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The Downtown Tucson Restaurant Guide

Updated November 15, 2023

Downtown Tucson’s culinary landscape is ever-evolving, offering a dynamic mix of traditional eateries and modern culinary hotspots. This guide is designed to provide you with up-to-date recommendations and insights into the best dining experiences Tucson’s Downtown has to offer.

a picture of food
Kurobuta Pork Jowl at Agustin Kitchen (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Agustin Kitchen

Agustin Kitchen: Agustin Kitchen is a chill spot in the historic Mercado San Agustin. They whip up a fresh mix of New American, French, and Spanish dishes, always using local, seasonal ingredients. From their oyster bar to their sustainable meats to their house-made pastas, there’s always something incredible on their ever-changing menu to try.

barbata, in the basement (Photo courtesy of BATA)

barbata

BATA’s basement bar which offers a different vibe but the same commitment to quality. It’s got a European feel, and it’s a great place to kick off or wrap up your evening. They’ve got a solid selection of spirits, cocktails, beers, and wines, and their small plates are designed to pair well with drinks. Remember, they’re not open every day, so plan your visit accordingly​!

a picture of food
Green Cabbage & Potatoes at Bata (Photo credit: Natalie Moe)

BATA

If you’re looking for a unique and adventurous foodie experience in Tucson, BATA is your spot. They’re all about regionally-sourced ingredients, and their menu changes based on what’s fresh and in-season — you’ll find something new each time you visit. Oh, and they cook everything over an oak fire, which adds a special touch to their dishes.

A photo of the interior of Batch Whiskey and Donuts in downtown Tucson
(Photo courtesy of Batch)

Batch Whiskey & Donuts

Known as one of America’s Best Bourbon Bars, Batch Whiskey & Donuts is a must-visit for its extensive collection of over 1000 unique bottles of whiskey and delicious donuts. Located in a historic building on Congress St., this cozy spot also boasts a basement cocktail lounge and boutique whiskey shop.

Beaut Burger (photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

Beaut Burger

Veggie lovers, this one’s for you! Beaut Burger cooks up amazing vegan burgers that even meat-lovers rave about. Their B2, B4, and B6 burgers are crowd favorites, but their Beer Battered Cauli Bites are also a hit. All made with fresh, plant-based ingredients that make your taste buds dance.

Berry Greens Juice Bar (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Berry Greens Juice Bar

Berry Greens Acai & Juice Bar offers a wide variety of healthy, fresh, and tasty options. Their menu, featuring acai bowls, raw cold pressed juices, smoothies, avocado toast, parfaits and more, is crafted with clean eating standards and high-quality ingredients..

an overhead picture of pastries
Pastry Empanadas at Bombole Eatery (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Bombolé Eatery

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.

a picture of three pints of beer
(Photo courtesy of Borderlands Brewing Co.)

Borderlands Brewing Company

A well-established venue known for serving a diverse array of craft beers, including IPAs, sours, and even a rotating cider on tap. A rustic interior design that incorporates train station elements and artful cacti bar taps brings a distinctly Tucson ambiance to the experience.

a picture of food
Café 54 (Photo credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

Café 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 flatbreads. Make sure to try the dessert of the day.

Chilaquiles at Cafe a la C'Art (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Cafe a la C’art

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.

a picture of a coffee shop
Caffe Luce on Congress (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Caffe Luce – Congress

A gem among Tucson cafes, Caffe Luce is notable for its dedication to perfecting the art of coffee roasting. Try their Espresso Luce, a blend crafted to achieve the perfect latte and pair it with their tasty scones and perfectly cooked rolls!

(Photo courtesy of Cartel Roasting Co. on Broadway)

Cartel Roasting Co.

Swing by this chill, boho-style coffee shop for some seriously good, locally roasted coffee. It’s all about the vibe and the brews here. Folks can’t stop talking about their fab CCL and honey lavender matcha. Oh, and you’ve gotta try the maple iced latte and lemon bar – tasty as heck!

A photo of the interior of The Century Room cocktail lounge
The Century Room (Photo courtesy of Hotel Congress)

The Century Room

The Century Room at the Hotel Congress is where it’s at for live jazz and crafty cocktails. It’s the first jazz club in Tucson and it’s adding some real style to the city’s nightlife​​. Their Sonoran Sazerac goes down smoother than that base line and their charcuterie boards hit those high notes just right!

Cacio e Pepe at Ceres (Photo courtesy of Ceres Pasta)

Ceres Pasta

The Presidio newcomer transports you out of the desert and straight to Europe. Although handmade pasta is the star, CERES offers fresh focaccia sandwiches, sweet baked treats, and a full espresso menu using locally roasted specialty coffee. The menu features the classics along with seasonal specials.

A photo of a steak and lobster combo plate
Surf and Turf (Photo courtesy of Charro Steak & del Ray on Facebook)

Charro Steak & Del Rey

Surf ‘n’ turf! Charro Steak & Del Rey is a culinary vision brought to life by America’s First Family of Mexican Food. Using only the finest grass-fed beef, sustainable seafood, and cage-free poultry, this restaurant serves simple and delicious foods typical of the State of Sonora, Mexico, and is one of the most authentic farm and sea restaurants in the United States.

a picture of a barcade in tucson
Cobra Arcade (Photo credit: Tucson Foodie)

Cobra Arcade Bar Tucson

Two floors of all your favorite retro games like pinball and Dance Dance Revolution will have you gaming the night away. Plus, the drinks are top-notch – they’ve got a whole slew of cool cocktails that’ll make you feel like a kid in a candy store, but, like, as adults. Did we mention the super chill patio seating? Yeah, it’s awesome.

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.

a picture of oysters on the half shell
(Photo courtesy of Cruda Mariscos)

CRUDA Mariscos & Oyster Bar

Cruda is your go-to spot for top-notch seafood in downtown Tucson. From fresh oysters to heart-warming seafood pasta, everything’s prepared with care. Don’t leave without trying their excellent Arroz Marinero or Lobster Toritos!

a picture of breakfast
Egg, bacon, and cheese (Photo courtesy of Dandelion Cafe & Bakery)

Dandelion Cafe & Bakery

Dandelion Cafe & Bakery is where you go when you’re craving something sweet or a really good sandwich. They’ve got an awesome breakfast sandwich and an equally amazing baguette sandwich, as well as coffee and espresso to go with them!

(Photo courtesy of Decibel Coffee Works on Facebook)

Decibel Coffee Works

Nestled in a funky shipping container at the MSA Annex, Decibel is a must-visit. Friendly baristas, quick service, and a mean decaf iced latte – what’s not to love? And hey, they roast their own beans right in Tucson. Bonus: they’ve got some solid breakfast and lunch options too!

a picture of donuts
(Photo courtesy of Donut Bar)

Donut Bar

Donut Bar is your go-to spot for crazy-good donuts. They’ve got everything from vegan to grilled cheese donuts, with flavors changing every week. Don’t miss their outstanding Oreo Donut, and, before you ask, yes, you CAN sip on craft beer and mimosas while you’re there.

