The whole enchilada: top five Mexican restaurants of Tucson

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Chloe Durand and Chloe Durand | The Daily Wildcat People dining enjoy dinner at El Minuto Cafe on Saturday, Feb. 13. This Mexican restaurant has been serving people since the 1930s and is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Tucson.

The true beauty of Tucson lies in its abundance of Mexican restaurants. Since Tucson is located near the Mexican border, Tucsonans are able to choose from a wide variety of delicious, authentic Mexican dishes. The variety of tacos, enchiladas, chimichangas and other dishes stay true to their original flavors. Tucsonans are also afforded the opportunity to experience less common cuisine, such as the Sonoran hot dog, raspados and toritos.

Among the many Mexican restaurants in Tucson, a few establishments stand out in quality, flavor and ambiance.

Here are a few recommendations for your next Mexican food adventure:

1. El Minuto Café - 354 S. Main Ave.

One of the oldest restaurants in Tucson, El Minuto has been serving tasteful Mexican food since the early 1930s. El Minuto is located a little ways from downtown Tucson, near the Tucson Convention Center. The restaurant offers both outdoor and indoor seating with a pleasant and lively ambiance.

Enjoy its signature cheese enchiladas along with the amazing salsa. If you are looking for a night out with a family, or even just with friends, this is the place for you.

2. El Charro Café - 311 N. Court Ave.

El Charro Café is another Mexican restaurant distinctive to Tucson. The original El Charro first opened in 1922 and is located in the downtown area. The building is noticeable because of its bright yellow exterior. This charming restaurant provides a lively ambiance at night, as this is when the restaurant comes to life.

El Charro has an extensive menu and offers classic combinations of signature dishes like tamales, enchiladas and tacos. El Charro is fairly busy at night, especially on the weekends, but it is an experience that is definitely worth the wait.

3. Blanco Taqos + Tequila - 2905 E. Skyline Drive

Located north of the UA in the Foothills area, Blanco Tacos + Tequila gives a modern take on classic Mexican dishes. It offers an upbeat, dynamic atmosphere in the La Encantada shopping mall. You can enjoy some of its renowned guacamole while sitting on the outdoor patio overlooking Tucson.

Blanco offers tasty, street-style tacos such as its Baja chicken tacos and traditional carnitas. Blanco’s variety of dishes stays true to the original flavors of Mexican food while still offering a sizeable twist.

4. Guadalajara Original Grill - 1220 E. Prince Road

Experience traditional, flavorful Mexican food while enjoying a performance by the mariachi band. Each night, Guadalajara Grill provides its customers with a live show from professional mariachi players. Salsa is prepared at the table and features a variety of fresh ingredients including peppers, onions, tomatoes and garlic.

The restaurant is colorful and decorative. Many people come to Guadalajara to celebrate birthdays and other special events.

5. Nico’s Mexican Food - 2965 N. Campbell Ave.

Nico’s is a local classic. It has several different locations around Tucson, but the Nico’s on Campbell Avenue is the most popular because of its proximity to campus. Open 24 hours a day, Nico’s caters to the college lifestyle and is a perfect fix for those late-night cravings. Many of its dishes are simple, but can still satisfy your hunger.

On the theme of simplicity, try the bean and cheese burrito and spice it up with the red or green sauce.


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