Chain restaurants can be found in abundance in every city of a certain size but locally we are lucky to have a group of sophisticated restaurants found only in Tucson. Those featured here are, for the most part, elegant & unique restaurants where visitors will find original cuisine highlighting local food sources. Some belong to a group called Tucson Originals and some to another group called eatlocaltucson,
The underlying appeal of these restaurants is that they are locally owned and dedicated to, as much as possible, using food products locally grown and/or produced.
In a class all by itself, is the Arizona Inn at 2200 E. Elm St., a family owned and run luxury hotel/resort on any tourist’s “must see” list since the early 1930’s. Boasting all the amenities of a 5 Star Hotel/Resort, it has two dining rooms, Main Dining (inside and with a stricter dress code than most Tucson restaurants) and the Audubon Bar, which is casual and opens to the beautiful lawns and gardens on its patio facing side. Arizona inn menus offer a variety of taste treats from the small and reasonably priced items, to full dinners when price is not an object for the very special occasion. A brunch menu is offered on Saturday and Sunday. The inn is located just 1.6 miles directly north of Sam Hughes Inn, presenting a nice way to walk off a full meal if you’re staying here and eating there.
Pastiche Modern Eatery, (also not far from Sam Hughes Inn), at 3025 North Campbell, has been part of the Tucson scene for many years and almost never disappoints with its variety of popular offerings that appeal to anyone who loves to eat out.
On September 9, 2015 Pastiche will be one of six “Restaurants found only in Tucson” participating in a yearly dinner event called Primavera Cooks, Described as “possibly the most fun you will ever have at a nonprofit fundraising dinner” the meal will consist of a 4 or 5 course, wine paired fabulous evening out. Three of the restaurants have already had their fund raisers earlier in the summer. Sorry to have missed them.
Another restaurant still planning its Primavera dinner on August 30th, is Kingfisher. 2564 E Grant Rd. This perennial winner of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence is also proud of its specialty oyster menu. Plenty of seafood is on offer here (For 8 years Tucson Weekly has voted Kingfisher the Best Seafood Restaurant in town) along with a variety of meat dishes.
If you read this blog in time, Tavolino, an Italian “ristorante”at 2890 E. Skyline Drive will have its specialty dinner on Wednesday, August 19. On the regular menu you’ll find home-made pastas and signature pizzas made in their wood burning oven. Described as elegant but relaxed, Tavolino also has an excellent patio dining area.Late summer hours begin on Memorial Day. (This is Tucson, so summer lasts quite a long time here.
All reservations made for the remaining special event dinners are through Primavera NOT the restaurants. For reservations call David at 520-308-3104. Unless otherwise specified, all dinners begin with a check-in between 6-6:30 with seating at 6:30PM.
Acacia, also in the Catalina Foothills not far from Taolino at 3001 E. Skyline Drive, boasts a Sunset menu until August 31st at $30 per person between 4 and 6PM. Dinners feature the usual assortment of American favorites, chicken, pork, duckling, steak but all with special chef touches that make them unique to this fine restaurant.Also on the menu is a surprising main dish, roasted garlic custard that would certainly satisfy a vegetarian.
Feast, is an appropriately named and creative restaurant at 3719 E Speedway Blvd. It describes itself as a “Relaxed bistro for market-driven, eclectic cuisine that changes monthly, plus a lengthy wine list”. One of their interesting appetizers for August is “Pickled Shrimp and Fried Smelts, served over white beans and Spanish chorizo with lettuce juice and kale.” Yum!
And last on this small specialized list, Downtown Kitchen & Cocktails, at 135 S 6th Ave, is handily named for its location in the middle of the downtown area. Locally renowned chef, Janos Wilder, is the creative mind and body behind this popular restaurant A busy spot featuring global fare and creative cocktails, Janos was one of the first chefs to take a chance on revitalizing the now bustling downtown restaurant scene.So far so good!
These are just a few of the many wonderful Tucson restaurants. Others have taken root in the past few years and now this city can be proud of its collection of chefs dedicated to making this a great place to eat out..