The Green Machine, $16, at Proof features basil spaghetti in a pesto cream sauce wiht Grana Padano cheese and spiced pepitas. 

Is your New Years resolution to eat out more? If so, I've got 60 ideas for you. 

This is a mega-list of all the bars, restaurants, cafes, doughnut shops, grab-and-go meal spots, Eritrean restaurants, etc. that opened this year. (I can go on.) All of these spots survived to 2019, so bookmark this page and get to work! I also organized the businesses into several different categories so you can see what was trending this year. That's craft beer, Asian food and acaí bowls in case you're wondering. How many have you been to? 

Bars, taprooms and brewpubs

Casa Marana Craft Beer + Wine

My drinking partner Janelle was excited for our beer flight at Casa Marana, which included from left: the Elysian Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale, O.H.S.O.'s Popcycle, Alpine Beer Company's Windows Up IPA and Harbottle's Two Hands Cucumber Saison.  

More craft beer options came to Marana's Continental Ranch neighborhood in June with the opening of Casa Marana Craft Beer + Wine. Kyle Schwab's second effort is forgoing the cinema theme of his Casa Film Bar and going for a standard beer bar experience with 35 brews on tap from Arizona and beyond. Taps are constantly rotating, but on my last visit I spotted some creative brews like a cucumber saison from Tucson's Harbottle Brewing. Read more. 

Cobra Arcade Bar

This is what Cobra Arcade looks like around 5:30 p.m. on a Tuesday ... 

This swanky nightclub/arcade on Congress has more than 50 classic games and pinball machines for dirt cheap prices. The Phoenix-based Cobra Arcade also has eight kitschy "cocktails" on its menu, like The Garbage Pail Kid with Mad Dog 20/20, green apple vodka, Blue Curacao and Dos Equis beer?! (It tastes like boozy liquid Fun Dip.) Get your drink on and play some Q*Bert. Read more. 

Arizona Wine Collective

4280 N Campbell Ave., 520-329-8595


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St. Philip's Plaza has a new wine bar that focuses on wines from across this great state. Arizona Wine Collective is owned by Jeanne and Pete Snell, who cut his teeth working at the tasting room at Sonoita's Callaghan Vineyards. The cozy spot in the former Scordato's Pizzeria has eight wine taps, six beer taps and bottles from 11 different wineries in Sonoita, Cochise County, the Verde Valley and beyond. The duo also serves a small snack menu of charcuterie, popcorn and local cheeses from Peace, Love and Smoked Cheese. There are no TV's, only wine, glorious wine.  

Iron John's Brewing Company

222 E. Congress St., 520-232-2080

Iron John's has a rotating selection of barleywines and strong ales during the holiday season. This is the Oak N' Rye, $10. 

Hidden foodie favorite Iron John's Brewing Company stepped into the limelight and opened a taproom on Congress in mid-July. The spot inside the former Tucson Olive Central is creating demand for the nanobrewery's beers, allowing it to produce more craft brews out of its small production facility at 245 S. Plumer Ave. Check out the clean space around happy hour for a buzzy atmosphere; It's got 10 rotating Iron John's selections on tap, as well as a small case of its award-winning bottled beers. 

Harbottle Brewing Company

Harbottle opened earlier this year in a southside neighborhood also home to Ten Fifty-Five and Nimbus. Originally named Flux Brewing, this 7-barrel brewhouse has a 1,000-square foot tasting room. Tap + Bottle alums Michael Figueira, Andy Shlicker and business partner Sam Kroack are working on some funky stuff like mixed-fermentation ales and lagers. The sour beer Kentucky Sunglasses comes highly recommended, in addition to the English bitter Nigel Tufnel, named after a "This is Spinal Tap" character.      

Caps & Corks  

Caps & Corks may be the only place in town where you can get a Planet Persica sour farmhouse IPA, $6, from Arizona Wilderness up in Gilbert. 

The craft beer scene is going strong up in Marana with the opening of Caps & Corks in the Sprouts shopping center of Orange Grove near the I-10 freeway. The vibe here is similar to a Tap & Bottle with a little homey charm mixed in. (The owners are originally from Bisbee.) On a recent visit, the 25-strong taplist included a healthy selection of Arizona Wilderness beers out of Gilbert, which are hard to find down in the Old Pueblo. Read more. 

District Tavern Eatz

Bye bye steak and spaghetti ... Hello Miller High Life?! 

