It’s got to be the proximity of it to the Mexican borders, right? Sure enough, Tucson is home to some of the best Mexican restaurants in the nation. Most of the places you’ll find here are not only authentic; they’re also innovative and absolutely delicious. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, you’ll never, ever have to wind up at the Taco Bell drive through every time you’re craving Mexican. The hardest part is just choosing where to get your tacos. We’re here to the rescue as we’ve rounded up the five best Mexican restaurants that Tucson has to offer. We guarantee that any of these places will satisfy your cravings.
This is one of Tucson’s latest offerings, and it’s inspired by the vibrant streets of Tepatitlan in Jalisco—hence the name. The vibe of the restaurant is Mexican food street-style, and this is exactly how Calle Tepa separates itself from all the other established restaurants in the area. You can be glad for all the fresh ingredients and the homemade recipes. You’ll feel like you’re eating at Abuela’s table even though you’re not Mexican. Here’s what you’ll get at this place. You’ll get salsa that’s made from scratch and tortillas that are cooked right in front of you. Unless a restaurant makes fresh tortillas, they can’t be considered legitimate.
Taqueria El Pueblito
If your craving is more focused on tacos or burritos alone, this is the place to go. Their specialty comes in the form of all the handheld Mexican favorites and the different flavors that go along with them—asada, barbacoa, al pastor, and so on. Your meats are grilled to order just as they should be, and you’ll never get a taco or burrito that’s more tortilla than meat. You can top your taco or burrito with whatever topping you could think of, and of course, you’d have to make a pit stop at the salsa bar where you can concoct your own salsa topping. Make sure to try the classic bean and cheese burrito as well. You won’t be disappointed.
Cafe Poca Cosa
If you’re looking for more of a unique experience, we recommend going to Cafe Poca Cosa and paying Chef/Owner Susana Davila a visit. At this restaurant, you can go back every single day and find a new menu—their menu changes everyday. It’s quite exciting not knowing what choices you’ll have. Servers actually pass around a handwritten chalkboard menu for you to choose from. If you are feeling completely adventurous, you can leave your meal up to the hands of the chef and order the Poca Cosa. The chef will create an entrée especially for you, and it will consist of a sampling of beef, chicken, and vegetarian dishes. You can’t ever go wrong with that.
El Charro Cafe
Being the oldest Mexican restaurant in Tucson, the El Charro Cafe has a lot to boast about. They claim to be the oldest Mexican restaurant in the nation that’s still run by the same family. They also claim to be the inventors of the lovely and delicious chimichanga. Regardless of whether those claims are true or not, their flavors are right on point. El Charro Cafe offers you true Tucson-style Mexican food that has roots in authentic Sonoran cuisine. This is one of those places that can quickly become your favorite or your go-to place. It’s the perfect place to dine with a group, dine with a partner, or dine completely solo. Regardless of how you like to do it, we guarantee that your stomach will leave happy.
Guadalajara Original Grill
It must be the mariachi every single night of the week. Or it could very well be the salsa that’s made fresh right at your table. But then it could be the fresh tortillas made daily. Whatever it may be, Guadalajara is everything that a Mexican restaurant should be. It’s lively and colorful, and the food is some of the best and most authentic you can get anywhere else in Tucson and beyond. This is the type of Mexican restaurant that uses authentic Mexican ingredients, so you can pretty much be sure that the flavors are authentic as well. You’ll definitely feel and taste the Mexican flair here at Guadalajara’s.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker