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A picnic table is adorned with Japanese sandwiches from Tucson restaurant Fatboy Sandos.
Fatboy Sandos features a variety of sandwiches on Japanese milk bread.
Fatboy Sandos

The 18 Hottest New Restaurants in Tucson Right Now

From Korean fried chicken to Argentinian empanadas, here’s what’s hot in the Old Pueblo

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Fatboy Sandos features a variety of sandwiches on Japanese milk bread.
| Fatboy Sandos

Mexican food may always be the darling of Tucson’s culinary scene, but the city is also embracing an increasingly diverse range of cuisines. Restaurants that previously would have been considered too niche are now treasured by the community. Additionally, with the pandemic in the past, several food trucks have made the leap into brick-and-mortar establishments.

From Korean fried chicken to Argentinian empanadas, here are some of the exciting new restaurants in Tucson.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

El Antojo Poblano

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While Sonoran-Mexican usually stars in Tucson, El Antojo Poblano showcases the rich cuisine of Puebla. Previously just a food truck, this restaurant features regional specialties such as chalupas poblanas and the cemita — a torta layered with a beef cutlet, ham, queso Oaxaca, chipotles, caramelized onion, and avocado.

Dandelion Cafe & Bakery

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This tiny cafe hidden in a peaceful nook of downtown regularly mixes up its offerings of its breads and pastries, so peek their Instagram to see the offerings of the week or day. The “Full Moon in Pisces” cake has a cardamom-spiced vanilla cake with blackberry buttercream and fresh blackberries.

Oralia Coffee & Kitchen

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Oralia features a bright and open space with burros and lighter a.m. fare. Their Barrio Bread French Toast showcases cinnamon raisin bread from the James Beard Award-winning bakery with a blueberry cinnamon compote, maple syrup, and powdered sugar.

Corbett’s

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Formerly a historic lumberyard site, Corbett’s restored the building with the addition of pickleball courts. The beer garden and daily live music make it an upbeat spot to bring friends and share jalapeño wings and burgers or a plate of prime rib with smashed potatoes.

Penelope Pizza

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Hidden away in a downtown coffee shop, Penelope uses the wood-fired pizza oven in the middle of the open, cozy space. The signature Sgt. Pepper pizza is topped with garlic oil, smoked cheeses, roasted Anaheim chilies, sausage, Desert Provisions Hatch green chili salt, and Mike’s Hot Honey.

Chef Brian's Comfort Kitchen

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Although Chef Brian Hill has appeared on various reality television programs and served as a private chef for celebrities, he now runs a humble restaurant on Fourth Avenue with his take on Southern comfort food with dishes such as chicken and waffles, collard greens, and fig brownies. He’s often running the whole restaurant by himself, so be patient and let him do his thing while you wait with a mason jar of his slow-brewed sweet tea.

Zyka Twist

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Chef Jimmy Aujla expanded his local family of Indian restaurants with Zyka Twist on Fourth Avenue. While the vibes are more casual than his flagship Indian Twist restaurant, it still includes his signature butter chicken.

La Yaquesita Mexican Cuisine

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Originally a taco truck, La Yaquesita expanded into a sidewalk cafe-style brick-and-mortar. Their quesabirria tacos and consommé are still the star, but this time diners can enjoy a margarita or Mexican beer alongside it.

Fatboy Sandos

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Previously a food truck, Fatboy Sandos rapidly grew with a local food court location and another location in Mesa. They rose to fame with their Japanese-style egg salad, katsu, and pork sandwiches on fluffy shokupan (milk bread).

A small family-run food court joint, Coop specializes in crispy, juicy chicken tenders dredged and fried to order. Their $4.20 chicken sandwiches are somehow larger and more affordable than even comparably priced fast food restaurants.

Agave House

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Located at the east end of Main Gate Square, Agave House naturally showcases an extensive list of agave spirits and cocktails. While the menu includes modern elegant entrees such as the grilled salmon with chipotle agave sauce, the burro bowls are more affordably approachable for the nearby college students.

Che Cafe

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While Tucson has a plethora of bakeries with Mexican empanadas, Che Cafe showcases them the Argentinian way with a more saltine cracker-like crust. The fatay empanadas are filled with bright lemony beef, while the beef empanadas have an olive-y punch.

Argentinian empanadas in a pizza box with sides of chimichurri and salsa criolla
Che Cafe empanadas come with chimichurri and salsa criolla
Jackie Tran

Borderlands Brewing Sam Hughes

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Borderlands’ second Tucson location features fun Mexican bar food from chef Maria Mazon. The laid-back neighborhood bar vibe is accentuated with their queso con cerveza, which is essentially their take on beer cheese using their own beer. That beer, the Viejo Pueblo, also happens to be a steal at the bar at $3.

Yellow Brick Coffee

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Formerly tucked away in an industrial part of town, Yellow Brick opened a sleek new location with a kitchen. Brunch with toasts and sandwiches on Barrio Bread while sipping on their single origin coffee.

Monsoon Chocolate Cafe + Market

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Their bon bons are almost too pretty to eat, but it also be a waste not to. The shelves feature a variety of take-home confectionaries such as the addictive dark chocolate-covered cashew brittle with flakes of Maldon, but the cafe also highlights pastries, ice cream, and more.

Ciao Down Pizza Studio

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Also previously a food truck, Ciao Down expanded into a brick oven studio next to a beer shop. Their signature Snake Bite pizza features an eccentric blend of raspberry chipotle jam, cream cheese, jalapeños, and bacon.