The District Tavern is back! But this new Stone Avenue iteration has a pretty different vibe than the beloved downtown bar. It's in the former home of Classic Steakhouse, for one, which gives it more of a Western feel. They also have food now, but it's a small menu of sandwiches, quiches, whiskey ginger cookies and breakfast egg plates all day. In the evenings the space becomes an 18+ hangout with a full bar, including your favorite "special" of Miller High Life and Old Crow whiskey.

Craft, a Modern Drinkery

4603 E. Speedway, 520-327-2394

Travis Miller sets up chairs at Craft, A Modern Drinkery. With no restaurant element at the taproom, food trucks will be invited to park in front of the building.

The guys from Serial Grillers are on a roll, opening their latest concept Craft, A Modern Drinkery this October. The taproom is located in the former Terry and Zeke's on Speedway and Swan. Unlike its sister restaurants, Craft is solely a bar with 45 beers on tap, plus 200 in bottles or cans. The redesigned space has consoles with classic video games for customers to play while they drink. Read more.

Serial Grillers

7585 S. Houghton Road, 520-574-7878

Judging by the opening crowds, Serial Grillers made a smart move when they decided to open up out in Rita Ranch. 

Serial Grillers opened a third location on Houghton Road in Rita Ranch. On a recent evening, the former Chuy's Mesquite Broiler was packed with locals ordering serial-killer themed pizzas like the Bone Collector with boneless wings, ranch and buffalo sauce. The sprawling space is three times the size of the Speedway location, and has a taplist of more than 50 craft beers. 

Ten55 Brewing and Sausage House

110 E. Congress St., 520-777-7877

The grilled cheese special of the day at Ten55, best eaten on the patio by the Anthony Bourdain mural. 

Now you can drink Ten55 beers and hang out in a German sausage hall downtown. The local brewery has moved its operations to Congress Street, and now serves about 20 types of sausages provided by Forbes Meat Company. Try the spicy bison sausage with white barbecue sauce on a bun from Viro's Italian Bakery. You can also buy the sausages to-go and cook them at home. Read more.

Trident Pizza Pub

446 N. Campbell Ave., 520-274-7068

Trident Pizza Pub near the University of Arizona opens on Monday,Dec. 17.

The latest restaurant in the Trident Grill family specializes in pizzas, sandwiches, salads and inventive appetizers. I'm excited to try that crispy cauliflower drizzled with buffalo sauce and ranch dressing. You can also build your own pizza there, or pick one of the specialty pies like the Sausage Bianco with ricotta and fresh mozzarella cheese, sausage and caramelized onions. The Same Hughes spot is destined to be a game day favorite. 


267 S. Avenida Del Convento, 520-867-8308

Westbound has four cocktails on tap, like the rum-based Punch Drunk Love (left for $7) and the gin-based Orange Cucumber Rhumba ($8).  

Westbound was the first food and drink concept to open at the MSA Annex, a shipping container shopping center just east of the Mercado San Agustin. The folks at Tap + Bottle brought in a taplist of 20 different beers, eight wines and four batch-made cocktails. (Try the gin-based Orange Cucumber Rhumba with spicy dehydrated cucumbers.) The mostly outdoor concept does have air conditioning and plenty of shade, plus a small bottle room at the front.    

The Frozen Cactus

5769 E. Speedway, 520-495-5136

RJ's Replays on Speedway was one of two local businesses featured on a TV show called "Bar Rescue," where a "nightlift expert" goes full-Gordon Ramsay on a failing bar. The episode hasn't come out yet, but the joint is already sporting a new name ... The Frozen Cactus Ice Bar and Flame Grill? The new menu looks a bit more substantial, with dishes like the Spanish Tilapia with spicy fried potato sticks, $8.95. 

Series 19

13 N. Stone Ave., 520-303-1199

Series 19 is primarily a cocktail bar, with not a beer in sight. 

Downtown Tucson's newest cocktail bar Series 19 pours locally-distilled spirits from across Arizona. It's an offshoot of Three Wells Distilling Company, which produces prickly pear spirits and more from a warehouse on Tucson's south side. The cocktail menu showcases the Three Wells line, which now includes two gins, agave spirits, vodka and even bourbon. We enjoyed the Sonoran Margarita on a recent visit. Read more


Dutch Bros Coffee

120 S. Wilmot Road, 541-955-4700

Dutch Bros. Coffee is hosting a grand opening Tuesday, Oct. 9, for its shop at South Wilmot Road and East Broadway.

