Tucson, Arizona has earned a reputation for delivering a superb selection of restaurants making the Southwestern city the first US destination to be recognized by UNESCO as a “city of gastronomy.”
Embracing elements of Native American, Spanish colonial, Mexican, and American heritage in its regional dishes, the point of difference of Tucson Sonoran cuisine is its simple, fuss-free approach and emphasis on fresh ingredients. With an exciting food scene, there’s no shortage of incredible Tucson restaurants to choose from when you visit.
Whether you’re visiting Tucson for a weekend or staying for a week, finding the best places to eat is a priority in a foodie hotspot like this. From cozy Mexican-inspired eateries to fusion fare with locally-infused flair, these are my recommendations for the best restaurants in Tucson, AZ.
Planning a Trip to Tuscon? Here Are My Top Picks for the Best Hotels in Tuscon:
- Graduate Tucson, for the best boutique hotel
- JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort, for the best resort
- The Tuxon Hotel, for the best design for dollar hotel
For more on Tucson, don’t miss my weekend guide to Tucson!
The 17 Best Restaurants in Tucson, Arizona
1. Seis Kitchen
Award-winning handcrafted regional Mexican cuisine, Sies Kitchen has grown from its humble beginnings as a food truck in 2012. Serving dishes inspired by six culinary regions of Mexico, the restaurant has earned continuous UNESCO Gastronomy designations. Operating from breakfast through to dinner, expect exceptional savory Mexican food plates including tacos, burritos, and taquitos full of authentic Mexican flavor.
Address: 1765 E River Rd #131, Tucson, AZ
For a totally immersive fine dining experience, head to Tanque Verde Ranch for mouth-watering cuisine in the authentic dude ranch atmosphere. Regular dining events are held weekly, in addition to serving three gourmet meals daily at the ranch restaurant. Don’t miss trying the braised short rib and porcini-rubbed filet.
Address: 14301 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ
With a modern take on Mexican, the imaginative menu at BOCA pairs contemporary salsas and dishes with local craft beers. Set in Downtown Tucson and complete with a dog-friendly patio, the tacos served here are reimagined with a gourmet twist. The al pastor tacos are a menu staple, while plates like the banh mi quesadillas showcase an Asian-inspired infusion which gives this top-rated restaurant its flair.
Address: 533 N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ
Considered one of Tucson’s best hangout spots for artisan pizza and craft beer, the beer garden at Reilly Craft Pizza is a highlight at this trendy eatery. Occupying a vintage space with vaulted ceilings, the blend of old and new gives an energetic ambience to this modern Italian restaurant. What makes this place special? Chef Tyler Fenton prioritizes local farmers and ingredients, even foraging for wild mushrooms in the forests in Santa Catalina Mountains.
Address: 101 E Pennington St, Tucson, AZ
5. Tito & Pep
A vibrant neighborhood bistro focused on exceptional service and embracing the spirit of Tucson and the southwest, Tito & Pep lets diners experience Mesquite fire cuisine at its best. Creating vibrant and delicious dishes, Chef and Owner John Martinez draws influence from the multicultural history of the region as well as his travels to bring the mesquite smoked menu to life. Be sure to try the one-of-a-kind cocktails and locally brewed beer, or choose from the unique wine list on offer, all designed to complement your meal.
Address: 4122 East Speedway Blvd, Midtown Tucson, AZ
Having first opened in the mid-80s, The Little One is an institution of Tucson’s culinary scene. Specializing in breakfast and lunch, this family-run restaurant prides itself on serving healthy meals and delivering exceptional service, all for a reasonable price. Philanthropy is at the heart of everything the team at The Little One do, making the generosity of this hotspot’s patrons a vital part of the Tucson community.
Address: 151 N Stone Ave, Tucson, AZ
Authentic Mexican flavor and freshness are what the food is all about at Coctelería La Palma Mariscos y Mas. Visitors often drop by this food truck which offers a seafood-focused menu after wandering around Santa Cruz Church. Fish and shrimp ceviche, fish tacos and crab tostadas are all prepared to perfection here.
