Mexican food ranks among American’s favorite comfort foods. There’s something to be said about unlimited baskets of chips and salsa and queso to accompany them. That’s not to mention an enchilada, burrito, or taco surrounded by rice and refried beans topped off with a classic margarita! No wonder we love Mexican food so much. This is why we’ve put together a list of our top six favorite Mexican restaurants in Tucson, Arizona. We have the best authentic Mexican food around, and even the proclaimed oldest Mexican restaurant in the United States. But you’ll have to try them all to determine which is the best!
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Made famous by Bill Clinton, and maybe the margaritas too
Quaint digs dishing up some of the best Mexican food around!
1813 S 4th Ave | Tucson | miniditorestaurant.com
Before opening its doors in 1952, Mi Nidito had to choose between opening a restaurant or a tortilla factory. The owners moved from the Sonora and were torn between the two. Ultimately, the decision to open a restaurant prevailed. The name means “My little nest” and was given to reflect the small size of the original restaurant. Three generations later, the restaurant is still going steady from its loyal fan base that has been growing over the years.
On the menu, you will find many traditional Mexican offerings -- tacos, tamales, burritos, enchiladas, chimichangas, and flautas. Other menu items include classic sides like rice, beans, salsa, guacamole, and more. To get the best of both worlds, combinations plates are available to ensure you get all of your favorites!
“Service is amazing, the wait wasn't bad, and the food was pretty tasty and I can tell they make things from scratch as well as use quality ingredients. Bravo, will come back.” - Yelp Review
Family owned and operated Mexican cafe chain
Claiming to be the oldest Mexican restaurant in the USA -- El Charro celebrated its 100th anniversary.
311 N Court Ave | Tucson | elcharrocafe.com
Established in 1922, El Charro Cafe claims to be the nation’s oldest Mexican restaurant! Currently, they are celebrating their 99th anniversary and their loyal customers are thrilled that this business still resides within the same family. However, they are not only the oldest restaurant, but also their tia -- Monica Flin, is the inventor of the chimichanga! After accidentally dropping her burro beef taco in the oil, the chimichanga was born.
They have a regular menu, summer menu, and special 99th anniversary menu. Combination number 99 includes popular menu items from over the years, they also have 99th anniversary rellenos, AZ bowls, and tamales of the month! Their regular menu items include classic favorites including their chimichangas, burros, tacos, enchiladas, tamales, chile rellenos, salads, sides, and so much more. Don’t forget their margarita menu, which includes their house margarita, the 1922, and prickly pear to name a few. You won’t be disappointed after a trip to this place!
“If you're in Tucson, El Charro does not disappoint. The food tastes delicious, served hot and fresh with custom orders easily accommodated. The servers are friendly and our waiter was attentive without being overbearing.” - Yelp Review
Classic Mexican restaurant with a nightly mariachi band and full bar
Why only have margaritas while you’re eating when you can take them home for later!
1220 E Prince Rd | Tucson | guadalajaraoriginalgrill.com
Coming from Guadalaja, Mexico, owner Emma Yolanda Vera was inspired to open a restaurant reflective of her home. The restaurant offers a variety Mexican foods including fresh seafood, high-quality beef, and handmade corn and flour tortillas. They are proud to offer a warm and colorful environment complete with Mexican art and decor as well as nightly mariachi bands!
The menu includes a number of different fajitas from chicken, steak, and pork to shrimp, tilapia, and portabella. They are famous for their Mexican paella and other delicious seafood options. Molcajetes, classic combinations, and a list of appetizers are also available. A full bar menu is also a must for every dinner meal -- they have regular and frozen margaritas, margatinis, and sangria to name a few!
“The Mexican Paella was soooo good! All the ingredients were plentiful, not just rice. The chorizo gave the whole dish an extra kick. Thank you for grilling your lemon garnish. Details are always noted.” - Yelp Review
Restaurant serving classic Mexican cuisine like tacos, burritos, and enchiladas
5114 E Speedway Blvd | Tucson | orderleosmexicanrestaurant.com
When you think of classic, homey Mexican food, you think of Leo’s restaurant. Offering a wide variety of Mexican classics, they use the freshest ingredients to prepare their cuisine. They have everything to satisfy carnivores and vegetarians alike -- featuring a list of vegetarian entrees.
The menu includes Leo’s specialties -- Leo’s enchiladas, mole, fajitas, flautas, and carne asada. The rest of the menu is made up of tostadas, enchiladas, burritos, chimichangas, antojitos, and of course -- vegetarian plates like sour cream enchiladas, green corn tamales, chiles rellenos and more. If you’re looking for classic, authentic Mexican, look no further.
“Great food, reasonable prices, and good service. Just a really nice bunch of folks. Authentically nice and welcoming. I have to stop at least once a week. My favorite is the chicken enchiladas with the white sauce. Yum!” - Google Review
Restaurant serving Mexican fare and all day breakfast burritos
5563 E Grant St | Tucson | facebook.com/pages/Pacos
Paco’s Mexican Food is fast, easy, and simple. When you go here, you are in it for the food -- not fine dining. Meals are served on trays, but don’t let that distract you from the simple goodness on the menu. This casual location even has a drive through for a meal on the go!
On the menu, they offer everything you would expect from classic Mexican cuisine. Tostadas, burritos, chimichangas, and taco salads with every meat you want -- carnitas, chicken, beef, and fish. They also offer a bean tostada for all of the vegetarians out there! Side orders of your favorites -- rice, beans, pico, and guac are also available.
“Great little spot located near TMC features a pretty standard Mexican fast food menu with above average value & taste. Not on the menu (ask for #14) the Chile Relleno plate is a must try!” - Yelp Review
Classic, freshly made Mexican cuisine
210 N Pantano Rd | Tucson | salsaverderestaurant.business.site
Last, but not least on our list is Salsa Verde Restaurant. They are a locally owned restaurant with the simple goal of creating fresh and authentic Mexican food. Going hand in hand with this simple goal is a simple menu that does not disappoint!
On the menu they have steak tacos and beef fajita tacos, cheese and steak quesadillas, steak baked potato, and a steak fajita baked potato. They also have soups and kids menu options. With this small and simple menu, they ensure they hit a home run with every customer. You will be craving these fresh classics immediately after your first visit!
“Stopped by here for dinner while visiting Tucson. The 2 young ladies who were working are Rock Stars. Great Service. The food was awesome. Good beer selection and great Michelada.
Highly recommend.” - Yelp Review
With all six of these amazing restaurants to choose from, you’ll have to determine which is the best after trying them all. But we know it’s going to be a close call! From the oldest Mexican restaurant in the United States and inventors of the chimichanga to quick and easy Mexican drive through -- they have this cuisine for every mood. Whether you’re looking for a quick pick me up after a long day of work or a night out on the weekend -- our list has it all!