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Upstairs games and seating (Photo courtesy of No Anchovies)

The Best Places to Eat and Drink Near the University of Arizona

Updated August 28, 2023

Sure, bars and restaurants near universities tend to highlight student budgets and tastes, but the UArizona area also caters to professors and visiting parents, from a bakery featuring French macrons to a new upscale Mexican dining room. We’re concentrating on the area roughly from Broadway Boulevard and Euclid Avenue to Speedway Boulevard and Campbell Avenue in this guide. These are the best places to eat (and drink!) near University of Arizona.

That said, also near UArizona is 4th Avenue — chock-a-block with places to chow down and imbibe, but with its own distinctive vibe; check out our Essential Guide to 4th Avenue Restaurants and Bars.

Dining room (Photo courtesy of Agave House Modern Cocina)

Agave House

A newcomer to the UArizona scene, Agave House is already getting praise for its authentic Mexican cuisine, with a particular emphasis on its extensive tequila selection. The restaurant’s appeal also lies in its lively atmosphere and colorful decor, which complement the flavorful dishes. Try the Carne Asada and the Agave Margarita, for starters.

Antipasto Plate from Bacio Italiano (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Bacio Italiano

Known for its authentic Italian cuisine, the restaurant is particularly notable for its house made pasta dishes like the Fettuccine Alfredo and the Lasagna Bolognese. The warm, inviting atmosphere and friendly staff make it a favorite among students and locals alike.

Fresh Juice from Berry Greens Juice Bar (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Berry Greens Juice Bar – University

All about fresh, organic goodies, Berry Greens is your go-to spot when you’re looking for a health kick. They’ve got a ton of juices, smoothies, and acai bowls that are as tasty as they are good for you. The Tropical Acai Bowl and Matcha Madness Smoothie are big hits on our team!

(Photo courtesy of Black Rock Coffee Bar)

Black Rock Coffee – Broadway

This modern coffee shop is notable for its high-quality brews and friendly baristas. The menu is diverse, but the standout items are the Black Rock Mocha and the Nitro Cold Brew. With its cozy ambiance and fast service, it’s the perfect place for a quick caffeine fix or a study session.

(Photo courtesy of The Blind Pig)

The Blind Pig

This restaurant offers a unique blend of American and Mexican cuisine, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. Their signature dish, the Blind Pig Burger, is a crowd favorite, boasting a juicy patty topped with green chile and a secret sauce that leaves customers coming back for more.

Caffe Luce on Congress (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Caffe Luce – University

Beloved in Tucson, this coffee shop is known for its excellent java and relaxed atmosphere. The Aztec Mocha and the Oatmilk Latte are crowd favorites. With plenty of seating options both inside and on the patio, it’s an ideal spot for studying, meeting friends, or simply enjoying a good cup of coffee.

Shrimp Dumplings at China Pasta House (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

China Pasta House

Those in the know head for China Pasta House, where you’ll find authentic Chinese cuisine with a focus on hand-pulled noodles and dumplings. The Braised Beef Noodles and Leek & Pork Dumplings are some of our favorites — they’re comforting and delicious!

a dive bar interior
(Photo Courtesy of Dirtbag's)

Dirtbag’s

Dirtbag’s is the ultimate college bar where UArizona students love to hang. Don’t let the name fool you; this place is all kinds of awesome. Come here for classic American grub. The Dirtburger and spicy Dirtfries are excellent. It’s been called the “best college bar in the US,” and once you’ve been, you’ll  get why.

(Photo Courtesy of Espresso Art Cafe)

Espresso Art Cafe

Espresso Art Cafe is a beloved spot near the university, offering a unique blend of coffee shop and hookah bar. The cafe is renowned for its specialty espresso drinks inspired by European cafes, a full-service bar with craft cocktails tailored to your preferences, and made-to-order hookahs. The cafe’s ambiance is both cozy and lively, making it a perfect spot for studying, socializing, or simply enjoying a good cup of coffee accompanied by a bubbly hit of tobacco.

