Amelia's Mexican Kitchen (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Amelia’s Mexican Kitchen: A Culinary Tribute to Tradition & Innovation

March 20, 2024
By Matt Sterner

About a month ago, Amelia’s Mexican Kitchen, a restaurant that pays homage to the rich heritage of Mexican cuisine while embracing innovation and creativity, opened its second location here in Tucson.

Amelia’s Mexican Kitchen (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

The first location, found at 5553 E. Grant Rd., has been open for three years now, and the newly opened 5851 N. Oracle Rd. is off to a strong start nestled next to Gourmet Girls — offering folks a journey through time with recipes that have been lovingly passed down for generations.

Family Traditions & Recipes

Named after his beloved grandmother, Amelia, Owner and chef, Jose Contreras, infuses every dish with the spirit and flavors of his family’s culinary traditions. For instance, time-honored classics such as enchiladas, chilaquiles, quesabirria, and tamales, each crafted with his grandmother’s style in mind.

The Amelia’s team also won two awards at the 2023 Salsa, Tequila & Taco Challenge hosted by SAACA — they won an honor for their quesabirria tacos and then took first place for best salsa.

Street tacos at Amelia’s Mexican Kitchen (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

After living in New Mexico for a few years, I ended up eating a lot — I mean, a lot — of chile rellenos. With Hatch, New Mexico maybe an hour away from where I lived, green chile was everywhere and the streets were filled with the aroma of them being roasted in front of grocery stores. The only problem was that I got roasted/burned out on them because I ate them so often.

Once I took that first bite of the chile rellenos at Amelia’s, I was reminded how much I’d missed the taste. I’m glad I went with my gut, so to speak, on ordering them.

Chile Rellenos at Amelia’s Mexican Kitchen (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Unique to the Oracle Location

One notable addition to the Oracle Road spot is the introduction of molcajetes — a rock vessel/bowl used to cook grilled meats, vegetables, cheese, sauce, etc.

There are a few to choose from on the menu like the Molcajete Amelia’s — steak, lobster, chicken, shrimp, toritos, cheese, cactus, and onions — or the Molcajete de Mariscos, which comes with octopus, crab, shrimp, toritos, fish, cheese, cactus, and onions.

The molcajetes are also served with rice, beans, salad, guacamole, and your choice of tortillas. S,o come hungry or bring a friend!

Rise & Shine Menu

Breakfast at Amelia’s is a celebration of both American and Mexican flavors, with classics like bacon and eggs sharing the menu with chilaquiles and huevos rancheros. And for those craving breakfast at any hour, the breakfast burritos are available all day long.

If you’re lagging and looking for a little pick-me-up in the morning, be sure to try their micheladas. They are as visually stunning as they are delicious. There’s beer, there’s some spiciness, there’s a chamoy rim, I had two chamoy-covered straws, and the ceramic cup holding it all together had me immediately Googling where I can buy one for myself.

Michelada at Amelia’s Mexican Kitchen (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Speaking of drinks, no visit to Amelia’s Mexican Kitchen is complete without diving into their impressive drink selection. From tequila and mezcal to margaritas and Mexican wines from Valle De Guadalupe, the bar offers a taste of Mexico’s finest libations.

Contreras is specifically proud of the LALO tequila he has on deck at the bar, which actually comes from a well-known family in the tequila world. LALO is named in honor of Eduardo “Lalo” González, the son of Don Julio González, and father of LALO’s founder. The tequila was originally started as a small private batch project but has recently grown into a widely sought-after tequila.

Mexican wine & tequila at Amelia’s Mexican Kitchen (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

For those seeking a deal, Happy Hour from 2 – 5 p.m. on weekdays offers half-priced margaritas, while Tuesdays are dedicated to the tradition of Taco Tuesdays with $2 tacos stealing the spotlight — fish and shrimp tacos not included.

With the popularity of the new Oracle Road location off on the right track, reservations are recommended but not needed. If you’re curious, though, you can secure your spot by calling ahead or utilizing the convenience of

At Amelia’s Mexican Kitchen, Contreras has created more than just a restaurant; he has crafted a culinary sanctuary where tradition meets innovation, and every meal is a celebration of family, flavor, and community.

Amelia’s Mexican Kitchen (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

The new Amelia’s Mexican Kitchen is located at 5851 N. Oracle Rd. and the original location is at 5553 E. Grant Rd. For more information, visit and follow Amelia’s on Instagram.

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