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Best Casual Dining 

Rosa's Mexican Food

1750 E. Fort Lowell Road

READERS' PICK: It doesn't look like much from the outside, tucked as it is in a corner of a nondescript strip mall on the corner of Campbell Avenue and Fort Lowell Road. But once you're inside Rosa's, you're transported into an elegant dining atmosphere that's never stuffy. Now this is what we call a local success story: Rosa's is still serving the fine, affordable Mexican food the restaurant became famous for back in its days as an off-campus eatery on Speedway. (Also see Best Salsa, page 69.)

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP -- TIE: La Salsa, three locations (See Best Lunch Under $5, pages 47 and 72); and Mi Nidito, 1813 S. Fourth Ave. Tucson institution Mi Nidito has been even more crowded since President Clinton ate there earlier this year, but it's still the best casual dining in town, and with good reason. The first thing you'll notice is the friendly service of Nidito's waiters and waitresses, many of whom seem to have grown up there. The warm, jovial atmosphere makes eating at this southside restaurant a relaxing affair despite the fact that it's perpetually busy. The best part is that the food's extraordinarily good. Specialties include Sonoran beef dishes like birria and carne seca, which alone are worth the sometimes lengthy wait for a table.

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