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

Yelp’s Top 25 Places to Eat in Tucson (2023)

Updated November 9, 2023

“If you’re looking to hit all the high notes of the Tucson dining scene, you’ve come to the right place,” Yelp shared in its latest list of Top 25 Places to Eat in Tucson. “This collection is packed with some of the tastiest, most highly-rated restaurants around.”

Methodology: To determine Yelp’s Top Places to Eat in Tucson in 2023, they identified businesses in the restaurants category, then ranked those spots using a number of factors including the total volume and ratings of reviews between Summer 2022 and Summer 2023. This list looked at businesses in and around the Tucson area. All businesses were marked open on Yelp as of October 1, 2023. When available, all businesses on this list have a passing health score as of October 1, 2023.

The following restaurants are sorted by Yelp’s ranking.

Tacos at La Chaiteria (Photo by Jackie Tran)

Tumerico on 6th Street

The food at Tumerico is exclusively vegetarian and vegan; however, truth be told, if you didn’t know that beforehand you would be hard-pressed to taste the difference. Generous portions of flavor-packed beans, rice, and veggies unite to create a lunch that will fill you up with all the good stuff – and you’ll probably have some leftovers for later.

Shelby Benedict (Photo credit: Isaac Stockton)

Baja Cafe – Broadway

Baja Cafe includes some Tucson favorites on its menu: tortillas from La Mesa Tortilla, prickly pear from Cheri’s Desert Harvest, and at the Campbell location, beer from Dragoon Brewery. The owners also frequent Hatch, New Mexico, where they source their green chilies before roasting them in-house.

Photo Courtesy of Buendia Breakfast & Lunch Cafe

Buendia Breakfast and Lunch Café

If you’re looking for a class breakfast experience, there’s plenty of that on the menu, but if you’re in the mood to try something unique, give the Buendia’s Poblano Pepper Stuffed with Corn Tamale and Cheese. You’ll go home with a smile just as big as the one you were greeted with when you arrived.

Empanadas at Che Cafe (Photo by Mark Whittaker)

Che Cafe Empanadas Argentinas

Che Cafe opened in October of 2022 to almost immediate acceptance and applause. In an area surrounded by plenty of fast-food options, a family-run restaurant that offers up enticing empanadas is a big relief for not just your budget but your belly as well.

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

Barista Del Barrio

Known for serving some of the best breakfast burritos in town, Barista de Barrio is also prized for its excellent coffee. Instead of a single massive burro, you get two smaller breakfast burritos in each order — perfect for sharing.  The custom-spiced chorizo is the star here, though be warned: It is on the spicier side, as is the salsa. Vegetarian and vegan options are on offer too, plus a wide range of coffee drinks.

a close up of a sandwich on a plate
Midtown Vegan Deli & Market (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

Midtown Vegan Deli & Market

If you’re headed to Midtown, don’t forget to bring your appetite and your reusable grocery bags. This spot has everything from vegan burgers and salads to sweet treats, plus a fully-stocked selection of vegan groceries to take home with you.

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

The Parish

The Parish Southern Fusion Gastropub draws its restaurant inspiration from Southern comfort, hospitality, and community. The Tucson restaurant’s fare and namesake are inspired by the culinary influences of its three owners that span from Louisiana to Texas to Arizona.

a close up of a plate of food on a table
Cauliflower Sandwich at Zayna's Mediterranean (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

Zayna Mediterranean Restaurant

Regardless of the time of day, Zayna’s crispy Cauliflower, Falafel Sandwiches, Grape Leaves, Salads, and other delectable options hit the spot.

a close up of food
Vegan Donuts at Houlden's Rise Above (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

Houlden’s Rise Above

Houlden’s Rise Above is a dedicated vegan bakery known for its warm atmosphere and wide array of vegan treats, The bakery, boasting an array of savory turnovers, flaky bear claws, creamy cheesecakes, and more, serves as a haven for both vegans and non-vegans, offering unique options unlike any others.

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

Coronet Cafe

At Coronet Cafe, the driving force remains a deep love for food and creating memorable experiences. Serving up meticulously sourced ingredients and a commitment to sustainability showcase the dedication of their staff, the collaborative genius of this team is evident on the plate and in the environment they create, where everyone is cared for as they savor intentional — and tasty — food and drinks. There are always a few vegan options on the menu, but be sure to ask for specials, and don’t think twice about trying their Shakshuka.

Diego and Frida Chilaquiles (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Frida’s Café

The breakfast and lunch spot is fairly new to the local food scene, opening its doors in December 2021. Browse the menu and you’ll find something to spend time with, much like the Huevos Rancheros, Hummingbird Omelette, or the classic BLT. 

Bánh mì sandwich at Banhdicted (Photo by Mark Whittaker)

Banhdicted

You really can’t go wrong with a banh mi sandwich and the ones that emerge from Banhdicted are always smile-inducing. It has to be because Vongtheung exudes that manner of jubilance. If you’re happy while you’re cooking, people can always taste it. Banhdicted is also known for its array of soothing smoothies, raw juices, and tasty teas.

a slice of pizza
Photo courtesy of Penelope Pizza

Penelope Pizza

It was a chance meeting with the owner of Cartel Coffee, who ironically had a large wood-fired oven inside the coffee shop, that got things rolling forward with the Penelope Pizza concept. From pizzas to monthly pasta nights, it’s a must-visit in downtown Tucson.

