurant & Ice Creamery

266 E. Congress St.
Pastrami & Rye at Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery

Pastrami & Rye at HUB Restaurant & Ice Creamery

HUB offers brunch, lunch, dinner, but most importantly, homemade ice cream. This loft-feel surrounded with brick walls and unique décor offers a dark, intimate ambiance in the evening. They serve menu items such as Pastrami HUB Hash and Chicken Pot Pie. End your meal with creamy, homemade ice-cream in unique flavors like Oatmeal Cookie Dough and Spiced Cider.

Favorite Items:

  • Glory Curds – Wisconsin cheddar curds flash-crisped with sriracha ketchup
  • Braised Pork Belly – 10-hour braised pork belly, serrano apple mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, agave cranberry gastric, micro greens
  • Lobster Pot Pie

For more information, visit Hub.

Irene’s Holy Donuts

340 N. Fourth Ave.
Doughnuts from Holy Donuts on Fourth Avenue (Credit: Melissa Stihl)

Doughnuts from Irene’s Holy Donuts on Fourth Avenue (Credit: Melissa Stihl)

Hawaii-based doughnut shop Irene’s Holy Donuts opened its Tucson location in 2019.

With over 200 flavors (they rotate every other day), the focus is on scratch-made doughnuts and malasadas.

That’s not all. Since opening, other items such as Donut Sandwiches, Loco Moco, Teriyaki Chicken Sticks, and Spam & Eggs Musubi have been added to the evening menu.

Sweet delights:

  • Sugar-rolled malasada doughnuts
  • Donut Monte Cristo
  • Loco Moco — beef patty, two over easy eggs, brown gravy, two scoops of sticky rice
  • Spam & Eggs Musubi – sticky rice with Spam and eggs, wrapped in nori, with soy sauce

Keep up with Irene’s Holy Donuts Tucson on Instagram.

Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market

11 S. Sixth Ave.
Deli at Johnny Gibson's Downtown Market

Deli at Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market

Johnny Gibson’s Market provides customers with an affordable breadth of items from tasty sandwiches to local cheese to a forgotten toothbrush. With an emphasis on locally sourcing produce, make sure to sample their variety of baked goods, deli offerings, fresh seafood, ice cream, and a wide selection of craft beer.

Standout Sandwiches:

  • Wildcat – turkey, herb cream cheese, avocado, onion bacon spread, onion, lettuce tomato
  • Veggie Heaven – hummus, herb cream cheese, hummus roasted veggies on 12-grain
  • Johnny’s Cubano – spicy dijonnaise, pickles, roasted jalapeños, ham, shredded pork shoulder, Swiss cheese

For more information, visit Johnny Gibson’s Market

La Cocina

201 N. Court Ave.
Brunch at La Cocina (Credit: La Cocina)

Brunch at La Cocina (Credit: La Cocina)

La Cocina is known as “Tucson’s Venue with a Menu”. Dig into one of their fresh, healthy dishes like the Quinoa Bowl with Braised Spinach and Roasted Vegetables. With a courtyard surrounded by plants, string lights, and candles, you’ll be sure to enjoy a refreshing experience for brunch, lunch and dinner.

Standout Dinner Items: 

  • Polenta Fries – topped with parmesan and served with remoulade
  • Southwestern Pot Roast – sirloin braised in a red wine gravy with onions, potatoes, and carrots, topped with a chile relleno and corn tortilla
  • Lemon Caper Penne –house smoked salmon or grilled chicken breast, lemon caper cream sauce, parmesan, and roasted red peppers

For more information, visit La Cocina.

The Little One (formerly Little Cafe Poca Cosa)

151 N. Stone Ave.
Breakfast Plato at the Little One, formerly Little Cafe Poca Cosa (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Breakfast Plato at the Little One (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Little Cafe Poca Cosa (The Little One) is considered “the tiny restaurant with a big heart”. Sister to the big Café Poca Cosa, this casual setting offers an experience you’ll never forget. The best part about this one is that you won’t leave without a hug and a kiss! But make sure to bring cash, as cards are not accepted.

Must-try Items:

  • Vegetarian Chile Rellenos – green Anaheim chile stuffed with cheese and lightly pan fried. smothered in tomato based salsa ranchera
  • Quesadillas Con Pollo en Mole Negro – two corn tortilla quesadillas stuffed with meted Monterey Jack cheese and topped with chicken mole
  • Cochinito Crema De Chipotle – tender pork slow roasted in a creamy, spicy smoked chipotle sauce

For more information, visit Little Cafe Poca Cosa.