Carne Seca Burrito at El Charro Cafe (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

El Charro Café Downtown

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 Banderas Enchiladas and the house carne seca, which is dried in a special cage outside the restaurant in the sun.

a picture of food on a plate
(Photo courtesy of El Mezquite Grill & Taqueria)

El Mezquite Grill & Taqueria

Kick back at this hotspot for modern Southwest Cuisine with a Mexican twist. These Tucson burgers are the talk of the town – so juicy and packed with flavor. Pair it with a hand-crafted brew, interesting wine, or bespoke cocktail for a meal that’ll you’ll write home about!

Carne Seca Combo Plate at El Minuto Cafe (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

El Minuto Cafe

For over 80 years, El Minuto Cafe has weathered construction, change, and chaos while faithfully serving fresh, simple Sonoran-style Mexican specialties. Try their cheese crisp for sure, but don’t forget to leave room for their flan and margaritas!

a picture of a smoothie
(Photo courtesy of El Zumitos Juice Bar)

El Zumitos Juice Bar

Tucked in the Mercado San Augustin, El Zumitos is a sweet spot for fresh, made-to-order fruit drinks and smoothies. It’s a chill place with friendly staff and budget-friendly prices. Their agua frescas? A must-try.

a picture of cheesy, gooey jalapenos
Jalapeno Peppers at Elliott's on Congress (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Elliott’s on Congress

Elliott’s is an American restaurant that provides a relaxing ambiance 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. It is safe to say Elliot’s is nothing short of an experience.

Elote Pizza at Empire Pizza (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Empire Pizza & Pub

Craving a slice of New York pizza in Tucson? Empire’s got you covered with their hand-tossed, fresh-out-the-oven pizzas. And hey, while you’re there, give their Elote Pizza a whirl – it’s got foodies all over town raving. They’re open late, so don’t stress!

(Photo courtesy of EXO Roast Co.)

Exo Roast Co. – Simpson St.

An oasis for coffee connoisseurs and agave enthusiasts alike, Exo Roast Co. prides itself on its craft-roasted coffee made with regional and ethically crafted ingredients. Situated in a charming 1975 adobe house, the Simpson Street location transforms into an agave-focused bar at night, offering small plates to accompany its beverages.

a picture of food
(Photo courtesy of Ezbachi Izakaya)

Ezbachi Izakaya

Ezbachi mixes things up with Japanese Teppanyaki cooking in a cool Izakaya-style setting. Try their unique Pan-Asian dishes like Bao Buns, Karaage Chicken, and Sushi Rolls. And don’t worry, they’ve got plenty of sake, craft beers, wines, and fun cocktails to wash it all down.

a close up of a sandwich on a plate
Beet Sandwich (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

5 Points Market & Restaurant

Five Points is a cool, eco-conscious joint that serves up top-quality grub sourced from local farms. They’ve got everything from huevos rancheros to pancakes. Make sure to check out their “Bandito Blanco” breakfast and their gigantic pancake – it’s the stuff of foodie dreams.

(Photo courtesy of Five to Oh Coffee)

Five to Oh Coffee

Located in the historic Pima Courthouse in downtown Tucson, Five to Oh Coffee is committed to offering the finest coffee, beverages, and snacks, all sourced from exceptional local suppliers.

a picture of raw steaks
Forbes Meat Company (Photo credit: Tucson Foodie)

Forbes Meat Company

This isn’t your ordinary butcher shop! Ben Forbes and his crew know their meat, offering everything from the classics to obscure cuts. Their whole animal butchery services are top-notch, perfect for hunters and ranchers. Check out their butcher’s favorites like hanger steaks, sirloin picanha, and the chiltepin chimichurri – it’s a winner on top of any steak or grilled king salmon.

A photo of the interior of Good Oak Bar in Tucson
Good Oak Bar, Downtown Tucson (Photo Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Good Oak Bar

Good Oak Bar is your go-to place for a wide range of bites and brews. They make their own chips and guacamole, and their collab with Little Love Burger next door produced the Good Love Burger — gruyere cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and caramelized onions, oh my! They’re open ’til midnight almost every day, so it’s a great place for evening drinks and late-night munchies​.

a picture of a cupcake
Blueberry Cupcake from Heemee Coffee & Bakery (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

HeeMee Coffee + Bakery

The family-run cafe on East Congress Street serves coffee and scratch-made baked goods with a French, Japanese, and Korean influence. Menu items include assorted cakes, daily specials, doughnuts, tarts, buns, and Chicken Katsu Brioche Sandwiches.

HiFi Kitchen & Cocktails (Photo credit: Tucson Foodie)

Hifi Kitchen & Cocktails

HiFi Kitchen & Cocktails brings together the best parts of a sports bar, a dance bar, and a gourmet restaurant into one fun and flirty location. Play games like pool and shuffleboard, sip great drinks like their Pimm’s Cup or Manhattan, or just enjoy the open-air bar atmosphere.

A photo of the interior of Highwire Lounge in downtown Tucson
(Photo Courtesy of Highwire Cocktail Lounge)

HighWire Tucson

This is a cool spot right behind Johnny Gibson’s. They’ve got a wide-open space with live music and a menu that’s all about fun. Try the Sonoran Corndog or Avocado Toast first, but don’t miss their Chips & Dip Trio. And hey, their vegan drinks? Totally worth it.

Hotel Congress

Nestled in the heart of Tucson, the historic Hotel Congress offers not just a stay but a culinary journey through its in-house restaurant, Cup Café. Known for its innovative and delectable menu, the Cup Café boasts a mix of American and Southwestern fare; the “Cast Iron Baked Eggs” and “Congress Burger” are must-tries for a taste of the rich history blended with modern innovation.

Photo Courtesy of Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery

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.

(Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Iguana Cafe & Bar

A combination of a bar and a restaurant, is a friendly spot that offers great service in a cozy cafe with a horseshoe bar. The Hispanic music is always pumping, and their Mexican dishes like the burritos and mini chimichangas are a total hit. Plus their refried beans may be some of the best we’ve ever had.

John Henry's Facade (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

John Henry’s

John Henry’s is a cool cocktail lounge on 6th Avenue in downtown Tucson. It’s got a chill vibe with live music and top-notch staff who know how to mix a good drink. Definitely a great bar for a classic Lone Star + Whiskey combo.

a picture of sandwiches on plates
Johnny Cubano & Gunslinger Burger at Johnny Gibson's (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market

This spot is more than a restaurant, it’s a whole market filled with fresh goodies right in downtown Tucson. You gotta try Johnny’s Cubano, loaded with ham, pork, and Swiss cheese, or the Laaamb Burger with its delicious mix of lamb, beef, and curried eggplant. It’s like a grocery store and your favorite deli combined!

a close up of a plate of food on a table
Assorted Dishes (Photo courtesy of JoJo's)

JoJo’s Restaurant

In 2010, Jo Schneider took over La Cocina in downtown Tucson. Just a couple of years ago, the name changed to LaCo. Fast forward to this very moment and Jo has retired, leaving the business to her family. Now, the restaurant is named after Jo, a loving tribute to their mother: JoJo’s Restaurant. “We’re keeping some of the standards and the top sellers on the menu,” said Ben Schneider of JoJo’s. “With a name like La Cocina, we were thought of as a Mexican restaurant, so we thought ‘Let’s just wipe the slate clean.’ At the same time, we’re keeping my mom in the back of our minds — always — and wanting this to be a place she’d be proud of like. We’re always thinking about her.”

