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Tucson


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Just returned from a week there.

Perennial favourite is Cafe Poca Cosa.

I had a great meal at The Dish which is inside a wine shop called Rumrunner. You can also buy wine off the shelf and pay modest corkage.

Janos Wilder has Downtown Kitchen - casual but good. Happy hour was a good deal too. Still hear good things about his flagship resto at the Westin La Paloma and casual J-Bar there.

Was pleased and surprised to have good food at the resto in the lobby of the gently decaying Hotel Congress right downtown. Attentive service too.

Central American food at hole in the wall Maya Quetzal on 4 Ave .

Locals recommended The Hub but didn't get to try.

All of these meals were during the annual gem fair when all the restos are double and triple booked and they still kept quality. Should be even better when the crowds are not so crazy.

Llyn Strelau

Calgary, Alberta

Canada

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Perennial favourite is Cafe Poca Cosa.

Janos Wilder has Downtown Kitchen - casual but good. Happy hour was a good deal too. Still hear good things about his flagship resto at the Westin La Paloma and casual J-Bar there.

Was pleased and surprised to have good food at the resto in the lobby of the gently decaying Hotel Congress right downtown. Attentive service too.

Locals recommended The Hub but didn't get to try.

I live in Tucson now and am just getting to know the restaurants.But I second Chris on El Guero Canelo (be sure to go to that location);; also on S 12th is Taco Fish. I like Cafe Poca Cosa, although it is a little formulaic. I went to Janos at the Westin over the holidays and it was excellent all around, including great service. The Hub is fun--good food (not great, order carefully) but outstanding ice cream (they are a "restaurant and ice creamery"). I had a surprisingly good meal and cocktail at Pasco Kitchen on University last week, as did everyone I was with; service was so-so, but everything else very satisfying. It is still on my list, but Primo is also meant to be very good, in the Janos/high end category.

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  • 3 months later...

Poca Cosa is awesome. The "big" one is famous and a great spot for dinner (and with the best margaritas in town), but the "little" one is a hole in the wall lunch spot run by the same family and it is equally wonderful in a wholly different way. Much more casual. Not your typical Mexican food -- more fresh and healthy. Delicious juices. Also they don't let you go without a hug. It's just really hard not to leave without a smile on your face. Bring cash, and clean your plate, or you might get scolded! Also, parking at the downtown library's garage is free and right next door.

Another great spot for foodies is Feast, a nice little restaurant on Speedway run by people who are passionate about food and wine. It's wonderful 2/3 times I go, and a miss the other 1/3, but totally worth it. They are also the home of my favorite appetizer ever, the "Eggplant Napoleon," which are thin slices of eggplant, deep fried and baked, layered over creamy goat cheese and a *perfect* sauce made from roasted tomato, white wine, and butter. They only have this 3 months out of the year though, so don't be surprised if you don't see it on the menu.

I've been told The Dish is currently the best spot in town, but have not made it down there myself.

For Eastern European food, try Chef Alisah's. I had never eaten this type of food before and only went there because of Yelp. They've got a huge base of regulars after going, I can see why. It's not gourmet or fancy, but it's a truly satisfying experience. I usually order a ghoulash (a hefty meat stew) or a mixed grilled meat platter. They also have veggie dishes. The family that runs the place is super-friendly and will take care of you. Be aware they don't have alcohol here, though I'm told you can bring your own.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been a weekly visitor from Boston for a few weeks now. I like the tacos as Tacos Apson (get the razurado tacos), Taqueria Pico de Gallo (get tacos with corn tortillas), and Taco Fish (don't bother with the marlin, but get one of the soups). If you're at Pico de Gallo, get a raspado (think snow cone, but with fruit juice instead of artificial stuff) at the place across the parking lot (same owners). The best beer list in town is at 1702. You can get an awesome espresso at Sparkroot (they use Blue Bottle beans and are skilled on the machine). The Wednesday posole at El Sur, along with a $2 Negra Modelo, is a regular stop for me. The hand-made flour tortillas from the St Mary's Tortilla Factory (also a restaurant) are the best I've eaten. The apple fritters from the Donut Wheel are pretty good. The New Mexican food at Poco & Mom's is very good--how can anything not be when smothered in green chili sauce?

