Tucson Restaurants Make Food Networks' "Best Restaurants in Arizona" List.

Greyson F

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When it comes to food television, few channels out there can compete with Food Network. Sure, PBS has their Saturday kitchen shows, which do showcase some of the most famous cooking programs around, but in terms of variety, Food Network takes the cake. With it, the network also brings in travel content and restaurant reviews from all over the world. As travel around the United States (and, eventually, internationally) returns to normal, Food Network has released its top recommended restaurants for every state and several local Tucson favorites made the list. 

According to Food Network, these Tucson restaurants are the best in the entire state:

El Charro Cafe

Food Network highly recommends grabbing some chimichangas while in Arizona, and it found no better place in the entire state to snack on some of these than El Charro Cafe. The chimichanga, which is essentially a burro deep-fried, is a fan favorite, so it’s nice to see this restaurant, which has been around since the mid-1950s, on the list of top restaurants in Arizona. 

El Rio Bakery

Few outside of the Southwest understands the true deliciousness of the regional baking scene. With cultural recipe mixtures from both sides of the border, there are baked goods here you can’t find anywhere else in the country. Food Network highlights El Rio Bakery and, more specifically, its gingerbread pig. This is a gingerbread baked good (not exactly a cookie but not bread either) that is cut in the shape of a stout little pig. The recipe is an El Rio Bakery secret and they would not share what they put in their sweet bread with Food Network, but it was enough for the television channel to recommend the bakery to the rest of the world. 

Jason’s Mexican Food

Another Tucson staple that few outsiders of the area know about, is the Sonoran hot dog. It doesn’t get the kind of press as a chili dog or a Chicago dog, but it should, as it is a truly unique, culinary treat. Food Network recommends Jason’s Mexican Food here in Tucson, pointing to the cheese-filled dog that’s wrapped in bacon and slid inside of its bolillo bun. Toss in the mayo, yellow mustard, salsa verde and it’s hard to beat. And, according to Food Network, it can’t be beaten in terms of Sonoran hot dogs in the state. 

Eegees

Yup, the local fast food joint made the list of recommendations, but not for the sandwiches or the Eegee frozen drink. Instead, it made the list for its ranch crinkle-cut fries. With numerous locations, you’ve probably popped into several over the years. There will be more spreading throughout the state in the coming months as well. 

Pinnacle Peak

This is one of those fun joints you probably haven’t been to in a while, and yet whenever someone from out of town comes (especially if they have kids) it’s a great spot to go to. With all of the activities and Western-themed decorations around the restaurant you can pony up to the bar, grab yourself a drink, and then enjoy what Food Network recommends a “cowboy steak.” By cowboy steak, they mean a mesquite-grilled T-bone. 

Barrio Bread

When the owner is a James Beard Award-nominated baker, there’s a good chance Food Network will recommend it. So seeing Barrio Bread on the list is not a surprise. The network highlights the bakery’s Mesquite flour bread. 

Mi Nidito

Tucked away here in Tucson, Food Network draws attention to the restaurant’s cheese crisp, which is basically an open-faced quesadilla lined with carne seca cheese, and green chile. It’s a snack large enough for more than one person. 

Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe

Whether you are looking for red or white menudo, Food Network highlights Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe as the best in the state. With fresh flavors that you’re not going to find in most other states, there’s something about the combination of the tile mosaics within the cafe and the flavors of the menudo that make this place such an amazing location to enjoy.

Tohono Chul Park Garden Bistro

Food Network doesn’t only focus on the best food options in the state, but also the best beverages. One drink Food Network wanted to highlight is the prickly pear margarita, and the editors at the station decided the best in the state can be found at Tohono Chul Park Garden Bistro right here in Tucson. 

Taqueria Pico de Gallo

South Tucson gets some love here (in reality, it should get more love as it has excellent restaurant options) with Taqueria Pico de Gallo and its pico de gallo fruit cup, which serves watermelon, mango, fresh coconut, jicama, and several other sweet treats combined with a chamoy sauce. 

Boca Tacos

There’s no limit to the kinds of salsa you’ll find in Arizona. However, Food Network wanted to point out the chiltepin salsa sold at Boca Tacos. As one of the best restaurants in Arizona, this salsa is made from a very hot chili grown in the wild in southern Arizona. Because it is wild grown it is not as commonly used, but that’s what makes the salsa sold at Boca Tacos so original. 

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