The Best Mexican Restaurants in Tucson (To Get Your Olé Fix!)
The Oracle knows best when it comes to an ancient question, asked by countless across the ages - what's for lunch? Tucson is home to some of the best Mexican restaurants in Arizona, and unless you're a local livin' la vida loca, you're probably missing out on the area's hottest spots. It feels like there's a Mexican restaurant on every corner here in Tucson, and while that's probably true, there are a few that truly stand out as the best of the best. Let the Oracle take you on a gastronomic journey around Tucson to truly experience the city like a local. Here are some of the best Mexican restaurants in Tucson (and some of our top food picks at each location!)
Look up El Sinaloense online and you'll find...hot dogs? That's right, the first stop on our journey is a run-down hot dog stand on Alvernon Way. Prepared in the Sonoran style, these hot dogs are seriously good. If you're not familiar with Sonoran hot dogs, they're wrapped in bacon and are grilled, then placed in a buttered hot dog bun and topped off with onions, tomatoes, pinto beans, and a wide range of custom condiments. The setting is honestly lackluster, but that's part of the experience - there aren't any gimmicks, you aren't paying for a fine dining experience, you're getting authentic, incredible street food.
Cafe Poca Cosa
For something a little more upscale, the Oracle has you covered. Not every meal can be spent at a food stand on the side of the road, no matter how much we wish they could be. If you're looking for a combination of authentic Mexican food and a fine dining experience, Cafe Poca Cosa should be at the top of your list. With a rotating menu (twice daily!) and a list of tequila that's honestly too long to list, you'll find plenty of exceptional food and drink options for both lunch and dinner. Chef and Owner Suzana Davila has created something truly special. Featured in national publications, Cafe Poca Cosa is Tuscon's hidden gem. Looking for something other than tortillas and beans? The Oracle has you covered with a list of great Tucson restaurants for foodies.
El Guero Canelo
The next stop on our Mexican restaurant journey is El Guero Canelo, a fun, quirky spot that's known for great experiences and even better food. There are three locations in Tucson, but here's an insider tip - the location on the South side of Tucson is the best. The Oracle recommends you try this place at least once - we also know that you'll fall in love with the fun, casual ambiance that makes everyone feel like family. You'll find classic staples such as tacos and quesadillas, as well as Sonoran hot dogs and an impressive selection of desserts. Fun fact: the owner also owns a tortilla factory in Magdalena, Sonora. Can you get more authentic than that?
Located on North Grande Avenue, the Oracle invites you to Mariscos Chihuahua, one of the best Mexican restaurants in the area. You have to try the filete culichi - two succulent fish fillets sauteed in Mariscos Chihuahua's blend of secret spices over their creamy green sauce. Paired with a fresh margarita and you're in for a great time. For something truly unique, check out their two octopus dishes. These flavorful meals aren't found at many Mexican restaurants in the area, making them a great choice for any foodies in the area. Fun fact: mariscos is Spanish for seafood - Mariscos Chihuahua sources their ingredients locally, meaning you're getting fresh seafood every time.
It's back to the side of the road as we head to Tacos Apson (we told you we can't get enough of these local food stands). Tacos Apson doesn't look like much, but the food is simply divine. It's also extremely inexpensive, making it the perfect spot for lunch on a sunny afternoon. Plan on spending some time there as it's rare to see a short line waiting for the flavorful carne asada and barbacoa. They also specialize in Sonoran hot dogs (if you haven't picked up on it yet, they're pretty popular in Tucson). If you're ever near 12th Avenue, do yourself a favor and stop here.
Teresa's Mosaic Cafe
The Oracle hasn't steered you wrong yet, and this next location is no exception. Featuring brightly colored decor and some of the best food in the area, Teresa's Mosaic Cafe is a casual spot that's relaxed and welcoming. Offering simple, authentic Mexican cuisine, Teresa's is a popular location at any time of day. We recommend grabbing some tortillas to go. Teresa's makes all of their tortillas in-house, and they're some of the best around. If you're dining in, the huevos rancheros is a fantastic option. Using only the freshest ingredients, you'll get a taste of authentic food in a fun, cozy atmosphere. You might make a stop here after watching the sunset at Gates Pass or taking a scenic tour up "A" Mountain.
Guadalajara Original Grill
You can't have a list of the best Mexican restaurants in Tucson without having at least one Mexican restaurant with the typical, gimmicky atmosphere. Let's take a journey to Guadalajara Original Grill. The food is good, but what really makes this place stand out is the atmosphere. You'll find live music every evening, making it a lively, energetic atmosphere. On top of fun entertainment, you can also have fresh salsa made at your table, which can distract you from the over-the-top cheesy atmosphere and provide you with some authentic Mexican experiences.
It was difficult to come up with a list of the best Mexican restaurants in Tucson simply because there are so many exceptional locations to choose from. Whether you're looking for a quick bite on the side of the road or an upscale dining experience, there's something for everyone here in Tucson, which is one of the countless reasons we love this city so much. There are so many things to do in Tucson and so many great places to eat. Do you think another Mexican restaurant should be featured on our list? Let us know and we may take our readers on a journey there in the near future!