Dutch Bros, the Oregon-based coffee joint opened its first Tucson location this year in a Broadway lot that used to house a Mimi's Cafe. The tea section alone has several gems, like the Dutch Mojito and the bright blue Shark Attack. I'll just take the cold brew, please ...

Juice Envy

The Beet It has fresh beet juice, cucumber, carrots, ginger and more at Juice Envy, 1980 W. Orange Grove Road.

Next time you're making a noodle run at Lee Lee's, check out the spot next door for some healthy juices and smoothies. Juice Envy opened in July on the northeast corner of Orange Grove and La Cholla. The menu is made up of several raw juices, Brazilian acaí fruit bowls, and oatmeal bowls with toppings like almond butter, blueberry, cinnamon and quinoa. Read more. 

Raptor Canyon Cafe

75 E. Pennington St., 520-336-5698

Breakfast burritos downtown! Raptor Canyon Cafe's Southwest breakfast burrito, $7, comes with green chile, chorizo and avocado.   

The vacant Veg in a Box restaurant on Pennington is now a homey breakfast and lunch cafe. Raptor Canyon Cafe did a brisk lunch business on my recent visit, and seems to be popular with the downtown business crowd. Order at the counter and they'll take the food out to your booth: There's a decent selection of breakfast sandwiches with housemade biscuits, but I got a breakfast burrito. They also do sandwiches and salads, plus diner entrees like mini meatloaf, angel hair pasta and fish tacos. Check out the front counter for some baked goods, like the peanut buttery Raptor Tracks.

Ren Coffeehouse

4300 N. Campbell Ave., 520-638-6290

Avocado toast with cream cheese and a poached egg, and a cold brew coffee from Ren Coffeehouse. 

This chic coffee shop is tucked back into a sleepy plaza at St. Philip's, where Arizona Cyclist used to be. Owner Lisa Ocker is a Wisconsin transplant and sources her coffee from Colectivo out of Milwaukee. Ren Coffeehouse also has a nice lunch menu of paninis, simple salads and a gorgeous avocado toast with perfectly poached egg on Barrio Bread. A hidden gem! 

Berry Divine Acaí bowls

On the left there's the Summit Bowl with chocolate, peanut butter and more. The bowl on the right is called Maui Wowie, and has pineapple, cashews and honey. 

Brazilian acaí bowls arrived downtown this year with the opening of Berry Divine, a Sedona-based shop owned by former pastry chef Todd Shreve. The blueberry-like fruit, widely considered a superfood, gets blended into fruity smoothies and run through a soft-serve machine for healthy desserts. Each acaí bowl has about a dozen ingredients including fresh fruit, chocolate, granola, flax seed and more. Read more

Le Cave’s

3950 E. 22nd St., 520-624-2561

Le Cave’s co-owner Naomi Pershing says the bakery might bring back their doughnuts with a hole on special occasions.

After more than eight decades serving doughnuts and Mexican pastries on the south side, Le Cave's bakery has moved east on 22nd Street. The small shop, which was once a Jack in the Box, is a fresh start for the business that in recent years had been plagued by failed health inspections that came with an aging building. New owners Chris and Naomi Pershing are staying faithful to the all-vegetable recipe, for now sans holes, according to a recent Star story. Read more.

Hermosa Coffee Roasters

Sixteen ounce cold brew at Hermosa Coffee, $4. Note to self, drink coffee next time before attempting to take pictures of coffee. 

This local coffee roaster now has a storefront at the shipping container shopping center MSA Annex, where it sells its beans as well as an interesting selection of espresso drinks. I got down on some cold brew — you may recognize the flavor from one of Hermosa's wholesale clients The Cup Cafe — but next time I'm going back for a Shakerato with espresso and simple syrup that's shaken like a cocktail. Hermosa is more of a stand than a place to hang out, but you can grab some joe before you head over to the Why I Love Where I Live store. 

The Chocolate Iguana

431 N. Fourth Ave., 520-798-1211

The Chocolate Iguana moved into the original location of Lindy's on Fourth last Wednesday. 

