Diners give especially high marks to Tucson's Mexican food, and you'll find many other flavors from around the world too. The more expensive places may have a dress code; ask when making reservations. The price ranges reflect those of dinner entrees.
American, Southwestern, and Continental
The elegant dining room at Arizona Inn (two miles northeast of downtown at 2200 E. Elm St., between Campbell and Tucson Blvd., 520/325-1541, daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and a Sunday brunch, $21-32) serves contemporary cuisine with international flavors. There's a tasting menu available for dinner. You can dine indoors or poolside.
The Gold Room (245 E. Ina Rd., 520/297-0134, ext. 413, daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, $21-33) serves excellent Southwest/continental food along with fine service and a sweeping view of the city. It's at the Westward Look Resort, nine miles north of downtown.
Kingfisher (northeast of downtown at 2564 E. Grant Rd., 520/323-7739, www.kingfishertucson.com, Mon.-Fri. for lunch and daily for dinner, most $14-25) has an extensive seafood menu plus some meat and vegetarian items. A late-night menu is offered after 10 p.m.
La Cocina Restaurant (Old Town Artisans at 201 N. Court, 520/622-0351, daily for lunch, $7-13) serves Southwestern and a variety of other dishes, along with soups, salads, and sandwiches on the patio and indoors.
Cushing Street Bar & Restaurant (198 W. Cushing St. at Meyer, just south of the Tucson Convention Center, 520/622-7984, Tues.-Sat. for lunch and dinner, $9-21) offers a variety of American, Mexican, and pasta dishes in an attractive 1880s' setting with a patio out back. The former general store is in the historic Barrio Viejo.
Little Anthony's Diner (7010 E. Broadway Blvd., 520/296-0456, daily for lunch and dinner, $5-14) gives you many choices of burgers, sandwiches, chicken dishes, and deserts in a 1950s setting—enjoyable for kids of all ages. The menu advertises blue-plate specials "just like mom's." Grandma Tony's Pizza is available here too, for dine in or take out. Located behind the Gaslight Theatre on the southwest corner of E. Broadway Blvd. and Kolb Rd., eight miles east of downtown.
Jonathan's Tucson Cork (eight miles northeast of downtown at 6320 E. Tanque Verde Rd., 520/296-1631, daily for dinner, $14-35) rates as one of the best steakhouses in Tucson. It also serves ostrich, buffalo, chicken, seafood, and prime rib.
Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse (south of Grant Rd. at 6541 E. Tanque Verde Rd., 520/296-0911, nightly for dinner, $8-17 adults, $4-7 children) is a family-style steakhouse with a cowboy atmosphere. If you wear a tie here, make it a cheap one as it will join the thousands of severed ties that decorate the ceilings! No reservations taken, but you can avoid the crowds by arriving early. A train ride, carousel, shooting gallery, and evening stunt shows provide entertainment. The restaurant, along with the Dakota Cafe (lighter fare for lunch and dinner daily) and shops are in Trail Dust Town, a recreated Old West town eight miles northeast of downtown.
Oasis Vegetarian Eatery & Food Co. (375 S. Stone Ave., 520/884-1616, Sun. for brunch and Mon.-Sat. for lunch and dinner, $4-10) features home-made veggie burgers and a long list of sandwiches and salads.
Govinda's Natural Food Buffet (711 E. Blacklidge Dr., east off 1st Avenue between Glenn and Fort Lowell, 520/792-0630, Sun. for brunch, Wed.-Sat. for lunch, and Tues.-Sat. for dinner, $8 lunch buffet, $9 brunch/dinner buffet, with lower children's prices and salad-bar options) offers a flavorful menu with indoor and patio dining. Tuesday is East Indian night and Thursday is vegan. You can join the Hare Krishna community for a Sunday Feast and Festival with chanting, meditation, discussion, and a meal on Sunday 5:30-8 p.m.
Poca Cosa (downtown at 88 E. Broadway, 520/622-6400, Mon.-Sat. for lunch and dinner, $13-18) prepares traditional Mexican cuisine in the dining room of the Clarion Hotel.
El Charro (311 N. Court Ave., 520/622-1922, daily for lunch and dinner, $6-16) has been a popular dining spot for Sonoran and other styles since 1922. A second El Charro is in El Mercado at 6310 E. Broadway Blvd., 520/745-1922. Both offer patio and indoor areas.
