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Elvira's Restaurant

2221 I-19 Frontage Rd, Tubac, AZ 85646, USA
| +1 520-398-9421
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Worth the Drive to Tubac Tubac Arizona United States

Worth the Drive to Tubac

Tucson is predictably well-endowed with Mexican restaurants...But it's still worth driving about an hour south to the little town of Tubac for a meal at Elvira's.

Upon entering the cool space, you won't be surprised to learn that the chef/owner got degrees in design and graphic arts before going to cooking school. The restaurant, family-owned since 1927, is named after Ruben Monroy's grandmother. Originally located in Nogales, Mexico, Elvira's moved up to Tubac a few years ago...

Have a welcoming "Hola-tequila-shot" (just fifty cents!) while perusing the menu...I had the pipián rojo mole—perfectly tender chicken under a vibrant sauce made with ground pumpkin seeds; my wife tried the day's light lunch special of mushroom enchiladas with tomatillo salsa, and for out-of-town family, the squash-blossom-stuffed poblano chile relleno "Frida Kahlo." Beef tongue with salsa verde and the other moles will have to wait for a return visit.

Suspended from the ceiling are constellations of lanterns, blown-glass teardrops, flying cherubs—Mexican folk-art with a surreal twist. Your eyes will not be bored. More importantly, neither will your taste buds...

(Tubac, incidentally, was the starting point of the 18th-c. expedition that led to the founding of San Francisco, Santa Clara, & San José, CA. Not much of the original Spanish presidio remains, but for the past few decades, "where art and history meets" has become the slogan of this 'artists' colony' in the high desert.)