Tucson, Arizona, is known for its sunny climate, beautiful scenery, and rich history. However, it is also home to a vibrant food scene that often gets overlooked. In fact, Tucson is often referred to as a hidden gem for foodies, with a range of restaurants offering unique and diverse dishes.
Whether you’re in the mood for classic southwestern cuisine or international flavors, Tucson’s culinary scene has something to offer everyone. In this blog post, we’ll explore some hidden gems of Tucson’s restaurants, from local favorites to lesser-known spots.
1. El Charro Cafe
When it comes to classic Tucson cuisine, El Charro Cafe is a must-visit. This restaurant has been serving traditional Sonoran-style Mexican food since 1922 and is considered one of the oldest Mexican restaurants in the United States.
One of the most popular dishes is the carne seca, which is dried beef that has been shredded and served in various ways, including enchiladas, tacos, and burritos. El Charro Cafe also offers a variety of other classic Mexican dishes, such as tamales, chiles, rellenos, and flautas.
The restaurant has several locations throughout Tucson, but the downtown location is the original and offers a charming atmosphere with outdoor seating.
2. Beyond Bread
Beyond Bread is a local favorite for sandwiches, soups, and salads. The restaurant has several locations throughout Tucson and is known for its fresh and high-quality ingredients. The sandwiches are made with homemade bread, baked fresh daily, and various meats, cheeses, and vegetables.
Some of the most popular sandwiches include the turkey and brie, the pastrami reuben, and the veggie delight. Beyond Bread also offers a variety of salads and soups, which are perfect for a light lunch or dinner. The restaurant has a casual atmosphere with indoor and outdoor seating, making it a great spot to relax and enjoy a meal with friends or family.
For a healthier and more plant-based option, Tumerico is a hidden gem in Tucson. This restaurant specializes in vegetarian and vegan dishes made with fresh and organic ingredients. The menu changes daily, but some popular dishes include tempeh tacos, vegan burgers, and plantain empanadas.
Tumerico also offers a variety of smoothies, juices, and coffee drinks, which are perfect for a quick breakfast or snack. The atmosphere is cozy and laid-back, with indoor and outdoor seating, and the restaurant often hosts live music and events.
5. Guadalajara Original Grill
Guadalajara Original Grill is a family-owned restaurant that offers authentic Mexican cuisine with a modern twist. The restaurant is known for its flavorful and unique dishes, such as the Guadalajara-style tacos, the mole enchiladas, and the seafood ceviche.
The restaurant also offers a variety of margaritas and cocktails, which are perfect for a night out with friends. The atmosphere is casual and inviting, with indoor and outdoor seating, and the staff is friendly and attentive.
6. Bobo’s Restaurant
For a taste of classic diner fare, Bobo’s Restaurant is a hidden gem in Tucson. This family-owned restaurant has been serving breakfast and lunch since 1982 and is a local favorite.
Some popular dishes include biscuits and gravy, huevos rancheros, and the bacon cheeseburger. Bobo’s also offers daily specials, such as the chicken fried steak or the pork green chili omelet. The atmosphere is casual and laid-back, with a retro vibe and friendly service.
Feast is a unique and upscale restaurant in Tucson that offers a variety of global cuisine. The menu frequently changes, depending on the season’s ingredients, but some popular dishes include Moroccan lamb, Korean short ribs, and the Spanish octopus.
The restaurant also offers a variety of wines and cocktails, making it the perfect spot for a special occasion or a night out. The atmosphere is sophisticated and elegant, with dim lighting and a cozy atmosphere.
8. El Sur Restaurant
El Sur Restaurant is a hidden Tucson gem offering authentic Argentine cuisine. The restaurant is owned by a family from Argentina and serves traditional dishes, such as enchiladas, tacos, chuck steak, Sonoran hot dogs, and more.
The restaurant also offers desserts such as fried ice cream, churros, flan, and more. The atmosphere is cozy and inviting, with indoor and outdoor seating, and the staff is friendly and attentive.
9. Home-Made Mediterranean
Home Made Mediterranean is a restaurant in Tucson, Arizona, that serves Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant specializes in fresh, healthy, and flavorful Mediterranean dishes, including falafel, hummus, shawarma, kabobs, and salads. They also offer vegetarian and vegan options, as well as gluten-free choices.
One of the unique features of Home Made Mediterranean is that they prepare everything from scratch, including their sauces and dressings, and use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. The restaurant has a casual and inviting atmosphere, with friendly staff and a menu that is reasonably priced.
10. Monster Sonoran Hotdogs
Monster Sonoran Hot Dogs is a local family-owned food truck restaurant in Tucson, Arizona, that specializes in serving Sonoran-style hot dogs. The Sonoran-style hot dog is a regional specialty that originated in Hermosillo, Mexico, and is now popular throughout the southwestern United States.
The Monster Sonoran Hot Dogs food truck offers a variety of hot dogs served with red bun and birria tacos. Aside from popular Sonoran hotdogs, they also offer birria ramen and birria cheese crisp.
Tucson’s culinary scene offers a wide range of hidden gems, from classic Mexican cuisine to global flavors. Whether looking for a casual lunch spot or an upscale dining destination, Tucson has something to offer everyone.
With so many options to choose from, Tucson’s food scene is worth exploring. So the next time you’re in Tucson, be sure to check out one of these hidden gems and indulge in this city’s diverse and flavorful cuisine.