Tucson boldly proclaims itself to be the "Mexican Food Capital of the United States," and most of the Mexican food in town is Sonoran-style. This means prolific use of cheese, mild peppers, corn tortillas, pinto beans, and beef or chicken. It's the birthplace of the chimichanga (Spanish for "whatchamacallit"), a flour tortilla filled with meat or cheese, rolled, and deep-fried. The
best Mexican restaurants are concentrated in South Tucson and Downtown, although some favorites have additional locations around town. If Mexican's not your thing, there are plenty of other options: you won't have any trouble finding excellent sushi, Thai, Italian, and Ethiopian food at reasonable prices.
For sampling regional flavors, there are several notable Southwestern restaurants in town. In the Foothills, upscale Southwestern cuisine flourishes at Acacia and the Grill at Hacienda del Sol. A recent trend in Tucson dining is combining hip restaurants with chic shopping locations. Choose from sushi, steak, Italian, or Mexican at La Encantada in the Foothills. Casas Adobes Plaza, in the Northwest, is home to upscale shops alongside Wildflower Grill, Bluefin Seafood Bistro, and trendy, thin-crust pizza at Sauce—and the gelato shop, Frost, is handy for dessert. Downtown has recently exploded with first-rate dining and drinking establishments, from modern comfort food and homemade ice cream to gourmet pizzas, craft beers, and contemporary Mexico City cuisine.
Tasty fare as varied as Indian, Guatemalan, and Middle Eastern can be enjoyed on the west side of U of A's campus, along University Boulevard and 4th Avenue—another great area for people-watching and barhopping as well as quelling hunger pangs.
On Friday and Saturday nights and during the Gem Show (first two weeks of February), reservations are usually a good idea at upscale and popular restaurants. Dress ranges from casual to casual-dressy here; jackets for men aren’t required at any restaurant, even at resorts.