Where the Locals Eat in Tucson

Posted on February 7, 2013


Colorful Murals all around us

Colorful murals all around us

El Molinito

Best Mexican food


El Molinito Excellent authentic Mexican food in Southern Arizona. There are several dining rooms so you will be quickly seated on any given day or time. Order a pitcher of margaritas to go along with tamales, burritos, and carne asada. You will likely leave with that too full feeling, but know you got your moneys worth.

Here’s my disclaimer: this list was complied from interviewing 10 family and friends that live in Tucson. I’ve added a few of my favorites since I was born and raised in Tucson, lived there until 1998, I will add myself to the “locals” group.


Piazza Gavi – we have a true full-blooded Italian in our group and this vote came from her. They claim they have been in the top two Italian restaurants list for 15 years. Try the veal marsala. Generous portions. Open 365 days a year – even Christmas!


Ghinis French Cafe – Authentic French food made by an authentic French chef – Coralie. This cafe is my parents favorite for many years for breakfast and lunch. A dog friendly patio is a bonus – if you have a dog.

Le Buzz Caffe – By accident I stumbled on this place when I was desperate for a coffee while visiting my sister. My two sisters and I voted this one in – right then and there – as we ate the most delicious Pear Tatin! The coffee was really good too. Le Buzz Cafee has a casual, comfortable, and slightly upscale feel.


Eegges Anyone from Tucson knows this HAS to be on the list. Seriously – the Italian Grinder! I order one to go for my seven hour drive back to San Diego, along with the flavor of the month frozen fruit slush.

Lucky Wishbone I remember ordering the “Mom Shrimp” box complete with delicious shrimp, thick slice of garlic toast, and fries when I was growing up in Tucson. If fried foods aren’t your thing, then don’t go every day, but I highly recommend trying it. They have been in Tucson since 1953 with a huge following. I don’t miss a trip to Lucky Wishbone when I visit, and I always order the Mom Shrimp, so I can’t tell you about any of the other menu items, you will have to go and see for yourself.

Suggested deli’s for the “working at a desk all day” crowd:

Jason’s Deli and Melt


The Blue Willow – A bit eclectic, you can feel good about eating the organic greens, hormone free chicken, and they donate compostable waste to good causes. But really its the delicious consistent food, and the awesome patio, that brings me back here. I once saw Kirstie Alley dine here. What she was doing in Tucson I have no idea (maybe on a visit with Brooke Burke who is from Tucson?)