(Photo courtesy of Juniper Bar on IG)

Juniper

Downtown Tucson just got a gin bar. Located in the same spot where Iron John’s Brewing Co. used to reside, Juniper boasts a full wall of different kinds of gin, which are used to create an entire array of large and aromatic gin & tonics, magnificent martinis, novel negronis and a range of other carefully crafted classic cocktails.

Assorted dishes at Kukai (Photo by Dana Sullivan)

Kukai

If you’re a fan of Japanese food, Kukai, in the MSA Annex, is the place to be. They’ve been serving up awesome ramen, sushi, and onigiri since 2019. The Hakata Ramen is a must-try – it’s like a big, warm hug in a bowl. And don’t forget to order the Salmon Onigiri. It’s a tasty rice ball filled with salmon, perfect with the ramen.

A plate of tacos
Al Pastor Tacos at La Chaiteria (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

La Chaiteria

Celebrate life, one plate at a time! La Chaiteria is a fresh, vibrant Mexican joint run by Chef Wendy Garcia. Their menu changes daily, always packed with color and loaded with the freshest veggies. Try their Jackfruit al pastor tacos and don’t forget to wash it down with one of their divine drinks like the Turmeric Lemonade.

(Photo courtesy of La Chingada Comida Mexicana)

La Chingada Cocina

You need to check out La Chingada Cocina, a popular spot right in the heart of downtown. They’re dishing up some of the best Mexican food in Tucson, made with locally sourced ingredients and real authentic flavors. Plus, they’ve got live mariachi music on Sunday nights and some pretty amazing margaritas. Definitely worth a visit!​

an overhead photo of food
Huevos Entamalados & Huevos Poblanos at The Little One (Photo credit: Claire Kaufman)

The Little One

This spot’s all about tasty, healthy Mexican eats in the heart of Tucson. Started by the Davila family in the 80s, this place is a must-visit for its vibrant vibe and delicious food. Get adventurous with the Surprise Plato where they pick 3 dishes for you, or stick with classics like Huevos Rancheros or the veg-friendly Chile Relleno. Don’t skip the fresh juice or traditional Horchata either!

a close up of a plate of food and glasses of wine
(Photo courtesy of The Leo Kent Hotel)

St Cruz (at The Leo Kent Hotel)

The St. Cruz restaurant inside The Leo Kent Hotel is not just a place to grab a meal; it’s a tribute to Tucson’s history. The menu is a love letter to local ingredients, and the bar doesn’t shy away from local beers, wines, and spirits either. The whole vibe here is inspired by the Santa Cruz River – the lifeblood of Tucson for generations.

A picture of pizza
Pizza spread at Los olivos (Photo credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

Los Olivos Pizzeria

Los Olivos is a tiny Italian café with big flavors. They serve up tasty pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and salads that won’t break the bank. Don’t miss their daily specials and the warm, house-baked bread. They’re all about authenticity here, even down to the real shredded parmesan cheese​

Parisian Gnocchi at Maynards Market Kitchen (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Maynard’s Market & Kitchen

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 Pain au Chocolat and Avocado Barrio Toast. 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.

(Photo courtesy of Miss Saigon Pho on Facebook)

Miss Saigon (Downtown)

When it comes to Vietnamese food, Miss Saigon is the place to be. They’ve been dishing out fresh and flavorful meals since 2000, and their service is top-notch. The pho and chicken broth pho with catfish are crowd-pleasers, and the Shrimp Paste Spring Rolls and Orange Chicken are also worth a try.

an overhead photo of flatbread pizzas
Flatbreads at The Monica (Photo credit: Tucson Foodie)

The Monica

Run by the same folks who brought us El Charro Café, The Monica is a cool restaurant in downtown Tucson. Their menu is a mashup of family recipes whipped up by a team of ace chefs. It ain’t just Mexican food—think artisanal pizzas, baguettes, and dishes like Albondigas Béchamel and Short Rib Rustico. Plus the open-air bar and indoor/outdoor seating makes it great for just about any time of day!

Nook (Photo credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

Nook

Swing by this funky, quirky restaurant tucked away out of sight in downtown. Perfect for a chill Tucson brunch after your morning jog, a quick bite between classes, or even a work lunch. Their Steak and Eggs, Godfather Benedict, and Chocolate Chip Griddle Cakes are total crowd-pleasers, so don’t miss out on them!

a bowl of food sitting on top of a wooden table
Death Free Foodie Ramen at OBON (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

OBON Sushi

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 Pork Dumplings to Bibimbop, poke, an extensive sushi menu, ramen, and steam buns.

a picture of a bar
(Photo courtesy of Owls Club)

Owl’s Club

Imagine a classic Western bar with a twist. Located in Tucson’s historic Armory Park, the Owl’s Club is the go-to spot if you’re into whiskey, wine, or spirits. The setting? A cool 1920’s building with stained glass and chandeliers. Be sure to try their unique “Aspirational West” cocktail. It’s like a classic whiskey cocktail, but with a hint of absinthe and Spanish sherry thrown in​.

(Photo courtesy of Pearly Baker Fermentables)

Pearly Bottle Shop

This corner-store collection of grape fermentations is one of Tucson’s newest destinations for wine enthusiasts. Offering a selection of natural, classic, and honest wines from around the world, Pearly Baker Fermentables provides an inviting and informative experience for both novice and experienced wine drinkers alike.

Ensalada De Temporada (Photo courtesy of Penca)

Penca

Penca is a downtown Tucson treasure that serves up authentic Mexico City cuisine with a contemporary twist. With a cozy ambiance and a delightful menu, Penca’s “Tacos al Pastor” and “Chile en Nogada” are standout dishes that showcase the vibrant flavors of central Mexican cuisine. Don’t forget to pair them with one of their handcrafted cocktails, such as the “Oaxacan Old Fashioned,” for a complete dining experience.

