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El Charro Café

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  

El Charro Café Review

Started by Monica Flin in 1922, the oldest Mexican restaurant in town still serves splendid versions of the Mexican-American staples Flin claims to have originated, most notably chimichangas and cheese crisps. The tortilla soup and carne seca chimichanga, made with beef that is air-dried on the premises—on the roof, actually—are delicious. Located in an old stone house in El Presidio Historic District, the colorful restaurant and bar exude festive—if slightly touristy—vibes.

    Restaurant Details

  • Credit cards accepted.
Updated: 03-12-2013

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
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    Great food!

    My only complaint was there was TOO much of it. The food was wonderful. We had the carne secca and it was fabulous. Loved the salsa too. Wish I could have gone back again to try other things.

    by china_cat, 4/10/08
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    Mexican Food Just like my NaNa's!

    El Charro Cafe is my favorite Mexican food in Tucson. They are always re-inventing themselves- yesterday I tried their burger. Yeah! A BURGER at a Mexican Restaurant. It was delicious; juicy, tasty, and unfortunately, gone from my plate too soon. I devoured it. El Charro did it again, another GREAT addition to the menu.

    by luisg, 3/10/08
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    THE BEST MEXICAN FOOD EVER

    I am a Mexican food die hard. I have eaten at almost every Mexican food place in Arizona and nothing comes close to El Charro. It is the real deal. I think people get used to places like On the border and El Charro is nothing like that. The Carne Seca is amazing and unique and the ingredients are the freshest I've ever had.

    by foodlife, 11/26/07
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    Downhill slide

    When a local favorite becomes too big, there are bound to be quality control issues. This has unfortunately happened at El Charro.
    Yesterday (11-25-06) my wife and I stopped by at El Charro from PHX on our way back to OK. We lived in Tucson in the late 80s through 2000; she worked three blocks from El Charro. Her favorite, the carne seca, was extremely disappointing. Too much filler, not enough carne. The rice was lukewarm, the beans cold, and the service... it took over 5 minutes at the door to get acknowledged and seated (the place was just starting to get busy, there was the annual ASU/UofA game in town, fortunately for me {ASU alum} the Devils won) but this has unhappily been the case at El Charro since our first visit in the late 80s. It's too bad, because El Charro has been featured on Food Network among others, and it would be very disappointing to a genuine foodie to be treated so poorly (unlike Mi Nidito or Karichimaka, for example). There was one bright spot, though, my pollo com mole' was outstanding, the spices used were truly sublime and are the reason for the rating of 3. (1+5 divided by 2...) My rice was also cold, however. It seems that El Charro has lost the small-town touch (just as Tucson has, I'm afraid). Good thing there are still a number of small mom-and-pop places in Tucson.

    by JoMKess, 11/26/06

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