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The Ultimate Tucson Restaurant Bucket List

Updated April 5, 2024

Welcome to Tucson Foodie’s comprehensive guide to the absolute best restaurants in Tucson. Tucson’s restaurant scene is an extraordinary tapestry of cultures, tastes, and innovative gastronomic experiences. It’s a paradise for food lovers, with an eclectic mix of flavors that can satisfy the most discerning palate, making it a hidden gem in the culinary world. We’re on a journey to discover some of the best food in Tucson that reflects the city’s melting pot of cultures.

To help you navigate through this culinary adventure, we’ve poured our hearts, souls, and appetites into compiling this extensive guide. Every member of the Tucson Foodie team has pitched in, adding their top picks and must-try places. This isn’t just a list—it’s a labor of love, born out of countless meals, passionate discussions, and a shared commitment to promoting the amazing culinary scene that Tucson has to offer.

Whether you’re a lifelong resident or a first-time visitor, this guide is your passport to experience the best of what Tucson’s restaurants have to offer. Enjoy your gastronomic journey!

This guide (and all our guides) are updated on a real-time basis as places close and new places open.

Brought to you with support from Visit Tucson.

Learn how we create our guides here.

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

Agustin Kitchen

This Tucson favorite keeps it fresh with local, seasonal ingredients. Tucked away in the Mercado San Agustin, Agustin Kitchen serves up some seriously good French-inspired American grub. Their Lamb Tartare is a must-try – a magnificent mix of raw lamb, shallots, capers, and fresh herbs and spices that really hits the spot.

(Photo courtesy of Alejandro Serious Mexican Food)

Alejandro Serious Mexican, Mariscos, & Fusion Food

A family-run spot serving up seriously good Mexican grub. The food’s inspired by family recipes and each dish is named after a family member. Things are going great there with folks loving the vibe and tasty food like their carne asada burrito and machaca, a jerky-like steak. It surely is one of the most popular locally owned restaurants in Tucson. It’s been so busy that they’ve had to deal with 40-minute waits and running out of food. Good problems to have, right?

a picture of sauce being poured onto pizza dough
The birth of a pizza at Anello (Photo by Anna Smirnova)

ANELLO

Those looking for fun places to eat in Tucson, this little hidden pizzeria is the place to go! It’s all about the authentic Italian vibe here, with the pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven and the crust is crispy perfection. The pizza with lemon, Parmesan, and pistachio purée is a game changer. And the desserts? Out of this world! Be sure to try the crepes with lime curd and crème fraîche and the chocolate tart – the perfect sweet treats for your feast!

a picture of food
(Photo courtesy of Bai Thong)

Bai Thong

If you’re after some legit Thai food, Bai Thong has got you covered. The shrimp pad thai, spring rolls, and Thai chicken curry are a flavor explosion. And don’t even get us started on the desserts – the mango sticky rice is the stuff of dreams. Wash it all down with a Thai iced tea, and you’ve got yourself a meal to remember.

a person holding a burrito on a plate
Breakfast Burrito at Barista del Barrio (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Barista Del Barrio

You’ve gotta check out this super chill coffee spot in the neighborhood. The staff knows their stuff and they’re serving up some seriously good Mexican eats. Their breakfast burrito – stuffed with potatoes, soyrizo, refried beans, green chilies, and avocado – is a must-try. Oh, and the tamales, too. Make sure you get your caffeine fix with their special iced soy “Horchesso” latte (it’s like horchata and espresso had a delicious baby) or the unique Marzipan cold brew. You won’t regret it.

a picture of many loaves of bread on a wire shelf
Barrio Bread (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Barrio Bread

When talking about local food, Barrio Bread is a must-visit spot. Located in the historic Broadway Village Shopping Center, it is one of the best local restaurants in Tucson. It’s well-known for selling a wide variety of bread, all crafted with locally sourced heritage grains. Some standouts include the Pan Rustico, Ciabatta, Birote, and Pan Francés. They also have a scrumptious grilled pear and brie that’s not to be missed!

a picture of draft beers on a wooden table
Barrio Brewing Co. (Photo credit: Adam Lehrman)

Barrio Brewing Co.

This should be one of your first stops if you’re into craft beers and good grub. They’re the first guys in Tucson to do the whole brewing thing and now they’re 100% owned by their employees – how cool is that? Their lineup of beers is impressive, and they’re not just about the drinks. Their food menu is a hit too, with everything from burgers to tacos, and even their Reuben sandwich and spinach artichoke dip have a beer twist to it​. Head to Barrio Brewing for some of the best food in Tucson!

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

BATA

A modern upscale restaurant that’s been getting national attention. They’re all about showcasing local ingredients, with 80% of their stuff coming from just 20 miles around Tucson. Everything’s cooked over an open fire for that extra flavor kick. They’ve got big plans too, like growing their own produce and opening a speakeasy-style bar. They’ve been named one of the best new restaurants by Bon Appétit, so they’re definitely doing something right. A must-eat place in Tucson!

Beaut Burger (photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

Beaut Burger

Beaut Burger is all about vegan burgers and they’re doing it big. They’ve been around since 2018, and their fresh, homemade vegan patties are a hit. People can’t get enough of their B2, B4, and B6 Burgers and the Reuben. They also do a solid Coleslaw and Sweet Potato Fries. Plus, they’ve got some national love, getting named as one of the country’s best burgers. Pretty cool for a vegan spot, right?

a plate of food on a table
Boca Tacos Y Tequila (Photo credit: Dan Gibson)

BOCA by Chef Maria Mazon

A unique and fun restaurant in Tucson that specializes in gourmet tacos and craft drinks. Chef Maria Mazon uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create an innovative menu that celebrates the flavors of Sonora, with a wide array of original salsas created daily. The restaurant also offers an extensive selection of over 40 tequilas, vodkas, scotches, and whiskies, and features a new special menu every Wednesday.

(Photo Courtesy of Brother John's Beer)

Brother John’s Beer, Bourbon & BBQ

Brother John’s is a unique spot for any foodie in Tucson. Located near Santa Rita Park, this joint combines the best of beer, bourbon, and barbecue to create an unforgettable dining experience. The Brisket and the Pulled Pork Sandwich are particularly popular among patrons, embodying the rich, smoky flavors that Brother John’s is known for.

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

Cafe a la C’art

Imagine grabbing a bite in a historic house right on the grounds of the Tucson Museum Of Art – cool, right? That’s what you get at Cafe a la Cart. This place serves up some lovely lunch options like their Grilled Flank Steak Salad, Chilaquiles, and Grilled Salmon Salad. But don’t forget to save room for dessert. They’ve got a pastry chef whipping up some truly tempting treats daily, with their chocolate bomb, chocolate cakes, and fruitcake getting some serious love from visitors new and old.

Cafe Desta (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Cafe Desta

This chill spot is all about authentic Ethiopian and Eritrean grub. Vegans rejoice! There’s a bunch of vegan options here, plus meat dishes featuring chicken, lamb, and fish. Every meal is served with injera, this spongy bread that’s perfect for scooping up all the flavors. And speaking of flavors, the secret’s in the spice – they use this mix called berbere that really gives the dishes a kick​. Anyone looking for cool places to eat in Tucson – this is it!

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

Caffe Luce – Congress

Taking coffee roasting to new levels in Arizona, Caffe Luce uses only the finest 100% Arabica beans to create their signature blends and varietals. Their Espresso Luce, blended and roasted for the perfect latte with hints of dark chocolate and a wonderful caramel finish, is a standout item on their menu. Definitely, among some of the best places to eat in Tucson. Ask any coffee aficionado, and they’ll agree.CHURRASCO DE BRASIL BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE

a picture of four cream and jelly filled donuts
Donuts at Cal's Bakeshop (Photo courtesy of Cal's Bakeshop)

Cal’s Bakeshop

Breakfast at Cal’s is like no other, thanks to Caleb Orellana’s genius. He takes classic pastries and puts his own spin on them, crafting stuff like fluffy donuts, cronuts, and Danishes. The dough’s got a French touch, but the fillings are a global tour – think Mexico, Philippines, Europe, and beyond. Some of their star items? Brioche Donuts in wild flavors like Dulce de Ube and Ferraro Crunch, plus Croissant Donuts that’ll make your taste buds dance. And their pastry bundles? Absolute value for the taste and quality you’re getting.

(Photo courtesy of Cartel Roasting Co. on Broadway)

Cartel Roasting Co.

This local specialty coffee roaster-retailer offers house-made baked goods, expertly crafted coffee and tea, in a welcoming, relaxed environment. Head on over for Wi-Fi, quiet focus, deep work, and high-quality coffee experiences.

(Photo Courtesy of Casa Film Bar)

Casa Video and Film Bar

Casa Film Bar is a unique spot in Tucson, a haven for both film buffs and beer enthusiasts. As an extension of Tucson’s beloved Casa Video, a storied institution known for its eclectic collection of cult and international films, Casa Film Bar offers a lively ambiance with film-inspired theme nights and a vast selection of beers, featuring 20 draft taps and over 300 craft beer bottles.

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

Ceres Pasta

Ceres Pasta is the go-to spot in Tucson if you’re craving some ptent handmade pasta. The owner, Carolyn, couldn’t find pasta like she had back home in New York, so she started making her own. Now, she’s whipping up all kinds of cool stuff, like Red Wine Bucatini and Charcoal Tagliolini. Don’t forget to grab some fresh bread and a scoop of gelato while you’re there.

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

Charro Steak & Del Rey is brainchild of the pioneering Flores family, who know a thing or three about Mexican food. They specialize in top-shelf grass-fed beef, environmentally friendly seafood, and free-range poultry to cook up some fantastic dishes that really showcase the flavors of Sonora, Mexico. It’s one of the best farm and sea-to-table spots you’ll find in Tucson!

a close up of a plate of food
Jackfruit Taquitos at Charro Vida (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

Charro Vida

Charro Vida is all about tasty food that’s good for you and the planet. It’s a mix of Mediterranean and Sonoran flavors, so think whole grains, fresh veggies, and sustainable proteins. Plus, they’re helping out local schools by supporting gardening programs, which is pretty awesome.

a building with a store on the side of a road
(Photo courtesy of Che's Lounge on Facebook)

Che’s Lounge

Situated on Tucson’s hip Fourth Avenue, between the University of Arizona and downtown, Che’s Lounge is a vibrant mix of youthful energy and seasoned regulars. The bartenders are the stars of this show, concocting stiff, flavorful drinks and seasonal specialties. A great bar for live music, especially on Saturdays, and a perfect spot for people-watching​.

the interior of a steakhouse
Market Bar at Churrasco de Brasil (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Churrasco de Brasil Brazilian Steakhouse

This place takes you straight to Brazil with its awesome Churrasco cooking style. Think Brazilian cowboys (aka Gauchos) slow roasting all kinds of meats over fire pits. Plus, they’ve got a superb salad bar with over 30 items to choose from​. If you aren’t sure about Brazilian flavors yet, this is the place to go. You’ll not only fall in love with the flavors but also realize why it is among the best places to eat in Tucson, AZ.

a photo of food on a plate
Goat Cheese Tart at Commoner & Co. (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Commoner & Co.

Located right at the foot of the Catalina Mountains, Commoner & Co. is all about reinventing fine dining classics. It’s a great spot for happy hour or a fancy dinner date, and you can expect some exciting twists on your favorite dishes​.

a plate of food on a table
The Cork (Photo credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

The Cork

This ain’t your average steakhouse. Honestly, The Cork is now synonymous with good food in Tucson. This spot serves fierce steaks, fresh seafood, and fire cocktails with a southwestern spin. Join them for happy hour, and don’t skip the prime rib or their primo crab cakes.

a piece of cake on a plate with a fork
Vegan quiche at Coronet Cafe (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

Coronet Cafe

Coronet Cafe is a cool mix of classic and international cuisine. They’re big on ethical and local ingredients, and their menu changes with the seasons. Whether you’re vegan, gluten-free, or an omnivore, you’ll find something to love. And the best part? They encourage sharing, so you can try a bit of everything.

(Photo courtesy of Crave Coffee Bar on Facebook)

Crave Coffee Bar

Crave has been roasting up incredible coffee in Tucson since 2011. They’ve got a lovely selection of lattes (try the Black Pepper or Lavender) and they also whip up some tasty breakfast sammies and pastries. It’s a great spot for a caffeine fix and a bite in the morning

Pozole at Crossroads Restaurant (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Crossroads Restaurant

A must-see in Tucson, Crossroads Restaurant is known for its authentic Mexican cuisine served up in a family-friendly atmosphere. This family-owned and -operated establishment has been a staple for over 75 years, guaranteeing a delicious dining experience. One of their standout dishes is the Chiles Crossroads, featuring shrimp-stuffed chiles wrapped in bacon​. The bold flavors have earned the name among some of the best restaurants in Tucson.

Cup Cafe

This joint is a downtown staple and a total gem, serving up delicious food all day. The Cast Iron Baked Eggs and Brioche French Toast are must-tries, as well as their Huevos Rancheros. And their desserts? Absolutely divine. Make sure you snag a patio seat if you can – they’re in high demand!

Thai Curry Shrimp at Dante's Fire (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Dante’s Fire

Dante’s Fire is your go-to for late night Tucson bites and bevs. They’re whipping up everything from scratch, so you know it’s good. Check out the Shrimp Martini or the Chorizo Sliders, and don’t skip on the Stolen Burger – it’s a big hit. Got a sweet tooth? The Devil’s Chocolate Cake will sort you out. And wash it all down with a Cucumber Martini.

a growler of beer
Growler (Photo courtesy of Dillinger Brewing Company)

Dillinger Brewing Company

Dillinger is this cool little brewery hidden behind an office park. They’ve got a handful of top-notch beers on tap and the staff are super friendly. There’s also a food truck that shows up with some fantastic tandoori fish tacos. Explore the Tucson food scene with Tandoori fish tacos and beer. A combination you gotta try once!

a chocolate cake from dolce pastello in tucson
(Photo courtesy of Dolce Pastello)

Dolce Pastello

At Dolce Pastello, they really know their Tres Leches Cake. You’ve got marble, vanilla, chocolate – they’re all super tasty and moist. Plus, the folks working there are super helpful and nice. Definitely a must-stop when you’re on the hunt for Tucson desserts.

Dragoon Brewing Company

Dragoon is a laid-back brewery in a warehouse district. They’ve got a bunch of beers on tap, including the Munichorn, a German-style Dunkelweiss, and the popular Mesquite Porter. The bartenders know their stuff the spot exudes chill vibes, and food trucks stop by regularly.

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

El Charro Café Downtown

This place is a gem! It’s the oldest family-run Mexican restaurant in the U.S., dating back to 1922. They’re famous for their Carne Seca – sun-dried shredded beef that’s a real treat. If you’re into Mexican food, be sure to stop in!

El Chinito Gordo (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

El Chinito Gordo

Talk about a modern vibe. This spot blends traditional Mexican cuisine with a trendy twist. Their Chile en Nogada and Torta Ahogadas are supreme, but the real star might be their Churro Nachos. They’re so good, they should come with a warning label — “Warning: Dangerously Delicious!”

Sonoran Hot Dogs from El Guero Canelo (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

El Guero Canelo Restaurant – 12th Ave.

If you’re in Tucson and haven’t tried these Sonoran hot dogs, you’re missing out. Picture this: a bacon-wrapped dog topped with all kinds of goodness, served with the best sides. They even have a tamarind soda that’s the perfect chaser. Trust us — it’s worth the trip​!

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

El Minuto Cafe

This family joint in downtown Tucson has been dishing out Sonoran comfort food for 80+ years. We love their fajitas, enchiladas, and super-sized chimichangas. Their secret weapon, though, is a dish called “carne aseca” that virtually cannot be found anywhere else. And for an amazing appetizer, grab their monstrous cheese crisp – it’s like a pizza, but with cheese, cheese, and more cheese.

Costillas Nopales at El Taco Rustico (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

El Taco Rustico

Chef Juan Almanza’s spot is all about the smoky, juicy goodness of mesquite-fired meats, especially their crowd-pleasing quesabirria tacos. But don’t worry if you’re not a carnivore – they’ve got a tasty lineup of vegetarian and keto-friendly options too. Oh, and did we mention the tortillas? They’re grilled just right to hold all that flavor without falling apart.

El Torero vegan special
Vegan watermelon poke special (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

El Torero Restaurant

You might miss El Torero at first glance, but trust me, you don’t want to. This place serves magnificent Mexican food that’s as authentic as it gets. Their turkey with dark molé sauce is out of this world, and their topopo salad is a Tucson must-have​.

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

Elliott’s on Congress

Elliott’s is a cool hangout that does American grub with a twist. They’re crazy about duck here – duck sliders, duck club, you name it. Also, they infuse their own vodka, which is pretty rad. Don’t leave without trying their cheesecake. It’s legendary.

a bowl with a salmon salad
Salmon Salad at Ermanos (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Ermanos Bar

Run by brothers Mark and Eric Erman, Ermano’s is a captivating blend of innovative thinking and a commitment to quality. Its menu boasts hearty, well-prepared dishes, with dishes like the beer-battered Alaskan Pollack fish & chips and the 7oz Angus beef Zip Burger among the crowd favorites.

a picture of a coffee shop
EXO Roast Co. on Sixth Avenue (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Exo Roast Co. – 6th Ave.

Exo’s brings Tucson coffee to another level with a drink called the “Chiltepín Toddy.” It’s a chilled brew with Mexican chocolate and a hit of chiltepín pepper. Trust us, you haven’t tasted iced coffee like this before

a pizza sitting on top of a table
Pizza at Falora (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

Falora

If you’re a pizza lover, Falora’s your spot. They whip up awesome wood-fired pizzas in a traditional Napoli brick oven. Bonus points: they’ve got a ton of vegan options, including a surprisingly delicious cauliflower pizza and a sweet vegan dessert, the Sorta Torta​.

Fatman Kitchen (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Fatman Kitchen

Fatman Kitchen brings Shaanxi cuisine to Tucson with some serious pizzazz. Their Xian Oil Splashing Noodle is the bomb – stretchy handmade noodles topped with chili oil, raw garlic, and more. If you’re a spice lover, don’t miss their Pan Fried Lamb with Cumin. And the Cucumber with Garlic Sauce? It’s the perfect cooldown between spicy dishes​.

a picture of plates of food on a table
Seared Sea Scallops at Feast (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Feast

Looking for fun restaurants in Tucson with an innovative approach? Feast is this cool spot in the middle of Tucson where the menu is like a surprise every month, always fresh and new. The locals love it and you’ve gotta try their pork carnitas and spiced lamb meatloaf – they’re delicious!

Huevos Rancheros at 5 Points Market & Restaurant (Photo by Jackie Tran)

5 Points Market & Restaurant

Five Points is a cool spot that knows how to make good food in a fun way. It’s always packed, and once you taste their mind-blowing sticky bun or their Bandito Blanco breakfast (think potato pancake with ham and poached eggs), you’ll see why. They source locally and even have their own urban farm, which is pretty fabulous, if you ask us.

Summer Menu (Photo courtesy of Flora's Market Run)

Flora’s Market Run

This spot’s all about serving up good vibes and even better food, making everyday life feel like a celebration​. You gotta try their Margherita pizza, homemade pasta, and their light and tasty Bourbon Apple Panna Cotta. Don’t sleep on their chorizo mussels and crispy brussels either​

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

Forbes Meat Company

Forbes Meat Company is the ultimate butcher shop where the owner, Ben, knows his meat science inside out. They’ve got these meat boxes, like the Russell Box, filled with a whole lot of BBQ goodness (brisket, pork, ribs, you name it). The best part? All the meat is sourced from small family farms, so you know it’s premium quality. And if you’re into whiskey, Ben’s got some solid pairing suggestions for you​.

Frank’s Restaurant

This local diner’s not about frills, just great, affordable food. It’s the place to go for a hearty breakfast that doesn’t break the bank​​. Their huevos rancheros? A total game changer​. All-in-all, a must-visit for anyone seeking affordable dining experience with delicious food in Tucson, Arizona.

a burger and a few bottles of wine
Le Burger at Ghini's French Cafe (Photo credit: Adam Lehrman)

Ghini’s French Caffe

This spot’s been making the this city feel like Paris for over 20 years. Serving up breakfast all day, they’ve got dishes like Eggs Provençal and Croque Madame that are seriously delish. And, naturally, their Mimosas & Bloody Mary’s are perfect for a Tucson brunch with your crew.

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 is your go-to spot for local flavors, with Arizona beers, regional whiskeys, and a food menu that puts local ingredients center stage. Their standout dish? The Good Love Burger – a mouthwatering collab with Little Love Burger that’s just too good to miss​.

a plate of food on a table
Gourmet Girls (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Gourmet Girls Gluten Free Bakery/Bistro

Gourmet Girls is a homey, gluten-free bakery and bistro where everyone feels like family. Their menu is loaded with tasty options, but the cordon bleu sandwich, pulled pork sandwich, and quiche are real crowd-pleasers. And don’t forget to try their famous gluten-free pastries – seriously, they’re everywhere in town​.

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

HeeMee Coffee + Bakery

Tucked away on Congress Street, HeeMee’s got a cool, minimalist vibe and a pastry case full of tasty treats from around the world. Their Oreo matcha cake and Korean shaved ice (bingsoo) are incredible. And they serve some seriously good coffee to boot.

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

HighWire Tucson

Just a hop and skip behind Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market, HighWire’s got a chill space with live music and a menu that’s all about sharing. Their Chorizo Cheeseburger, Chips & Dip Trio, and Sonoran Fries are total crowd-pleasers. And don’t miss their Sunday brunch or their creative cocktails.

Photo Courtesy of Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery

HUB Restaurant & Ice Creamery

This is the place to be if you’re all about good vibes and great food. Their chicken pies and poke bowls are a dream, but let’s be real, it’s all about their caramel ice cream. They’ve also got a solid drink menu – from an ice cold martini to nice hot espresso, it’s all there.

India Oven (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

India Oven

This spot has been serving up some of the best Indian food in Tucson for over 25 years. It’s all about the Tikka Masala and garlic Naan here. Plus, they’ve got plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options, so there’s something for everyone.

The Jackrabbit Lounge (Photo credit: Mark Whittaker)

The Jackrabbit Lounge

Jackrabbit is all about that retro tiki room vibe. Their Spicy Korean Meatballs and Chicken Chestnut Lettuce Wraps are legit, and their Grilled Cheese Sandwich is a beast. But the real star of the show might be their fries – they’re a game-changer. Oh, and save room for their cheesecake – it’s a must.

Jewel's Noodle Kitchen (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Jewel’s Noodle Kitchen

Lesser known and definitely underestimated, this joint is some of the best and most authentic Chinese food in all of Tucson. Cold dishes, hot dishes, for you or to share — stop by and dig in!

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

Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market

Love sandwiches with a twist? Stop by the local downtown Tucson market and try Johnny’s Cubano, packed with spicy cubanaise and shredded pork, or the Laaamb Burger with a punch of curried eggplant. And don’t forget the Gibson’s Gunslinger, a burger with a BBQ kick. Maybe even get a little grocery shopping done while you’re there!

a photo of sushi on a plate
The Kazoku Roll (Photo courtesy of Kazoku Sushi)

Kazoku – Sushi & Japanese Cuisine

Craving sushi? Kazoku’s got you covered with their super fresh rolls and tasty tempura. Their miso soup is a hit, and their sashimi and beef teriyaki are must-tries. Plus, the staff are super friendly!

a picture of seafood on a plate
Salmon at KingFisher (Photo credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

Kingfisher

Kingfisher’s been a local fave for almost three decades, dishing out award-winning seafood and grill goodies. There’s new blood running the place now, but they’re keeping the vibe and the food quality just as awesome. It’s hard to pick just one star DISH, but the Macadamia Nut Crusted Hawaiian Fish definitely CAUGHT our attention…get it? No, seriously, get it.

Kon Tiki (Photo credit: Adilene Ibarra)

Kon Tiki Restaurant & Lounge

Kick back like it’s always summer at Kon Tiki, one of the oldest Tiki bars around. The Hawaiian vibes are strong, and the tropical cocktails are a must-try. Don’t miss out on Taco Tuesday – it’s a steal, but everything on the menu, from the burgers to the seafood, has that island flavor that’ll keep you coming back.

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

La Chaiteria

Revolutionizing the way people eat and enjoy food, La Chaiteria serves an explosion of Latin-inspired flavors on a plate. They are particularly known for their amazing vegan and vegetarian dishes. Their chalkboard menu is constantly evolving, but it features Latin-inspired dishes and an expanded latte menu with flavors like Mole, Horchata, Lavender, Mazapan, CBD, Saffron, and Chai, among others

Bandera from La Estrella (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

La Estrella Bakery Inc

At La Estrella Bakery in the Mercado, you’ll find more than your average baked goods – we’re talking an array of authentic Mexican pastries and tortillas. The mango empanada is a hit, and they even have vegan pastries. The prices are right, and the staff will help you navigate all the tasty options. Pro tip: get there early, especially on weekends, for the best picks

(Photo courtesy of La Indita Mexican Restaurant on Facebook)

La Indita

Swing by this joint for some marvelous Mexican and Southwestern grub. People can’t stop talking about their enchiladas, tamales, and chicken mole. And don’t skip their “Indian Taco” – it’s a crowd favorite loaded with all the good stuff like beans, beef, and red chile.

a picturee of breakfast pastries in tucson
Le Buzz Caffe (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Le Buzz

If you’re into cycling and good coffee, Le Buzz is your spot. They’re cooking up some tasty grilled paninis and their baked goods are next level. Got a sweet tooth? Try the apricot almond pastry or chocolate croissant. For something savory, the avocado toast or the simple pleasure of a baguette with jam hit the spot.

Le Rendez-vous (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Le Rendez-vous

Le Rendez-vous is your go-to spot for French cuisine in Tucson. They’ve got a bistro for smaller bites and a fancy dining area for a full-on foodie experience. Their Beef Wellington is legendary and the Grand Marnier Soufflé is a sweet dream. They mix it up with daily specials, so there’s always something new to try

a case full of donuts
Donuts (Photo courtesy of Le Cave's)

Le Cave’s Bakery

LeCave’s Bakery is a sweet-tooth’s dream with a bountiful selection of baked goods. The blueberry fritter and cinnamon roll are crowd favorites and they even keep the goodies coming into the late afternoon. So, no worries if you’re a late riser or a procrastinator – you won’t miss out on the best stuff​.

a picture of a burger
The Donkey Punch Burger at Lindy's (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Lindy’s on 4th

Your go-to for scrumptious burgers with an extra flavor kick from their special sauce. And if you think cheese curds with caramel dip sounds like a weird combo, just wait ’til you try it – it’s a game changer. Plus, the super friendly and upbeat staff make the whole experience better.

(Photo courtesy of Locale Neighborhood Italian on Facebook)

Locale Neighborhood Italian Restaurant

Locale is your go-to Italian spot in Tucson. It serves up classics with a twist, using local ingredients. You’ve gotta try their Seven-layer Lasagna and Pizza a’Taglio. Plus, they’ve got a wine bar and bakery – perfect for both morning coffee runs and evening wine chill-outs.

a close up of a sandwich and fries on a plate
Banh Mi Chikn sandwich (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

Lovin’ Spoonfuls Vegan Restaurant

Lovin’ Spoonfuls is all about delish vegan comfort food that even non-vegans rave about. Their menu is a fun mix of American classics and world cuisines, all meat-free. Don’t skip their Route 66 BLT burger or the sweet treats counter – they’ve got something for everyone, including gluten-free dessert options!

(Photo Courtesy of Maico Restaurant Mexican Food)

Maico Restaurant Mexican Food

This is a great spot if you’re craving Mexican food! They’ve got a wide range of items like tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and combination plates. Prices are pretty affordable, with most items under $10. They also offer big breakfast burritos, as well as a tremendous ceviche tostada if you’re in the mood for seafood.

President's Plate at Mi Nidito (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Mi Nidito Restaurant

Mi Nidito is a Tucson institution that’s been serving up superb Sonoran food since the ’50s. It’s got this cozy vibe that we just can’t get enough of. The menu is packed with winners like chile relleno and chimichangas, but the real star is “The President’s Plate” – it’s so good, even Bill Clinton had to try it. True story!

a circuit board
Bon Bons Monsoon Chocolate (Photo by Ryan Brownell)

Monsoon Chocolate

Monsoon Chocolate is your one-stop-shop for all things sweet in the desert. They make their own chocolate and they’ve got some wild flavors like Chile Mango and Mesquite-Smoked Whiskey Infused bonbons. But the real game changer? Their Mexican hot chocolate is great for winter, but you can order a frozen hot chocolate for those scorching summer days.

a dog and a beer
MotoSonora Brewing Company (Photo credit: Through the Hoop Photography)

MotoSonora Brewing Company

This is one of those Tucson breweries where beer lovers unite. This super chill spot in the desert was started by a bunch of craft beer fanatics. The brews are top-notch – check out the Belly Tank Blonde Ale and the Victory or Death IPA.

Noble Hops (Photo credit: Tucson Foodie)

Noble Hops

This spot is a total beer lover’s paradise with an amazing selection of craft brews. Plus, the views from the patio are totally Instagram-worthy. As for food, you gotta try their Fish and Chips, Carne Asada Tacos, or Steak and Frites. They’re all just drool-worthy​

Nook (Photo credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

Nook

Nestled downtown, Nook feels like your best friend’s super cozy kitchen, only with even more creative dishes. They’ve got everything from warm blueberry scones (yes, please!) to protein-packed carrot bread and heartwarming breakfast tamales. We can’t stop raving about their Godfather Benedict, Steak and Eggs, and Chocolate Chip Griddle Cakes. Definitely worth the visit!

Roasted Salmon at North Italia (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

North Italia

North Italia is a restaurant that delivers a handcrafted experience with passionate and dedicated staff. They use only the best ingredients to create consistently crave-worthy food, like their chef’s choice daily pizza and fresh pasta made from scratch daily. The North experience invites you to indulge in not just what you taste, but what you feel, making it a unique dining experience.

(Photo courtesy of Nosh Tucson)

Nosh Tucson: Catering & Bakery

A (Tucson) foodie’s paradise, NOSH is all about bold global flavors and mouthwatering treats. You simply must try their bourbon pecan pie or Oreo cheesecake. And if you’re a cookie monster, their cookie of the month club is about to be your new favorite social group.

Rainbow Poke Bowl at OBON (Photo by Jackie Tran)

OBON

If you’re into sushi and ramen, OBON is your spot. Their tonkotsu ramen is top-notch, loaded with pork belly and a slow-poached egg. Don’t miss their poke bowl and maki rolls, and wash it all down with one of their draft beers, select sakes, or wide array of craft cocktails.

Chicken Souvlaki Kabob at Opa's Best Greek American Cuisine (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Opa’s Best Greek American Cuisine

Swing by this family-run spot for some seriously good Greek grub. The house-made baklava is phenomenal, but don’t miss the slow-roasted lamb and souvlaki. Oh, and their grilled burgers are on point too…alright, it’s ALL good!

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

Owls Club

This Western bar in historic downtown Tucson is a total vibe. Their whiskey and wine lists are crazy good, and the place is decked out in stained glass and chandeliers. It’s classy, but not stuffy – just your neighborhood bar, but better.

Mesquite Smoked Salmon Salad at The Parish (Photo by Jackie Tran)

The Parish

If you’re up for trying some unique, generous-size dishes in a super fun atmosphere, The Parish is your spot. Their catfish is amazing, but don’t miss out on their Guedry’s Gumbo or their Chicken and Waffles. They’ve even got some awesome Brussels Sprouts and a juicy Watermelon Salad.

Kitchen closes 9pm Tues-Thurs/Sun, 10pm Fri-Sat. Closed Mondays

Pat's Drive-In Chili Dogs (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Pat’s Drive-In

This classic drive-in spot serves up awesome chili dogs and generous double burgers known as Big Pats. Grab some fries and a soda to complete your meal. It’s all-American food with a Southwestern kick​.

a picture of food on a plate
Albondigas at Penca (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Penca

If you’re craving authentic Mexican food, Penca is your place. They’ve got all the flavors from traditional Mexico City cuisine, plus an amazing selection of agave spirits. It’s downtown Tucson’s go-to restaurant for Mezcal, Sotol, Bacanora, and more.

(Photo courtesy of Piazza Gavi on Facebook)

Piazza Gavi

This Italian restaurant is known for its well-prepared dishes such as eggplant parmigiana, calamari, and garlic shrimps. We recommend trying the gelato, tiramisu, and cannolis. The restaurant also serves a range of fresh seafood, including shrimp, mussels, King Crab, scallops, and calamari

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

Playground Bar & Lounge

Playground is a chill downtown Tucson bar & grill with a rad rooftop view. They’ve got creative cocktails, tasty bites like flatbreads and burgers, and even VIP bottle service. It’s a great place to unwind after work or party into the night.

Up Til The Sunrise at Prep & Pastry (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Prep & Pastry

Playground is a chill downtown Tucson bar & grill with a rad rooftop view. They’ve got creative cocktails, tasty bites like flatbreads and burgers, and even VIP bottle service. It’s a great place to unwind after work or party into the night.

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

Presta Coffee Roasters – South Avenida del Convento

A cozy Tucson coffee shop that knows its way around a great cup of joe. They’ve got a sweet courtyard and some unique drinks like their fairy matcha with rose and raspberry. It’s a cool spot to chill with a strong espresso.

a picture of steak on a plate
Rib Eye Steak at PY Steakhouse (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

PY Steakhouse

Tucked in Casino del Sol, PY Steakhouse is a must-visit for meat lovers. Headed by Chef Eliana, this spot serves up scrumptious Short Ribs, Rib Eye, and Crab Cakes. Plus, the service and vibe are top-notch – this place gives even Vegas steakhouses a run for their money.

Jalapeno Jelly Scone from Raging Sage (Photo credit: Dana Sullivan)

Raging Sage Coffee Roasters

Raging Sage is a local fave for its awesome coffee and unique scones, including some cool vegan options. It’s a chill spot with a homey feel, set in a retro 1930-40s house. The baristas here know their stuff and always aim to please.

Tacos at Reforma (Photo credit: Tucson Foodie)

Reforma Modern Mexican

Fancy some tasty Mexican bites and magnificent margaritas? Check out Reforma. The shrimp tacos and queso dip are simply spendid, and if you’re into tequila and mezcal, you’re in for a treat. Their “celebrity” flight is a fun twist you gotta try.

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

Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink

Right in downtown Tucson, Reilly’s is all about modern Italian and artisan-style pizza. They make everything from scratch, including some awesome mushroom and fennel sausage pizzas. Plus, they’ve got a great beer menu and a cool outdoor garden.

a pizza sitting on top of a pan
Photo by Hannah Hernandez (Shroomy Goat at Renee's Tucson)

Renee’s Tucson

Renee’s, voted Tucson’s best pizza, is all about quality organic ingredients. They’ve got a ton of pizza options, plus salads, subs, and calzones. Everything tastes great, but their pizzas are top-notch. They even serve pasta if you’re in the mood for it​.

Interior of Revel Wine & Beer (Photo credit: Tucson Foodie)

REVEL

Revel is this cool, European-style bar with wines from all over, handpicked beers, and some tasty meat and cheese boards. It’s right between downtown and the 4th Avenue Shopping District, and it’s decked out in Parisian street art. It’s a great place to chill with friends and enjoy the good life.

(Photo courtesy of Roadrunner Coffee Co.)

Roadrunner Coffee Co. – W. Wetmore Rd.

A local hangout since 2008, Roadrunner Coffee Co. slings stellar espresso drinks, cold brews, teas, and energy drinks. Their breakfast burritos and sandwiches are a hit, and so are their lunch options and pastries. Oh, and they’ve got local beer on tap! Their Chicken Salad, Cinnamon Roll, and Bear Claw are definitely worth a try, too.

Deep dish at Rocco's Little Chicago (Photo credit: Mark Whittaker)

Rocco’s Little Chicago

Bringing a slice of the Windy City to Tucson, Rocco’s Little Chicago has been the go-to spot for authentic Chicago-style stuffed pizza since 1998. They fill their buttery crust with top-notch ingredients, and it’s all fresh. Their deep-dish pizza and wings? Off the charts. The staff is cool, the beer selection’s great, and if you’re into spicy wings, you’re in for a treat.

a picture of a torta in a tray
Picoso Spicy Fried Chicken Torta from Rollies Mexican Patio (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Rollies Mexican Patio

Known for its authentic Mexican cuisine, Rollies Mexican Patio is particularly famed for its rolled tacos, birria ramen, and award-winning birria tacos. The birria, traditionally a dish from Jalisco, Mexico, is made with beef in Tucson and is slow-cooked for 14 hours, offering a unique flavor that makes Rollies a must-visit destination​.

Roma Imports (Photo credit: Tucson Foodie)

Roma Imports

A go-to spot in Tucson for Italian deli and grocery needs. They’ve got everything from tasty lasagnas to hearty soups and pastas, all ready to heat and eat at home. They also whip up some mean sandwiches, like the Ultimate Roma and Matt’s Special, and you gotta try their beef lasagna or chicken parmesan over spaghetti. And don’t leave without grabbing a cannoli for dessert! Plus, they host these awesome Italian-style family dinners twice a year that you won’t want to miss.

Poppito Dip at Saguaro Corners (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Saguaro Corners Restaurant & Bar

A charming restaurant located near Saguaro National Park East, offering beautiful views of the desert vegetation through its large windows. The eatery provides a unique dining experience with live country and Western music, an open-pit fire that gives a camp-like aroma, and the occasional view of a pack of javelinas. Their chicken enchiladas, smothered in a creamy green sauce and a Mexican-cheese blend, accompanied by refried beans and rice, are particularly delectable.

a picture inside a crowded tucson bar
Saint Charles Tavern (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Saint Charles Tavern

Saint Charles Tavern is like the living room of South Tucson – a mix of folks, from retirees to bikers, all sipping on some top-notch drinks. They’ve got a rad beer garden with local art, pool, and live tunes. Plus, their Bloody Mary is super satisfying — perfect for those Sunday mornings when you need a little extra kick.

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

Seis Kitchen – Mercado

Seis Kitchen is a groovy spot that takes the usual order-at-the-counter gig and makes it extraordinary. You’ve got to try their tacos, especially the crispy fish and grilled shrimp ones, they’re wicked good. And don’t skip their Tres G Margarita – people swear it’s the best margarita in Tucson.

an overhead picture of pizza
The Bone Collector Pizza at Serial Grillers (Photo courtesy of Serial Grillers)

Serial Grillers – Speedway Blvd.

Serial Grillers started out as a food truck and quickly became a big hit. Now they’ve got a regular spot where they’re cooking up some of the tastiest comfort food around. They’ve got a ton of fun themed dishes, but the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” pizza is a real crowd-pleaser. It’s got a tangy white BBQ sauce, chicken, tomatoes, jalapenos, and a perfect cheese blend — dangerously delicious, if you ask us.

Curry Lamb at Sher-E-Punjab (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Sher-e-Punjab

Sher-e-Punjab is Tucson’s finest homestyle cuisine of India and is conveniently located at Grant and First. With delivery, dine-in and take-out options, they have something for everyone.

Sidecar (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Sidecar

This cool neighborhood bar has some wicked cocktails. If you’re a fan of the classics with a twist, try the “Prohibition” sidecar, or the “Americana” for a bourbon-filled surprise.

a picture outside a bar
(Photo courtesy of Sky Bar on Facebook)

Sky Bar

A solar-powered cafe by day and astronomy bar by night. Don’t miss their crazy good Galactic Jungle Juice, nor their Low Hanging Fruit cocktail is one you’ve definitely gotta grab…get it?

(Photo courtesy of St. Mary's Mexican Food)

St. Mary’s Mexican Food

A legit spot for Mexican food. They’ve got superb Sunday specials like Menudo/Pozole and all-day breakfast burros. Check out their burritos, tacos, and chimis too. The combo plates let you sample a bit of everything, and the St. Mary’s style nachos are next level.

a picture of musicians on stage
Live music, burlesque shows, and more (Photo courtesy of The Surly Wench)

Surly Wench Pub

This spot isn’t just a bar but also a venue that embraces a diverse crowd without judgment or prejudice, making it a unique hideaway for those who appreciate their weirdness. They’ve got some seriously tasty grub like their Mom’s Tacos or Elote Nachos — they’re made with love and seriously satisfying.

an overhead photo of dim sum
Dim Sum at Sushi Lounge (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Sushi Lounge

Not your typical sushi joint! They’re famous for their dim sum, freshly made for each order. It’s so good that many visit the spot just for that!