After losing its home of 28 years, The Chocolate Iguana reopened on Fourth Avenue less than a block from its original spot. With its crisp new paint job and colorful candy jars, it's hard to believe the space used to be the burger giant Lindy's on Fourth. The space is a bit smaller than the original location, but there's still the same candy selection, as well as pastries, espresso drinks and ice cream. Read more

Nekter Juice Bar

The Pink Flamingo smoothie (left) and the Green Apple Detox juice are two favorites on the menu at Nekter. 

This juice bar is located next to the Apple Store at La Encantada mall. Nekter is a California chain that serves cold-pressed juices, healthy smoothies, acai bowls and gourmet soft serves with mostly vegan ingredients. My menu favorite was the Green Apple Detox juice with cucumbers, lemon, kale, fennel and ginger. It wasn't too sweet; mostly tart and spicy with a fresh taste from the cucumber.  

Monsoon Chocolate

234 E. 22nd St., 520-396-3189

Monsoon Chocolate is in the former La Buena tortilla factory at South Fourth and 22nd Street. 

This southside spot is part artisan chocolate shop, part airy cafe with a trendy breakfast and lunch menu. Monsoon Chocolate specializes in bean-to-bar chocolate confections bursting with local ingredients like chiltepin peppers and Whiskey del Bac. Check out the breakfast toasts, which feature housemade bread and a mosaic of well-placed ingredients. Read more

Halfwheel Coffeehouse

1832 E. Sixth St., 520-499-3830

The iced mocha at Halfwheel had a nice chocolaty touch, but wasn't overly sweet. 

This new coffee counter Halfwheel Coffeehouse is actually part of a bike shop called Re-Cycle, which recently took up residence in a former Bernie Sanders campaign office. Halfwheel serves Exo Roast coffee and La Estrella Bakery pastries in a bright but homey space on Sixth and Campbell. Peak around the corner and you'll see a full-service bike shop flanking the back of the store. 

Lunch and burger spots 

Kiss of Smoke

663 S. Plumer Ave., 520-270-7917

Kiss of Smoke BBQ is tucked back on Plumer next to the coolest dive bar ever The Silver Room. 

Tucked back into a residential neighborhood south of Broadway, Kiss of Smoke serves wood-fired barbecue dishes like pulled pork and mesquite-smoked chicken. Brandi Romero and her family originally started out as a competition barbecue team, but transitioned into a popular food truck and now a brick and mortar restaurant. She insists you've gotta try the pulled pork tacos with chipotle bacon slaw, which are fried with a crispy shell. The "fatties" are also a popular snack: Breakfast sausage is stuffed with mozzarella cheese and green chiles, then smoked and sliced into cracker-sized bites.    

Beaut Burger

The owners of Beaut Burger wanted to have the feel of a classic burger joint — without the meat.

The plant-based burger stand is the culinary anchor at the Mercado San Agustin's new hyper-local upscale shopping center, the MSA Annex. The curated list of vegan burgers are a mix of classic Americana and funkier creations like the B9 with soft slabs of roasted eggplant, pumpkin seed pesto and housemade "mozzarella cheese." Beaut Burger also has some of the best sweet potato fries in town. Read more. 

Besties Fish and Burger

14 W. Grant Road, 520-307-8506

🍔🍔🍔 #openingsoon

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Classic's Kade Mislinksi is at it again with what he says is his final restaurant, Besties Fish and Burger. The midtown joint pays homage to the titans of fast food in what he calls "Long John Silver's meets White Castle." The specialty here is steamed burgers like they have back east in Connecticut, where Kade spent summers as a kid. Pair that with some French fries, hush puppies and battered fish and you've got the restaurant's signature combo, the BFF.    

Lindy’s off Fourth

Lindy's Off Fourth is roomy for its industrial vibe, with that characteristic local art all over the walls. 

East-side residents can now get their Blue Suede Cows without having to travel to Fourth Avenue. Lindy's opened a second location on Tanque Verde in the former home of Great American Steakburger. The "offbeat" burger menu remains the same, but the space is substantially bigger and roomier, and sports a full bar area with eight beers on tap. Read more


100 N. Stone Ave., 520-777-5011

The Bombo Combo, $8.35 at Bombolé with rice, Honduran cabbage salad and curried lentils. 

At first glance Bombolé seems like it might be an Indian bakery of some sort, but those aren't samosas on the counter. This downtown lunch spot makes empanadas, but fills them with Indian curries like butter chicken and the spiced potato aloo matar. Owner Jackie Sharma draws from her husband's Indian heritage as well as her own upbringing in Honduras, where savory empanadas are more common. Grab one to-go for $3.85, or make yourself a plate with curry lentils and Honduran cabbage salad. Read more. 