El Minuto (354 S. Main Ave., 520/882-4145, daily for lunch and dinner, $7-13) prepares Mexican favorites in a little cafe with a patio. It's just south across Cushing Street from the Tucson Convention Center.
La Fuente Restaurant (north of downtown at 1749 N. Oracle Rd., 520/623-8659, www.lafuenterestaurant.com, daily for lunch and dinner, except closed Mon. in summer, $10-23) has a very attractive garden setting for fine dining with choices of meat, seafood, and vegetarian food. Lunches feature a tostada-taco bar Mon.-Thurs. and a buffet on Friday. On Sundays you can enjoy a champagne brunch. Musicians serenade diners every evening and during the Sunday brunch with Latin jazz Mon.-Wed. and mariachi Thurs.-Sunday.
La Parrilla Suiza (5602 East Speedway Blvd., one block east of Craycroft, 520/747-4838 and at 2720 North Oracle Rd., one block south of Glenn, 520/624-4300, daily for lunch and dinner, $8-19) specializes in the cuisine of Mexico City, with many grilled items.
Le Rendez-Vous (six miles northeast of downtown at 3844 E. Fort Lowell Rd., 520/323-7373, Tues.-Fri. for lunch, Tues.-Sun. for dinner, $19-36, also prix fixe options) offers fine French food in a formal setting.
Caruso's (just east of downtown at 434 N. 4th Ave., 520/624-5765, Tues.-Sun. for dinner, $7-10) serves southern Italian cooking in a Tucson institution dating back to the 1930s.
Vivace Restaurant (4310 N. Campbell Ave., 520/795-7221, Mon.-Sat. for lunch and dinner, $18-26) prepares top-rated northern Italian cuisine.
Athens on 4th Avenue (500 N. 4th Ave., 520/624-6886, Mon.-Sat. for dinner, $10.50-20) presents Greek cuisine prepared with many imported ingredients; there's also patio dining. It's half a mile from downtown near the northeast corner of 4th Avenue and 6th Street; look for the sign.
Evangelo's (six miles west of downtown at 4405 W. Speedway Blvd., 520/624-8946, daily for lunch and dinner, $15-21) has a fine reputation as one of the best restaurants in town with a wide selection of entrees and an extensive wine list.
Gandhi (150 W. Fort Lowell, north of downtown and just west of Stone Ave., 520/292-1738, daily for lunch and dinner, $6-11) prepares seafood, meats, and vegetarian food in tandoori and other north Indian styles. Lunch has a buffet option.
New Delhi Palace (six miles east of downtown at 6751 E. Broadway Blvd., 520/296-8585, daily for lunch and dinner, $7-14) offers north Indian cuisine, including tandoori. There's a lunchtime buffet here too.
Gee Garden (four miles northeast of downtown at 1145 N. Alvernon Way and Speedway Blvd., 520/325-5353, daily for lunch and dinner, $8-20) serves Cantonese food; you can order dim sum for lunch.
Lotus Garden (six miles northeast of downtown at 5975 E. Speedway Blvd., 520/298-3351, daily for lunch and dinner, $9-15) features a long menu of Cantonese and Szechuan specialties.
Shogun (north of downtown at 5036 N. Oracle Rd. in River Village Center, 520/888-6646, daily for lunch and dinner, $10-15) has attractive decor with a choice of tables or tatami booths. There's a sushi bar too.
China-Thai Cuisine (seven miles northeast of downtown at 6502 E. Tanque Verde Rd., 520/885-6860, daily for lunch and dinner, $8-14) cooks tasty Thai, Mandarin, and Szechwan food.
Frog and Firkin (874 E. University Blvd., 520/623-7507, www.frogandfirkin.com) serves up pub fare, pizza, and brews in an English-style pub one block west of the university.
Gentle Ben's Brewing Company (865 E. University Blvd., 520/624-4177, www.gentlebens.com) has a choice of seven brews and good food one block west of the university.
The Home Plate Sports Pub (4880 E. 22nd St., 520/745-8446) features batting cages as well as a variety of food and drinks southeast of downtown.
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