Oven at Penelope Wood Fired Pizza (Photo by Mark Whittaker)

Penelope Pizza

This delightful pizzeria, nestled inside Cartel Roasting Co, is a Tucson treasure. Born from a mobile wood-fired pizza oven formerly known as Over the Counter Pizza, Penelope serves up artisanal pizzas that pair perfectly with a cup of Cartel’s coffee.

a room filled with furniture and a fire place
(Photo courtesy of Perche' No Italian Bistro)

Perche’ No

At Perche No (Italian for “why not”), expect to be welcomed into a family atmosphere and served up some amazing Italian dishes. Owners Bruno and Krissy whip up a mix of classic and contemporary Italian dishes, alongside Bruno’s mouth-watering homemade desserts. Some must-try dishes include Penne al’Alce and the Asiago Crusted Ling Cod

a picture of pub grub and drinks on a bartop
Playground Bar & Lounge (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Playground Bar & Lounge

Smack in the middle of Tucson’s lively downtown, Playground is perfect for a pre-concert drink, a chill after-work bite, or a sports night out with friends. They’ve got everything from Carne Asada Fries (drool-worthy!) to a mouthwatering selection of burgers and sandwiches, plus a full bar. You won’t leave wanting, we promise!

pouring milk into a latte
Presta Coffee Roasters (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Presta Coffee Roasters – South Avenida del Convento

Presta, tucked away in Mercado San Agustin, is a real gem for coffee lovers. They whip up some seriously good cappuccinos, iced lattes, and matchas, all in a chill and friendly spot. And if you’re on a vegan diet, they’ve got you covered with tasty treats to go with your drink.

(Photo courtesy of Pueblo Vida Brewing Company)

Pueblo Vida Brewing Company

A bit hidden in downtown Tucson, Pueblo Vida is where it’s at for amazing beer. The selection might not be huge, but every brew they’ve got, especially their hazies and IPAs, is on point. The taproom vibe is lively and chill, making it a cool hangout spot.

(Photo courtesy of R Bar)

R Bar

R Bar isn’t just a spot for drinks—it’s part of The Rialto Theatre Foundation, helping to keep Tucson’s history alive. So, every drink you enjoy there is for a good cause! You gotta try their cocktails, especially the “Bee’s Knee’s” and “El Guapo”—they’re top-notch​.

a picture of breakfast food
Raptor Canyon Cafe (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Raptor Canyon Cafe

This is THE Downtown Tucson breakfast food, especially if you’re sick of the same old chains. Their grub is all about home-cooked goodness with locally sourced ingredients — and their service is too! Try their legendary meatballs in tomato gravy and the Taylor Pork Roll – a breakfast meat that’ll change your life.

Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink

Reilly’s has it all: hot pies, cold drinks, good wines, and great vibes. There is a patio and seating is communal, so it’s a great spot for large groups. Oh, and you won’t believe the dish everyone’s raving about – it’s not pizza, but Brussels sprouts! These babies are served with house hot sauce, sherry vinegar, and pecan brittle crumbs. SO good!

a picture of fresh veggies at a market
(Photo courtesy of Santa Cruz River Farmer's Market)

Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market

Swing by the Mercado District every Thursday from 4-7pm for the Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market. You’ll find fresh, locally grown fruits and veggies, and even cooking demos. They double SNAP benefits for fresh produce, and you can score some unique foods you won’t find in your typical grocery store. It’s more than just a market — it’s a place to connect with the community.

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

Scented Leaf Tea House – Congress St.

This isn’t just your typical tea shop- it’s a hotspot hangout with a cozy, chilled-out atmosphere. With a wall full of loose leaf teas (with flavors like mango and orange vanilla cream), hot or cold brew coffee, and the always exciting and innovative “Teas-On-Tap,” you’ll be spoilt for choice at Tucson’s best tea store downtown. Plus, who can resist the smell of baking brownies? Not us, that’s who.

an overhead photo of tacos and condiments
(Photo courtesy of Seis Kitchen)

Seis Kitchen – Mercado

Comfy and stylish with a rep for amazing Tucson tacos. There’s a bunch of options to choose from like crispy fish, grilled shrimp, El Pastor, and Adobo Steak tacos. And while admittedly the tacos would steal the show, a few members of our team swear by the side salad. Oh, and if you’re in the mood for a dope margarita, the Tres G is the way to go.

(Photo courtesy of Shirt Shop Mercantile on Facebook)

Shirt Shop Mercantile

[Coming Soon!]

A photo of a cocktail being poured next to several other drinks
Snake & Barrel (Photo credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

Snake & Barrel

Ever wanted to step into a movie? Well, Snake & Barrel is your chance! This cool underground bar has a speakeasy vibe and seriously good drinks. They keep it simple but high-quality, so every cocktail is a hit. The “Polaroid Picture” and “Living After Midnight” are total game-changers.

Carne Asada Burrito at Sonoran Delights (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Sonoran Delights

If you’re craving some local flavors, you gotta check out Sonoran Delights. They whip up tasty Sonoran Style Tacos, Hot-Dogs, Burritos, and loads more. Plus, they’ve got Raspados – a sweet Mexican dessert that’s perfect for the desert heat.

The Taproom at Hotel Congress (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

The Tap Room at Hotel Congress

Step into the past at the Congress Tap Room, a cool pub that’s been around since 1919. Dig the art deco vibe, check out the live music, and enjoy a martini or Bloody Mary. And hey, they even nabbed John Dillinger here back in the day​. Yeehaw!

a photo of a cheeseburger
The Thunder Classic Burger at Thunder Bacon Burger Co. (Photo credit: Adam Lehrman)

Thunder Bacon Burger Co.

Are you in the mood for a burger that’s a cut above the rest? Thunder Bacon Burger Co. has got you covered. They’re serving up diner-style burgers that are both innovative and satisfying without leaving you overstuffed​1​. Their “Thunder Classic” and “520 Burger” with a chorizo patty are not-to-miss items on their menu, and they even brand their buns with a cool lightning bolt for extra sizzle.

(Photo courtesy of Thunder Canyon Brewery)

Thunder Canyon Brewery

As Tucson’s most award-winning brewpub, Thunder Canyon Brewery is a must-visit for beer enthusiasts. With over 40 beers on tap and some awesome bistro-style eats, it’s the perfect place to hang out and unwind.

a picture of cocktails
Cocktails at TLC (Photo courtesy of Tough Luck Club)

Tough Luck Club

Tucked beneath Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink in downtown Tucson, the Tough Luck Club is a stylish basement bar that has quickly gained a following for its intimate character and inventive craft cocktails. Choose from a cheekily-named drink menu, featuring a unique medley of mixology.

a sandwich filled with meat and vegetables
Urban Fresh (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

Urban Fresh

Urban Fresh is a haven for plant-based food lovers. This family-owned spot has been dishing out nourishing, healthy meals for the past eight years. They make everything fresh to order, using local and organic ingredients wherever they can. As good for your body as it is for your taste buds!

a person holding a gyro
Gyro at Urban Pita (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Urban Pita

If you’re hankering for authentic Greek cuisine, look no further than Urban Pita. They’re dishing up true Greek plates loaded with Greek salad, hummus, and pita that’s sure to hit the spot​. Their street food combos and full of flavor Greek sandwiches and also totally worth it!

a group of people sitting at a table in front of a building
(Photo courtesy of Westbound)

Westbound

A unique bar and bottle-shop with a strong focus on craft beer, wine, and spirits. Enjoy a drink and bring in food from neighboring restaurants or pick up a bottle to take home. A standout drink worth trying is the Caribeño, a draft cocktail served in a mason jar, which combines gin, pineapple rum, coconut water, and lime for a crisp, refreshing experience

