Best Of Tucson®

Best Mexican Restaurant in South Tucson

Mi Nidito

READERS' PICK: "Samba Pa Ti'" sang Carlos Santana. The Lopez matriarch, after a long life filled with hard work and grace, has passed. Guests at her South Tucson landmark "nest" are comforted by her spirit and the lessons she handed down to her son, Chickie, grandson Jimmy and the rest of the Mi Nidito familia. Mi Nidito is never not busy. The cocido, menudo, sopa del pollo, burros, flautas, chimichangas, enchiladas and tamales are simply outstanding. And the service is so outstanding that you don't mind the wait inside or out, where the art done by students at nearby Las Artes has converted Fourth and East 29th into a museum. Dan Eckstrom, King of South Tucson, directed President Clinton to Mi Nidito in 1999 and has borrowed from the Lopez family to describe political nuances: "You've got your chile verde and your chile colorado. Equally good. But different." Indeed. A green chile burro, enchilada style at Mi Nidito is divine. So is a chile colorado plate. So is the birria. So are the flat enchiladas. So are the green corn tamales.

B-SIDE: El Guero Canelo, 5201 S. 12th Ave. This is a different street, a different life from the rest of South Tucson. And this gem captures it well as a type of drive-in. Order and pay at the window and take a seat in the ramada. You may enjoy the cebollas verde that are grilled nearby. A favorite here is steak entero, a typically norteño large, thin steak with a lime. A steak burro also is fabulous. There's a full range of breakfast burros and chorizo.

B-SIDE: Crossroads, 2602 S. Fourth Ave. When a longtime band sports all new members under its original name, run far away. When a restaurant does the same, approach with caution. Except in the case of the family-owned Crossroads, which sits quietly in the shadows of the better-known South Fourth Avenue restaurants. The entrées, which include seafood selections, feature such generous portions that you'll wonder how come meat loaf isn't on the menu. Crossroads will make you remember why you fell in love with Mexican food in the first place. And you won't have to make any deals with the devil.