clock menu more-arrow no yes
Plates with a chicken salad sandwich, Polder bowl, and avocado tartine alongside two pink cocktails on a wood table shown from above.
A chicken salad sandwich, Polder bowl, and avocado tartine from Flora’s Market Run.
Jackie Tran

The 15 Hottest New Restaurants in Tucson Right Now

From Sonoran-Italian to Nepalese Thai, here’s what’s hot in the Old Pueblo

View as Map
A chicken salad sandwich, Polder bowl, and avocado tartine from Flora’s Market Run.
| Jackie Tran

While Mexican food may always be the darling star of Tucson’s culinary scene, the city has embraced an increasingly diverse range of cuisines. Concepts that previously would have been considered too niche are now being embraced by the community.

Furthermore, the pandemic has provided restaurateurs with the perspective of a grab-and-go or patio-minded eating experience. With autumn now in effect, diners can worry less about scorching afternoons. Additionally, some of the city’s most successful restaurants opened secondary locations in the rapidly expanding northwest side.

From Sonoran-influenced Italian food to Nepalese-Thai, here are some of the exciting new restaurants in Tucson. For a more established list of dining options, visit Eater’s guide to essential Tucson restaurants.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Taquería La Esquina

Copy Link
4876 S 6th Ave
Tucson, AZ 85714
(520) 373-5207
Visit Website

La Esquina serves cuisine one might expect from a traditional south side taqueria, but in a festive environment with a full bar and fun Mexican cocktails. While the restaurant offers classics such as tripas and cabeza tacos, don’t miss out on its satisfyingly crunchy pork belly. On the veggie side, try the jamaica (hibiscus petal) tacos.

2. Janet & Ray's

Copy Link
5443 E 22nd St
Tucson, AZ 85711
(520) 372-7500
Visit Website

This Caribbean and soul food restaurant features classics such as jerk chicken and fried catfish. With rotating weekly specials, visit on Saturdays for unctuous oxtail stew and curry goat. Lastly, get the banana pudding for desert.

3. Zio Peppe

Copy Link
6502 E Tanque Verde Rd
Tucson, AZ 85715
(520) 888-4242
Visit Website

Zio Peppe offers chef Devon Sanner’s playful take on Italian cuisine with Sonoran influences in a fast-casual environment. The local mindedness comes through with mesquite flour in the pizza dough and toppings such as pickled cholla cactus buds. Start with the habit-forming elote arancini, then move onto the pizza and pasta.

4. Transplant Detroit Style Pizza

Copy Link
4605 E Speedway Blvd
Tucson, AZ 85712
(520) 327-2394
Visit Website

While Neapolitan, New York, and Chicago pizza styles get most of the glory, Transplant showcases the fluffy, crunchy cheese-crusted style of Detroit. While the double pepperoni pizza will please the purists, the spicy pickle pizza will appeal to more eccentric eaters with its combination of spicy pickle relish, bacon, cheddar, mozzarella, and ranch. The restaurant is also conveniently attached to its an established beer and bottle shop.

5. Locale Neighborhood Italian Restaurant

Copy Link
60 N Alvernon Way
Tucson, AZ 85711
(520) 398-7553
Visit Website

With an impressively wide menu of Italian dishes, Locale stands out with its bakery and hearty Roman pizza by-the-slice. Don’t miss out on the cherry tartuffo, evocative of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. Furthermore, Locale features a spacious private courtyard patio.

6. Flora's Market Run

Copy Link
2513 E 6th St
Tucson, AZ 85716
(520) 771-9141
Visit Website

As both a neighborhood market and restaurant, Flora’s offers a wide range of cuisine throughout the entire day. Mornings feature cafe and brunch options such as sandwiches and hearty grain and salad bowls. At night, the restaurant transforms into something classier with a full bar, charcuterie, pasta, and oysters on the rocks. Wood-fired pizza is also available throughout the day.

7. Lemongrass Restaurant

Copy Link
344 N 4th Ave
Tucson, AZ 85705
(520) 274-7131
Visit Website

Another eclectic Fourth Avenue option, this Nepalese Thai restaurant is tucked away discreetly among bustling bars. Curry dishes are star here and the restaurant also showcases seasonal specials with vegetables and herbs from its own organic garden. Additionally, the chef-owner happens to be an accomplished geologist.

8. Cafe Maggie

Copy Link
745 N 4th Ave
Tucson, AZ 85705
(520) 829-7280
Visit Website

Previously Epic Cafe, this Fourth Avenue spot still features a welcoming neighborhood vibe with breakfast staples, sandwiches, and pastries. However, it has gained traction with vegans thanks to options such as soyrizo biscuits and gravy.

9. The Jackrabbit Lounge

Copy Link
2000 N Oracle Rd
Tucson, AZ 85705
(520) 372-2032
Visit Website

This lounge has quietly garnered a local following within the hospitality industry. The menu features tongue-in-cheek options such as the frozen date shake cocktail and wagyu franks with caramelized kimchi and rum barbecue sauce. The prominent red lighting helps accentuate the fact that this is one of Tucson’s few eateries open until 2 a.m. daily.