Address: 137 S 6th Ave, Tucson, AZ
Bringing together a collection of upscale-casual eateries around a charming courtyard, Mercado San Agustin prides itself on showcasing small artisan and food businesses for a community feel. From bakeries and coffee roasters to regional Mexican cuisine, there’s also a weekly farmer’s market on Thursday and weekend brunch. If you’re with friends, I’d recommend grabbing a few dishes from various vendors and sharing in the sunny courtyard.
Address: 100 South Avenida del Convento, Tucson, AZ
9. La Indita
This family-owned and operated restaurant has been serving the Tucson community for more than 40 years. Generous portions of homemade Mexican-Native American fare are what diners head here for, earning La Indita a reputation as one of the most popular restaurants in Tucson. Don’t miss ordering the Indian Taco, their famous popover consisting of fried bread topped with beans, beef, and red chile — Tohono O’odham Style — salad, and cheese.
Address: 722 N Stone Ave, Tucson, AZ
If you’re looking for somewhere to get your day started right, 5 Points Market & Restaurant offers some of the best brunch dishes in town. Focusing on innovative, made-from-scratch American cuisine, everything is created with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Partnering with local farmers and artisans, there’s also an organic market and wine club which has a beautifully curated selection of minimal intervention biodynamic wines.
Address: 756 S Stone Ave, Tucson, AZ
11. El Taco Rustico
It’s all about the food at El Taco Rustico, serving up a flavourful and tasty Mexican-inspired menu. Chef Juan Almanza had a food truck at the Tohono O’odham Swap Meet for five years before transitioning to a brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2020. Catering to a broad audience, the menu features plenty of El Taco Rustico classics like carne asada tacos, as well as newer items including vegetarian and keto-friendly options.
Address: 2281 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ
Authentic Japanese cuisine in the heart of Tucson? Look no further than Kukai. Onigiri, donburi, hand rolls, ramen bowls, and more are all gracing the menu of this snug outdoor spot at the MSA Annex. With authentic flavors like Umeboshi and Unagi, there are plenty of Japanese favorites including takoyaki and karaage, bringing the flavours of Japan to the south west.
Address: 267 South Avenida del Convento #11, Tucson, AZ
Zemam’s, Tuscon’s first Ethiopian restaurant, has made waves on the local foodie scene. Designed to be enjoyed as communal dining, guests eat the traditional way; using injera bread as their utensil. A staple of the Tucson gastronomic scene since the 1990s, this is a great option for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diners. A perfect alternative to the typical southwestern cuisine that dominates Tucson’s culinary culture, Zemam’s is a truly excellent experience.
Address: 119 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ
For authentic Chinese noodle dishes, Noodleholics is the place to go. Set in a minimalistic, contemporary space, the focus is on traditional recipes using Guilin rice noodles and homemade wheat noodles to create filling, nourishing dishes that bring the flavors of Taiwan and Hong Kong to Tucson. Paired with Hong Kong milk tea or iced lemon honey, this is a great, easy meal whether you choose to eat-in or have it to-go.
Address: 3502 E Grant Rd, Tucson, AZ
An unassuming hot spot for authentic Sonoran fare, Taqueria Pico De Gallo has been serving delicious local dishes since 1991. The perfect place for a quick bite, everything here is vibrant; from the decor to the dinnerware to co-owner Ignacio “Nacho” Delgado. Focused on an affordable menu with authentic dishes, this is quality and flavor that won’t break the bank. Don’t forget to save room for horchata, a must-try for first-time diners.
Address: 2618 S 6th Ave, Tucson, AZ
16. Zio Peppe
Marrying Italian-American inspiration with the flavors of Southern Arizona, Zio Peppe is casual dining with a menu anchored on Italian classics. Serving pizzas straight from the wood fire oven and pasta with flavor profiles of Tucson and the Sonoran region, it’s a new generation of contemporary fusion cuisine.
Address: 6502 E Tanque Verde Rd, Tucson, AZ
17. El Sinaloense
Head to El Sinaloense for their renowned Sonoran hot dog, a bacon-wrapped delight served in a uniquely grilled, fluffy bun and topped with traditional condiments like tomatoes, grilled onions, and spicy sauces. This local favorite offers a casual dining experience with a few tables set up under a tent behind the cart where the hot dogs are freshly prepared.
Address: 1526 N Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85712
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