Arizona's Best Local Cuisine
Collected by Joseph Cyr, AFAR Local Expert
Arizona didn't become a U.S. state until 1912, and the southern tier of Arizona remained part of Mexico until 1854. Borders have moved over the centuries, but flavors, fortunately, know no such boundaries here. Sonoran cuisine is native to Arizona, and some of the best Mexican food outside of Mexico can be had if you know where to go to eat.
771 AZ-179, Sedona, AZ 86336, USA
After a hard day of hiking the myriad trails through Sedona's gorgeous red rock country, my friend and I earned a dining experience where calories did not count. Everyone recommended Elote Cafe. Thank you, everyone, for one of the finest meals...
50 E Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85701, USA
Chile en nogada is a poblano chile pepper, stuffed with peccadillo (shredded meat, aromatic diced dried fruit and spices), topped with a walnut-cream sauce and pomegranate seeds. This dish from Puebla is not often found on menus of Mexican...
110 E Pennington St, Tucson, AZ 85701, USA
No, you don't have the wrong address—this is indeed a downtown office building and parking garage. But don't be alarmed. Walk through the door, and Café Poca Cosa's stylish interior tells you immediately that this is no boring strip mall Tex-Mex...
5201 S 12th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85706, USA
Come to "El Güero Canelo" if you're in southern Arizona. It's a Tucson institution where you can get the best "Sonoran/Mexican hot dogs" north of the border... But what's a Sonoran hot dog? It's a wiener wrapped in bacon(!), served atop beans in a...
A, 2221 I-19 Frontage Rd B102, Tubac, AZ 85646, USA
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...
311 N Court Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705, USA
El Charro sits in a converted set of historic houses & buildings a block off Tucson's old town district—the same location where it began serving food in 1922. We had lunch here, at a big old wooden table in a warmly decorated dining room. Ask to...
7114 E Stetson Dr Suite 105, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
Silvana Salcido Esparza's food is exactly what it says in street lingo on Barrio Queen's T-shirts: A TODA MADRE—"totally awesome." This is Northern Mexican Cuisine but in a casual cafe setting. Esparza's more formal Barrio on 16th St. has this...
1891 I-19 Frontage Rd, Tumacacori, AZ 85640, USA
The wording is irresistible: "Get a taste of history." On the grounds of one of the oldest Spanish missions (est. 1691) in Arizona, tortillas cooked over a mesquite fire, in the shade of mesquite trees, steps from an adobe church--this is...
2041 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006, USA
America’s Taco Shop (named for owner America Corrales) is exactly the kind of place you want to find when looking for a quick, fresh, and authentic lunch in Phoenix. It is an easy-going place with a limited menu of great food. When I say limited,...
4699 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85712, USA
Puns don't get much better than "Sir Veza." Around since the 1920s, this beer-loving, car-themed Tucson restaurant is run by the same people behind the venerable El Charro, the country's oldest family-owned Mexican restaurant and birthplace of the...
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