Located in Pima County in the state of Arizona, along the bushy banks of the Santa Cruz River, Tucson is an authentic southwest city full of essential experiences and sights. With the population of more than 500,000 people, it is the second largest city of the state, which annually attracts flows of tourists by its vibrant area and incredible desert scenery. Here is the home to the renowned University of Arizona, magnificent Sabino Canyon, and unique Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. When it comes to awe and wonder, Tucson has a lot to offer and is immensely proud of it. Among all this diversity of breathtaking nature and wildlife, there’s a flourishing food scene to delve into. Recognized as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, Tucson features numerous fine-dining restaurants serving up both local and international cuisine. In this Arizona city, every eatery can boast fresh, locally-grown ingredients, whose flavors perfectly mingle with advanced cooking techniques. These are the best places to eat out in Tucson, where you’ll discover the city’s true culinary heritage.
Sarma means "to wrap" in Turkish. The dish consists of grapes leaves or cabbage rolls stuffed with minced lamb or beef and rice. It's very popular in a number of countries, including the Middle East and Southeastern European countries.
Among the scattered dining options mostly serving Mexican-influenced dishes, Chef Alisah’s Restaurant stands out with its unsurpassed classics of Bosnian cuisine. The owner and chef of the place, Ahmet Alisah, is originally from Travnik, Bosnia, and moved with his family to the USA as a refugee in 1998, after being held in a concentration camp during the Bosnian war. This tragic period of his personal history has strengthened Ahmet’s passion for his native food and eventually encouraged to open his own traditional eatery.
Although from the outside the restaurant looks scarce and humble, inside, the ambiance is cozy and more sophisticated. The place is delightful with its bright interior and open space, purple walls with white accents and matching tablecloths, treasured family photos and Bosnian landscape pictures. On the menu, there are dishes you might be unfamiliar with, like sarma (cabbage rolls stuffed with beef), cevapi (Bosnian sausages), or pljeskavica (meat patties), but the attentive staff is always ready to explain what to expect.
It's specially prepared corn dough masa with a filling of meat with a spicy sauce. And all this is collapsed into the leaves of corn cobs.
Located close to the University of Arizona, on East 6th Street, Tumerico is a well-known local restaurant, where you can grab a decent veggie bite. The constantly changing, hand-written-on-the-wall menu includes mostly vegetarian and gluten-free food options, with cheese and eggs being offered as well. The talented chef Wendy Garcia daily creates palatable dishes full of bold Mexican-inspired flavors, using only natural seasonal produce. Depending on what arrived fresh to her self-proclaimed ‘scratch kitchen’, she develops characterful unusual recipes to impress both vegans and carnivores. Thus, in Tumerico, you’re bound to try crispy soy chorizo, jackfruit carnitas, cactus tacos, or cashew cream. Still, even such a daily-rotating menu features its iconic specialities: delicious tamales with meat-free filling.
With the primary focus on food and service, there’s nothing out of the ordinary in Tumerico’s interior: plain, painted brick walls, a tiled floor, and simple furniture. Still, its ambient atmosphere and mouthwatering food won’t leave your soul and palate disappointed.
Chicken sandwiches feature a premium all-white meat chicken breast that is juicy and crispy, layered with mayo, a slice of tomato, lettuce, and pickles, all placed between a warm, premium toasted bun.
Recognized as the best café in Tucson by Restaurant Guru, this charming downtown dining venue is located in the Hiram Stevens house, one of the historic buildings of the Museum of Art. In this casual place, each of the four halls provides the perfect ambiance for enjoying the varied menu, which consists of hearty fare such as Chicken Panini sandwiches, Grilled Flank steak, Portobello omelet, or cinnamon French toasts. Make sure to save room for luscious in-house desserts and excellent coffee. All the dishes have been developed with the creative flair by the executive chef and owner Mark Jorbin.
Known as Tucson’s fine-dining masterpiece, Café à La C'Art’s interior pleases the eye with walls of a flattering peach color, decorated with fine art paintings, and a spacious brick patio with charming floral mosaics and a fountain.
On islands where the catch is most often fresh, the octopus is roasted on charcoal, seasoned with fresh lemon and served with Greek aniseed vodka. Friends and families usually like to enjoy this special summer dish on the beach on hot days.
As one of the top restaurants in Tucson, Feast is the place all the foodies are enthusing about. Run by the creative chef Doug Levy, the eatery follows a simple concept of serving only delectable gourmet food, made with a bounty of fresh locally-grown ingredients. The Feast team presents a new lunch and dinner menu every first Tuesday of each month, which makes all the dishes seasonally appropriate. Here, you may encounter flavorful pan-seared branzino, perfect parmesan risotto, succulent grilled octopus, or savory sweet potato chilaquiles. For dessert, you’ll be treated with exceptional prepared in-house chocolate truffle cookies or vanilla-brandy poached pear.
Like its diversified menu, the restaurant's interior is stylish and colorful, with modern panoramic windows and its own art gallery depicting the works of the local artists. Feast also offers excellent delivery and catering services and a wide selection of great-tasting red, pink, white, and sparkling wines.
This lobster roll is very popular in the summer, because it refers to cold snacks and has a pleasant and refreshing taste. Actually, it's like a hot dog, only lobster instead of sausage. It has been rumored that it was a long time ago when there were so many lobsters in Boston County that they even fed prisoners. Since then, they are served inside crispy fresh rolls on the leaves of green.
Specializing in fresh seafood, this extensive venue has been among the local favorites for almost 30 years. Its upscale vintage interior and eccentric atmosphere perfectly embody the value of grand cuisine. In Kingfisher’s kitchen, passionate chefs gifted in culinary arts develop innovative dishes to amaze even spoilt-for-choice diners. The seasonally changing menu is full of expertly prepared options, ranging from the scrumptious lobster roll to house smoked ruby trout. Specially for night owls, Kingfisher serves a light menu after 10 pm until midnight, which is deservedly popular during busy periods. On top of that, the legendary restaurant boasts one of the most comprehensive wine lists in the city and the prestigious status of Wine Spectators Award of Excellence winner. So, if you’re craving for quality seafood and culinary goodies, Kingfisher Bar & Grill is right up your alley.
Brimming with breathtaking natural attractions and great outdoors, Tucson is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the USA. Founded centuries ago, the city preserves the genuine heritage of different cultures, cherishing their cuisines and food traditions. With the city’s numerous restaurants, bars, cafes, and coffee shops, you’re to take a journey into gastronomic greatness that combines land and sea. Take a look at the best dining spots in Tucson on our website and choose the ones for a quintessential culinary experience.