Sashimi Salad at Sushi on Oracle (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Sushi On Oracle

This place is a hidden gem in Tucson. Besides serving some of the best sushi in town, they also have miso cod and awesome tuna sashimi. Can’t miss their spicy lobster roll – it’s fantastic!​

Tacos Apson (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Tacos Apson – S. 12th Ave

When it comes to tacos in Tucson, Tacos Apson is one of the kings. This food truck is all about classic Sonoran cooking. Their asada and pastor tacos are top notch, but you gotta try their lengua or cabeza if you’re feeling adventurous. The owner, Francisco, knows how to throw a taco party!​

a plate of food and a bottle on a table
Custom Vegan Combo Plate from Tania's 33 (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

Tanias 33

Get ready for a cheese fiesta at Tanias 33! Their homemade quesadillas are a must-try, packed with oozy melted cheese or their special vegan queso​​. And don’t forget to grab their huge, crunchy Cheese Crisps or Vegan Cheese Crisps – totally shareable, if you’re feeling generous!

(Photo courtesy of Tap & Bottle)

Tap & Bottle – North

If you’re a beer fanatic, Tap & Bottle is your place. They’ve got a mega collection of beers, from drafts to bottles, even meads and sours. It’s got a cool, laid-back vibe that’s perfect for chilling with a cold one.

Fish Tacos from Taqueria Pico de Gallo (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Taqueria Pico de Gallo

This spot serves up some serious tacos and tamales that will blow your mind. Their fish tacos are pure freshness in a bite and their mango/pineapple juice is a refreshing curveball.

Tavolino Ristorante Italiano (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Tavolino Ristorante Italiano

This place is top-notch Italian. Homemade pasta, wonderous wine list, and the best Branzino and Penne al Funghi you’ll ever have. Their gelato? Fresh daily and totally delightful!

Photo courtesy of The Coronet

The Coronet

Super chill staff, interesting menu, and the best outdoor hangout spot in Tucson. Their spicy green curry, green goddess salad, and smoked bleu cheese salad are all a must. Plus the wine list is pure perfection

(Photo courtesy of The Delta)

The Delta Bar & Grill

Picture a cool New Orleans vibe with food that’s off the charts. Cornbread Skillet, Ink Pasta with Shrimp, and Muffaletta are all standouts. The smoky scent of ribs is irresistible. And their cocktails are knock-your-socks-off good — especially the Miss Nellie’s Veranda and Mississippi Lane.

Duck a L’orange Tacos & Frybread Beignets at The Dutch (Photo credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

The Dutch – DAM Good Food

Run by a Dutch chef, this place is all about cozy vibes and fantastic food. You can watch them whip up your 5 or 7 course meal. The Dutch Apple Pie, Chicken Salad Croissantwich, Fish and Chips, and Duck Tacos are standouts.

(Photo courtesy of The Gardens Bar)

The Gardens at Bear Canyon

Known for its diverse menu, The Gardens Bar and Grill serves up delicious dishes like pork sandwiches, pizza, honey wings, BBQ pork, buffalo wings, and much more. They also have a great selection of burgers, and the pulled pork and the fried apples have a lot of ardent fans.

a picture of lamb on a plate
Rack of Lamb at Hacienda del Sol (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

The Grill at Hacienda Del Sol

Old-world charm meets stunning views at this spot. They serve up fresh New American Cuisine, and their wine list is impressive. They’ve won a bunch of awards for things like “Best Brunch” and “Best Dining with a View.”

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

The Little One

This lively breakfast and lunch spot is a go-to for colorful Mexican cuisine. You’ve gotta try their fresh juice and kickin’ huevos rancheros. If you’re veggie or vegan, they’ve got you covered too – the tamale de elote and “Gigantic Vegan Tostada” are real winners. Plus, they’re all about the community, supporting local charities and good causes.

an overhead photo of flatbread pizzas
Photo courtesy of The Monica)

The Monica

Brought to you by the Flores Concepts group, The Monica serves up a mix of family recipes in a cool, relaxed setting. Their menu is diverse – think artisanal pizzas, breakfast toasts, and tamale bowls. And, if you’re up for a drink, they’ve got a full bar and a pretty sweet happy hour from 3-6 p.m. weekday.

Mesquite Smoked Salmon Salad at The Parish (Photo by Jackie Tran)

The Parish

The Parish is this Southern-style gastropub that has a real down-home feel. It’s got a bit of Louisiana, Texas, and Arizona all mixed into one. If you’re into Cajun and Creole, this is your place. Their shrimp pasta, fish & chips, and roasted quail are off the charts. Plus, they’ve got craft beers, wines, and other drinks, and their desserts – especially the bread pudding and apple pie – are the real deal.

a bowl of food on a table
Spinach Dip at The Red Light Lounge (Photo by Isaac Stockton)

The Red Light Lounge at the Downtown Clifton

Nestled in the Downtown Clifton Hotel, this place rocks with fabulous fry breads and a South African sausage dish that’ll knock your socks off. On top of that, their house cocktails are top-notch and easy on the wallet. Try the Beau Brummell for a flavor-packed surprise.

a picture of the interior of the royal room in tucson
The Royal Room (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

The Royal Room

What started as a wine and charcuterie spot has evolved into a foodie’s paradise. Their brunch is legendary (the Chawanmushi is a must), and their coffee cocktails are a wild ride. Grab the Edna sandwich if you’re feeling peckish – it’s a flavor-packed blend of prosciutto, Spanish chorizo, and salami​.

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

Scented Leaf Tea House – Congress St.

The Scented Leaf is a unique tea house located in Tucson, Arizona, known for its wide variety of tea options, including in-house tea service, loose leaf tea in bulk, and the super innovative “teas-on-tap” system which is exactly what it sounds like. It has a warm and inviting ambiance which makes it a popular spot among locals and visitors.

a picture of the exterior of a bar
(Photo courtesy of The Shelter Bar on Facebook)

Shelter Bar

Shelter Cocktail Lounge is like stepping into a time machine back to the 60s. It’s decked out with all sorts of funky decor from JFK memorabilia to velvet paintings. The vibe is totally retro and they’re always showing 60s B movies and spinning old tunes. The bartenders there can mix up any cocktail you can think of, but their retro drinks are where it’s at. It’s the perfect place to kick back with a martini and shoot the breeze with the locals.

a close up of a sandwich on a cutting board with a cake
Thunder Bacon Burger (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Thunder Bacon Burger Co.

A new spot by Lindon “Lindy” Reilly, who used to run Lindy’s on 4th. They’ve got awesome diner-style burgers with fun options like the Thunderkush Burger (complete with fire-roasted green chili, smoked bleu cheese, bacon, and raspberry preserves) and the 520 Burger (packed with fire-roasted green chili, Pepper Jack cheese, bacon, and Thunder Sauce on a chorizo patty).

Pastries at Time Market (Photo credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

Time Market

A staple in Tucson since 1920, Time Market offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a cozy, welcoming environment with indoor and outdoor seating options. You’ve gotta try their Coppa Sandwich, as well as their Everything Croissant, which is like a croissant and an everything bagel had a delicious baby.

