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Suggestions in Tucson?

  • g

I'm heading to Tucson all week for work. I don't spend too much time in Tucson, so any suggestions you have would be helpful. I'll be staying at the Hilton El Conquistador all week, but I'll be all over town during the day, so I'm open to all areas of town. I particularly love all ethnic food. Using the expense account, so I can get TOO out of hand. Would love great lunch and casual dinner options. Keep in mind that I'll be dining alone, so places that I can eat at the bar are good choices. Thanks in advance, Gayle

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  1. J Bar at the Westin La Paloma is a good choice; really nice Southwestern food, and there is a bar option.

    1. We liked Cocoyaya in January -- web site is below. I had the chicken poblano pasta which is apparently available only on weekends, but the menu shows some other interesting choices.

      Link: http://www.cocoyaya.com/menu.htm

      1. Cafe Terracotta is good for lunch--southwestern cuisine. Very pretty locale. Good desserts. Dinner can be pricey, but lunch is fairly reasonable.

        Janos at the Westin La Paloma is also good, but quite expensive.

        For Mexican, I like Micha's on 4th Ave. Great breakfast and very inexpensive.

        1. t
          Tha Groovin' Gourmet

          If you've never been, El Charro (the original downtown) is worth a visit.
          Though it has its naysayers around here, I eat there frequently and have never been disappointed with the food. Service tends to lean towards the lax side, though. Best carne seca in town. I've dined there mostly as a single without a problem. There is a bar, but it's pretty much a holding tank for those waiting for a table.

          I also enjoy John Jacob's El Parador. The setting is just lovely...very much an oasis in the desert. Food is upscale Sonoran-style, and everything I've had there is excellent. Service has ranged from amateurish to excellent. If you drink beer be sure to check your tab. For some reason their computer spits out a higher price than the beer list.

          Cafe Poca Cosa is legendary amongst 'hounds, though I have yet to experience it. I do believe it will be on the must list my next trip (whenever it cools down a bit).

          For breakfast or lunch you might try Beyond Bread on N. Campbell. Not sure if it is a chain, but it is outstanding. Morning pastries are all exquisite, and the breads all looked totally scrumptious.

          Sincerely hoping that should you follow any of the above it will turn
          out better than your lunch at Salsa Brava. I've got a reputation to uphold, though whether it is good or bad I'm not sure!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Tha Groovin' Gourmet
            JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

            Beyond Bread has just the two locations. The original location was across the street from where they are now, but they outgrew that location long before they moved. Everything I have had there is ridiculously good, and their croissants are the best this side of the Seine.

            Link: http://thecosmicjester.blogspot.com

            1. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

              Are you for real? I think you need to do a little more traveling.

            2. re: Tha Groovin' Gourmet

              Thanks for the suggestions y'all...keep 'em comin'.

            3. Up on Oracle at Magee (could be McGee - about a mile north of Ina) is the Metro Grill. I used to eat there on Monday night's at the bar (former commuter). I really likes the Quesadilla and the Cobb salad with Sun Dried Tomato vinegarette. Bar is small, about 12 seats, but bartenders were generally chatty and I always felt comfortable dining alone. Likewise Gavi at the Foothills Mall (outside entrance on the north east side of the Mall) has a small bar that I have dined at as well. One more thing at Magee and Oracle is the Village Bake Shop - also a good pastry stop in the morning.

              1. If you want Sonoran mexican food try Mi Nidito( South Tucson) or Rosa's at Ft. Lowell. Both are causual places but Mi Nidito also has carne seca which seems to be more common in Tucson than Phoenix. Eating alone would handle well at either except Mi Nidito gets very crowded.

                1. I do not recommend Cafe Terracotta. Within the last five years the quality of the food has declined significantly. Unfortunately, good food is difficult to find in Tucson unless you are eating Mexican. Try Mi Nidito or Cafe Poca Cosa, you will not be disappointed.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gaj

                    Ditto what gaj said about Terra Cotta, which I used to love. If you're single, try the bar at NoRTH and Montana Ave. for stylish digs and people-watching.

                  2. Avoid La Placita, Fort Lowell and Swan. When I found a bone in my shredded chicken, their response was that they use whole chickens instead of chicken breast because it has more flavor. No comps, no apology.

                    1. When I was a poor college student in Tucson, I liked Korea House. It's very small but authentic and you can sit on the floor traditional style if you like. Don't know if it's there anymore tho.

                      I also liked Sakura, about 20 min from the university. Benihana, basically, but I thought it was unpretentious and not too expensive...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Baxterita

                        Korea House is still there. Still good, too!

                      2. The former Sakura is now Benihana!

                        1. I only went there once, but will never forget Taqueria Pico de Gallo!


                          1. Roma Imports for first class Italian deli. Imported prosciutto, homemade sausages and tiramisu, killer sandwiches at lunch.
                            El Guero Canelo on S 12th Avenue for carne asada tacos and Sonoran hot dogs.
                            Taqueria Pico de Gallo as above
                            Kingfisher on Grant Rd: fantastic baby back ribs, especially for a fish restaurant
                            At long last a good Thai place, Vila Thai on main gate square at the University.
                            Seri Melaka on Broadway for Malaysian/Chinese. The quality slid there for a while but it has picked up again.

                            1. For fried steak fingers, chicken livers and everything else fried, check out the Lucky Wishbone (http://www.luckywishbone.com/). Don't go if you don't like heartburn.

                              More seriously, if you don't mind Sam Fox, you may want to check out Bistro Zin (http://www.foxrestaurantconcepts.com/...).