10. Barrio Charro

Copy Link
3699 N Campbell Ave
Tucson, AZ 85719
(520) 372-1922
Visit Website

A collaboration between James Beard Award nominees Carlotta Flores and Don Guerra, Barrio Charro utilizes Barrio Grains’s white Sonoran wheat with a Mexican perspective. While burritos and tacos typically grab the spotlight in Tucson’s Mexican food scene, this restaurant showcases Mexican sandwiches with a wide variety of tortas and planos. Diners can also grab-and-go with the exemplary bread and Mexican pastries.

11. Banhdicted

Copy Link
1980 W Orange Grove Rd #180
Tucson, AZ 85704
(520) 389-8128
Visit Website

Vietnamese sandwiches take the spotlight in this discreet eatery. Aside from the beverages, the menu keeps a tight focus with only six sandwiches. Expect classic banh mi options alongside specials such as the banh lao or banh pho dip. Additionally, you can relax knowing that Banhdicted nails the essential elements with warm, lightly crisp bread with fresh veggies and a well-balanced ratio in their sandwiches.

12. Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink NORTH

Copy Link
7262 N Oracle Rd
Tucson, AZ 85704
(520) 447-5759
Visit Website

Much like the original downtown location, this new northwest location is packed to the brim on Friday nights. However, the restaurant also keeps its calm, relaxed vibes with fresh pastas and pizzas. Classics include the radiatori cacio e pepe and the Yukon gold potato pizza with mozzarella, roasted garlic, rosemary, and pecorino. The contemporary, elegant environment also make it an ideal date spot.

13. Noodleholics

Copy Link
7850 N Oracle Rd
Oro Valley, AZ 85704
(520) 268-8662
Visit Website

Another wildly successful Tucson restaurant expanding with a second location in the northwest side, Noodleholics serves fresh Chinese wheat noodles. While the original location has more of a Hong Kong chic feel, this spot exudes a little more warmth with a giant noodle mural. Make any meal superb with any of the noodle dishes, an order of chili oil-laced chaoshou dumplings, and a side of refreshing smashed garlic cucumbers.

14. The Blacktop Grill

Copy Link
8300 N Thornydale Rd #120
Tucson, AZ 85741
(520) 261-2675
Visit Website

Gabe Ceniceros’s former funky food cart recently transitioned into a brick-and-mortar restaurant. However, the spot retained its Sonoran street food feel with takes on hot dogs, quesadillas, and cheese shell tacos. The most popular item, the Elotero hot dog, is topped with fire-roasted corn, chipotle lime sauce, cotija cheese, and a dusting of garlic sriracha spice.

15. Tuk Tuk Thai

Copy Link
12125 N Oracle Rd #169
Oro Valley, AZ 85737
(520) 655-3999
Visit Website

Roughly a year after the first location opened, Tuk Tuk Thai has already expanded northwest with a second location. While the restaurant offers a wide variety of the standards, it stands out with harder-to-find options such as hoy joh — a tofu skin pouch of pork, shrimp, grab, and water chestnut.

1. Taquería La Esquina

4876 S 6th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85714

La Esquina serves cuisine one might expect from a traditional south side taqueria, but in a festive environment with a full bar and fun Mexican cocktails. While the restaurant offers classics such as tripas and cabeza tacos, don’t miss out on its satisfyingly crunchy pork belly. On the veggie side, try the jamaica (hibiscus petal) tacos.

4876 S 6th Ave
Tucson, AZ 85714

2. Janet & Ray's

5443 E 22nd St, Tucson, AZ 85711

This Caribbean and soul food restaurant features classics such as jerk chicken and fried catfish. With rotating weekly specials, visit on Saturdays for unctuous oxtail stew and curry goat. Lastly, get the banana pudding for desert.

5443 E 22nd St
Tucson, AZ 85711

3. Zio Peppe

6502 E Tanque Verde Rd, Tucson, AZ 85715

Zio Peppe offers chef Devon Sanner’s playful take on Italian cuisine with Sonoran influences in a fast-casual environment. The local mindedness comes through with mesquite flour in the pizza dough and toppings such as pickled cholla cactus buds. Start with the habit-forming elote arancini, then move onto the pizza and pasta.

6502 E Tanque Verde Rd
Tucson, AZ 85715

4. Transplant Detroit Style Pizza

4605 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85712

While Neapolitan, New York, and Chicago pizza styles get most of the glory, Transplant showcases the fluffy, crunchy cheese-crusted style of Detroit. While the double pepperoni pizza will please the purists, the spicy pickle pizza will appeal to more eccentric eaters with its combination of spicy pickle relish, bacon, cheddar, mozzarella, and ranch. The restaurant is also conveniently attached to its an established beer and bottle shop.

