Do you live for Food Network? Consider yourself a foodie? Boy, did you come to the right town. Tucson, Arizona is the unlikely foodie destination of the Southwest. Believe it or not, the Chimichanga (a fried burrito) has it’s origins in the Old Pueblo. Although there’s some debate as to exactly who invented it and how, our favorite local legend is this:
“According to one source, the founder of the Tucson, Arizona, restaurant “El Charro”, Monica Flin, accidentally dropped a pastry into the deep fat fryer in 1922. She immediately began to utter a Spanish curse-word beginning ‘chi…’ (chingada), but quickly stopped herself and instead exclaimed chimichanga, a Spanish equivalent of ‘thingamajig’. “
El Charro is definitely one of the amazing restaurants to try in Tucson. But the list doesn’t stop there; here are four more amazing restaurants for even the pickiest palates in Tucson.
4. Yoshimatsu Healthy Japanese Eatery
Gluten-free? Vegetarian? Vegan? None of the above? No matter what dietary restrictions are in your dining party, Yoshimatsu has got you covered. They use all-organic, fresh, and healthy ingredients to prepare tasty dishes like Fried Ginger Tofu. Not into the strictly-veggie scene? Try the Orange Chicken Bento or take a look at their Sushimatsu menu for a wide selection of sushi. They’ve been voted Best Japanese Restaurant of Tucson for 11 years by Tucson Weekly.
3. Blue Willow Restaurant and Gift Shop
Home to some of the best breakfast in the Southwest, Blue Willow has been a Tucson tradition since 1978. Stop in for a delicious breakfast anytime or check out their amazing lunch and dinner specials. Don’t forget to stop by their unique gift shop before you leave and pick something out from their whimsical and eclectic assortment of gifts and greeting cards.
2. Vivace by Daniel Scordato
Special occasion, date night, or just in the mood for some really superb dining? We recommend Vivace. As the very finest Italian restaurant in Tucson, there’s just no beating their menu. From lunch to dinner they offer an incredible selection of unique dishes and first courses (hint: anything with the marsala wine sauce is going to be amazing), but save room for dessert! The award-winning warm bread pudding is a special recipe and will absolutely change your life.
1. Cup Cafe- Hotel Congress
The legendary Hotel Congress, where John Dillinger was finally nicked, and where Sunday brunch happens in Tucson. You can expect to wait a bit for breakfast on the weekends, but the build your own Bloody Mary bar helps the time pass quickly. Everything on the menu is amazing whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The Cup Cafe has been featured in multiple magazines as one of the best breakfast spots in America, so skip IHOP and head on down for a breakfast treat that can be beat. Don’t forget to check out the dessert case before you go, the key lime pie is possibly the best in town.
These are just a few of the amazing foodie destinations in Tucson, but truthfully there are endless options for dining out in our little corner of the Sonoran Desert. For more options, be sure to check out Tucson Weekly’s best restaurant list. Locals vote every year on the best of everything.