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Feb 24, 2013 09:42 AM

4 dinners in Tucson

We'll be spending 4 nights at the Loew's Ventana Canyon Resort and would like to find 4 good restaurants within 20 minutes or so of there. We get excellent Asian food at home, so we would prefer other cuisines...southwest, Italian, American, etc. We'd like a mix of upscale, fancier restaurants and more casual spots...even perhaps a great pizzeria. What do CH's recommend?

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  1. For Pizza I recommend Grimaldis. Popular spots in town are Jax, Abbey, St. Augustin, Grill at Hacienda Del Sol (esp. Brunch), Downtown Kitchen, Maynards.

    For middle Eastern I love Alibaba-BUT the service blows....but the flavor is great.

    You should try a Sonoran Dog from BK's or El Guerno.

    Just opened people like Reily craft pizza downtown....

    1 Reply
    1. re: christyar

      We've heard from others that Grimaldi's is great...although we typically try to avoid chains. Is Grimaldi's better than Vero Amore, or Scordato??

    2. Also, Feast has been on my radar. They change their menu monthly.

      Mother Hubbards is pretty good for breakfast if you want something unique.

      Zinburger has good burgers and a salted carmel milkshake.
      If you like a thin burger with lacey edges try Freddys.

      1. Actually the Flying V which is at the resort is one of my favorite restaurants in town.

        1. I live a few minutes from Ventana Canyon, so I am going to focus on good restaurants within your 20 minute parameter.

          Acacia Real Food and Cocktails is upscale New American, though it can be a bit noisy, especially if they seat you near the clanking open kitchen. It's no more than ten minutes away. They have a tasting menu with wine pairings, which can be fun.

          Vivace is a nice Italian place located in the lovely St. Philip's Plaza. If the weather is nice, dining on the patio can be very pleasant. The wine list is highly diverse, with good selections in every price range. The service is quite professional. It's probably about 20 minutes away.

          Closer to your hotel and quite a bit more casual is El Charro cafe Ventana. It's Mexican and pretty good. They also have a patio with a great view of the Catalina Mountains.

          If you like upscale Continental with a fabulous wine list, Anthony's is a place you might enjoy. It has some of the best views of the city lights of Tucson. It's about ten minutes away.

          The Abbey, moderate New American, is also very near your hotel and has good food. It is, however, very loud. My husband and I went there with our 25-year-old niece recently and she loved the place. I don't like having to scream at the waiter. Yes, it's that loud.

          Jasper Neighborhood Restaurant and Bar does New American with a Southwest accent. It is moderately priced with a relaxed atmosphere. They offer outdoor dining and live music Thursday through Saturday evenings. It's about ten minutes away.

          There are some place near your hotel that I'd avoid.

          Tavolino is an Italian place that used to be nice when it was small. Then they moved to an enormous, charmless location, jacked up the prices and turned up the noise. The wine is particularly overpriced.

          Flemings is part of the national chain of mediocre steakhouses. It's ridiculously expensive. The side dish of mushrooms I ordered was so over salted as to be inedible. The place is in a small strip mall with plentiful parking right outside, though they cordon it off and extort you to pay for a valet.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bitchincook

            Thanks a lot for your great summary. It's appreciated.