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BATA (Photo by Anna Smirnova)

The Best Fine Dining and Expensive Restaurants in Tucson

Updated April 8, 2024

All dressed up with plenty of places to go — your official guide to the all cool spots to have that hot night out in the desert. For special occasions, fancy pants dates, or “treat-yo’-self” indulgences, check out these gorgeous Tucson restaurants.

Whether you’re looking for the most expensive restaurant in Tucson or a hidden gem with exceptional value, this list has you covered.

Learn how we create our guides here.

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Kurobuta Pork Jowl at Agustin Kitchen (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Agustin Kitchen

Renowned Tucson chef David Solorzano took over the role of executive chef of Agustin Kitchen just this last fall. The white walls and accents of marble and rustic woods create a refined charm that is only heightened by the location in the Old World-inspired Mercado San Agustin. The restaurant opens into a lovely little courtyard shared with other noteworthy foodie stops like Presta Coffee Roasters, La Estrella Bakery, and Seis Kitchen. Enjoy the brasserie-style and inviting atmosphere for brunch, lunch, or dinner any day of the week. Clink your wine glasses together over an array of New American cuisines made with ingredients local to Southern Arizona.

a close up of a piece of cake on a table
Beef and Lamb Sliders at Arizona Inn (Photo credit: Mark Whittaker)

Arizona Inn

This historic, family-owned gem in the heart of Tucson is the place to unwind. Their Audubon Bar & Patio is all about Southwestern flavors, with great soups, salads, sandwiches, and burgers. Perfect for a laid-back, romantic evening.

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Green Cabbage & Potatoes at Bata (Photo credit: Natalie Moe)


BATA is the kind of place people who just moved to Tucson from LA or NYC are relieved to find exists. The warm, modern industrial aesthetic is modeled after the chef’s favorite restaurant in Copenhagen and the elevated seasonal menu features local ingredients sourced from within 400 miles (most from within 200).

Although BATA takes a whole-animal approach to its meat dishes, the menu is vegetable-forward. The martini is the best we’ve ever had (in the world). If you can snag a spot at the chef’s counter, do it and enjoy the show. BATA’s basement bar (Barbata) is also not to be missed, with a menu of shareable bites and unique cocktails making it the perfect location for date nights in Tucson.

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Porchetta at Bottega Michelangelo (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Bottega Michaelangelo

Fancy some Italian? Bottega’s cozy atmosphere is just right for an intimate experience. They’ve got all the classics, plus vegan and gluten-free options. And with a full bar and outdoor seating, you’re set for a lovely evening.

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Surf and Turf (Photo courtesy of Charro Steak & del Ray on Facebook)

Charro Steak & Del Rey

Formerly two separate entities, Charro Steak & Charro del Ray joined forces, Captain Planet-style, to become one of the best in southern Arizona surf and turf.

The wooden tables and rusted metal provide a distinctively southwestern vibe to match Charro’s distinctively Tucson take on all things fresh fish and filling filets.  Locally sourced, ranch-to-table beef and seasonal seafood ensure that every bite is rich and juicy, and the happy hour deals will have you coming back for more.

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Sweet Ancho Baby Back Ribs at Cielos (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Cielos – Lodge on the Desert

Savory southwestern specialties served in a spacious, secluded Saltillo-tiled spot with “string lighting, local spirits, and shade sails.” Not only is the food delightful but it’s one of our top picks in terms of cool, cozy patio bars.

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Goat Cheese Tart at Commoner & Co. (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Commoner & Co.

Even though Commoner’s menu is filled with comfort food, it’s presented with grace and style to match the newly-renovated upscale environment and mountain view. The hearty and satisfying Ragu is made with house-made tagliatelle, while the Charred Fruit with Beets features a fresh bite of citrus, topped with candied walnuts, greens, and herb mousse.

Paella Valencia at Contigo Latin Kitchen (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Contigo Latin Kitchen

This Tucson date spot is all about location – nestled in the Tucson Catalina Mountains, the views are breathtaking. Their Latin-inspired menu is drool-worthy, with favorites like garlic shrimp, octopus, and a killer ribeye. The outdoor patio is a great spot for some romantic stargazing over dinner​.

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(Photo courtesy of Core at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain)

CORE Kitchen & Wine Bar

Even Freddie Mercury sang about “dining at the Ritz” due to their golden standard of quality. Make the drive to the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain to dine at CORE and experience some of the best luxury available around Tucson. The adjoining citrus grove provides outstandingly fresh oranges, grapefruits, and tangelos.

