Tucson cheap eats
Dear Southwest hounds:
A Boston Hound here about to visit your fair city. Looking for regional food on the less expensive end. I've searched the board and not found much. Taco Bron, Mi Nidito, Mimi's cafe and el Minuto have ben suggested. I see that Sonoran Mexican is a local highlight and suggestions of this type would be welcome. I will certainly report back. Thanks for your help.
Not Mexican, but for good cheap eats, I really love Lani's Luau. Homemade Hawaiian food with excellent kalua pig. I love the #6 kalua pig plate, or the #9 Luau plate that has kalua pig, lomi lomi salmon, poke, chicken long rice and lau lau. Oh, and 2 scoops rice and potato-mac or side salad. All for about $10. That's the most expensive item on the menu. Lani's is open for lunch/supper Tues-Sat and is in a strip mall, next door to a Big Lots, on the NW corner of Harrison x Golf Links. I'm getting hungry just writing this, so I may head on up there now.
Welcome to Tucson. Here's some suggestions:
Taqueria Juanitos- Grant, Just west of Oracle)- Best little tacos in Tucson. The al pastor and the carnitas are really good. Very cheap and very tasty.
El Merendero- 12th and Nebraska- Chile Colorado is perfect.($6.50 for the plate with rice/beans), Other standouts include: chicken con chipotle quesadillas, shrimp quesadillas and carne deshrebrada. Ask for the an off menu item: the chicken quesadilla with the chipotle cream sauce!
I second the Guero Canelo suggestions. The carne asada burro with everything(cabbage, cheese, frijoles) is a standout. I get better results from the south 12th location.
If you are near Sabino Canyon, try Arizona Pizza(not the broadway locale). They have a giant slice plus a unlimited refills coke for about $5. It is thin and about the size of man's head. Don't be afraid and ask them to cook it well done. That will make it perfect.
In Oro Valley, there is a place called Gyros Cafe. It is run by 2 very friendly brothers who are Kurdish. They make all the middle eastern staples plus Kurdish specialties like Kurdish plow. They make a great variation of baklava called sharia with shredded phyllo.
Hope this helps.
Thanks so much for the rapid replies. Keep them coming. Joan, I hadn't thought of mariscos being in the desert and all (i was misinformed), but will certainly try it. Mrbigshotno.1, if you come to Boston, happy to lead you on a clam belly crawl on the north shore. I think it's our best local contribution to regional cuisine. ajs228, thanks for the non-Mexican which will come in handy for a 4 day trip.
I'll throw in a couple of non-Mexican options for you too (though I can second Guero Canelo).
Bison Wiches has great sandwiches and soups, a great beer selection, and is pretty cheap.
Zachary's pizza is super-deep dish. Try the chicken, spinach and feta pie.
326 N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705
1028 E 6th St, Tucson, AZ 85719
Lot's of good cheap eats in Tucson, sonoran food pretty much dominates the area. If you have never had it you are in for a treat, those you mentioned are great, Mi Nidito is pretty much jammed from the time they open 'til close. I would stay out of places like El Charro, Poca Cosa they are snob joints and way over priced. Let me suggest a few:
El Molinito, 22nd&craycroft, do the platter #8, Carne seca, chili relleno, refried beans (best in town) and homade flour tortillas, and in my opionion the best salsa in town.
Lauruas, Broadway east of Campbell, Best Green corn tamales on the planet. The simple ground beef chimichanga is the best (ask for a side of their mild warm taco sauce on the side, goes perfect with it.)
El Guero Canelo, On N. Oracle Rd. & Grant. This place is starting to get National attention (this can be good & bad) very simple sonoran fare, the salsa and vegetable bar is unbeleivable (and free!) you gotta order at a window and pick up yourself, everything is on paper but it's fine. Try the sonoran hot dog, fantastic!
Enjoy Tucson, it's one of the last small cities in America to have an identity. Someday I would like to return to your area of the country and stuff myself with wholebelly fried clams. have a safe trip.
El Guero Canelo is good -- excellent tacos (huge condiment bar) and other stuff including Sonoran hot dogs, which I haven't tried
Little Cafe Poca Cosa -- we even like it better sometimes than the fancier big sister. Open only weekdays for Breakfast (yum! gets you through a long day of mineral
shopping like nothing else) and Lunch
Mariscos Chihuahau -- excellent ceviches and prawn dishes
Theresa's Mosaic Cafe