A Taste of Tucson’s Premier Restaurants

August 31, 2017

As a melting pot of world cultures with rich food histories, it is no surprise – certainly not to anyone who lives in the Old Pueblo – that Tucson has been designated as the Capital of Gastronomy, the first city in the United States to earn the distinction.  Our multicultural food history combined with innovative culinary expertise and locally-grown, raised, and sustainable produce and livestock make for a unique combination of gastronomical perfection.

To truly explore Tucson’s exciting food scene requires a city-wide excursion. Ranging from the exclusive dining options of the affluent northside to the humble, homemade cart offerings of the southside to the revered food trucks of midtown and the trendy downtown restaurant scene, a food journey through Tucson will take you through the cultures, communities, and scenes that each clearly define what they bring to the table of Tucson’s culinary excellence.

A premier food experience in Tucson begins with James Beard Award winner and chef Janos Wilder, owner of Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails. Janos’ dishes are the product of the chef’s world-class training and inspired the incorporation of local foods and food cultures into his dishes. From pickled Cholla cactus buds to polenta and oyster mushroom brodo, the chef’s menu is always bursting with elevated Southwestern flavors that give the local Mexican and Native food cultures their due reverence.

Janos is taking his passion for expanding the palates of Tucson further with the Carriage House, his downtown event space where superlative chefs dole out cooking lessons and demonstrations featuring world cuisine. providing a wholly new culinary experience for Tucson.

For an incredible steakhouse and seafood experience in Tucson, those in the know reserve a table at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse in the Catalina Foothills. Not only do patrons enjoy a first-class meal by chef David Edgell, but they also flock to Fleming’s for their wine selection. Fleming’s award-winning wine list features 100 wines by the glass, each selection extensively curated. The wine experience is enhanced further with their WiNEPAD™ iPad app that helps you choose the perfect wine pairing to complement your meal.

Sushi lovers descend upon Kazoku Sushi & Japanese Cuisine to get their fix of this Japanese cuisine. At Kazoku, Chef Seogmin Youn is the sole sushi chef on hand, and while he is a master of the traditional sushi, he is not afraid to add his own sushi creations to the menu like the “Y” and “J” rolls, named in honor of his sons. Again, attention is paid to local food offerings as Kazoku’s unique and signature maki rolls, sashimi, and nigiri feature resident flavors like green chilis and avocados.

Making every “best of” restaurant list in Tucson, The Grill at Hacienda Del Sol is a must-try fine dining experience for any true food connoisseur. Located in the Foothills and perfectly capturing the majesty of the mountains and surrounding desert landscape, The Grill is New American Cuisine refined to an exceptional level. The Grill’s wine list is truly spectacular, boasting more than 700 bottles. The wine selection alone has earned The Grill the Award of Ultimate Distinction and the Best of Award of Elegance from Wine Enthusiasts Magazine and Wine Spectator.

Whether heading over for a romantic dinner or enjoying their phenomenal brunch menu with friends, The Grill features fabulous local flavors combined with traditional American cuisine in dishes like their green chili grits. After your meal, stick around for signature cocktails and a cigar from The Grill’s cigar menu.

One of the newest must-try restaurants on the northside is Jackson Bar + Eatery, the contemporary trendy hangout for post-game country club golfers and locals alike.  Jackson features an elevated American comfort food menu with an upscale flair, brought to life by executive chef Izaak Morhaim, who grew his credentials at some of Tucson’s most exclusive eateries. Indulge in the black truffle burger or try the locally-inspired jalapeno meatloaf and pasta primavera made with seasonal produce.

This list can truly go on forever and include 5-star favorite Tucson gastronomy destinations like Café Poca Cosa, Augustin Kitchen, and Core Kitchen & Wine Bar, and so many more. Tucson is a world-class destination for foodies for a reason, and our brilliant restaurateurs and chefs alike have created a one-of-a-kind delicious food diamond in the desert. 

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