As the second largest city in Arizona, Tucson is known for incredible dining and culture, so it’s no wonder that finding a unique experience going out to eat can be an exciting adventure. If you want to find places that make for a fun experience and good food that makes you want to come back, then these 8 spots are just for you! So let’s break down these unique restaurants in Tucson, Arizona!
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Whether you’re in the mood for Mexican cuisine, fancy fun drinks, delicious desserts, regular good ol’ diner food, or trying out something new, these unique restaurants offer a variety of different foods to enjoy! In no particular order, let’s check out what these 8 places have to offer:
Image courtesy of the El Charro Cafe Instagram page.
311 N Court Ave | Downtown Tucson Location | elcharrocafe.com/
Celebrating its 100th anniversary, El Charro Cafe opened its doors all the way back in 1922 and is the oldest Mexican restaurant in Arizona! El Charro has even been run continuously by the same family since the very beginning. Believe or not there is some hidden lore behind this restaurant, Monica Flin, El Charro’s first owner is said to have invented the chimichanga!
What started off as a one woman operation, is now happily serving customers in 4 different locations, and shipping nationwide!! From their famous chimichangas, to enchiladas, tamales, ensaladas, tacos, margaritas, and much much more. The 100 year old El Charro still focuses on quality with their hand-crafted foods for all who come to try.
“This is hands down some of the best Mexican food I have ever had. I ordered the mini chimichangas, and they were perfection. I also ordered the chicken mole enchiladas. The flavors in both of these dishes were absolutely out of this world. My server was friendly and attentive. I would absolutely come here again.” -Yelp Review
Image courtesy of the Lindy’s On 4th Instagram page.
500 N 4th Ave | Tucson | https://www.lo4th.com/home
From just the picture alone, you can understand why Lindy’s On 4th is on this list. Burgers, burgers, and more burgers. Lindy’s, opening up in 2005, is famous for its “OMFG and Burnout” challenges, (3 pounds of beef and a ton of cheese/toppings respectively). This establishment may have made a name for itself with their burgers, but with the other delicious menu options, they will lead you wanting to come back for more.
If you’re in the mood for their specialty or decide for some good ol’ fashioned chicken sandwiches Lindy’s has got you covered. With their challenges and variety of burger options, this spot allows for a unique dining experience for the time-honored traditional burger shop.
“Burger cravers look no further Lindy's on 4th has got you covered. Great fast, attentive service, quick food. 90s rock playlist going was . We got Sushito Peppers to start- great twist with Thai peanut sauce- 10/10. Hawaii 5-0 burger and Cow Tipper were both fantastic and crispy fries and onion rings as side w/ great portion sizes. Great outdoor seating options too!” - Yelp Review
Image courtesy of the Zona 78 Instagram page.
7301 E Tanque Verde Rd | Tucson | https://zona78.com/
Nothing like a good meal cooked from scratch, well Zona 78 is here to offer just that with their Italian-inspired dishes. First in the entire Arizona state to acquire a state license for the culinary act of charcuterie, Zona 78 has brought a whole new flavor to the dining experience.
Their food, just from the menu pictures, looks absolutely incredible. Offering an array of different lunch and dinner specials, with an extensive drink menu too, Zona 78 is here to make all customers satisfied.
“Very good. Came in on a Sunday night. Pleasantly full. Good staff. The highlight here is the food, obviously. Come hungry for your carb coma. Had the garlic bread with the add on mozzarella.. huge. Chicken parm. Huge. Chicken was really good quality. Very good. Took cannoli to go.” -Yelp Review
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Image courtesy of the Pinnacle Peak Tucson Facebook page.
6541 E Tanque Verde Rd | Tucson | https://www.pinnaclepeaktucson.com/
Famous for its ‘no ties allowed rule’, Pinnacle Peak has had quite an interesting history. Opening its doors in 1962, Pinnacle Peak has wanted to create an atmosphere for patrons to lean back and enjoy a good steak dinner. However, in 1971 a fire broke out and took the steakhouse down, but not to be stopped, this restaurant built back bigger and better!
Pinnacle Peak is the foundation for the “World Famous Mesquite-Grilled Cowboy Steak”, which is steak cooked over real mesquite wood. From steak, to ribs, burgers, drinks, and more, this old-western-esque spot is definitely a place to call unique!
“The last time I was at this restaurant was over 50 years ago. I'm happy to say that the rib eye steak was just as good as I remember it. The service was great, the prices reasonable and the place was clean. I'm happy say that I live here in Tucson again so this will become my "go to" for a wonderful meal!
