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Tucson, AZ Recommendations?

Hi all- NYC'er will be in Tucson from 9/29-10/3. I have never been to the southwest before and so I'm looking for some recommendations for truly authentic "can't miss" local fare. No tourist traps or dancing TV characters please. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. Check out my recent post on Native American foods that are available no place else: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/643271

    1. Check out Cafe Poca Cosa. Go to one of the many Sonoran Mexican places in town. If you want something fancy, check out local famous chef Janos Wilder. Have a meal with the friendly folks at Feast. Go to 4th Avenue and have a beer at the Surly Wench, then cross the street and walk to Maya Quetzal for Guatemalan. Go out of the way to Lavernas coffee shop for breakfast. Visit the fabulous Jonathans Cork for great grill. Don't miss a Sonoran hot dog at El Guero Canelo.

      Just a few of my favorite things...

      1. I second everything Booklegger said, plus add: the carnitas at El Guero Canelo, the grilled salad at J's Cork, the duck tongue tacos at Janos, the Chef's Plato at Poca Cosa, and the pies and biscuits at B-Line Cafe.

        Also check out the older threads (just search for "Tucson" on this board) - they're still pretty valid.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Claudette

          Correction: I meant lamb tongue tacos at Janos. I've only had duck tongues at Chinese places.

        2. Booklegger and Claudette are dead on.

          The one I would add is http://www.elcharrocafe.com/ Their location downtown (Court Ave) has a real authentic feel that some of the more "chain" oriented competition lack.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Sid Post

            I guess the above are accurate but I think some of those are kind of pricey. I do like El Charro downtown but not sure how they will change after their merger with another company. El Corral is no-frills prime rib. I've heard it's not what it used to be but I always have a great, inexpensive meal there. Just about any Mexican restaurant on the Southside will get you a tasty, authentic meal. Zin Burger is Tucson based and I've heard quite good but I haven't been yet.

            1. re: unclenick

              It looks like El Charro's already changed their menu a bit, but it could be I'm losing my memory.

              ZinBurger is my hubby and daughter's fave hangout in Tucson: great burger, shakes, fries, and banana cream pie; I'm not a big burger fan, so I always order the ahi salad (which is pretty good, not great). They're building one now in PHX, at the Biltmore Fashion Mall.

          2. Thanks everybody! So helpful.

            1. My husband and I just ate at Rio Cafe in Tucson this past weekend. We really enjoyed our dinners and the staff was super friendly. Their website is www.rio-cafe.com

              1. All of the suggestions are just fine, but if you want high end w/o the fancy atmosphere of Janos try The Dish @ the Rumrunner. DH and I have never been disappointed when we've gone there, always stellar stuff. http://www.dishbistro.com/

                4C