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Agustin Kitchen

Agustin Kitchen: Agustin Kitchen is a chill spot in the historic Mercado San Agustin. They whip up a fresh mix of New American, French, and Spanish dishes, always using local, seasonal ingredients. From their oyster bar to their sustainable meats to their house-made pastas, there’s always something incredible on their ever-changing menu to try.

a picture of food
Kurobuta Pork Jowl at Agustin Kitchen (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
barbata

BATA’s basement bar which offers a different vibe but the same commitment to quality. It’s got a European feel, and it’s a great place to kick off or wrap up your evening. They’ve got a solid selection of spirits, cocktails, beers, and wines, and their small plates are designed to pair well with drinks. Remember, they’re not open every day, so plan your visit accordingly​!

barbata, in the basement (Photo courtesy of BATA)
BATA

If you’re looking for a unique and adventurous foodie experience in Tucson, BATA is your spot. They’re all about regionally-sourced ingredients, and their menu changes based on what’s fresh and in-season — you’ll find something new each time you visit. Oh, and they cook everything over an oak fire, which adds a special touch to their dishes.

a picture of food
Green Cabbage & Potatoes at Bata (Photo credit: Natalie Moe)
Batch Whiskey & Donuts

Known as one of America’s Best Bourbon Bars, Batch Whiskey & Donuts is a must-visit for its extensive collection of over 1000 unique bottles of whiskey and delicious donuts. Located in a historic building on Congress St., this cozy spot also boasts a basement cocktail lounge and boutique whiskey shop.

A photo of the interior of Batch Whiskey and Donuts in downtown Tucson
(Photo courtesy of Batch)
Beaut Burger

Veggie lovers, this one’s for you! Beaut Burger cooks up amazing vegan burgers that even meat-lovers rave about. Their B2, B4, and B6 burgers are crowd favorites, but their Beer Battered Cauli Bites are also a hit. All made with fresh, plant-based ingredients that make your taste buds dance.

Beaut Burger (photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)
Berry Greens Juice Bar

Berry Greens Acai & Juice Bar offers a wide variety of healthy, fresh, and tasty options. Their menu, featuring acai bowls, raw cold pressed juices, smoothies, avocado toast, parfaits and more, is crafted with clean eating standards and high-quality ingredients..

Berry Greens Juice Bar (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Bombolé Eatery

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.

an overhead picture of pastries
Pastry Empanadas at Bombole Eatery (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Borderlands Brewing Company

A well-established venue known for serving a diverse array of craft beers, including IPAs, sours, and even a rotating cider on tap. A rustic interior design that incorporates train station elements and artful cacti bar taps brings a distinctly Tucson ambiance to the experience.

a picture of three pints of beer
(Photo courtesy of Borderlands Brewing Co.)
Café 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 flatbreads. Make sure to try the dessert of the day.

a picture of food
Café 54 (Photo credit: Taylor Noel Photography)
Cafe a la C’art

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.

Chilaquiles at Cafe a la C'Art (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Caffe Luce – Congress

A gem among Tucson cafes, Caffe Luce is notable for its dedication to perfecting the art of coffee roasting. Try their Espresso Luce, a blend crafted to achieve the perfect latte and pair it with their tasty scones and perfectly cooked rolls!

a picture of a coffee shop
Caffe Luce on Congress (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Cartel Roasting Co.

Swing by this chill, boho-style coffee shop for some seriously good, locally roasted coffee. It’s all about the vibe and the brews here. Folks can’t stop talking about their fab CCL and honey lavender matcha. Oh, and you’ve gotta try the maple iced latte and lemon bar – tasty as heck!

(Photo courtesy of Cartel Roasting Co. on Broadway)
The Century Room

The Century Room at the Hotel Congress is where it’s at for live jazz and crafty cocktails. It’s the first jazz club in Tucson and it’s adding some real style to the city’s nightlife​​. Their Sonoran Sazerac goes down smoother than that base line and their charcuterie boards hit those high notes just right!

A photo of the interior of The Century Room cocktail lounge
The Century Room (Photo courtesy of Hotel Congress)
Ceres Pasta

The Presidio newcomer transports you out of the desert and straight to Europe. Although handmade pasta is the star, CERES offers fresh focaccia sandwiches, sweet baked treats, and a full espresso menu using locally roasted specialty coffee. The menu features the classics along with seasonal specials.

Cacio e Pepe at Ceres (Photo courtesy of Ceres Pasta)
Charro Steak & Del Rey

Surf ‘n’ turf! Charro Steak & Del Rey is a culinary vision brought to life by America’s First Family of Mexican Food. Using only the finest grass-fed beef, sustainable seafood, and cage-free poultry, this restaurant serves simple and delicious foods typical of the State of Sonora, Mexico, and is one of the most authentic farm and sea restaurants in the United States.

A photo of a steak and lobster combo plate
Surf and Turf (Photo courtesy of Charro Steak & del Ray on Facebook)
Cobra Arcade Bar Tucson

Two floors of all your favorite retro games like pinball and Dance Dance Revolution will have you gaming the night away. Plus, the drinks are top-notch – they’ve got a whole slew of cool cocktails that’ll make you feel like a kid in a candy store, but, like, as adults. Did we mention the super chill patio seating? Yeah, it’s awesome.

a picture of a barcade in tucson
Cobra Arcade (Photo credit: Tucson Foodie)
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.

Photo courtesy of The Coronet
CRUDA Mariscos & Oyster Bar

Cruda is your go-to spot for top-notch seafood in downtown Tucson. From fresh oysters to heart-warming seafood pasta, everything’s prepared with care. Don’t leave without trying their excellent Arroz Marinero or Lobster Toritos!

a picture of oysters on the half shell
(Photo courtesy of Cruda Mariscos)
Dandelion Cafe & Bakery

Dandelion Cafe & Bakery is where you go when you’re craving something sweet or a really good sandwich. They’ve got an awesome breakfast sandwich and an equally amazing baguette sandwich, as well as coffee and espresso to go with them!

a picture of breakfast
Egg, bacon, and cheese (Photo courtesy of Dandelion Cafe & Bakery)
Decibel Coffee Works

Nestled in a funky shipping container at the MSA Annex, Decibel is a must-visit. Friendly baristas, quick service, and a mean decaf iced latte – what’s not to love? And hey, they roast their own beans right in Tucson. Bonus: they’ve got some solid breakfast and lunch options too!

(Photo courtesy of Decibel Coffee Works on Facebook)
Donut Bar

Donut Bar is your go-to spot for crazy-good donuts. They’ve got everything from vegan to grilled cheese donuts, with flavors changing every week. Don’t miss their outstanding Oreo Donut, and, before you ask, yes, you CAN sip on craft beer and mimosas while you’re there.

a picture of donuts
(Photo courtesy of Donut Bar)
El Charro Café Downtown

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 Banderas Enchiladas and the house carne seca, which is dried in a special cage outside the restaurant in the sun.