Smokey Mo

2650 N. First Ave., 520-203-8250

Combo plate #3 at Smokey Mo barbecue comes with mesquite-smoked ribs, two barbecued meats and a side for $18. We upgraded with beans, coleslaw and potato salad. 

This Kansas City barbecue joint is breathing new life into the former Shari's burger stand on First Avenue. Smokey Mo serves burgers, tacos and two smoked meat barbecue sandwiches for lunch, and does a traditional barbecue menu in the evenings with mesquite-smoked ribs, pork, turkey, tri tip beef, and brisket on the weekends. The sultry smoked chicken wings are an interesting alternative to the regular fried and crunchy variety, and they also do a mean potato salad. Read more.    

The Buffalo Spot 

760 N. Tyndall Ave., 520-398-4621

The Chain Buffalo Spot opened on N. Tyndall Ave. near the University of Arizona. 

This Southern California-based chain restaurant specializes in ribs, buffalo wings and fries. The Buffalo Spot has more than a dozen wing flavors including pineapple jalapeño, teriyaki and Jamaican jerk. The store's signature item is a big basket of loaded buffalo fries topped with boneless wings. Check it out at Main Gate Square, in the former home of Cup it Up. Read more

Asian food 

Yu Zi Wei

2601 E. Speedway. 520-284-0019

We added potatoes and vermicelli noodles at $1.99 each to our boiling platter of grilled medaka fish, $29.99. It also came with lots of bean sprouts and celery.

Yu Zi Wei is the latest fun place to open during a spectacular year for regional Chinese food. With minimal online presence and a unique menu of spicy Chongqing dishes, the restaurant is a little less approachable and a little more awesome. Everyone here is coming for the sizzling fish platter, but you can make a wonderful meal out of appetizers and entrees like mapo tofu and pork ribs in griddle pot. Definitely check out our guide before you go. It'll help a lot. Read more here. 

Asian Sofrito

2530 N. First Ave., 520-207-5701

The carne frita combo plate, $9.50, at Asian Sofrito with fried rice upgraded with "amarillo" sweet fried plantains for an extra $2.50, with an order of yuca on the side. 

At Asian Sofrito, you can order a plate of General Tso's Chicken with a side of syrupy sweet plantains. The Caribbean Chinese fusion restaurant opened in the former home of Wild Garlic Grill on First Avenue, and has been serving the the local clientele who crave Puerto Rican dishes like mofongo and fried chicken masita. Two thirds of the menu is Chinese takeout, and they make a mean plate of barbecue pork lo mein. Read more. 

Hoki Poki

Poke bowl with salmon, yellowtail and every topping for $9.75 at Hoki Poki. 

MiAn Sushi restaurateur Bin An is opening these casual poke spots left and right. His latest Hoki Poki restaurant is located where Pionic Pizza used to be at Campbell and Glenn. (The Star quoted him in September saying he could open as many as six more Hoki Poki locations throughout Tucson, in collaboration with an unnamed big company.) The concept here is you build your own bowl or sushi burrito, choosing from ingredients such as spicy tuna, seaweed salad, mandarin oranges and more.

Fat Noodle

811 E. Wetmore Road, 520-269-7603

The FN Burger at Fat Noodle ramen restaurant is a sesame ginger beef topped with lettuce, tomato, hoisin sauce and spicy mayo on a grilled ramen noodle bun at Fat Noodle ramen restaurant, 811 E. Wetmore Road, on October 11, 2018, in Tucson, AZ.

After four years serving Tucson as a truck, this ramen operation is going brick and mortar. Fat Noodle's new space on First and Wetmore was designed by restaurant consultant John Foster, and features an industrial look with lush wooden counters and tables. In addition to the ramen selections, Fat Noodle goes hard on the fusion with ramen burgers, sashimi sandwiches and even poke bowls. Read more

Raijin Ramen

2955 E. Speedway, 520-795-3123

Raijin's spicy tonkotsu ramen, $10, has thin slices of chashu pork, bamboo shoots, seaweed, pickled ginger and more. 