(Photo courtesy of Frog & Firkin)

Frog & Firkin

Imagine a chill English pub vibe in Southern Arizona. That’s Frog & Firkin for you. There are loads of beers to choose from, both local and international, and the menu offers everything from the fresh and tasty “Power Salad” to the hearty, loaded “Firkin Burger.” Bonus: The outdoor patio features regular live music!

Bacon Cheeseburger & Fries (Photo courtesy of Gentle Ben's Brewing)

Gentle Ben’s Brewing

A staple on University Boulevard since 1971,  Gentle Ben’s was the sole brewery in Tucson when its owners started creating craft brews. In addition to excellent suds, you’ll also find some really tasty food. The Fish Tacos and California Burger are crowd favorites. Whether you’re looking for a chill lunch spot or a place to let loose at night, Gentle Ben’s has got you covered.

Breakfast Burrito (Photo courtesy of Illegal Pete's)

Illegal Pete’s

A hotspot for anyone craving hearty Mexican food. The burritos are stuffed to the max and the “queso-lada” is a game-changer: Think burritos smothered in queso. It’s the go-to spot when you’re in the mood for some fresh, fast, and seriously tasty grub.

Jimmy's Pita & Poke on River & Orange Grove (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Jimmy’s Pita & Poke – University

Never had Hawaiian and Mediterranean fusion food?  Don’t miss Jimmy’s Pita & Poke, where you can customize the poke bowls, pita sandwiches, and salads to your liking. They’re all about using fresh, local, organic ingredients and their sushi-grade fish is top-notch. The Poke Bowl and Spicy Tuna Bowl are crowd favorites. Bonus: the hydration station with infused waters, teas, and Kool-Aids.

(Photo Courtesy of Kababeque Indian Grill)

Kababeque Indian Grill

Known for bringing authentic Indian cuisine with a contemporary spin to the heart of Tucson, Kababeque offers a tantalizing fusion of flavors. The Chicken Tikka Masala blends rich spices, tender meats, and a hint of smokiness. There’s something for every taste, with many vegetarian and choose-your-protein options.

u of a local spots
(Photo courtesy of Momo's Mexican Food on 6th)

Momo’s On 6th

Momo’s is a haven for dessert lovers and brunch aficionados alike, combining a cozy atmosphere with creative dishes. The signature Momo’s French Toast, made with brioche and paired with fresh berries, is the talk of the town, while the artisanal coffees offer the perfect pick-me-up for those looking to relax or recharge.

Margerita Pizza at No Anchovies (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

No Anchovies

As one of Tucson’s most popular pizza joints, No Anchovies stands out with its eclectic variety of toppings and New York-style thin crust pizzas. The “Wildcat” pizza, topped with heaps of meats and veggies, embodies the energetic spirit of the university. This vibrant eatery is a gathering spot for pizza enthusiasts of all ages.

(Photo Courtesy of Oriental Express)

Oriental Express Restaurant

Oriental Express is a local go-to for some seriously good Asian grub. The Sesame Chicken is a winner, with just the right amount of spice. And don’t even get me started on the Orange Chicken. Just splendid!

taco salad
Taco Salad (Photo courtesy of Ramiro's Taco Shop)

Ramiro’s Taco Shop

If you’re hankering for some down home Mexican food, Ramiro’s has got you covered. The burritos and tacos are outstanding and the portions are huge; you’ll definitely have leftovers for later. The staff is super friendly, and they whip up your order in no time. It’s a hit with locals and visitors alike.

Oxtail Rare Beef Bowl (Photo Courtesy of Saigon Pho)

Saigon Pho

Craving Vietnamese food? Saigon Pho is just the ticket. The rich broth and tender meat in the pho will have you slurping up every last bit. And don’t even get me started on their Bánh mì sandwiches; they’re a flavor fiesta. The place has an intimate, friendly feel that makes you want to sit back, relax, and enjoy your meal.

interior of a tea shop in tucson
(Photo courtesy of The Scented Leaf)

The Scented Leaf – University Blvd.

The Scented Leaf is more than just a tea house. It’s a place where you can do some work, hang with friends, and sip on some seriously good tea. They’ve got over 70 types of loose leaf teas, served hot in a pot or iced from their “Teas-On-Tap” system. There’s also a smaller selection of wine for when you’re ready to wind down for the day. Win-win!