Houlden’s Rise Above

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Houlden’s Rise Above distributed their pastries to cafes around town, but eventually opened their own dedicated space for customers to try their dedicated vegan pastries. While their croissant and pop tart variants are always a safe bet, try to place an order ahead of time for one of their fun boxes.

Oh My Chicken

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Hidden inside of a shopping mall food court, Oh My Chicken fries up Korean fried chicken that stays crispy even when coated in sauce. While they come with fries, opt in for a bowl of noodle tteokbbokki swimming in a slightly sweet chili sauce.

El Antojo Poblano

While Sonoran-Mexican usually stars in Tucson, El Antojo Poblano showcases the rich cuisine of Puebla. Previously just a food truck, this restaurant features regional specialties such as chalupas poblanas and the cemita — a torta layered with a beef cutlet, ham, queso Oaxaca, chipotles, caramelized onion, and avocado.

Dandelion Cafe & Bakery

This tiny cafe hidden in a peaceful nook of downtown regularly mixes up its offerings of its breads and pastries, so peek their Instagram to see the offerings of the week or day. The “Full Moon in Pisces” cake has a cardamom-spiced vanilla cake with blackberry buttercream and fresh blackberries.

Oralia Coffee & Kitchen

Oralia features a bright and open space with burros and lighter a.m. fare. Their Barrio Bread French Toast showcases cinnamon raisin bread from the James Beard Award-winning bakery with a blueberry cinnamon compote, maple syrup, and powdered sugar.

Corbett’s

Formerly a historic lumberyard site, Corbett’s restored the building with the addition of pickleball courts. The beer garden and daily live music make it an upbeat spot to bring friends and share jalapeño wings and burgers or a plate of prime rib with smashed potatoes.

Penelope Pizza

Hidden away in a downtown coffee shop, Penelope uses the wood-fired pizza oven in the middle of the open, cozy space. The signature Sgt. Pepper pizza is topped with garlic oil, smoked cheeses, roasted Anaheim chilies, sausage, Desert Provisions Hatch green chili salt, and Mike’s Hot Honey.

Chef Brian's Comfort Kitchen

Although Chef Brian Hill has appeared on various reality television programs and served as a private chef for celebrities, he now runs a humble restaurant on Fourth Avenue with his take on Southern comfort food with dishes such as chicken and waffles, collard greens, and fig brownies. He’s often running the whole restaurant by himself, so be patient and let him do his thing while you wait with a mason jar of his slow-brewed sweet tea.

Zyka Twist

Chef Jimmy Aujla expanded his local family of Indian restaurants with Zyka Twist on Fourth Avenue. While the vibes are more casual than his flagship Indian Twist restaurant, it still includes his signature butter chicken.

La Yaquesita Mexican Cuisine

Originally a taco truck, La Yaquesita expanded into a sidewalk cafe-style brick-and-mortar. Their quesabirria tacos and consommé are still the star, but this time diners can enjoy a margarita or Mexican beer alongside it.

Fatboy Sandos

Previously a food truck, Fatboy Sandos rapidly grew with a local food court location and another location in Mesa. They rose to fame with their Japanese-style egg salad, katsu, and pork sandwiches on fluffy shokupan (milk bread).

Coop

A small family-run food court joint, Coop specializes in crispy, juicy chicken tenders dredged and fried to order. Their $4.20 chicken sandwiches are somehow larger and more affordable than even comparably priced fast food restaurants.

Agave House

Located at the east end of Main Gate Square, Agave House naturally showcases an extensive list of agave spirits and cocktails. While the menu includes modern elegant entrees such as the grilled salmon with chipotle agave sauce, the burro bowls are more affordably approachable for the nearby college students.

Che Cafe

While Tucson has a plethora of bakeries with Mexican empanadas, Che Cafe showcases them the Argentinian way with a more saltine cracker-like crust. The fatay empanadas are filled with bright lemony beef, while the beef empanadas have an olive-y punch.

Argentinian empanadas in a pizza box with sides of chimichurri and salsa criolla
Che Cafe empanadas come with chimichurri and salsa criolla
Jackie Tran

Borderlands Brewing Sam Hughes

Borderlands’ second Tucson location features fun Mexican bar food from chef Maria Mazon. The laid-back neighborhood bar vibe is accentuated with their queso con cerveza, which is essentially their take on beer cheese using their own beer. That beer, the Viejo Pueblo, also happens to be a steal at the bar at $3.

Yellow Brick Coffee

Formerly tucked away in an industrial part of town, Yellow Brick opened a sleek new location with a kitchen. Brunch with toasts and sandwiches on Barrio Bread while sipping on their single origin coffee.

Monsoon Chocolate Cafe + Market

Their bon bons are almost too pretty to eat, but it also be a waste not to. The shelves feature a variety of take-home confectionaries such as the addictive dark chocolate-covered cashew brittle with flakes of Maldon, but the cafe also highlights pastries, ice cream, and more.

Related Maps

Ciao Down Pizza Studio

Also previously a food truck, Ciao Down expanded into a brick oven studio next to a beer shop. Their signature Snake Bite pizza features an eccentric blend of raspberry chipotle jam, cream cheese, jalapeños, and bacon.

Houlden’s Rise Above

Houlden’s Rise Above distributed their pastries to cafes around town, but eventually opened their own dedicated space for customers to try their dedicated vegan pastries. While their croissant and pop tart variants are always a safe bet, try to place an order ahead of time for one of their fun boxes.

Oh My Chicken

Hidden inside of a shopping mall food court, Oh My Chicken fries up Korean fried chicken that stays crispy even when coated in sauce. While they come with fries, opt in for a bowl of noodle tteokbbokki swimming in a slightly sweet chili sauce.

Related Maps