An overhead picture of seafood on a plate
Striped Bass at Tito & Pep (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Tito & Pep

This place is all about good vibes and great Southwest-inspired grub. Tito and Pep is a laid-back bistro in the heart of Tucson, famous for its mesquite-fired dishes and creative cocktails. Their Queso Fundido is cheesy heaven, and the Grilled Octopus is a must-try. Don’t skip the Churro French Toast for dessert, it’s next-level delicious.

Tohono Chul Garden Bistro (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Tohono Chul Garden Bistro

Imagine having brunch in a lush garden, that’s what Tohono Chul is all about. This spot offers fresh, seasonal dishes that scream local flavors. You’ve got to try the Blue Corn Vegan Tostadas and the Marinated Shrimp Tacos. And if you’ve got room, the Blueberry French Toast is pretty epic. Their Derby Verde cocktail is also a refreshing treat.

Teas & Treats at Transit Tea (Photo credit: Adam Lehrman)

Transit Tea

Run by a tea guru named Manish Shah, this spot is a hit for its refreshing and vegan-friendly drinks. They’ve recently revamped their menu to include stuff like an herbal adaptogen blend tea (no caffeine but gives you energy) and a special matcha for a caffeine kick. They’re even getting into the energy drink game with drinks like Moxie, Focus, Happy, and Chill, each with a different vibe. Bonus: they now open at 7 a.m. on weekdays.

Oysters at Trident Grill (Photo credit: Addie Ibara)

Trident Grill

Trident Grill is your go-to spot for hearty eats. They’re all about those half-pound Angus and Brisket blend burgers. And if you’re up for a foodie dare, take on the Navy SEAL challenge: four beef patties, heaps of toppings, and a mountain of fries – all free if you finish in 15 minutes.

Tucson Hop Shop taproom (Photo by Jackie Tran)

Tucson Hop Shop

If craft beer is your jam, you can’t miss the Tucson Hop Shop. They’ve got a wide selection on tap and in the bottle cooler, plus the staff knows their brews inside out. Swing by for chill vibes, live tunes, and food trucks. Bonus: it’s right by a sweet bike trail, so you can work off those beers after!

(Photo courtesy of Tucson Tamale Company on Facebook)

Tucson Tamale Company

This place is a tamale heaven! They’ve got all kinds of tamales you can imagine, and trust me, they’re all super tasty. Don’t forget to try their salsas too, they’re pretty amazing. Plus, if you’re vegan or gluten-free, they’ve got you covered​.

(Photo courtesy of Tuk Tuk Thai on Facebook)

Tuk Tuk Thai

If you’re into Thai food, you’ve gotta check out Tuk Tuk. Their menu is massive, but the summer rolls and pad see ew are real winners. The staff knows their stuff and can help you out if you’re new to Thai food. Just a heads up, parking might be a bit tricky, but the food is totally worth it.

a plate of food sitting on top of a wooden table
Tumerico on 4th (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

Tumerico – 4th Ave

Tumerico is the spot for some seriously good Mexican and Latin food. They specialize in vegetarian and vegan options — although if we didn’t tell you what they were, you’d never know the difference. The house carnitas and Ropa Vieja are must-tries. The portions are huge, so get hungry and ready to chow down!

(Photo courtesy of the Tuxon Hotel)

Tuxon – The Pool Bar at The Tuxon

Sip and dip! Chill out at The Tuxon’s Pool Bar! It’s all about Southwest-inspired food and drinks, perfect for a poolside hangout. Enjoy Tucson’s vibes with every bite and bev!​

Short Rib at Union Public House (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Union Public House

Good food and good times! Get ready for some amazing American grub made from local ingredients. Don’t miss their hot pretzels, chicken and waffles, or fish ‘n’ chips, and definitely check out their craft cocktails.

a close up of a pepperoni pizza sitting on top of a pan
(Photo Courtesy of Upper Crust Pizza)

Upper Crust Pizza

This is pizza paradise! Go crazy customizing your pizza or try their wicked specialty options. They’ve got everything from the meat-lover’s Carnivore to the Veggie delight. Oh, and don’t forget to leave room for their homemade lasagna and dreamy desserts like cannoli and cheesecake.

(Photo courtesy of Vero Amore on Swan)

Vero Amore – Swan

If you’re a pizza lover, Vero Amore is your spot. They’re all about the real-deal Neapolitan pizza, even bringing in Roma tomatoes straight from Italy. Don’t miss their homemade lasagna – it’s a crowd-pleaser​. Whether you are a local or just visiting, Vero Amore is a must place to eat in Tucson, Arizona. At least once!

a picture of seafood on a plate
Shrimp & Crab Cakes at Vivace (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Vivace Restaurant

Vivace keeps it simple but delicious. Their Osso Buco is the bomb – veal shanks in a tasty veggie-tomato sauce over rice. Plus, you get to scoop out the bone marrow, which is pretty neat.​ Their menu and the chic ambiance makes it one of the best dinner spots in Tucson. Plan a solo, couple or even a family date here – you surely won’t regret it!

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

Westbound

Westbound is known for its chill vibes and awesome selection of craft beers, wines, and spirits. It’s got an outdoor courtyard setup, so it’s a great place to kick back when the weather’s good. One of those nice places to eat in Tucson that has ‘good time’ written all over.

Salmon Shrimp at Wild Garlic Grill (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Wild Garlic Grill

This chill family-run spot is where French cooking meets Southwest and Cali flavors. It’s got an open kitchen, an awesome array of food from steaks to salads, and the garlic Swiss fondue with sourdough bread is just sensational. Any restaurant that celebrates garlic – the right way, deserves to be among the best food places in Tucson.

a picture of food in a bowl on a table
Spinach Pappardelle at Wildflower (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Wildflower

Wildflower is a modern American restaurant in Tucson, inspired by flavors from all over the world. They are a local Tucson favorite known for globally inspired flavors and dishes that come made to order with a dash of nostalgia and comfort. Their classic American cuisine includes popular dishes like Spinach Pappardelle and Braised Beef Short Rib.

Zemam's (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Zemam’s Ethiopian Cuisine – Z Street

This place is one of Tucson’s best-kept secrets! Zemam’s is all about casual, yet delicious Ethiopian and Middle Eastern food served in a cozy, converted house. The star of the show is their Zemam Plate. You get to try three different “wat” stews, all scooped up (by hand) with their soft sourdough crepe. It’s a tasty adventure for sure​.

Birria Pizza at Zio Peppe (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Zio Peppe

This Italian restaurant stands out for its fusion of tradition and innovation, offering a playful, yet gourmet dining experience. It’s like being at a dinner hosted by your fun-loving uncle. The “Wolf and Shrimp Linguine” with durum semolina and wolfberry pasta, and “El Rustico Birria” pizza with Chef Juan Almanza’s legendary beef birria, are unbeatable.

Breakfast Pizza at Zona 78 (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Zona 78

Zona 78 is all about taking Italian classics and making them even better. They hand-make everything from pizza to cheese with the freshest local ingredients. You’ve got to try the Thai chicken and Tuscan pizzas, and the homemade blue cheese is next-level. Round it off with a fresh strawberry salad, and that’s a meal, right there!

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