Hi all, December here! It's almost time for Feast of the Seven Fishes, and I know a few places where you can get some ... This month's list of new Tucson restaurants will surely please your pescatarian friends with new poke spots, a "hot spot" for spicy Chinese fish and a midtown bistro that does mesquite-fired seafood.
But as always, there's something for everyone here. This article features bars and restaurants that opened during October and November, in almost every part of town. There's even an Italian restaurant! (Also don't forget Micha's, which didn't make the list because it just reopened Wednesday on the south side.)
As the year comes to a close, it's a great time to take your friends and family out for a nice meal and a little self-reflection. Or pinot noir, whatever's easier. You do you. Happy holidays! 🕎🎄🎁
800 E. University Boulevard, Suite 104., 520-622-6406
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.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily
Craft, a Modern Drinkery
4603 E. Speedway, 520-327-2394
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.
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 3-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, noon to midnight; Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.
Hoki Poki on Campbell
2643 N. Campbell Ave., Suite 101., 520-321-0400
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.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
3950 E. 22nd St., 520-624-2561
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.
Hours: Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
4340 N. Campbell Ave., Suite 104, 520-789-7447
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.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Tito and Pep
4122 E. Speedway, 520-207-0116
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.
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. with the bar open until 11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. with the bar open until midnight
Yu Zi Wei
2601 E. Speedway. 520-284-0019
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.
Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday 5-9 p.m.; Thursday-Monday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
On the horizon
• The relocation of Millie’s Pancake Haus to Trail Dust Town has been delayed by work the team needed to do on the interior of the restaurant, a Facebook post on Nov. 19 read.
• Just Kabab will open soon at 10420 N. La Canada Drive in Oro Valley. The Facebook page describes the restaurant as "authentic, fast casual, Middle Eastern cuisine."
• Trident Pizza Pub posted some new "R & D" photos of yummy looking pizzas on its Facebook page. The restaurant is coming to the former Grimaldi's Pizzeria at 446 N. Campbell Ave.
• Spotted across the street from Cartel Coffee on Campbell: A sign for yet another poke bowl place. More info coming soon.
-With reporting by Cathalena E. Burch and Gloria Knott