4605 E Speedway Blvd
Tucson, AZ 85712

5. Locale Neighborhood Italian Restaurant

60 N Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85711

With an impressively wide menu of Italian dishes, Locale stands out with its bakery and hearty Roman pizza by-the-slice. Don’t miss out on the cherry tartuffo, evocative of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. Furthermore, Locale features a spacious private courtyard patio.

60 N Alvernon Way
Tucson, AZ 85711

6. Flora's Market Run

2513 E 6th St, Tucson, AZ 85716

As both a neighborhood market and restaurant, Flora’s offers a wide range of cuisine throughout the entire day. Mornings feature cafe and brunch options such as sandwiches and hearty grain and salad bowls. At night, the restaurant transforms into something classier with a full bar, charcuterie, pasta, and oysters on the rocks. Wood-fired pizza is also available throughout the day.

2513 E 6th St
Tucson, AZ 85716

7. Lemongrass Restaurant

344 N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705

Another eclectic Fourth Avenue option, this Nepalese Thai restaurant is tucked away discreetly among bustling bars. Curry dishes are star here and the restaurant also showcases seasonal specials with vegetables and herbs from its own organic garden. Additionally, the chef-owner happens to be an accomplished geologist.

344 N 4th Ave
Tucson, AZ 85705

8. Cafe Maggie

745 N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705

Previously Epic Cafe, this Fourth Avenue spot still features a welcoming neighborhood vibe with breakfast staples, sandwiches, and pastries. However, it has gained traction with vegans thanks to options such as soyrizo biscuits and gravy.

745 N 4th Ave
Tucson, AZ 85705

9. The Jackrabbit Lounge

2000 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85705

This lounge has quietly garnered a local following within the hospitality industry. The menu features tongue-in-cheek options such as the frozen date shake cocktail and wagyu franks with caramelized kimchi and rum barbecue sauce. The prominent red lighting helps accentuate the fact that this is one of Tucson’s few eateries open until 2 a.m. daily.

2000 N Oracle Rd
Tucson, AZ 85705

10. Barrio Charro

3699 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719

A collaboration between James Beard Award nominees Carlotta Flores and Don Guerra, Barrio Charro utilizes Barrio Grains’s white Sonoran wheat with a Mexican perspective. While burritos and tacos typically grab the spotlight in Tucson’s Mexican food scene, this restaurant showcases Mexican sandwiches with a wide variety of tortas and planos. Diners can also grab-and-go with the exemplary bread and Mexican pastries.

3699 N Campbell Ave
Tucson, AZ 85719

11. Banhdicted

1980 W Orange Grove Rd #180, Tucson, AZ 85704

Vietnamese sandwiches take the spotlight in this discreet eatery. Aside from the beverages, the menu keeps a tight focus with only six sandwiches. Expect classic banh mi options alongside specials such as the banh lao or banh pho dip. Additionally, you can relax knowing that Banhdicted nails the essential elements with warm, lightly crisp bread with fresh veggies and a well-balanced ratio in their sandwiches.

1980 W Orange Grove Rd #180
Tucson, AZ 85704

12. Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink NORTH

7262 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85704

Much like the original downtown location, this new northwest location is packed to the brim on Friday nights. However, the restaurant also keeps its calm, relaxed vibes with fresh pastas and pizzas. Classics include the radiatori cacio e pepe and the Yukon gold potato pizza with mozzarella, roasted garlic, rosemary, and pecorino. The contemporary, elegant environment also make it an ideal date spot.

7262 N Oracle Rd
Tucson, AZ 85704

13. Noodleholics

7850 N Oracle Rd, Oro Valley, AZ 85704

Another wildly successful Tucson restaurant expanding with a second location in the northwest side, Noodleholics serves fresh Chinese wheat noodles. While the original location has more of a Hong Kong chic feel, this spot exudes a little more warmth with a giant noodle mural. Make any meal superb with any of the noodle dishes, an order of chili oil-laced chaoshou dumplings, and a side of refreshing smashed garlic cucumbers.

7850 N Oracle Rd
Oro Valley, AZ 85704

14. The Blacktop Grill

8300 N Thornydale Rd #120, Tucson, AZ 85741

Gabe Ceniceros’s former funky food cart recently transitioned into a brick-and-mortar restaurant. However, the spot retained its Sonoran street food feel with takes on hot dogs, quesadillas, and cheese shell tacos. The most popular item, the Elotero hot dog, is topped with fire-roasted corn, chipotle lime sauce, cotija cheese, and a dusting of garlic sriracha spice.

8300 N Thornydale Rd #120
Tucson, AZ 85741

15. Tuk Tuk Thai

12125 N Oracle Rd #169, Oro Valley, AZ 85737

Roughly a year after the first location opened, Tuk Tuk Thai has already expanded northwest with a second location. While the restaurant offers a wide variety of the standards, it stands out with harder-to-find options such as hoy joh — a tofu skin pouch of pork, shrimp, grab, and water chestnut.

12125 N Oracle Rd #169
Oro Valley, AZ 85737

Related Maps