Photo courtesy of The Coronet

The Coronet

The Coronet in Tucson is where old-school charm meets global flavors. They’re super passionate about their ingredients, making sure their meats are always eco-friendly and their seafood is always on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s seafood watch list.

Their menu changes with the seasons, which is reflected in their locally sourced ingredients. No matter what your preference you’ll find something divine, whether you’re a meat-lover, vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. Savor the fantastic foods, sip the craft cocktails or fine wines, and soak up the alluring ambiance.

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(Photo courtesy of Dominick's Real Italian)

Dominick’s Real Italian

Over the years, the team at Dominick’s has really stepped up their menu and restaurant. Plus, there’s plenty of patio seating to set the romantic mood.

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(Photo courtesy of El Mezquite Grill & Taqueria)

El Mezquite Grill & Taqueria

Resting within the DoubleTree Convention Center downtown, El Mezquite Grill & Taqueria offers traditional Mexican flavors, unique drinks, and a fine selection of wines and beers — a majority of which are made with local ingredients combined in fresh and creative ways.

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Seared Sea Scallops at Feast (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)


One of the most creative restaurants in Tucson, Feast changes its menu every single month. Jazzy tunes and a well-curated wine list round out the experience.

Flying V Bar & Grill

The fireplace and warm woods provide a cozy vibe that complements the comforting yet sophisticated dishes. Get a hold of the guacamoliere for some fresh guacamole prepared tableside.

an overhead picture of sashimi on a plate
Yuzu Hamachi (Photo courtesy of Ginza Sushi & Izakaya)

Ginza Sushi & Izakaya

By and large, the Japanese take a great deal of pride in their work, no matter what it is. Ginza is no exception, with menus that include both sushi-centric and izakaya-style food. Fresh fish, noodle bowls, sashimi, and special rolls. The service is impeccable. These folks are professionals.

It’s good for one. It’s great for two. It’s perfect for a date, a business lunch, or a rendezvous. Hey, by the way, if y’all are going later today……can I come too?

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Rack of Lamb at Hacienda del Sol (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

The Grill at Hacienda Del Sol

The Grill is an awesome place if you’re looking for amazing views while you eat. It’s got this old-world charm and live music that just sets the mood right. The food is top-notch, with a lot of it coming straight from their own gardens and local farm, plus a massive selection of over 800 wines. It’s been named one of the best spots for a romantic dinner and for dining with a view, so it’s a winner in our book.

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Albondigas at Penca (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)


At Penca, you’ll get a taste of Central Mexico in the heart of Downtown Tucson. The place has a romantic buzz, a great Mezcal selection, and the option to dine al fresco. It’s a perfect spot to get cozy and enjoy some quality time together​.

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Rib Eye Steak at PY Steakhouse (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

PY Steakhouse

Got a fancy date? Check out PY Steakhouse. It’s got top-notch steaks, seafood, and a killer wine list. Plus, the place is pretty classy with a special private dining room and a groovy bar. It’s also a Tucson City of Gastronomy certified spot, so you know it’s all about quality and sustainability.

Tavolino Ristorante Italiano (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Tavolino Ristorante Italiano

If you’re looking for a mix of old-school Italian vibes and modern elegance, Tavolino’s is your spot. Picture this: soft lighting, white tablecloths, a buzzing bar, and a candle on every table – it’s a no-brainer for a super romantic date in Tucson. Plus, the food is to die for, making Tavolino’s a total must-visit for all the lovebirds out there.

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Striped Bass at Tito & Pep (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Tito & Pep

This trendy restaurant in the heart of Tucson serves up unique Southwestern flavors in a cool, casual atmosphere. From the delicious Posole to the friendly service, Tito and Pep offers a laid-back yet special spot for a date night. Whether you sit at the bar or grab a table, you’re in for a tasty time.

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Shrimp & Crab Cakes at Vivace (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Vivace Restaurant

If you’re after a sophisticated date night, Vivace is your spot. Known for serving some of the best Italian cuisine in Tucson, they offer a satisfying dining experience complete with refreshing cocktails and scrumptious house-made desserts. It’s a top pick for making memories together.

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Spinach Pappardelle at Wildflower (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)


If you’re up for a culinary adventure, try Wildflower. It’s a cool place that serves up food inspired by flavors from around the world. Their menu is always changing, so there’s always something new to try. Plus, their dishes like Spinach Pappardelle and Braised Beef Short Rib are absolute comfort food. It’s laid-back and exciting all at the same time.

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