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Tucson Restaurants

El Charro Café

Updated 05/27/2014

Fodor's 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.

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Restaurant Information

Address:

311 N. Court Ave., Tucson, Arizona, 85701, USA

Map It

Phone:

520-622–1922

Restaurant Details:

  • Credit cards accepted

Updated 05/27/2014

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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating
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Apr 10, 2008

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 luisg

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Mar 10, 2008

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.

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Nov 26, 2007

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 JoMKess

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Nov 26, 2006

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.

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By Dan

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Jul 25, 2006

Overrated and over-sauced

have tried this self-hyped restaurant several times in the hope that it'd be a good experience. sadly, we always end up wishing we'd gone somewhere else, El Torero, Rigo's, Mosaic, Poca Cosa, etc. Servers tend to be a bit pompous and condescending. food always swimming in sauce--apparently cooks/chefs? haven't heard that the sauce should compliment/complement the flavors of the food, not drown it out. On one trip male server had strong old urine smell,

as if he had been holding a baby with a wet diaper for a while. too bad. would like to have as good experience there as we're led to believe from their advertising hype

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By Jackie

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Mar 9, 2005

Was it Shredded Beef or Shredded Beef JERKY?!

The beef was Very dry and chewy. The rice was thoroughly tasteless. The atmosphere was great and so was the service and the price. Maybe we just ordered the wrong thing--should have gotten a taco platter. If you want GREAT food, GREAT atmosphere and GREAT service--go to El Parador.

By Rowan

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Jan 13, 2003

Historic Tucson's Best Mexican Food

Excellent food, quintessential Tucson atmostphere. The restaurant is in an old Craftsman-style house, with lively decor and a great dining patio. This is one of the places we always take out of town guests--but we go there on our own, for birthdays and wedding celebrations or no particular reason. The carne seca is the house specialty, dried in a cage on the roof, seasoned with spices and lime, cooked and served to lucky you. Try the huge sampler

platter--enough for two very hungry people.

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By Jenn

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Nov 27, 2000

Mediocre Mexican

No better than any other basic Mexican restaurant. Lots of just-okay food at low prices.

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