(Photo courtesy of Snakes & Ladders)

Snakes and Lattes

Snakes & Lattes is more than just a café–it’s a board game paradise. You’ll find a ton of games to choose from and some pretty tasty café classics on the menu. It’s the perfect spot for a fun, chill hang.

Poki Salad at Sushi Cho (Photo credit: Shana Gegantoca)

Sushi-Cho Restaurant

A must visit for any sushi lover, Sushi Cho has an abundance of top-notch sushi options (try the Rainbow Roll and Spicy Tuna Roll, for starters). A tempting array of cooked Japanese and Chinese dishes are available too.

(Photo courtesy of Trident Pizza Pub)

Trident Pizza Pub

Trident Pizza Pub is a sports bar with a twist, serving up a variety of gourmet pizzas in a lively, welcoming atmosphere. It’s known for such creative combinations as the “BBQ Chicken Pizza” and “The Greek.” Add to that a wide selection of beer and a convenient location right off campus? Can’t beat it.

(Photo Courtesy of Unitea Tucson)

Unitea

Unitea is more than just a bubble tea shop. They’ve got frozen yogurt, mochi donuts, and lots of other sweet stuff. The Brown Sugar Boba Swirl Cup is a game-changer. The place is super modern and bright, and the menu is always surprising.

(Photo Courtesy of Wok Fire & Grill)

Wok Fire & Grill

The go-to spot when you’re craving Asian food but can’t decide on a particular dish. You pick your ingredients, and they whip up your “Wok of Art.” More decisive? The Mongolian Bowl is a crowd-pleaser, and the Spicy Honey Garlic Bowl stands out too. And let’s not forget about the Pho Bowl, a student favorite.

Macarons (Photo Courtesy of Woops Bakeshop & Gifts)

Woops! Bakeshop & Gifts (Main Gate Square)

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, be sure to check out Woops! The French macarons are Paris-quality, especially the Honey Lavender and Nutella flavors. They are also gluten-free and non-GMO. Don’t only want sweets? The coffee and sandwiches here are excellent too.

Soup Noodles with Saozi at Zing Zing's (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Zing Zing’s

This little spot is all about keeping it real with Szechuan, Cantonese, and Hunan dishes; the fact that many Chinese students frequent this place is a testament to its authenticity.  If you don’t want to experiment with the more exotic offerings, the Stir Fried Beef Noodles and spicy Braised Eggplant are good bets.

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Agave House

A newcomer to the UArizona scene, Agave House is already getting praise for its authentic Mexican cuisine, with a particular emphasis on its extensive tequila selection. The restaurant’s appeal also lies in its lively atmosphere and colorful decor, which complement the flavorful dishes. Try the Carne Asada and the Agave Margarita, for starters.

Dining room (Photo courtesy of Agave House Modern Cocina)
Bacio Italiano

Known for its authentic Italian cuisine, the restaurant is particularly notable for its house made pasta dishes like the Fettuccine Alfredo and the Lasagna Bolognese. The warm, inviting atmosphere and friendly staff make it a favorite among students and locals alike.

Antipasto Plate from Bacio Italiano (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Berry Greens Juice Bar – University

All about fresh, organic goodies, Berry Greens is your go-to spot when you’re looking for a health kick. They’ve got a ton of juices, smoothies, and acai bowls that are as tasty as they are good for you. The Tropical Acai Bowl and Matcha Madness Smoothie are big hits on our team!

Fresh Juice from Berry Greens Juice Bar (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Black Rock Coffee – Broadway

This modern coffee shop is notable for its high-quality brews and friendly baristas. The menu is diverse, but the standout items are the Black Rock Mocha and the Nitro Cold Brew. With its cozy ambiance and fast service, it’s the perfect place for a quick caffeine fix or a study session.

(Photo courtesy of Black Rock Coffee Bar)
The Blind Pig

This restaurant offers a unique blend of American and Mexican cuisine, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. Their signature dish, the Blind Pig Burger, is a crowd favorite, boasting a juicy patty topped with green chile and a secret sauce that leaves customers coming back for more.