Tucson's first ramen house has nine varieties on the menu including a spicy tonkotsu pork and a mean bowl of vegan ramen. Raijin Ramen is owned by Jun and Diana Arai of the east-side izakaya Ginza Sushi. Jun learned his craft by working at a ramen restaurant in the Nagano Prefecture outside of Tokyo. Read more

Years Asian Bistro and BBQ

625 E. Wetmore Road, 520-347-3766

With its late-night hours, Years Asian Bistro caters to the student population. 

The menu at this new Asian fusion spot is all over the place, with obscure dishes like a tray of grilled fish with lotus roots and chile sauce. We recently enjoyed a large meal with dishes from Japan and the Sichuan area of China, washing it down with a soju cocktail that was literally poured into a watermelon. While a big portion of the menu is dedicated to Japanese yakitori skewers, I enjoyed the Sichuan dishes best like the toothpick lamb that sits on a bed of dried chiles and garlic.  

7 Ounce Korean Steakhouse

4699 E. Speedway, 520-347-6995

7 Ounce Korean Steakhouse feels pure Los Angeles to me, but at Tucson prices ...

This trendy Korean barbecue joint is located in the former home of SirVeza's on Speedway. Azian's sister restaurant 7 Ounce has late-night hours and a large bar program, with "Korean sake bombs" that come with soju instead of sake. 🤯 Grill your own meats like LA Galbi, ribeye, filet mignon and more at the table. They have several combo meals that come with an order of hot stone steamed egg, shrimp, pork belly and more, which range from $44.95 to $59.95 for two. They also have a private karaoke room that you can rent out for parties.    


3655 E. Speedway, 520-327-2778

This plush sushi joint used to be a Denny's on Speedway. 

The owner of south-side Hana Tokyo recently opened this all-you-can-eat sushi spot Izumi in a former Denny's on Speedway. Ramen is what sets them apart; You can order small bowls of tonkotsu, miso and baitan ramen on the all-you-can-eat menu, in addition to oysters and crab legs. We're also excited about the $11 sushi lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The buffet features five or six cold rolls as well as fried rice, tempura and more. Read more

Kogi Korean BBQ 

Kogi Korean BBQ has a homier vibe, unlike the sprawling Korean barbecue restaurants where you grill your own meat. 

Seoul Kitchen has moved to 6255 E. Golf Links Road, and the midtown space is now home to Kogi Korean BBQ (not to the confused with the LA food truck). I swung by the shop and saw a robust lunch menu with Korean bento boxes under $9, as well as three types of ramen and bibimbap rice bowls. The regular menu has some interesting Korean barbecue dishes listed under it, like mozzarella and chili cheese pork katsu?! You'll also see a variety of Korean stone bowl soups, noodles and donburi rice bowls.     

Nick’s Sari Sari Store 

2001 S. Craycroft Road, 520-406-3593

Halo Halo, $4.50, at Nick's Sari-Sari Store .. Wow that's a mouthful. This shaved ice has fruit jellies and purple yam ice cream. 

This Filipino market recently moved to a new location near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and is now sporting a separate cafe with buffet-style dishes at the front counter. Nick's Sari Sari Store is doing all the specialties like lumpia egg rolls, pork adobo and crunchy sisig. ($6.50 will get you two scoops and white rice.) But everyone had a cup of Halo Halo in their hands. This shaved ice with fruit jellies and purple yam ice cream is worth the trip on its own. 


3502 E. Grant Road, 520-305-4262

Sichuan spicy beef noodles, $11, feature housemade wheat noodles in a numbingly sour broth at Noodleholics. 

Despite the name's all-encompassing nature, Noodleholics actually specializes in homemade rice noodles from a region in Southern China called Guilin. Although, the packed midtown restaurant sports dishes from across the mainland including wonton noodles and spicy Dan Dan. The wonder that is Noodleholics deserves more than a little paragraph here, so I will say this ... go there! Please? If I have done anything to earn your trust, run with me on this one. It's so good! Read more here. 

Indian Twist

Indian Twist, in the space that formerly housed Twisted Tandoor, offers a $10.95 lunch buffet.

Twisted Tandoor closed last November, but now the space holds a Northern Indian restaurant called Indian Twist. The retro chic space has gone unchanged, but now you'll find a simple $10.95 lunch buffet flanking the sides of the open kitchen. The regular menu is filled with familiar Indian restaurant fare like shrimp saag and chicken tikka masala. But the restaurant also has a hefty vegetarian section with moderately-priced lentil dishes, chana masala and more. 