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

Tito & Pep

The restaurant proudly features a mid-century modern aesthetic with mid-century cookbook-inspired paintings, teal booths, and warm pendant lamps. The space is inviting enough to show up for a casual dinner but nice enough to visit for a special occasion. While the restaurant aims to serve as a neighborhood bistro, the service is high-end restaurant-worthy.

Carne Asada Tacos at The Quesadillas (Photo by Jackie Tran)

The Quesadillas

Follow the trail of intoxicating mesquite smoke to find The Quesadillas, 2418 N. Craycroft Rd., hidden north of the Circle K at Craycroft Road and Grant Road. It’s easy to dismiss it as just another Mexican fast-food joint but don’t make that mistake. For variety, we recommend Carne Asada QuesadillaPollo Asado QuesadillaVeggie QuesadillaAl Pastor Taco, and Carne Asada Taco.

 

(Photo Courtesy of Taqueria Juanitos)

Taqueria Juanitos

Juanito’s Al Pastor is packed with flavor from a variety of chiles with pineapple-citrus sweetness and acidity. The Carne Asada and Cabeza are also local favorites.

La Botana on Wetmore Road (Photo by Matt Sterner)

La Botana Tacos

While chicharrones at the grocery store are the puffy fried pork rinds, the Chicharrones at La Botana are fried bits of pork—think miniature pork belly cubes. The meat is pleasantly chewy, while the fat melts in your mouth with a smokiness more akin to char-grilled meat than to bacon.

a plate of food
Taco Rico (Photo courtesy of Discover Marana)

Taco Rico

A local favorite taco truck located off the beaten path in Southern Marana, with excellent authentic creations made from family recipes! Enjoy tacos, burritos, and quesadillas; and on the weekend, Birria tacos, Quesabirrias, and Birria Bowls! Taco Rico is unique among other places in Marana for serving Birria.

a picture of bagels
(Photo courtesy of Bubbe's Fine Bagels on IG)

Bubbe’s Fine Bagels

Back in the Fall of 2020, longtime Pizza Luna employee, Kyle Leuer, along with his partner Becca Groff, approached Marc and Tracy Frankel — owners of Pizza Luna — about the bagel concept and have since helped them move forward with their plans. The idea of opening the shop really took off after making bagels from leftover pizza dough.

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

El Taco Rustico

Recommendations: Get the glorious slow-grilled Costilla beef rib, the bacon-and-oniony Bistek Encebollado, and the wonderfully seasoned Calabacitas.

a plate of food with a slice of pizza
Turkish Grill House (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Turkish Kebab House

Also, if Turkish Kebab House sounds familiar it’s because it used to be named Turkish Grill House — a restaurant that opened earlier this year, sharing the same building as Old Times Kafe. You need to try the Ali Nazik Kebab — roasted beef, eggplant, yogurt, butter, garlic, tomato, and jalapeño. Eggplant, Yogurt, butter, garlic, Tomato. Don’t be afraid of that jalapeño hanging out along the edge of the plate because the flavors throughout the dish extinguish the heat nicely.

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

Opa’s Best Greek American Cuisine

Chef and owner Qais Esar owns and operates the restaurant with his brother and chef Nawid Esar, and both have their share of knowledge in the kitchen. For instance, they grew up with available meats from their uncle provided, who worked at least 40 years as a butcher. Much of what you’ll find on the menu offers the standard fare such as hummus, dolmades, flaming saganaki, pita sandwiches, braised lamb shank, souvlaki, moussaka, pastitsio, and more.

a picture of asian food
Asian Spice (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Asian Spice

If you’re a fan of Asian cuisine, Asian Spice is your jam. The chef, Phillip Tan, used to cook at a luxury hotel in Hong Kong, so you know he knows his stuff. From Chinese food that feels like home to exotic Singaporean noodles and Vietnamese dishes, this place is a treasure trove of Asian flavors​.

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

Raptor Canyon Cafe

Husband-and-wife team Dennis and Konni Calello operate the family-owned restaurant along with their sons Ken and Frank Calello.

An interest in birds of prey drew them to Arizona and has inspired this homestyle cafe. The menu focusses on breakfast, lunch, and baked goods.

Locally roasted coffee and the smell of freshly baked cookies will greet you on entering — don’t leave without a stack of the warm, sugary treats.

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

CRUDA Mariscos & Oyster Bar

Owners of The Neighborhood opened up the new concept La Chingada Cocina Mexicana in 2021 and then most recently added CRUDA to the neighborhood, so to speak, in 2022. Let’s talk about their tacos. One, in particular, is the Tacos Gobernador, which involves crispy grilled corn tortillas sandwiched with melted cheese. Then, you’ve got the option to fill it with either marlin, manta, or a combo of shrimp and scallops.

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