Carne Seca Burrito at El Charro Cafe (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
El Mezquite Grill & Taqueria

Kick back at this hotspot for modern Southwest Cuisine with a Mexican twist. These Tucson burgers are the talk of the town – so juicy and packed with flavor. Pair it with a hand-crafted brew, interesting wine, or bespoke cocktail for a meal that’ll you’ll write home about!

a picture of food on a plate
(Photo courtesy of El Mezquite Grill & Taqueria)
El Minuto Cafe

For over 80 years, El Minuto Cafe has weathered construction, change, and chaos while faithfully serving fresh, simple Sonoran-style Mexican specialties. Try their cheese crisp for sure, but don’t forget to leave room for their flan and margaritas!

Carne Seca Combo Plate at El Minuto Cafe (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
El Zumitos Juice Bar

Tucked in the Mercado San Augustin, El Zumitos is a sweet spot for fresh, made-to-order fruit drinks and smoothies. It’s a chill place with friendly staff and budget-friendly prices. Their agua frescas? A must-try.

a picture of a smoothie
(Photo courtesy of El Zumitos Juice Bar)
Elliott’s on Congress

Elliott’s is an American restaurant that provides a relaxing ambiance 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. It is safe to say Elliot’s is nothing short of an experience.

a picture of cheesy, gooey jalapenos
Jalapeno Peppers at Elliott's on Congress (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Empire Pizza & Pub

Craving a slice of New York pizza in Tucson? Empire’s got you covered with their hand-tossed, fresh-out-the-oven pizzas. And hey, while you’re there, give their Elote Pizza a whirl – it’s got foodies all over town raving. They’re open late, so don’t stress!

Elote Pizza at Empire Pizza (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Exo Roast Co. – Simpson St.

An oasis for coffee connoisseurs and agave enthusiasts alike, Exo Roast Co. prides itself on its craft-roasted coffee made with regional and ethically crafted ingredients. Situated in a charming 1975 adobe house, the Simpson Street location transforms into an agave-focused bar at night, offering small plates to accompany its beverages.

(Photo courtesy of EXO Roast Co.)
Ezbachi Izakaya

Ezbachi mixes things up with Japanese Teppanyaki cooking in a cool Izakaya-style setting. Try their unique Pan-Asian dishes like Bao Buns, Karaage Chicken, and Sushi Rolls. And don’t worry, they’ve got plenty of sake, craft beers, wines, and fun cocktails to wash it all down.

a picture of food
(Photo courtesy of Ezbachi Izakaya)
5 Points Market & Restaurant

Five Points is a cool, eco-conscious joint that serves up top-quality grub sourced from local farms. They’ve got everything from huevos rancheros to pancakes. Make sure to check out their “Bandito Blanco” breakfast and their gigantic pancake – it’s the stuff of foodie dreams.

a close up of a sandwich on a plate
Beet Sandwich (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)
Five to Oh Coffee

Located in the historic Pima Courthouse in downtown Tucson, Five to Oh Coffee is committed to offering the finest coffee, beverages, and snacks, all sourced from exceptional local suppliers.

(Photo courtesy of Five to Oh Coffee)
Forbes Meat Company

This isn’t your ordinary butcher shop! Ben Forbes and his crew know their meat, offering everything from the classics to obscure cuts. Their whole animal butchery services are top-notch, perfect for hunters and ranchers. Check out their butcher’s favorites like hanger steaks, sirloin picanha, and the chiltepin chimichurri – it’s a winner on top of any steak or grilled king salmon.

a picture of raw steaks
Forbes Meat Company (Photo credit: Tucson Foodie)
Good Oak Bar

Good Oak Bar is your go-to place for a wide range of bites and brews. They make their own chips and guacamole, and their collab with Little Love Burger next door produced the Good Love Burger — gruyere cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and caramelized onions, oh my! They’re open ’til midnight almost every day, so it’s a great place for evening drinks and late-night munchies​.

A photo of the interior of Good Oak Bar in Tucson
Good Oak Bar, Downtown Tucson (Photo Credit: Adam Lehrman)
HeeMee Coffee + Bakery

The family-run cafe on East Congress Street serves coffee and scratch-made baked goods with a French, Japanese, and Korean influence. Menu items include assorted cakes, daily specials, doughnuts, tarts, buns, and Chicken Katsu Brioche Sandwiches.

a picture of a cupcake
Blueberry Cupcake from Heemee Coffee & Bakery (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Hifi Kitchen & Cocktails

HiFi Kitchen & Cocktails brings together the best parts of a sports bar, a dance bar, and a gourmet restaurant into one fun and flirty location. Play games like pool and shuffleboard, sip great drinks like their Pimm’s Cup or Manhattan, or just enjoy the open-air bar atmosphere.

HiFi Kitchen & Cocktails (Photo credit: Tucson Foodie)
HighWire Tucson

This is a cool spot right behind Johnny Gibson’s. They’ve got a wide-open space with live music and a menu that’s all about fun. Try the Sonoran Corndog or Avocado Toast first, but don’t miss their Chips & Dip Trio. And hey, their vegan drinks? Totally worth it.

A photo of the interior of Highwire Lounge in downtown Tucson
(Photo Courtesy of Highwire Cocktail Lounge)
Hotel Congress

Nestled in the heart of Tucson, the historic Hotel Congress offers not just a stay but a culinary journey through its in-house restaurant, Cup Café. Known for its innovative and delectable menu, the Cup Café boasts a mix of American and Southwestern fare; the “Cast Iron Baked Eggs” and “Congress Burger” are must-tries for a taste of the rich history blended with modern innovation.

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.

Photo Courtesy of Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery
Iguana Cafe & Bar

A combination of a bar and a restaurant, is a friendly spot that offers great service in a cozy cafe with a horseshoe bar. The Hispanic music is always pumping, and their Mexican dishes like the burritos and mini chimichangas are a total hit. Plus their refried beans may be some of the best we’ve ever had.

(Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
John Henry’s

John Henry’s is a cool cocktail lounge on 6th Avenue in downtown Tucson. It’s got a chill vibe with live music and top-notch staff who know how to mix a good drink. Definitely a great bar for a classic Lone Star + Whiskey combo.

John Henry's Facade (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market

This spot is more than a restaurant, it’s a whole market filled with fresh goodies right in downtown Tucson. You gotta try Johnny’s Cubano, loaded with ham, pork, and Swiss cheese, or the Laaamb Burger with its delicious mix of lamb, beef, and curried eggplant. It’s like a grocery store and your favorite deli combined!

a picture of sandwiches on plates
Johnny Cubano & Gunslinger Burger at Johnny Gibson's (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
JoJo’s Restaurant

In 2010, Jo Schneider took over La Cocina in downtown Tucson. Just a couple of years ago, the name changed to LaCo. Fast forward to this very moment and Jo has retired, leaving the business to her family. Now, the restaurant is named after Jo, a loving tribute to their mother: JoJo’s Restaurant. “We’re keeping some of the standards and the top sellers on the menu,” said Ben Schneider of JoJo’s. “With a name like La Cocina, we were thought of as a Mexican restaurant, so we thought ‘Let’s just wipe the slate clean.’ At the same time, we’re keeping my mom in the back of our minds — always — and wanting this to be a place she’d be proud of like. We’re always thinking about her.”

a close up of a plate of food on a table
Assorted Dishes (Photo courtesy of JoJo's)
Juniper

Downtown Tucson just got a gin bar. Located in the same spot where Iron John’s Brewing Co. used to reside, Juniper boasts a full wall of different kinds of gin, which are used to create an entire array of large and aromatic gin & tonics, magnificent martinis, novel negronis and a range of other carefully crafted classic cocktails.

