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Mar 26, 2008 07:52 AM

In Tucson for conference- dinner suggestions

I am in Tucson for the next few nights, staying at the Westin La Paloma. I may have an evening to get out and get dinner. May also have lunch available at some point. Looking for suggestions for nice spots--can be good Mexican (while I'm in southern Arizona), can be anything. Relatively close proximity to the Westin is preferred- no car, so I need to cab. Thanks!

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  1. Try J-Bar at La Paloma. The food and drinks are excellent and you can walk (about 100 yards from the front entrance). Other good choices for Mexican are Cafe Poca Cosa (downtown) or El Mezon del Cobre (on N. First Ave.). Cabs in Tucson are not plentiful and, while the hotel can fetch one up with a fair amount of ease, you may find yourself waiting 30 minutes or more at a restaurant for a cab.

    About 1 mile from La Paloma, in La Encantada shopping center, you'll find North (Italian) and Blanco (Mexican), both of which are owned by Fox Restaurant Concepts, a Phoenix-based chain. The food is always reliable, if not spectacular. Also in La Encantada is Armitgae, a wine bar with very nice food. No one seems to go there, but it's a very nice place and happy hour specials are wonderful.

    8 Replies
    1. re: lawyerbriefs

      couldn't agree more - lawyerbriefs - J-Bar is fantastic, Janos is as well, although very formal and expensive

      1. re: lawyerbriefs

        Thanks- we ended up going to J-Bar for dinner last night and it was great. (Tried making reservations very late at Guadalajara Grill, but they couldn't take 10 of us on short notice. J-Bar accommodated us wonderfully.) Food was very good! LOVED the cranberry habanero mojito!! Yum. I also ate at North (before seeing this post) for lunch one day- it was decent. Not great, but definitely serviceable. I much preferred the ambiance at J-Bar. (I liked it's convenience, too. I think I thought before that it was just part of the hotel and I wasn't into more hotel food. But the food was awesome. That pork! Yum.)

        1. re: LizR

          I didn't think of Guadalajara Grill. It's lots of fun on weekends, on the patio, as they have mariachis and lots of hustle and bustle. For next time!

          1. re: lawyerbriefs

            My husband LOVES GG, but I don't find the food all that different or better than the others. I do like the tableside guac and salsa, though.

            1. re: Claudette

              Please note the fact that I didn't mention the food. I think it's fine, but not as good as Mezon del Cobre. That said, it's a fun, festive place, and is great for good-sized groups!!!

              1. re: lawyerbriefs

                Hmmm...we had a pretty mediocre meal at Mezon del Cobre, which was empty except for our table. On the phone they told me they had mariachi (which my husband loves and I can't stand but that's another thread) that evening but it wasn't true. Can you recommend something I should order next time? TIA.

                1. re: Claudette

                  I like the whole fried fish for dinner. I also like the seafood/fish soups.

          2. re: LizR

            Glad that you enjoyed yourselves. We've never done J-Bar, but always dine at Janos (attached, and slightly more up-scale, more formal).

            I place Janos (and obviously, J-Bar) at the top of the food-chain in the Tucson area, especially if one is already up north.

            Thanks for the report back,

        2. For a great dinner, I'd not leave the property. Janos, and the J-Bar, right out the front door, are excellent. Chef Janos does a SW take on a lot of popular dishes, and the entire experience is worth the $.

          Next choice would be the Ventana Room at the Lowe's Ventana Canyon. It is upscale, as is Janos, though a tad more so. I've had the chef's tasting menu (two chefs now), and have been wowed every time. Though they have a fabulous wine list and cellar, I also always opt for the sommelier's pairing, even though we are always staying there, an do not have to drive.


          1. All of these selections are fantastic, but if you would like a fun and enjoyable dinning experience. I would recommend AJ'S Fine Foods Suhshi Bar if you enjoy sushi, AJ'S Fine foods in the La Encatada Mall is a marvelous grocer that also has a very good selection of sushi at a resonable price.They have a happy hour from 2-4 M-F This wouldn't be a place to take business associates but a place to eat by yourself or a quick snack and the store is fun to explore. Recommedations for dinner I would suggest 58 degree's & Holding Company amazing wine selection paired well with a varied fare.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Asmith2959

              So, now I'm curious; Terra Cotta is just around the corner; any reason it wasn't mentioned as an option?

              1. re: desertsun

                There's nothing wrong with it and it's my wife's favorite place for me to have a martini. (She's not a drinker.) I don't find it particularly exciting, however, and rarely find anything on the menu I really want to eat.

                1. re: desertsun

                  Many yrs ago, Terra Cotta used to be wonderful, and I still think the world of Donna Nordin. But every meal in the new location denoted a steady decline in quality, and so we stopped going about 5 yrs ago. If things have picked back up, I'd love to hear about it.

                  1. re: Claudette

                    I liked Terra Cotta years ago when the menu was the same any time of day you were there. There was a lot to choose from and it changed four times a year. Now, it's on a smaller scale and the portions for lunch are incredibly small. I never went back.