7 reasons we can’t wait to check out Sonoran Restaurant Week

From Sonoran-inspired menus to beer paired multi-course meals, Sonoran Restaurant Week offers something for foodies of all kinds.

For a city like Tucson, a globally recognized City of Gastronomy, some might have called it a shame that Arizona Restaurant Week, the Arizona Restaurant Association’s statewide (ahem, read: Phoenix’s) restaurant promotion never gained much traction in ol’ Southern Arizona.

But it actually worked out perfect. Tucson, where the sense of pride in hyper-localism is a seemingly infinite loop of shampoo-like lather, rinse and repeat, did its own thing.

This year, Visit Tucson and Storyteller PR are partnering to launch Sonoran Restaurant Week. Taking place from Sept 6 – 15, the promotion is designed to mutually benefit both restaurants and guests.

For guests, restaurants provide a $25 or $35 three course menu. Menu options typically include multiple options for each course, so it’s more like an extended prix-fixe. If you didn’t already know, $25 – $35 for three courses is an exceptional deal.

Restaurants benefit from the mass exposure of the campaign during the September season’s typical slump.

This is a great way to try out a handful of restaurants at some seriously reduced prices. Here are two things to keep in mind with managing all of these must-try deals.

  1. Plan out your week. Obviously there’s only so much dining out most people can stomach, but you’ll really spend about the same on three different restaurants as you might spend on one night out during any other time of year.

    Lucky for you, the Sonoran Restaurant Week menus are already available online so you can start planning now.

  2. Make reservations now. Sonoran Restaurant Week, as the name implies happens for a week. All week. But places will fill up, so be sure to reserve your tables.

The official Sonoran Restaurant Week website features every restaurant along with their $25 or $35 three course menu offering. Below, we’ve selected several standouts, just so you can catch a glimpse of what you’ll be treated to.

Sonoran Restaurant Week Highlights

100% Sonoran Inspired Menu at BOCA Tacos

Plate from Maria Mazon of BOCA Tacos y Tequila for the Art of Plating (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Plate from Maria Mazon of BOCA Tacos y Tequila for the Art of Plating (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Maria Mazon from BOCA has put together a special menu that’s 100% inspired from Sonora, Mexico. Mazon grew up in Sonora and is chef and owner of BOCA Tacos Y Tequila on Fourth Avenue. She’s been featured in numerous nationwide articles about Tucson’s culinary scene and has appeared on national food-focused television shows. Some of the items she’ll offer during Sonoran Restaurant Week include:

  • Queso Fresco Ensalada. Dish inspired by Caldo de Queso – Queso Fresco made in house with chiltepin served on a chill tomato broth with Chile Verde Rajas and Grilled Fingerling potatoes topped with organic greens
  • Sausage and Pawns. Dish inspired by the Sonoran Hot Dog – Pinto and Guajillo Bean spread with Grilled Prawns and Sausage topped with cherry tomatoes, bacon oil and Sonoran bread croutons

View the full Boca Tacos Y Tequila Sonoran Restaurant Week menu

Guest Favorites at DOWNTOWN Kitchen & Cocktails

Downtown Caesar at DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Downtown Caesar at DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

James Beard winner and unofficial godfather of culinary greatness in Tucson, Janos Wilder, has lived and breathed City of Gastronomy long before the official designation. His current restaurant, DOWNTOWN Kitchen & Cocktails offers a variety of flawlessly prepared items inspired by numerous cities of gastronomy. Standouts on the Sonoran Restaurant Week menu include:

  • DOWNTOWN Burger. Mushrooms, smoked poblanos, manchego, bacon, caramelized onions on griddled torta bun
  • Ensenada Fish Tacos. Beer batter fried, shredded cabbage, Sonoran remoulade, chiltepin salsa, flour tortillas
  • Dark Chocolate Jalapeño Ice Cream Sundae. Chocolate ganache, candied pecans, whipped cream

View the full DOWNTOWN Kitchen & Cocktails Sonoran Restaurant Week menu

Sonoran-Inspired Burger at Ermanos

Chef's Burger for Sonoran Restaurant Week at Ermanos

Photo Courtesy of Sonoran Restaurant Week

Another Fourth Avenue favorite, Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar has created a special burger that highlights ingredients from the Sonoran region, including guajillo tamarind mayo, prickly pear, and mesquite bacon jam with melted Guinness cheddar & manchego.

View the full Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar Sonoran Restaurant Week menu

Deal of the year at Loews Flying V Bar & Grill

The Flying V is a date night spot to the core. Their regular menu is not overly priced, but it’s not budget dining. It’s also exceptional food on a level that’s only found in a small handful of restaurants in town. So if you’re looking for a killer deal at a fancy spot, this might be the best value. If you order the Salmon entree, you’ll get a three-course dinner valued at $56 for only the $35 prix-fixe price.

View the full Flying V Bar & Grill Sonoran Restaurant Week menu

Tucson Taco Tour of 5 Iconic Tucson ‘Hoods

Tripas, cabeza, and chicharron tacos at Taqueria El Bamori (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Tripas, cabeza, and chicharron tacos at Taqueria El Bamori (Credit: Jackie Tran)

While Tucson Foodie has long provided an extensive self-guided taco tour in different neighborhoods around town, our friend Andi Berlin at This Is Tucson has also crafted an official Sonoran Restaurant Week taco tour.

View the This Is Tucson Sonoran Restaurant Week Taco Tour

Fall orchard fruits featured at PY Steakhouse by Chef Ryan Clark

Dragoon-fermented prime strip loin, smoked egg yolk, and mirepoix at PY Steakhouse (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Dragoon-fermented prime strip loin, smoked egg yolk, and mirepoix at PY Steakhouse (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Award-winning executive chef Ryan Clark has crafted a fruit-forward menu that features fall fruits from the region. Items include:

  • Pears & Cream. House made ricotta, Arizona poached pear, candied pecans, honey
  • Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast. Hayden mills polenta, house cured tasso, caramelized apple jus
  • Frozen Green Apple Granita. Cinnamon cream, compressed apples, puffed black rice

Beer pairing for each course at Ten55 Brewing Company

Belgian Fries at Ten55 Brewing and Sausage House (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Belgian Fries at Ten55 Brewing and Sausage House (Credit: Jackie Tran)

While Ten55 Brewing’s $25 tasting menu leans more toward Germany than Sonora, they’ve paired up recommended beers for each course. If you haven’t yet tried their Forbes Meat Co. sausage, there’s no better time to get on over there and give it a try.

Included beers are two 10 oz pours. Guests can upgrade to a full pint for just $2.

View the full Ten55 Brewing Co. restaurant for Sonoran Restaurant Week

Bonus reason we’re excited: we can make a staycation out of it

For a handful of places, like Desert Diamond Casino, Flying V, and Casino del Sol, it’s a bit of a trek (depending on where you live). But all the better since you can make a fun night out of it. Simply visit the Sonoran Restaurant Week website home page and scroll down for Accomodations.

Sonoran Restaurant Week takes place from September 6-15 at restaurant all over Tucson. Learn more at sonoranrestaurantweek.com.

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