Maynards Market & Kitchen

400 N. Toole Ave.
Buttermilk Fried Quail at Maynards Market & Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Buttermilk Fried Quail at Maynards Market & Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Maynards Market is a light, airy market where you can buy a variety of food, drinks, and other goods. This intimate area features a deli, coffee bar, bakery, and provides food such as Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins and Truffled Egg Salad. Maynards also features a small retail section where you can purchase items from vendors around the Tucson area. Maynards Kitchen features an elegant restaurant for dinner.

Seasonal Favorites:

  • Sonoran Mushroom Toast – local Barrio levain, braised wild mushrooms, leeks, bacon lardons, Madeira cream sauce, preserved lemon, goat cheese, chervil
  • Roasted Beet Salad – red beets, local goat feta cheese, white Sonoran wheat berries, Merchant garden mustard greens, pistachio, burnt lime vinaigrette
  • Riesling Braised Lamb Shank – braised lamb shank, potatoes tartiflette, bacon lardons, braised greens, Maynards Garden carrot chimichurri, roasted leek pan jus

For more information, visit Maynards.

MiAn Sushi & Modern Asian Cuisine

88 E. Broadway Blvd.
Yellowtail Poki Bowl and Salmon Poki Bowl from MiAn Sushi & Modern Asian Cuisine (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Yellowtail Poki Bowl and Salmon Poki Bowl from MiAn Sushi & Modern Asian Cuisine (Credit: Jackie Tran)

MiAn’s menu highlights a combination of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese food.


  • Presidio Roll – red snapper, cucumber sweet chili, red onion, potato crisp, shallot crisp, ceviche (octopus, shrimp, white fish), micro cilantro
  • Salmon Belly Carpaccio – watercress, red onion, Garlic crisp, yuzu soy

For more information, visit miansushi.com.

Miss Saigon

47 N. 6th Ave.
Pho xe lua dac biet at Miss Saigon (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Pho xe lua dac biet at Miss Saigon (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Although Miss Saigon on Campbell is the most popular, the downtown location is open late and convenient for post-drinking slurping.


  • Vietnamese Spring Rolls – shrimp and broiled pork shredded green vermicelli wrapped in chilled rice paper
  • Miss Saigon Special Beef Noodle Soup – rare beef, broiled beef slices, tendon, tripe and beef meatballs
  • Jasmine Rice with Grilled Pork Chops Combo – Charbroiled pork chop, shrimp paste and shredded pork, served with jasmine rice

For more information, visit misssaigontucson.com.


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

Steak Salad at Nook (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Nook promises a kick in the morning with their menu of Cinnamon Roll Griddle Cakes, Maple Belly Benedict and Avocado Toast. Tucson’s vibrant personality is translated into their urban interpretations of home cooked food. If you are in a rush, don’t forget about their Grab and Go Delivery service, which will bring you your favorite items in 30 minutes or less in the downtown area.

Tasty Bites: 

  • Steak Salad – Arizona local hanger steak, arugula, sun dried tomatoes, zucchini, cartelized onion, fried egg, lemon vinaigrette

For more information, visit Nook.

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)

Whether you are coming in for a quick bite during a night out, dinner with friends, or stopping by for lunch, OBON is a must-try. Named after the vibrant Japanese celebration of family and life, Brandon Katz hopes to bring a taste of Japan to Tucson. The menu offers everything from small plates of Soft Shell Crab with hafu sauce to Bulgogi Ribeye Steak, bento box lunch specials, an extensive sushi menu, ramen, and steam buns. 

Standout Items:

  • Rainbow Poke – fresh fish, cucumber, jalapeno, poke dressing, seaweed salad, avocado, sushi rice or mixed greens

For more information, visit Obon Sushi.


50 E. Broadway Blvd.
Grouper with mole verde at Penca Restaurante (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Grouper with mole verde at Penca Restaurante (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Penca offers upscale Mexico City Cuisine and an extensive bar with international cocktails. Enjoy a variety of tasty bites within their modern and cozy space with old wood and brick surrounded walls. Menu items include Ceviche and Tacos and a Guacamole Board, with queso fresco, pico de gallo and tomatillo salsa.


  • Elote – chipotle-buttered grilled corn, herb aioli, queso fresco, green onion
  • Chile en Nogada – spiced fruit & pork-stuffed roasted poblano, served gently warmed with a walnut-sherry cream sauce
  • Mole de Guajalote – turkey in mole poblano, seasonal local vegetable saute, rice, tortillas

For more information, visit Penca.


54 W. Congress St.
PokeZone spread (Credit: Jackie Tran)

PokeZone spread (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Tucson’s first poke-focused restaurant, PokeZone offers poke in bowls, burritos, and more.