Tamarind just opened in the former home of The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen at the Foothills Mall. 

This Foothills mall restaurant Tamarind has a large menu of dishes from all over India, including the burrito-like kati rolls and a whole category of "Mystic Masalas." But, you're probably going to go for the lunch buffet, which looked eclectic and plentiful on a recent visit. I've yet to sit down and try it, but as always, let me know what you think!  

Mexican food

Americano Mexicano

Americano Mexicano still has that pub feel to it, but now it's serving margaritas. 

Americano Mexicano set up shop in the former Auld Dubliner this October, serving fruit-stuffed Tequila pineapples in what was once an Irish bar. The menu here is a hodgepodge of bar foods like nachos and burros, mixed with Mexican mariscos and fruity raspados and aguas frescas. They also do the best bean burro on University Boulevard. But most people will probably be there for the creative margaritas. They're fruity, but they get the job done. Read more.

Taqueria El Semental

Northwest corner of North Fourth Avenue and East Ninth Street, 520-668-9163

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You may remember Taqueria El Semental as the bull-themed taco truck that set up in front of The Hut on weekends. One of Fourth Avenue's most popular late night options finally has a permanent home just down the street, on the northwest corner of Fourth and the underpass. It's still a taco truck, but now there's a fancy hay bale setup where you can chill out and eat your footlong Sonoran dog. (Judging by this picture of course.)  

Taqueria Los Chipilones

Chipilones tacos are like little caramelos, but you get more tortilla in each bite. 

Los Chipilones is a southside taco stand that was built on the former site of a Viking Car Wash. (Check out the car-themed street art behind the building.) It's owned by the same people as the Chipilones Sonoran hot dog stand next door, but this joint specializes in beef birria, which you can get in a taco, stuffed into a cheesy caramelo or as a soup. The menu here is rather simple, but they do make their own horchata, and the corn tortillas don't seem to come from a machine either. 

La Botana 

5526 E. Grant Road, 520-347-5852

Torito taco at La Botana featuring a bacon-wrapped chile stuffed with cheese and shrimp.

You may have bonded with La Botana's giant micheladas and fun toritos chile tacos. Well now you can hit them up on Grant and Craycroft as well. The Mexican bar and restaurant recently opened a second location in that Ross shopping center. (You know the one with like nothing in it.) Expect the same fun atmosphere as the First and Fort Lowell location.  



You can build your own bruschetta board at Proof for $15. This one had, from left: artichoke dip, olive tapenade, beef ribeye and burrata with lardons. 

Proof Artisanal Pizza and Pasta is the new Italian concept that's uniting the courtyard at St. Philip's Plaza. The folks behind Union and Reforma have taken over the revolving restaurant space that most recently held Sazerac. The lunch menu is about bruschettas, sandwiches and pizzas, while the dinner menu has some tasty looking pastas including the Green Machine with creamy pesto and basil spaghetti. The website also lists a nice happy hour deal every day from 3-6 p.m. with $10 margherita pizzas, a $20 pitcher and pizza deal and more. Read more. 

Pizza Luna

The cheese board, $12, comes with Humbolt fog, grain mustard, fig jam, pickled veggies, Israeli Feta, Finocchiona and Sopressata salami, prosciutto, Fontina cheese, olives and crostini. 

Nestled in the Trader Joe's shopping center on Speedway and Wilmot, this gourmet pizza spot does a brisk slice business during lunch. Pizza Luna specializes in "neo-Neapolitan" pies that are cold-fermented for 72 hours, yielding a full crust with nuanced flavors. This little place has one of the best cheese plates in town, but also look out for interesting toppings like the Pizza Verde with Mediterranean lamb sausage and a housemade pesto sauce. Read more

Tito and Pep

4122 E. Speedway, 520-207-0116

The striped bass, $23, with spiced carrots, oyster mushrooms and grilled orange vinaigrette is one of the many colorful fish dishes at the new Tito and Pep. 

This mesquite-fired bistro by accomplished chef John Martinez hit it straight out of the park when it opened early November. Tito and Pep has gotten a lot of positive buzz for its unique and colorful take on Tucson's flavors. Early menu favorites include the queso fundido with mushrooms and chorizo, as well as the grilled trout with crunchy little disks of fried garlic. Also, you can't pass up the buttermilk panna cotta for dessert. Wow, is all I have to say. Read more. 

