Agree with prior posts RE:
Janos / Janos J-bar at Westin La Paloma: Cafe Poca Cosa downtown : Ventana room at Loews Ventana resort. I & my wife also like the Az. Inn where the ambiance of Old Tucson is a little better than the food. If you go here walk the grounds sit and enjoy awhile it is beautiful.
Where do I begin.
So I think people have already mentioned Cafe Poca Cosa so I will second and third that recommendation. I will tell you that you will never have Mexican food like this anywhere else. It is by far the one of the best restaurants in Tucson. You need to make a reservation and I would do it soon because they are always busy, especially during the holidays.
Any of the Fox Concepts restaurants are a good meal, Blanco, North, Wildflower. Of them I like Wildflower the best.
If you like greek food I recommend Athen's of Fourth. I love there saganaki(SP?)!!
For Southwestern food there is no place better then The Grill at Hacienda Del Sol: http://www.haciendadelsol.com/grill/i.... Wonderful atmosphere and fantastic food. If you like meat then get the buffalo, it is so lean, it basically melts in your mouth. This is my favorite restaurant in Tucson. It is tucked into this desert environment, just spectacular.
If you like Japanese food then you need to go to Yoshimatsu. Really good bento boxes and their sushi is fantastic as well.
For Italian look no further than Tavolino.
I could go on and on, I hope this helps.
For a great steak, try the filet mignon at El Corral - www.elcorraltucson.com - on River Road in the north part of town. It's a great meal in a comfortable old building atmosphere, and amazingly still priced at $12. You might consider getting there early, since they tend to get full.
For higher-end, I'd also suggest the Ventana Room. I did a review, about 11 mos. ago, and have another in progress from last weekend. Older one: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/349873
We tend to do the fine-dining scene, when we're there, so I do not have recs. for the other price ranges.
Other than Ventana Room, we also love Janos, at the La Paloma Resort. Seems that I've done a coupe of reviews, but they were probably before CH re-did their site, and they are now lost. Great food, service and wine - especially the wine.
Some day, we'll actually have a spare moment in Tucson and experience the city. So far, we always have a full card, before we go down, and always hurry back for some event in Phoenix.
re: Bill Hunt
Bill, may I suggest a couple of must-dos when you have the time to poke around? These places are well below your price-pt-wine-list radar, but their food is unique, and outstanding:
1. Plan a visit to the Sonoran-Desert Museum around lunch or dinner at the Ocotillo Cafe there. (Check their web site for hours, which vary with the seasons.) They have a seafood salad that sounds like a ghastly melange, but is incredibly delicious.
2. Feast is a small, simple place, but has very creative dinners, and it's fun to poke around his retail area (wine wall, condiment shelves, etc.)
3. Poca Cosa - Mexican as you've never had it before, anywhere. Get the "plato" of the day.
Thank you for the recs. We did visit the SDM, but I do not recall the Ocotillo Cafe. I will definitely go next trip.
We love Mexican fare, though are a bit more partial to Tex-Mex. I've been fortuante to sample the dishes of about 12 different states of Mexico, and loved each, for what they offer. Considering Tucson's heritage, I need to explore the Mexican food much more, than we have been able to do. Living so close, but spending so little time there, has been a pain. Next trip will be different.
Thanks for the recs.
re: Bill Hunt
The Ocotillo is not open much (sometimes lunch, sometimes dinner, sometimes only on weekends - be sure to check the web site or call) and it's tucked away from view, but next to the big cafeteria.
Poca Cosa's food is as good or better than any I've had in Mexico (although I've never been to Mexico City, only the two coasts). Have fun!