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Tucson - Recs needed

Hubby & I are going to be staying at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort.

I am looking for someplace to eat breakfast- either bagels, sandwichs, breakfast burritos, or sit down.

Also looking for mexican food-someplace that does green chile really well (i know taste is subjective) it can be walk up, drive up or sit down.

I'd love to buy some tortillas- locally made with lard, please.

I'd prefer not to eat at chains and price isn't really an issue, but not looking for super fine dining. Just good authentic food. We will have a car & are willing to drive. I don't mind hole in the wall places as long as they're not buggy or too dirty.

We are going to hit In n Out Burger (one of the few chains I'm willing to eat at :) ), we don't have that at home so that's a gimme.

I've read mixed reviews for Pat's chili dogs & fries and think we'll probably give that a try.

Of course I considered El Charro, but it doesn't seem like it's as good as it used to be. Is it worth checking out or should we try someplace else?

Where else should we go?


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  1. You can get the tortillas at St. Mary's bakery on Speedway west of I-10, they also sell green chili by the pint/quart but won't make the burritos for you. Pat's is in the same area.
    El Charro is a waste of time. If you want a real sonoran style green chile burrito/chimi go to Laruas on Broadway east of Campbell (also the best green corn tamales on the planet). Any of the Nico's Mexican joints all over town make great breakfast burritos, but that's about it for them.
    P.S. I wouldn't go to Pat's at night.

    Nico's Mexican Restaurant
    7865 E Golf Links Rd, Tucson, AZ 85730

    3 Replies
    1. re: mrbigshotno.1

      Just out of curiosity, what is sonoran style green chile? Here in Wyoming, ours is made with pork & green chiles and is usually used to smother whatever we're eating. It can vary in heat and thickness but is not normally super thick or chunky. It's more a sauce than a stew. I know New Mexican green chile is more stew like.

      Why no Pat's at night? Bad part of town after dark?

    2. Oh yeah, forgot to add we would love to find someplace for Tamales. Really good moist ones, not dry ones that make you drink a ton just to swallow them.
      Thanks again!

      1 Reply
      1. re: jcattles

        We're neighbors (I'm north of you in MT, I was born and raised in Tucson and spend 2-3 months of the year in Tucson. That's the type of green chile we have here also. Sonoran green chile is made with beef and is a stew. The green corn tamales I mentioned above at Leruas are moist and contain green chilies and cheese, for beef tamales I suggest a place on 22nd & south 4th ave. called La Buena the are made fresh all day long and are sitting fresh and warm next to the cash register, no dryness here and they are large tamales. The main difference between the tamales we get up here and those down there is they are made with fresh ground masa vice the dry "masa harina" they use here in MT/WY.

      2. I agree with St Mary's for tortillas, Ive also been happy with their tamales. Its pretty close to Pat's. For breakfast near the hotel Down Home Delights just N of the hotel on Oracle has good traditional breakfasts,baked goods and coffee. Mosiac Dos on La Cholla just N of Ina has good mexican breakfasts which include homemade tortillas usually made right in front of you. Both are small family run businesses. Enjoy your stay !

        1. There's a well kept secret over on 22nd and Kolb called Poco and Mom's. It's mostly New Mexican style but I think the best in town. All their chile dishes are amazing especially the red chile pork. They have a green chile stew that's really good too. St. Mary's makes great tortillas and so does Anita St. Market. You can get Alejandro's tortillas in most stores but I don't think they're that great. Their corn chips are pretty phenomenal. Time market has some local brands, I'm not sure which. They also have great pizza. Arguably the best in town though I'm sure some would disagree. There's also a great place called El Torero that not many people are hip to. They have great turkey tacos. The only ones in town as far as I know. I'm a sucker for Lucky Wishbone as well. It's not everybody but if you're into Pat's than it might be for you. There's a newish one on 22nd and Tucson which is the only one I go to, it's real clean.
          I'd definitely skip El Charro, it's definitely not what it used to be. If you want to eat downtown, Maynard's across from Club Congress in the train station is actually pretty good, they use a lot of local stuff.

          El Torero Restaurant
          231 E 26th St, Tucson, AZ 85713

          3 Replies
          1. re: brightflight

            I disagree on Time Market and brightflight's pizza ranking. Time Market's pizza is fine--a slice for lunch is cheap and tasty--but for top-flight pizza try Zona 78 or Vivace Pizzeria. The Vivace pizza gets better and better. For takeout or simple eat-in pizza, try Magpie's or Brooklyn Pizza.

            Zona 78
            7301 E Tanque Verde Rd Ste 121, Tucson, AZ 85715

            1. re: lawyerbriefs

              Did you find any super bagel places?

              1. re: lawyerbriefs

                Time is a controversial favorite pizza pick for sure. I agree about Vivace pizza though, it never, ever disappoints.

            2. May to late but tortillas from El Chava on S 4th Ave are really good, taste homemade..

              1. This may also be too late, but on the fast-food side, I wanted to suggest that you stop for a frozen lemonade at an Eegee's, and maybe consider a sandwich while you're there.

                1. When we lived in Tucson, La Poca Cosa was a favorite. Is it still any good?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Jaymes

                    We were there 3 weeks ago, and it was great.

                  2. We just got back from Tucson & spent more time in the pool & sun than we did eating. The weather was so beautiful we didn't want to waste a minute of it inside so we hit the closest restaurants instead of driving all over.
                    We got frozen lemonade at Eegee's. I don't know what they do, but those things stay frozen for a long time!
                    For dinner, we were starving & El Charro on Oracle was close so that's where we ended up. My husband had the Tamale Trio, he really liked the beef, not so much the corn, and the chicken was his favorite. I had the carnitas enchilada with some kind of queso/green chile smothering. It was pretty good. I wasn't impressed with the refried beans or rice, but I did like the red salsa. I mixed the red & green salsa's together & liked that even better. We actually ended up going back for lunch because I wanted the chicken tamale. I ordered the whole beans and liked them much better than the refried. All in all, the sevice was good and so was the food. I'm sure if I was a local and could tell if the quality was declining, I wouldn't want to go there, but for an outsider, it was just fine.
                    We were going to drive to Cafe Poca Cosa Sunday night but found out it was closed. I was disappointed, but we are planning on going back sometime so we'll hit it then.
                    We never did make it to Pat's or for tortillas, it's hard with only 2 full days to fit it all in.
                    On the way to the airport I found Jax Kitchen which had good reviews, so we'll put that on the list for next time also.
                    Thanks to everyone for the recs!

                    Cafe Poca Cosa
                    110 E Pennington St, Tucson, AZ 85701

                    Jax Kitchen
                    7286 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85704

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jcattles

                      Glad you had a good time. I like Harvest as much as Jax Kitchen, so put that on your list if you stay in that part of town next time as well. The Gold Room is closeby, too.

                      Jax Kitchen
                      7286 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85704

                      245 E. Ina, Tucson, AZ 85704

                      10355 North La Canada #141, Oro Valley, AZ 85737

                      1. re: jcattles

                        I'm heading down day after tomorrow, I'll eat at a bunch of places for you!