(Photo courtesy of Juniper Bar on IG)
Kukai

If you’re a fan of Japanese food, Kukai, in the MSA Annex, is the place to be. They’ve been serving up awesome ramen, sushi, and onigiri since 2019. The Hakata Ramen is a must-try – it’s like a big, warm hug in a bowl. And don’t forget to order the Salmon Onigiri. It’s a tasty rice ball filled with salmon, perfect with the ramen.

Assorted dishes at Kukai (Photo by Dana Sullivan)
La Chaiteria

Celebrate life, one plate at a time! La Chaiteria is a fresh, vibrant Mexican joint run by Chef Wendy Garcia. Their menu changes daily, always packed with color and loaded with the freshest veggies. Try their Jackfruit al pastor tacos and don’t forget to wash it down with one of their divine drinks like the Turmeric Lemonade.

A plate of tacos
Al Pastor Tacos at La Chaiteria (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
La Chingada Cocina

You need to check out La Chingada Cocina, a popular spot right in the heart of downtown. They’re dishing up some of the best Mexican food in Tucson, made with locally sourced ingredients and real authentic flavors. Plus, they’ve got live mariachi music on Sunday nights and some pretty amazing margaritas. Definitely worth a visit!​

(Photo courtesy of La Chingada Comida Mexicana)
The Little One

This spot’s all about tasty, healthy Mexican eats in the heart of Tucson. Started by the Davila family in the 80s, this place is a must-visit for its vibrant vibe and delicious food. Get adventurous with the Surprise Plato where they pick 3 dishes for you, or stick with classics like Huevos Rancheros or the veg-friendly Chile Relleno. Don’t skip the fresh juice or traditional Horchata either!

an overhead photo of food
Huevos Entamalados & Huevos Poblanos at The Little One (Photo credit: Claire Kaufman)
St Cruz (at The Leo Kent Hotel)

The St. Cruz restaurant inside The Leo Kent Hotel is not just a place to grab a meal; it’s a tribute to Tucson’s history. The menu is a love letter to local ingredients, and the bar doesn’t shy away from local beers, wines, and spirits either. The whole vibe here is inspired by the Santa Cruz River – the lifeblood of Tucson for generations.

a close up of a plate of food and glasses of wine
(Photo courtesy of The Leo Kent Hotel)
Los Olivos Pizzeria

Los Olivos is a tiny Italian café with big flavors. They serve up tasty pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and salads that won’t break the bank. Don’t miss their daily specials and the warm, house-baked bread. They’re all about authenticity here, even down to the real shredded parmesan cheese​

A picture of pizza
Pizza spread at Los olivos (Photo credit: Taylor Noel Photography)
Maynard’s Market & Kitchen

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 Pain au Chocolat and Avocado Barrio Toast. 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.

Parisian Gnocchi at Maynards Market Kitchen (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Miss Saigon (Downtown)

When it comes to Vietnamese food, Miss Saigon is the place to be. They’ve been dishing out fresh and flavorful meals since 2000, and their service is top-notch. The pho and chicken broth pho with catfish are crowd-pleasers, and the Shrimp Paste Spring Rolls and Orange Chicken are also worth a try.

(Photo courtesy of Miss Saigon Pho on Facebook)
The Monica

Run by the same folks who brought us El Charro Café, The Monica is a cool restaurant in downtown Tucson. Their menu is a mashup of family recipes whipped up by a team of ace chefs. It ain’t just Mexican food—think artisanal pizzas, baguettes, and dishes like Albondigas Béchamel and Short Rib Rustico. Plus the open-air bar and indoor/outdoor seating makes it great for just about any time of day!

an overhead photo of flatbread pizzas
Flatbreads at The Monica (Photo credit: Tucson Foodie)
Nook

Swing by this funky, quirky restaurant tucked away out of sight in downtown. Perfect for a chill Tucson brunch after your morning jog, a quick bite between classes, or even a work lunch. Their Steak and Eggs, Godfather Benedict, and Chocolate Chip Griddle Cakes are total crowd-pleasers, so don’t miss out on them!

Nook (Photo credit: Taylor Noel Photography)
OBON Sushi

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 Pork Dumplings to Bibimbop, poke, an extensive sushi menu, ramen, and steam buns.

a bowl of food sitting on top of a wooden table
Death Free Foodie Ramen at OBON (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Owl’s Club

Imagine a classic Western bar with a twist. Located in Tucson’s historic Armory Park, the Owl’s Club is the go-to spot if you’re into whiskey, wine, or spirits. The setting? A cool 1920’s building with stained glass and chandeliers. Be sure to try their unique “Aspirational West” cocktail. It’s like a classic whiskey cocktail, but with a hint of absinthe and Spanish sherry thrown in​.

a picture of a bar
(Photo courtesy of Owls Club)
Pearly Bottle Shop

This corner-store collection of grape fermentations is one of Tucson’s newest destinations for wine enthusiasts. Offering a selection of natural, classic, and honest wines from around the world, Pearly Baker Fermentables provides an inviting and informative experience for both novice and experienced wine drinkers alike.

(Photo courtesy of Pearly Baker Fermentables)
Penca

Penca is a downtown Tucson treasure that serves up authentic Mexico City cuisine with a contemporary twist. With a cozy ambiance and a delightful menu, Penca’s “Tacos al Pastor” and “Chile en Nogada” are standout dishes that showcase the vibrant flavors of central Mexican cuisine. Don’t forget to pair them with one of their handcrafted cocktails, such as the “Oaxacan Old Fashioned,” for a complete dining experience.

Ensalada De Temporada (Photo courtesy of Penca)
Penelope Pizza

This delightful pizzeria, nestled inside Cartel Roasting Co, is a Tucson treasure. Born from a mobile wood-fired pizza oven formerly known as Over the Counter Pizza, Penelope serves up artisanal pizzas that pair perfectly with a cup of Cartel’s coffee.

