Tucson: Restaurants

Tucson Restaurant & Dining Guide

Dining out in Tucson during tough economic times means being more descrete about choices. Although Tucson has hundreds of excellent locally owned restaurants that are offer a wide variety of menus, some restaurants fare better than others.

Of course, being so close to the Mexican border, Mexican food is the top choice in dining out. Excellent Tucson Mexican restaurants like El Charro and Larua's have fed customers for decades.

It is rumored that in the 1940s, founder Monica Flin would sit on the El Charro patio, sipping martinis from teacups and playing cards with John Wayne, who was in Tucson to film westerns. Today the restaurant is run by Carlotta Flores and her husband, Ray.

The El Charro Cafe, America's oldest family-operated Mexican restaurant, is located in a house built in the 1890s by Monica's father (who was also Carlotta's great-grandfather). The restaurant's signature dish is Carne Seca Beef, a Tucson passion. The beef is cured high above the restaurant's patio where strips of thin-sliced tenderloin hang in an open metal cage. (ref: El Charro Café Cookbook).

Enjoy dining at one of our hosted restaurants in Tucson. Use discount restaurant coupons or gift certifcate from Restaurant.com for several restaurants in Tucson, AZ.

Tucson Entertainment Magazine is building a Tucson restaurant and dining guide with listings, profiles, reviews and information about Tucson restaurants. Browse Tucson Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican and fast food restaurants locations.

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Restaurants in Tucson, AZ: From A-Z

Italian Restaurants in Tucson

Mama Louisa's Italian Restaurant
2041 S. Craycroft Rd.

Mama Louisa's Italian Restaurant is an anchor among italian restaurants in Tucson. Since 1956, Mama Louisa's Italian Restaurant has continuously been serving the best in homemade pasta and Italian cuisine.

And since then, Mama Louisa's Italian Restaurant has still been among one of the best rated restaurants in Tucson.

Lunch specials include all you can eat soup and salad bar. There is also a pasta bar. Daily evening specials are posted at the entrance or call the main phone number.

Mama Louisa's Italian Restaurant is located in southeast Tucson, just north of the Davis Monthan Air Force Base. Visit the Mama Louisa's Italian Restaurant web site.

Japanese and Sushi Restaurants

Bunbuku Japanese Sushi Bar & Restaurant
4520 E. Broadway

One of the oldest Japanese restaurants in Tucson, Bunbuku has a long reputation of excellent sushi and homecooked food. Enjoy fresh sushi with Jimmy Hiroi, your chef and owner. Now serving in Japanese Izikaya style.

Bunbuku has been a longtime fixture on East Broadway, just west of Swan on the southside. Lunch specials are often available. Reservations suggested, but not necessary.

Sachiko Sushi

Mexican Foods

Sometimes, the spelling of Tucson is mistaken as Tuscon, Tuson, or even tucsun. The correct spelling is Tucson.

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El Charro Salsa

Picante (Medium / Hot)
Picante Verde Salsa (Hot)
El Charro Salsa Basico (Mild)

Authentic salsa from El Charro Cafe in Tucson, AZ. 13 oz. Ingredients: Crushed tomatoes(tomatoes, salt, citric acid), water, salsa (onions, salt, garlic, white vinegar, canola oil, chiltipin pepper, oregano), tomato puree (water, tomato paste citric acid), citric acid.

El Charro Café Cookbook

Flavors of Tucson from America's Oldest Family-Operated Mexican Restaurant (Hardcover) by Jane Stern (Author), Michael Stern (Author)

The colorful history of El Charro Cafe and the 150 recipes for vibrant, exciting Mexican food make this book as unique and entertaining as the 80-year-old restaurant itself. Old favorites and creative new Mexican dishes that are enjoyable to cook and to serve fill the book. The greatest restaurants in America are its wonderful independent regional restaurants. And there are no greater experts on America's regional restaurants than Michael and Jane Stern. "Coast to coast," said the New York Times, "they know where to find the freshest lobster rolls, the fluffiest pancakes, the crispiest catfish." Rutledge Hill Press is launching a new series of Roadfood Cookbooks, each with recipes, pictures, and the history of one of America's greatest regional restaurants.

Hardcover: 232 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 30, 2002)
Language: English

El Charro Cafe

The Tastes and Traditions of Tucson

By Carlotta Flores

It may come as something of a shock to fans of El Charro Cafe , Tucson's famous Mexican restaurant, that its origins are more French than Spanish. Monica Flin's parents both came from French stock, but when she opened her restaurant in Tucson in 1922, it was Mexican food she chose to serve her customers. The restaurant has moved several times since its founding, but it has remained a family business. El Charro's southwestern cooking relies on chilies, garlic, rice, corn, and a seasoning mixture called pico de gallo, a spice rub used much the same as voguish Cajun blends. It also calls for sun-dried beef, impossible to duplicate outside Tucson, but for which the book offers a complex method of creating a substitute. El Charro's salsas and stews are more readily duplicated, especially for those with access to Mexican produce markets. This book usefully documents the noble traditions of U.S.-Mexican border cuisine. Mark Knoblauch. Recipes and lore from El Charro Café, a Tucson landmark famous for its vibrant, fresh Mexican food.
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Running Press (November 4, 1998)
Language: English

Tucson's Mexican Restaurants: Repasts, Recipes, and Remembrances

Repasts, Recipes, and Remembrances

By Suzanne Myal l (Author),
Jim Griffith (Introduction)

Ms. Myal's book is truly a delight. Having once lived in Tucson, I quickly became a Mexican food aficionado. Reading through "Tucson's Mexican Restaurants" brought back all the terrific memories I have of sitting with friends and visiting family members, enjoying a meal at one of the many Mexican restuarants in the Old Pueblo. Whether you're looking for a guide book on where to eat in Tucson or recipes of Mexican favorites, you'll find this book a good resource. -an Amazon.com reader.
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: University of Arizona Press (July 1999)
Language: English

Tucson Cooks!

By Suzanne Myal

60 Tucson Restaurants Share Favorite Recipes and Stories: Benefits The Primavera Foundation

Tucson, Arizona, is enriched with an amazing diversity of restaurants and for the past four years has been host to a series of summer dining events known as "Primavera Cooks!" -- a partnership between two local non-profit organizations, the Primavera Foundation and the Tucson Originals. Tucson Cooks! is a compendium of delicious, palate pleasing, appetite satisfying, kitchen cook friendly recipes showcasing Tucson's gourmet excellence from the city's finest dining establishments and includes not only the recipes, but detailed descriptions, inspiring menus suggested by the participating restaurants. From Blackberry Zinfandel Dressing; Creme Brulee; and Tomato Concasse with Italian Sausage and Black Mussels; to Saffron Whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes; Tahini Eggplant Salad with Mesquite Bacon; and Green Corn Tamale Casserole, Tucson Cooks! will quickly prove a family favorite for composing any dining occasion!
Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: Treasure Chest Books (May 2000)
Language: English