In 2015 UNESCO designated Tucson a “City of Gastronomy”. With its agricultural heritage, it’s no surprise that we were granted such an honored title! Sonoran-style Mexican food is a big draw for locals and visitors alike. Fare like Sonoran dogs, fry bread, carne seca, and reposados are favored. Beyond the traditional cuisine, Tucson boasts several Zagat and Michelin-star rated restaurants in the downtown and surrounding area. From Italian to Ethiopian, anything your taste buds desire can be found here. We’ve rounded up some of the best restaurants in the area to inspire your palate.
Located on historic Fourth Avenue, this beer and wine bar has an impressive list of curated beers and wines. They serve appetizers, mains, and desserts–and check out their special late night menu.
INSIDER TIP: Guests can enjoy sitting out on the back patio during the cooler months.
Located in the heart of the Historic Presidio District of Downtown Tucson and tucked inside the walls of Old Town Artisans, you will find the beautiful courtyard restaurant that is LaCo Tucson.
INSIDER TIP: LaCo has an outdoor stage where they feature both local and national artists on Thursday – Sunday each week. Check their website for upcoming events.
New American cuisine with a twist. Handcrafted cocktails and locally sourced ingredients, and a seasonally based menu are the main focus at this upscale spot.
INSIDER TIP: This is one of the best places to get fresh oysters in Tucson.
Chef Maria Mazon offers Fresh, Original Mexican Tacos, Salsa y Tequila. Outpost for modern Mexican fare, imaginative salsas and local craft beers with a dog-friendly patio in the heart of Tucson. Chef Maria is a James Beard semi-finalist and has appeared on Top Chef.
INSIDER TIP: Chef Maria offers new fresh salsas daily so be sure look for what is trending today!
The Nation’s Oldest Mexican Restaurant in continuous operation by the same family. Traditional Tucson-style Mexican food with vegetarian and vegan friendly options.
INSIDER TIP: Make reservations well in advance. El Charro usually has a wait.
A historic 1860’s adobe style building turned into a classic American cafe. The restaurant has romantic atmosphere with an Art Nouveau swag.
INSIDER TIP: Live jazz can be enjoyed on Sunday afternoons.
Penca Restaurante offers a fine dining experience in Downtown Tucson with Central Mexico Cuisine, a Small-Batch Mezcal Bar and Outdoor Patio.
INSIDER TIP: Penca offers many vegan and vegetarian options. Try the Vegan Chile Relleno: Roasted poblano chile, sautéed spinach, mushroom, squash, amaranth on a creamy cashew tomato salsa. Yum!
Located next to Tucson’s historic railway depot, Maynards is a Zagat rated restaurant with a takeaway counter, a gourmet shop, bar, and eatery with seasonal American fare.
INSIDER TIP: For special occasions, book a seat at the Chef’s table.
The Coronet Restaurant, Nightjar and Cafe. Coronet Restaurant located in a beautiful and historic 160 year old building, is where classic sensibility meets international cuisine. On the same property you will find Nightjar, a craft cocktail bar focused on culinary inspired expressions. And don’t miss the lovely little counter service Cafe. It’s a place where guests can enjoy honest fare made with integrity, sustainable proteins, and local ingredients whenever possible..
INSIDER TIP: Check out their calendar for interesting movie and entertainment eventsQ