Oven at Penelope Wood Fired Pizza (Photo by Mark Whittaker)
Perche’ No

At Perche No (Italian for “why not”), expect to be welcomed into a family atmosphere and served up some amazing Italian dishes. Owners Bruno and Krissy whip up a mix of classic and contemporary Italian dishes, alongside Bruno’s mouth-watering homemade desserts. Some must-try dishes include Penne al’Alce and the Asiago Crusted Ling Cod

a room filled with furniture and a fire place
(Photo courtesy of Perche' No Italian Bistro)
Playground Bar & Lounge

Smack in the middle of Tucson’s lively downtown, Playground is perfect for a pre-concert drink, a chill after-work bite, or a sports night out with friends. They’ve got everything from Carne Asada Fries (drool-worthy!) to a mouthwatering selection of burgers and sandwiches, plus a full bar. You won’t leave wanting, we promise!

a picture of pub grub and drinks on a bartop
Playground Bar & Lounge (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Presta Coffee Roasters – South Avenida del Convento

Presta, tucked away in Mercado San Agustin, is a real gem for coffee lovers. They whip up some seriously good cappuccinos, iced lattes, and matchas, all in a chill and friendly spot. And if you’re on a vegan diet, they’ve got you covered with tasty treats to go with your drink.

pouring milk into a latte
Presta Coffee Roasters (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Pueblo Vida Brewing Company

A bit hidden in downtown Tucson, Pueblo Vida is where it’s at for amazing beer. The selection might not be huge, but every brew they’ve got, especially their hazies and IPAs, is on point. The taproom vibe is lively and chill, making it a cool hangout spot.

(Photo courtesy of Pueblo Vida Brewing Company)
R Bar

R Bar isn’t just a spot for drinks—it’s part of The Rialto Theatre Foundation, helping to keep Tucson’s history alive. So, every drink you enjoy there is for a good cause! You gotta try their cocktails, especially the “Bee’s Knee’s” and “El Guapo”—they’re top-notch​.

(Photo courtesy of R Bar)
Raptor Canyon Cafe

This is THE Downtown Tucson breakfast food, especially if you’re sick of the same old chains. Their grub is all about home-cooked goodness with locally sourced ingredients — and their service is too! Try their legendary meatballs in tomato gravy and the Taylor Pork Roll – a breakfast meat that’ll change your life.

a picture of breakfast food
Raptor Canyon Cafe (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink

Reilly’s has it all: hot pies, cold drinks, good wines, and great vibes. There is a patio and seating is communal, so it’s a great spot for large groups. Oh, and you won’t believe the dish everyone’s raving about – it’s not pizza, but Brussels sprouts! These babies are served with house hot sauce, sherry vinegar, and pecan brittle crumbs. SO good!

Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market

Swing by the Mercado District every Thursday from 4-7pm for the Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market. You’ll find fresh, locally grown fruits and veggies, and even cooking demos. They double SNAP benefits for fresh produce, and you can score some unique foods you won’t find in your typical grocery store. It’s more than just a market — it’s a place to connect with the community.

a picture of fresh veggies at a market
(Photo courtesy of Santa Cruz River Farmer's Market)
Scented Leaf Tea House – Congress St.

This isn’t just your typical tea shop- it’s a hotspot hangout with a cozy, chilled-out atmosphere. With a wall full of loose leaf teas (with flavors like mango and orange vanilla cream), hot or cold brew coffee, and the always exciting and innovative “Teas-On-Tap,” you’ll be spoilt for choice at Tucson’s best tea store downtown. Plus, who can resist the smell of baking brownies? Not us, that’s who.

interior of a tea shop in tucson
(Photo courtesy of The Scented Leaf)
Seis Kitchen – Mercado

Comfy and stylish with a rep for amazing Tucson tacos. There’s a bunch of options to choose from like crispy fish, grilled shrimp, El Pastor, and Adobo Steak tacos. And while admittedly the tacos would steal the show, a few members of our team swear by the side salad. Oh, and if you’re in the mood for a dope margarita, the Tres G is the way to go.

an overhead photo of tacos and condiments
(Photo courtesy of Seis Kitchen)
Shirt Shop Mercantile

[Coming Soon!]

(Photo courtesy of Shirt Shop Mercantile on Facebook)
Snake & Barrel

Ever wanted to step into a movie? Well, Snake & Barrel is your chance! This cool underground bar has a speakeasy vibe and seriously good drinks. They keep it simple but high-quality, so every cocktail is a hit. The “Polaroid Picture” and “Living After Midnight” are total game-changers.

A photo of a cocktail being poured next to several other drinks
Snake & Barrel (Photo credit: Taylor Noel Photography)
Sonoran Delights

If you’re craving some local flavors, you gotta check out Sonoran Delights. They whip up tasty Sonoran Style Tacos, Hot-Dogs, Burritos, and loads more. Plus, they’ve got Raspados – a sweet Mexican dessert that’s perfect for the desert heat.

Carne Asada Burrito at Sonoran Delights (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
The Tap Room at Hotel Congress

Step into the past at the Congress Tap Room, a cool pub that’s been around since 1919. Dig the art deco vibe, check out the live music, and enjoy a martini or Bloody Mary. And hey, they even nabbed John Dillinger here back in the day​. Yeehaw!

The Taproom at Hotel Congress (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Thunder Bacon Burger Co.

Are you in the mood for a burger that’s a cut above the rest? Thunder Bacon Burger Co. has got you covered. They’re serving up diner-style burgers that are both innovative and satisfying without leaving you overstuffed​1​. Their “Thunder Classic” and “520 Burger” with a chorizo patty are not-to-miss items on their menu, and they even brand their buns with a cool lightning bolt for extra sizzle.

a photo of a cheeseburger
The Thunder Classic Burger at Thunder Bacon Burger Co. (Photo credit: Adam Lehrman)
Thunder Canyon Brewery

As Tucson’s most award-winning brewpub, Thunder Canyon Brewery is a must-visit for beer enthusiasts. With over 40 beers on tap and some awesome bistro-style eats, it’s the perfect place to hang out and unwind.

(Photo courtesy of Thunder Canyon Brewery)
Tough Luck Club

Tucked beneath Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink in downtown Tucson, the Tough Luck Club is a stylish basement bar that has quickly gained a following for its intimate character and inventive craft cocktails. Choose from a cheekily-named drink menu, featuring a unique medley of mixology.

a picture of cocktails
Cocktails at TLC (Photo courtesy of Tough Luck Club)
Urban Fresh

Urban Fresh is a haven for plant-based food lovers. This family-owned spot has been dishing out nourishing, healthy meals for the past eight years. They make everything fresh to order, using local and organic ingredients wherever they can. As good for your body as it is for your taste buds!

a sandwich filled with meat and vegetables
Urban Fresh (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)
Urban Pita

If you’re hankering for authentic Greek cuisine, look no further than Urban Pita. They’re dishing up true Greek plates loaded with Greek salad, hummus, and pita that’s sure to hit the spot​. Their street food combos and full of flavor Greek sandwiches and also totally worth it!

a person holding a gyro
Gyro at Urban Pita (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)
Westbound

A unique bar and bottle-shop with a strong focus on craft beer, wine, and spirits. Enjoy a drink and bring in food from neighboring restaurants or pick up a bottle to take home. A standout drink worth trying is the Caribeño, a draft cocktail served in a mason jar, which combines gin, pineapple rum, coconut water, and lime for a crisp, refreshing experience

a group of people sitting at a table in front of a building
(Photo courtesy of Westbound)