Sorry for the brain-dump. Hopefully it'll be useful for others!

Edited by emannths (log)
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  • 1 month later...

After living here for a year now and not really having much new to contribute to this list, finally I can add a recent discovery of ours: The Sausage Shop Meat Market. It's a deli counter with a couple of picnic tables outside, very no-frills, but fantastic, well-priced sandwiches. The real reason to go, though, is the sausages. I don't think I've ever seen so many kinds of freshly made sausage in one place before. Most are raw, so would be a problem for visitors to try, but there are some portable smoked beef sticks that would make a nice road snack. It's worth popping in to just stand there and gawk at the case.

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Perennial favourite is Cafe Poca Cosa.

Janos Wilder has Downtown Kitchen - casual but good. Happy hour was a good deal too. Still hear good things about his flagship resto at the Westin La Paloma and casual J-Bar there.

Was pleased and surprised to have good food at the resto in the lobby of the gently decaying Hotel Congress right downtown. Attentive service too.

Locals recommended The Hub but didn't get to try.

I live in Tucson now and am just getting to know the restaurants.But I second Chris on El Guero Canelo (be sure to go to that location);; also on S 12th is Taco Fish. I like Cafe Poca Cosa, although it is a little formulaic. I went to Janos at the Westin over the holidays and it was excellent all around, including great service. The Hub is fun--good food (not great, order carefully) but outstanding ice cream (they are a "restaurant and ice creamery"). I had a surprisingly good meal and cocktail at Pasco Kitchen on University last week, as did everyone I was with; service was so-so, but everything else very satisfying. It is still on my list, but Primo is also meant to be very good, in the Janos/high end category.

Just an update that Janos and JBar have closed; Janos's only restaurant now is Downtown Kitchen. I had a good meal and excellent cocktail at Cup Cafe at Hotel Congress the other night. Great old hotel, lovely outdoor patio with music.

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  • 1 year later...

Our home is in the NW part of Tucson, and our favorite place is Wildflower at Oracle and Ina, a Fox restaurant. Whether it's a farmer's market salad with quinoa, calamari, or a burger, I've always been very pleased with the food and the service.

I only know the Oracle location, but I also love guero canelo!

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One of my favorite deli's anywhere is Schlomo & Vito's delicatessen by the Tierra Catalina Condominiums in the Catalina Foothills.

A great blend of Italian & Jewish, great personalities and the food was above par (whatever that might mean).

I kept the takeaway menu and it's in my kitchen to cause me to have hunger pains whenever I see it.

PastaMeshugana

"The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd."

"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father

My eG Food Blog (2011)

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  • 2 months later...

We love Shlomo and Vito's too! The food is good and the portion sizes are insane.

I think it should be mentioned in this thread just how much good pizza there is in Tucson. Chicago-style at Rocco's, brick oven at Grimaldi's, 1702 with it's amazing beer list, Scordato's (love their wild mushroom pie), Time Cafe, Heist (great selection of cured meats), Oregano's (a more standard kind of pizza joint with great food), a Pizzeria Bianco coming soon, and more that I'm forgetting. Tucson pizza could have it's own thread!

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  • 5 months later...

Just dropping a note since I go to Tucson about once a month - my favorite Korean anywhere (and I've eaten a lot of Korean) is Kimchi Time on the West side.  The restaurant scene is really taking off right now with all sorts of new chef-owned places downtown.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Last week I finally got to the Tucson Tamale Company - good stuff.  Way lots of varieties, the downside being the microwaved some of what I ordered.  What I liked is so often folks over-masa to make sure there is a masa wrapper with filling.  These guys don't seem to care if the filling becomes part of the masa wrapper - its messy but so good.

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