Hidden gems: Six awesome restaurants you might not know exist

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Ian Green | The Daily Wildcat

Wine and dine at the historical Cushing Street Bar & Restaurant. Just east of South Meyer Avenue, the old adobe building features lovely outdoor patio seating and live jazz performances.

The city of Tucson, known for its rich food culture, has an extremely wide variety of restaurants to choose from. Many people fall into the habit of eating at their favorite place day in and day out. However, some of the best food you can find around town is cooked in some unsuspecting places. 

If you’re interested in finding something new and delicious, here are six eateries that don’t get enough recognition for their delectable cuisine.

China Pasta House

Located near the University of Arizona’s Sixth Street parking garage, China Pasta House serves authentic style Chinese cuisine, inspired by food from the city of Dandong in northeast China, where the owners of the establishment lived before migrating to Tucson, Arizona. 

China Pasta House prepares fresh food, made with simple, all-natural ingredients, leaving behind unwanted preservatives like MSG and food coloring. The cooks of this restaurant make their noodles and dumplings from scratch daily, and have an inexpensive menu that can’t be beat for college students on a budget.

Stop in at 430 N. Park Ave, or order takeout at (520) 623-3334. China Pasta House is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Rebecca Noble | The Daily Wildcat

China Pasta House, a family-owned establishment located at 430 N. Park Avenue, on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. This authentic Chinese restaurant prepares noodles and dumplings from scratch daily.

Calle Tepa

Calle Tepa, home to a variety of delicious authentic Mexican food, offers a native atmosphere full of color and Mexican heritage. The menu offers tasty entrees like chicken or steak enchiladas, burrito bowls, taco salads, mini chimis, quesadillas and much more. 

The restaurant also boasts a bar on site and happy hour from 3-6 p.m., where diners can gulp down $4 martinis and happily-priced beers.

Try them out at 6151 E. Broadway Blvd., or call at (520) 777-5962. Calle Tepa is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Veg Box

Veg in a box, located on 75 E. Pennington St., gives Tucson consumers something healthy and fresh to grub on. 

All food served at this vegan restaurant is soy-free, gluten-free and GMO-free. Beloved menu items include the mushroom burger, the Z.L.T., Italian Neatball Sub, Green Goddess Juice and the Beet Burger. The staff at this unique eatery are focused on educating the public and providing healthy alternatives.

Call Veg Box at (520) 624-0179 or stop in during their hours of 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Ian Green | The Daily Wildcat

The menu offerings at Veg in a Box are essentially eponymous. Located north of East Pennington Street, Veg Box dishes out vegan and socially-conscious cuisine.

Cushing Street Bar & Restaurant

Gourmet cuisine served with a spice of history makes Cushing Street Bar & Restaurant a unique dinning experience. 

Cushing’s has been serving the Tucson community since 1972 and has remained in the same building, making it one of the oldest dining establishments in Tucson. 

The menu features entrees like grilled New York strip & sautéed mushrooms, grilled fresh Atlantic salmon with lemon beurre blanc and shrimp scampi. They also have frequent weekend jazz nights that attract guests to enjoy a fine dinning experience and show all in one.

Visit this one-of-a-kind, family owned restaurant at 198 W. Cushing St. on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. or Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m. Make reservations by calling (520) 622-7984.

El Minuto Café 

El Minuto Café, located at 354 S. Main St., has had its doors open since 1936, which makes this restaurant a great historical addition to the community. 

The Mexican restaurant has an impressive menu that lists all the classic entrees such as chimichangas, tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, fajitas, burritos and a plethora of other choices. 

El Minuto Café prides itself on being a family-owned, local restaurant.

Try out El Minuto Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call their staff at (520) 882-4145.

Patrons enjoy dinner at El Minuto Cafe Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. This Sonoran cuisine restaurant has been serving the community since 1936.

Renee’s Organic Oven 

Renee’s Organic Oven features an entirely organic menu with gluten free and vegan options. 

Renee’s likes to support its community by partnering up with local companies like Isabella’s Ice Cream, Gourmet Girls Gluten Free Bakery/ Bistro, Maya Tea and more. Menu items include a variety of sandwiches, salads, tostadas, soups and pizzas, all available in gluten free options.

Check out this unique, local restaurant located at 7065 E. Tanque Verde Rd. during their usual hours of 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. To make reservations, call (520) 886-0484.


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