  • Poke Bowl
  • Poke Burrito
  • Lidocaine – tequila, Fresca, orange juice, fresh Sichuan flower

For more information, visit pokezonetucson.com.

Raptor Canyon Cafe

75 E. Pennington St.
Raptor Canyon Cafe Cookie Varieties (Credit: Melissa Stihl)

Raptor Canyon Cafe Cookie Varieties (Credit: Melissa Stihl)

Husband-and-wife team Dennis and Konni Calello operate the family-owned restaurant along with their sons Ken and Frank Calello.

An interest in birds of prey drew them to Arizona and has inspired this homestyle cafe. The menu focusses on breakfast, lunch, and baked goods.

Locally roasted coffee and the smell of freshly baked cookies will greet you on entering — don’t leave without a stack of the warm, sugary treats.

Menu highlights:

  • Chorizo Breakfast Sandwich
  • Chicken Bacon Guacamole Sandwich
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie

Keep up with Raptor Canyon Cafe on Facebook.

Reilly Craft Pizza + Drink

101 E. Pennington St.
Goat Cheese Agnolotti at Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Goat Cheese Agnolotti at Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Reilly is a modern Italian restaurant and artisan pizzeria with a casual setting. It has an urban feel with its vaulted ceilings and original chalk art on the walls. Menu items include delicious Stuffed Mushrooms in Lemon Broth and Fennel Sausage and Roasted Pepper Brick-Oven Pizza. Great for a relaxing meal paired with a glass of red wine.

Must-Try Items:

  • Brussels Sprouts – house hot sauce, sherry vin., pecan brittle crumbs
  • Goat Cheese Agnolotti – local oyster mushrooms, browned butter, Grana
  • Yukon Gold Potato & Pecorino Pizza – mozzarella, roasted garlic, rosemary

For more information, visit Reilly Pizza.

Seis Kitchen

100 S. Avenida del Convento
Seis-Chata, Chorizon con Papas breakfast tacos at Seis Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Cochata, Chorizon con Papas breakfast tacos at Seis Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Located in the Mercado San Agustin, Seis offers cuisine from several regions of Mexico. The restaurant also offers fresh market fish selections for a gourmet step up from the typical fish taco. Handmade corn tortillas and house-made chorizo are also a main draw.


  • Cochinita Pibil – achiote roasted pork, pickled red onion, cilantro, queso fresco
  • Birria – guajillo chile-stewed beef, pico de gallo, queso fresco, fresh lime
  • Cochata – cold brew coffee, house horchata

For more information, visit pokezonetucson.com

Senae Thai Bistro

63 E. Congress St.
Gaeng Pa at Senae Thai Bistro (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Gaeng Pa at Senae Thai Bistro (Credit: Jackie Tran)

For a blend of authentic and contemporary Thai dishes with hyperlocal ingredients, visit Senae. Even though the vibe is elegant, lunch specials are still quite affordable.

Must-Try Items:

  • Som Thum – shredded green papaya, mixed with long beans, cherry tomatoes, and peanuts
  • Kao Soy – crispy egg noodles, served in yellow curry and coconut milk, garnished with pickled cabbage, red onions, and beansprouts
  • Pra Ram – grilled steak, served with fried Brussels sprouts, glazed with peanut sauce

For more information, visit senaethai.com.

Street Taco & Beer Co.

58 W. Congress St.
Tacos at Street Taco + Beer

Tacos at Street Taco + Beer

Street Taco and Beer Co. is bringing the heat with a menu chock full of delicious Tacos, Ceviche, and Warm Churros. Enjoy two or maybe five tacos at only 3 bucks a pop with a refreshing Agua Fresca. After an evening at the nearby Fox Theaters, sit along the outdoor bar and enjoy fresh tacos while watching the vibrant scene downtown. 

Tasty Tacos: 

  • Al Pastor –marinated pork taco with fresh cabbage slaw and condiments
  • Pollo Asada – grilled chicken taco with fresh cabbage and condiments
  • Asada – steak taco with fresh cabbage slaw and condiments

For more information, visit Street Taco and Beer Co..

Ten55 Brewing & Sausage

Congress St.

Bratwurst with Sauerkraut at Ten55 Brewing and Sausage House (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Bratwurst with Sauerkraut at Ten55 Brewing and Sausage House (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Phenomenal local sausage on equally phenomenal local bread packaged into a local brew house. And those beer are phenomenal, too.  Another killer lunch special, too.

Menu highlights:

  • Bratwurst
  • Exo Stout

More info at 1055brewing.com.