Persian Room

The Sultani lunch platter at The Persian Room comes with filet mignon, top, ground beef kebab, bottom, rice and Greek salad. 

This Scottsdale-based restaurant recently opened a Tucson location in an empty shopping center the far northwest side. The sprawling Persian Room is lavishly-decorated with water fountains, ancient art motifs and plush booths. Specializing in the cuisine of Iran, Persian Room offers a menu of expertly-grilled meats like filet mignon and lamb shish kebab, all paired with saffron basmati rice. It's a little bit of an investment, so I suggest splitting a lunch platter and one of their flavorful dips, like the Kashk O'Bademjan eggplant spread.

Alloro D.O.C. Italian Trattoria and Chophouse 

7600 E. Broadway, 520-721-5690

A familiar face has taken over the kitchen in the Hilton East's gourmet Italian venture Alloro D.O.C.. Chef Virgina "Ginny" Wooters of The Abbey is now at the helm, and is putting her signature panache into the modern Italian classics like high-quality steaks and fresh pasta. At the grand opening, chefs mixed up some Fettuccine Alfredo inside a giant wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano, so let's hope for similar theatrics in the future.  


American Eat Co. 

1439 S. Fourth Ave., 520-867-8700

American Eat Co., the southside's first food hall opened at the beginning of April. The former carnicería has been transformed into an industrial chic lounge with six restaurants, a coffee shop, local ice cream, meat market and full bar. Highlights include the "Chicano Hood Eats" at Avenues, ahi tuna poke tacos at Dumb Fish and micheladas at the Market Bar. For the full list of suggestions, check out our guide here.

Queen Sheba

5553 E. Grant Road, 520-276-3476

A make-your-own meat combination platter at Queen Sheba, clockwise from top: spicy chicken, red lentils, spicy beef, shiro, spicy beef tibsi, alicha, berbere lamb, cabbage and spinach.   

Welday Gebrezgabher Gezehen brings his native cuisine of Eritrea to a midtown neighborhood near Tucson Medical Center. The northeast African country shares many recipes with neighboring Ethiopia, but Queen Sheba also has some distinctly Eritrean dishes like the volcano-shaped cornmeal porridge ga'at and spongy Himbasha bread. The bright but homey restaurant is also BYOB with a $1 corkage fee.  

Caravan Grill

Syrian pastries, clockwise from top: baklava, the cheese pastry kunafa with light cream, mammoul cookie, namoura semolina cake and a burma pistachio log in the middle.  

The midtown shop formerly occupied by Za'atar has been taken over by the neighboring Caravan Market, who developed a Mediterranean lunch menu with various falafel plates, gyros and chicken shawarma. Caravan Grill still has its beautiful stone oven, which produces Iraqi Samoun breads as well as delicate Syrian pastries like the addicting Burma logs made from shredded filo dough and fresh pistachios.   

The Hidden Grill

The sign for The Hidden Grill is still in progress. But the food is ready!

The Hidden Grill prepares grab-and-go meals that are geared toward paleo diets, heavy on the meat and vegetables. The menu changes every week, but a recent selection included dishes like grilled chicken in a coconut buffalo sauce, blackened whitefish with honey-cured bacon, boneless pork chop with vegetables and more. You can also sign up for meal plans where they give you two meals a day for three or five days in a row, lowering the cost to about $10 per meal. 

Eat Fit Go

The national franchise concept Eat Fit Go opened two stores in Tucson this summer and is planning a third at 6360 N. Campbell Ave. on the southeast corner of Campbell and Sunrise. The grab-and-go spot serves boxed breakfasts, lunches and dinners ranging in price from $6.50 to $13 for salmon teriyaki. Nutrition facts are on the label and the meals are designed to be high in protein and low in sodium. Check out the menu here.   

Just Breakfast on Silverbell

Waitress Christy Watson chats with Jeff Chilson, right, as he waits for his order at the newly opened Just Breakfast, 8579 N. Silverbell Road. The owners of the adjacent Home Plate restaurant and sports bar run Just Breakfast.

A breakfast diner owned by someone named Rick James ... Just Breakfast on Silverbell is right next to the Home Plate Marana sports bar in the Continental Ranch neighborhood. The menu has all your breakfast faves like omelettes, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, waffles and more: all for under $10. Read more


You can find the Star's digital food writer Andi Berlin at a taqueria near you, taking tiny bites and furiously scribbling into an old notepad.