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Taco Giro Mexican Grill
4140 W. Ina Road, 344-9607
$3.25 - $3.50
Taco Giro has a few ceviche varieties: one comes served atop a tostada and the other in a bowl. The broth in the soupy version really makes the dish shine, but know that it’s traditional Mexican fare like this that keeps Taco Giro busy.
Sea Salt Caramel Gelato
446 N Campbell Ave, Suite 120, 207-1991
$3.50 - $5.75
Allegro makes each flavor of Gelato individually, using the traditional Italian recipe created by a certified Master Gelatiere who uses fresh, natural ingredients. While seasonal flavors such as the pineapple basil are popular, the sea-salt caramel is a staple you can rely on.
Blanco Tacos + Tequila
2905 E Skyline Drive, #246, 232-1007
This is by far one of the best tacos in town and deserves to have the award-winning label next to it. With roasted pork, roasted corn and tomato slaw topped with pickled onions and crème Fresca, you’ll likely find yourself ordering a few rounds of these.
Lucky Lime Eegee’s
Price Varies Depending on Size
You can’t list essential Tucson food stuffs and leave out the Old Pueblo’s iconic fast food dessert: Eegee’s. Luckily, you can still squeeze a few more bites out of March’s flavor of the month: the tart and tangy, but oh-so-sweet Lucky Lime.
Lamb Smahi Korma
853 E. Grant Road, 624-9393
When the serving dish of lamb korma arrives, the sauce is immediately striking—a brown, creamy spicy love sauce that make lamb happy. In this case, small cubes of deliciously cooked lamb. The result is a Bollywood party in your mouth. Keep a little with rice for the next day’s lunch. It only gets better.
3048 E. Broadway Blvd., 326-4700
The baked scallops at Sushi Garden could possibly be the best in town. Yes, there are other sushi establishments that make the concoction of creamy bakes scallops piled on top of rice. But these, these are mounds of golden scallop goodness. If you sushi with a partner, the right thing is to always share that second piece.
Spinach Tarascan Tacos
622 N. 4th Ave., 792-0523
La Indita on Fourth Avenue is where the Indian roots of our Mexican culinary traditions come together. The tacos, served on thick homemade corn tortillas are a good example—filled with spinach and nuts, subtly taking us to the mother country, and another place and time.
#3 Smoked Galician Sandwich
245 E. Congress St., 623-4477
You can throw an herby chimichurri sauce on anything and it’ll be good in most cases. However, the folks at Sparkroot decided to pair that flavor with sweet pickled onion, fresh spinach and tangy smoked Spanish cheese and slap it between two pieces of bread. After a quick press, the whole thing is melty and satisfying like a classy grilled cheese.
Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizza
2707 E. Broadway Blvd., 321-1860
$11.99 per dozen
Yes, there’s good pizza at Rocco’s, but for some reason what’s really worth mentioning is that these chicken wings will make you think those other wings were holding out on you. Served hot or with homemade BBQ and ranch or blu cheese, it’s all good.
Grill Ribeye with Fries
HUB Restaurant & Creamery
266 E. Congress St., 207-8201
Sometimes it’s simplicity that’s man’s best friend and it seems like HUB has always known this—that a ribeye with fries could be the best way to end a long day. It’s simple and fresh and true.
210 E. Congress St., 882-5140
Cast any misperceptions you have of the Iguana—one of the last vestiges of that old downtown we all like to wax nostalgic on from time to time. The regulars there really are friendly, and the cheese enchiladas, just the right amount of sauce and cheese, are the best in town.
Michelangelo Ristorante Italian0
420 W. Magee Road, 297-5775
There’s a real down-home feel to this restaurant that most of us love with the owners attentiveness always part of every meal. Maybe that’s why these breaded morsels of goodness smothered (not suffocated) in mozzarella and marinara with its best friend fettuccine alfredo make this place an Italian favorite in Tucson.
El Mi Nidito
1813 S. 4th Ave., 622-5081
On Feb. 25, 1999, Bill Clinton was in Tucson, and some amazing thinker took him to El Mi Nidito where Clinton, before he was vegan and in shape, decided he had to try a little bit of everything. That how this plate was invented, giving us all a chance to try a little bit of everything this great restaurant does best.
Strawberries, Banana and Nutella Crepe
Planet of the crepes
Food Truck, 271-6083
This creperie has always been a Tucson Weekly favorite. The savory menu is overwhelmingly good, but sometimes the only thing that can heal the big cruel world blues is something sweet with Nutella. Honest.
758 S. Stone Ave., 370-7000
$9 to $45
Café Desta’s food always tastes fresh and the staff is friendly. The combinations served on top of the Ethiopian injera bread—which can be vegan or include lamb and beef—make you love eating with your fingers and love this Five Points tradition.
The Caruso Special
434 N. 4th Ave., 624-5765
OK, so you’ll have a better feel for this recommendation if you eat outside in the back patio. At Caruso’s it’s the only place to eat—you can have spaghetti, meatballs or meat or cheese ravioli with meat sauce, marinara sauce or—our personal fave: white garlic-mushroom sauce. Mangia.
Tandoori Seared Lamb Chops
7607 N. Oracle Road, 742-9100
Lamb chops, cooked to moist delish perfection, are always good. However, at Saffron when marinated overnight and cooked with herbs in a tandoori oven, well, yeah, you are salivating.
Green Chile Pork Stew
Poco & Mom’s
7000 E. Tanque Verde Road, 296-9759
1060 S. Kolb Road, 325-7044
This stew and the restaurant it comes from shows us that we should be more welcoming to New Mexicans in our little city. There are tender chunks of pork, simmered with potatoes, onions and tomatoes topped with cheese.
137 E. Congress St., 882-7499
$18 for an 18 inch
There’s lots of downtown goodness at Empire, but we love this pie the most. Don’t dare call it a “meat lover’s” pizza when you go in. Show some respect. Call it by name or call it Mr. Pizza.
6453 N. Oracle Road, 797-1233
How lucky are we all to have a place in Tucson where you can get a good bowl of gumbo. Made with chicken and andouille sausage and served with a side of hush puppies, the dish is Creole cooking at it’s best. We don’t live in NOLA, but at Parish, we can dream we do.