(Photo courtesy of The Blind Pig)
Caffe Luce – University

Beloved in Tucson, this coffee shop is known for its excellent java and relaxed atmosphere. The Aztec Mocha and the Oatmilk Latte are crowd favorites. With plenty of seating options both inside and on the patio, it’s an ideal spot for studying, meeting friends, or simply enjoying a good cup of coffee.

Caffe Luce on Congress (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
China Pasta House

Those in the know head for China Pasta House, where you’ll find authentic Chinese cuisine with a focus on hand-pulled noodles and dumplings. The Braised Beef Noodles and Leek & Pork Dumplings are some of our favorites — they’re comforting and delicious!

Shrimp Dumplings at China Pasta House (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Dirtbag’s

Dirtbag’s is the ultimate college bar where UArizona students love to hang. Don’t let the name fool you; this place is all kinds of awesome. Come here for classic American grub. The Dirtburger and spicy Dirtfries are excellent. It’s been called the “best college bar in the US,” and once you’ve been, you’ll  get why.

a dive bar interior
(Photo Courtesy of Dirtbag's)
Espresso Art Cafe

Espresso Art Cafe is a beloved spot near the university, offering a unique blend of coffee shop and hookah bar. The cafe is renowned for its specialty espresso drinks inspired by European cafes, a full-service bar with craft cocktails tailored to your preferences, and made-to-order hookahs. The cafe’s ambiance is both cozy and lively, making it a perfect spot for studying, socializing, or simply enjoying a good cup of coffee accompanied by a bubbly hit of tobacco.

(Photo Courtesy of Espresso Art Cafe)
Frog & Firkin

Imagine a chill English pub vibe in Southern Arizona. That’s Frog & Firkin for you. There are loads of beers to choose from, both local and international, and the menu offers everything from the fresh and tasty “Power Salad” to the hearty, loaded “Firkin Burger.” Bonus: The outdoor patio features regular live music!

(Photo courtesy of Frog & Firkin)
Gentle Ben’s Brewing

A staple on University Boulevard since 1971,  Gentle Ben’s was the sole brewery in Tucson when its owners started creating craft brews. In addition to excellent suds, you’ll also find some really tasty food. The Fish Tacos and California Burger are crowd favorites. Whether you’re looking for a chill lunch spot or a place to let loose at night, Gentle Ben’s has got you covered.

Bacon Cheeseburger & Fries (Photo courtesy of Gentle Ben's Brewing)
Illegal Pete’s

A hotspot for anyone craving hearty Mexican food. The burritos are stuffed to the max and the “queso-lada” is a game-changer: Think burritos smothered in queso. It’s the go-to spot when you’re in the mood for some fresh, fast, and seriously tasty grub.

Breakfast Burrito (Photo courtesy of Illegal Pete's)
Jimmy’s Pita & Poke – University

Never had Hawaiian and Mediterranean fusion food?  Don’t miss Jimmy’s Pita & Poke, where you can customize the poke bowls, pita sandwiches, and salads to your liking. They’re all about using fresh, local, organic ingredients and their sushi-grade fish is top-notch. The Poke Bowl and Spicy Tuna Bowl are crowd favorites. Bonus: the hydration station with infused waters, teas, and Kool-Aids.

Jimmy's Pita & Poke on River & Orange Grove (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Kababeque Indian Grill

Known for bringing authentic Indian cuisine with a contemporary spin to the heart of Tucson, Kababeque offers a tantalizing fusion of flavors. The Chicken Tikka Masala blends rich spices, tender meats, and a hint of smokiness. There’s something for every taste, with many vegetarian and choose-your-protein options.

(Photo Courtesy of Kababeque Indian Grill)
Momo’s On 6th

Momo’s is a haven for dessert lovers and brunch aficionados alike, combining a cozy atmosphere with creative dishes. The signature Momo’s French Toast, made with brioche and paired with fresh berries, is the talk of the town, while the artisanal coffees offer the perfect pick-me-up for those looking to relax or recharge.

u of a local spots
(Photo courtesy of Momo's Mexican Food on 6th)
No Anchovies

As one of Tucson’s most popular pizza joints, No Anchovies stands out with its eclectic variety of toppings and New York-style thin crust pizzas. The “Wildcat” pizza, topped with heaps of meats and veggies, embodies the energetic spirit of the university. This vibrant eatery is a gathering spot for pizza enthusiasts of all ages.

Margerita Pizza at No Anchovies (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Oriental Express Restaurant

Oriental Express is a local go-to for some seriously good Asian grub. The Sesame Chicken is a winner, with just the right amount of spice. And don’t even get me started on the Orange Chicken. Just splendid!

(Photo Courtesy of Oriental Express)
Ramiro’s Taco Shop

If you’re hankering for some down home Mexican food, Ramiro’s has got you covered. The burritos and tacos are outstanding and the portions are huge; you’ll definitely have leftovers for later. The staff is super friendly, and they whip up your order in no time. It’s a hit with locals and visitors alike.

taco salad
Taco Salad (Photo courtesy of Ramiro's Taco Shop)
Saigon Pho

Craving Vietnamese food? Saigon Pho is just the ticket. The rich broth and tender meat in the pho will have you slurping up every last bit. And don’t even get me started on their Bánh mì sandwiches; they’re a flavor fiesta. The place has an intimate, friendly feel that makes you want to sit back, relax, and enjoy your meal.

Oxtail Rare Beef Bowl (Photo Courtesy of Saigon Pho)
The Scented Leaf – University Blvd.

The Scented Leaf is more than just a tea house. It’s a place where you can do some work, hang with friends, and sip on some seriously good tea. They’ve got over 70 types of loose leaf teas, served hot in a pot or iced from their “Teas-On-Tap” system. There’s also a smaller selection of wine for when you’re ready to wind down for the day. Win-win!

interior of a tea shop in tucson
(Photo courtesy of The Scented Leaf)
Snakes and Lattes

Snakes & Lattes is more than just a café–it’s a board game paradise. You’ll find a ton of games to choose from and some pretty tasty café classics on the menu. It’s the perfect spot for a fun, chill hang.

(Photo courtesy of Snakes & Ladders)
Sushi-Cho Restaurant

A must visit for any sushi lover, Sushi Cho has an abundance of top-notch sushi options (try the Rainbow Roll and Spicy Tuna Roll, for starters). A tempting array of cooked Japanese and Chinese dishes are available too.

Poki Salad at Sushi Cho (Photo credit: Shana Gegantoca)
Trident Pizza Pub

Trident Pizza Pub is a sports bar with a twist, serving up a variety of gourmet pizzas in a lively, welcoming atmosphere. It’s known for such creative combinations as the “BBQ Chicken Pizza” and “The Greek.” Add to that a wide selection of beer and a convenient location right off campus? Can’t beat it.

(Photo courtesy of Trident Pizza Pub)
Unitea

Unitea is more than just a bubble tea shop. They’ve got frozen yogurt, mochi donuts, and lots of other sweet stuff. The Brown Sugar Boba Swirl Cup is a game-changer. The place is super modern and bright, and the menu is always surprising.

(Photo Courtesy of Unitea Tucson)
Wok Fire & Grill

The go-to spot when you’re craving Asian food but can’t decide on a particular dish. You pick your ingredients, and they whip up your “Wok of Art.” More decisive? The Mongolian Bowl is a crowd-pleaser, and the Spicy Honey Garlic Bowl stands out too. And let’s not forget about the Pho Bowl, a student favorite.

(Photo Courtesy of Wok Fire & Grill)
Woops! Bakeshop & Gifts (Main Gate Square)

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, be sure to check out Woops! The French macarons are Paris-quality, especially the Honey Lavender and Nutella flavors. They are also gluten-free and non-GMO. Don’t only want sweets? The coffee and sandwiches here are excellent too.

Macarons (Photo Courtesy of Woops Bakeshop & Gifts)
Zing Zing’s

This little spot is all about keeping it real with Szechuan, Cantonese, and Hunan dishes; the fact that many Chinese students frequent this place is a testament to its authenticity.  If you don’t want to experiment with the more exotic offerings, the Stir Fried Beef Noodles and spicy Braised Eggplant are good bets.

Soup Noodles with Saozi at Zing Zing's (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)