(The peach cobbler is the best) If you want a good steak then run, don't walk, to this great place!” -Yelp Review
Purchase a GiftYa Card for Pinnacle Peak here.
Image courtesy of the Eegee’s Instagram page.
2470 N Campbell Ave | One of many locations | https://eegees.com/
It’s no surprise that Arizona is hot. Like really really hot. Especially during the summer. In 1971, the founders of Eegee’s came in clutch with their truck filled with frozen lemonade! What started out as a vending truck, has now become an Arizona staple, with locations not just in Tucson, but all over southern Arizona, these hot spots to cool off are ready to serve you!
What makes Eegee’s special is the blend of real fruit and frozen greatness. Plus they have their signature “flavor of the month” slushies which are varying fruity flavors. However, they not only serve slushies, they offer sandwiches, award-winning fries, desserts, and more! Only available in Arizona, Eegee’s is here for keeping the cool, and not just with their drinks.
“I freaking love Eggees and I have to stop there every time I go to Tucson. Recently I brought a bunch of my cousins from Phoenix down with me and they were skeptical about this place but I forced them and now they are Eggees fans for life. Ranch fries are so delicious. I tried to make them at home and they are nothing like Eggees. Get a grinder, ranch fries and an Eggee, my favorite flavor is pina colada.” -Yelp Review
Image courtesy of the Kon Tiki Tucson Instagram page.
4625 E Broadway Blvd | Tucson | https://kontikitucson.com/
Kon Tiki is said to be “one of the last remaining original outposts to survive what would be known as the ‘tiki bar depression’ and is a proud provider of aloha”. Aloha being the Hawaiian word for peace, love, compassion, and affection. Kon Tiki prides itself on bringing a uniqueness to Tucson with an extensive drink and food menu.
It’s always fun to try new things, so if you haven’t been to Kon Tiki, try taking a look at what they have to offer and note the relaxed atmosphere of the restaurant. With tons of drinks on their menu ranging from a classic margarita to a dragon fruit daiquiri, you’ll have trouble deciding where to start!
“Kon Tiki is one of the truly unique experiences of Tucson. Step out of the desert and into a Hawaiian tiki bar with fish bowl drinks, kabobs, and island style food.
I found the prices reasonable, and the food was good, and the drinks were tasty and big. Our server was polite and attentive too.
Tired of the same old restaurant experiences? Then try Kon Tiki to spice things up!” -Yelp Review
Image courtesy of The Screamery Instagram page.
50 S Houghton Rd #120 | Houghton Tucson Location | https://www.thescreamery.com/
It’s always good to have a sweets break, and what better to add on this list than ice cream. The Screamery has the method when it comes to a good bowl (or cone) of ice cream. Their goal? No ingredients that you can’t pronounce, using natural ingredients in all of their ice cream. They are even Arizona’s first ice cream pasteurizers!
With more common flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. The Screamery has its fair share of unique flavors too, including but not limited to: Sweet Cream Honeycomb, Blueberry Cheesecake, Ooey Gooey Buttercake, and more! Step in when nearby and try some ice cream while in that Tucson heat.
“My favorite ice cream spot in all of Tucson. Their honey ice cream is AMAZING. It's also a cute little shop, with little touches that make it feel like a modern ice cream counter. Plus their workers are always super upbeat and delightful.” -Yelp Review
Image courtesy of the Noodlholics Instagram page.
3502 E Grant Rd | One Tucson Location | https://www.noodleholics.com/
There’s been a thing missing from this list and that is noodles. Noodleholics is here to bring recipes from the home kitchen to Tucson. Home made is where it’s at with this spot, bringing the flavor and beautiful looking food since the first shop opened its doors in 2018.
The new-ish establishment created a path for itself bringing Guilin rice noodles and their very own home-made wheat noodles to all who walk through their restaurant’s doors. From spicy to sweet, these dishes are here to bring flavorful experiences to anyone looking to try something new!
“This place is absolutely delicious. Their food definitely speaks for itself. The beef shank in clear broth with wheat noodles is my favorite, but my second is the garlic noodles. Also definitely try crab puffs and pan fried dumplings, ya know what just go ahead and get one of everything and call me when you do. You're welcome.” -Yelp Review
Stepping out of your comfort zone can seem scary and breaking the routine of your “every week” restaurant doesn’t cross a lot of people’s minds. Why not try some places you’ve never heard of? You could end up finding your new favorite meal and can share that dining experience through a gift, or with your loved ones for when you go back to the new place you tried. There are many more unique restaurants in Tucson, as these are just some of the options out there, so take a moment and explore, you might like what you find!