Urban Fresh

73 E. Pennington St.
Healthy Heart Taco Salad at Urban Fresh (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Healthy Heart Taco Salad at Urban Fresh (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Urban Fresh is known as a “Vegucational Experience” due to its fresh, natural ingredients and health and wellness education. This plant-based restaurant offers quick and easy lunch options such as Nourishing Smoothies and abundent Green Salads. With its intimate café feel, Urban Fresh offers a unique and healthy experience.

Delicious Items: 

  • Rainforest Purple Haze – smoothie of blueberries, acai, apple and black cherries
  • South of the Border Wrap –mushroom-adzuki bean mix, guacamole, pico de gallo, corn, spinach, roasted green chiles, wrapped in a chipotle tortilla
  • Yin and Yang – rice noodles, sunflower shoots, carrot, celery, zucchini, mint, orange segments, cashews, romaine mix, sesame ginger dressing

For more information, visit Urban Fresh.

Urban Pita

345 E. Congress St. Ste. 135
Baklava and meat plate at Urban Pita (Credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

Baklava and meat plate at Urban Pita (Credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

If you’re a fan of flavorful Mediterranean food and want to sample creamy, fragrant sauces, fresh salads, soft pita, and a juicy gyro meat plate, you’ve come to the right place.

Urban Pita is a great lunch-time or late-night spot with swift service in a fast-casual environment.


  • Meat Plate Combo – gyro and chicken shawarma served with Greek salad, hummus, and pita
  • Chicken Shawarma Plate – served with Greek salad, hummus, pita, and garlic sauce
  • Baklava – filo dough, honey, and nuts

For more information, call (520) 332-2294 or visit urbanpitaaz.com.

Restaurants within walking distance of downtown:

5 Points Market & Restaurant

756 S. Stone Ave. 
5 Points

Smoked Salmon Benedict (Credit: 5 Points)

Just a few minutes from downtown, 5 Points Market & Restaurant offers a menu of fresh and delicious samplings. 5 Points is the perfect place for Sunday brunch, or a quick breakfast or lunch throughout the workday. Make sure to sample the Smoked Salmon Benedict and the freshly-squeezed juices. 

Breakfast items:

  • Smoked Salmon Benedict – English muffin, garlic basil cream cheese, smoked wild alaskan salmon, poached egg, and a balsamic reduction, served with a mustard potato pancake
  • Bandito Blanco –Mustard potato pancake, grilled shaved ham, poached egg, mornay sauce and pico de gallo with fresh herbs
  • Smoked Beet Sandwich – house smoked organic beets, local pecan ‘cheese,’ jalapeño-cabbage slaw, house-made organic ciabatta

For more information, visit 5 Points.

Cafe Desta

758 S. Stone Ave.
Cafe Desta Ethiopian Cuisine

Cafe Desta Ethiopian Cuisine

Looking for something off the beaten path? Try Cafe Desta, one of only two locations in Tucson (three if you count both Zemam’s) for authentic Ethiopian cuisine. Each menu item includes a complex and rich variety of spices highlighting the flavors of Ethiopia. Menu items include a variety of meat, vegetarian, and vegan stews. Mix and match dishes to create a truly unique experience.

Items to Try:

  • Kik – Yellow split peas cooked with onion, turmeric and herbs
  • Kaye Beg – Lamb cooked in a mixutre of spices with hot chilies and onions.
  • Kaye Asa –Fish cooked in hot chili powder onions and various spices

For more information, visit Cafe Desta.

The Coronet

402 E. 9th St.
Charred Achiote Octopus Tentacle at the Coronet (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Charred Achiote Octopus Tentacle at the Coronet (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The Coronet is nestled between downtown and Fourth Avenuemiss  in what was originally the Coronado Hotel. Filled with historic undertones, the Coronet doesn’t disappoint in offering a memorable dining experience. The menu is whimsical and seasonally inspired.

Highlighted Dinner Items: 

  • Seared Duck Heart Flatbread – North African black bean ‘pate’, pickled carrot, jalapeño, tangerine
  • Roast Cauliflower – roast half head of cauliflower, cashew freekeh, Roquefort, spinach, date molasses
  • Chocolate Pot du Creme – fresh cream, berries

For more information, visit Cafe Coronet

Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar

220 N. 4th Ave.
Fried chicken at Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar (Credit Jackie Tran)

Fried chicken at Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar (Credit Jackie Tran)

Come to Ermanos and enjoy your favorite local beer or wine over gourmet gastropub fare. Beers range from Dragoon, Iron John’s, Pueblo Vida to New York’s Ommegang and the well-known Tecate. Bring your friends and share a few plates of nachos, fries, and more.


For more information, visit Ermanos.

Let us know your favorite downtown Tucson restaurants in the comments! (Especially if we missed one…)

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