Must-Visit Tucson Restaurants

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Late last week, I received this e-mail from a loyal reader:

... I am a 22 year old student at the U of A graduating in May. I have lived my whole life in Tucson and love this city for many things, the food and locally owned restaurants being at the top of the list. When I graduate in May I will be leaving this town for the first time in my life to live some place else. First I will be moving to Phoenix (or as I like to call it "Home of the Chain Restaurant") for a few months, and then I will be off to Japan for a year. With only a few months left before I leave I want to make sure I hit most of the good restaurants this town has to offer. This is where you come in. I love the Weekly and I love your weekly "Chow" feature. I wanted to know, in your opinion, what are the quintessential restaurants every Tucsonan needs to try before they leave?

I answered her (off the top of my head), along with some of our Chow writers. Here's my list; the other lists will appear on this very blog over the next couple of days.

  • Janos or JBar, at the Westin La Paloma. To be honest, I prefer the more casual (and cheaper J Bar).

  • Terra Cotta. Have the goat cheese shrimp (unless you're allergic).

  • Cafe Poca Cosa. Be sure to make reservations.

  • Have some Cap'n Crunch or something else at Grill. The service will suck, and the food's only OK, but it's Tucson.

  • The Cup at Hotel Congress. As for a table in the lower area, where the newish penny floor is.

  • Have a Barrio Tostada at the Barrio, downtown.

  • Get the red velvet cake at Something Sweet on Speedway.

  • Try Mama Louisa's on South Craycroft, south of 29th. I get the Joe's Special with meatballs.

  • Even though it's new, Zivaz (on Broadway) has the best tortilla soup I've had in town (of places that are still open, that is).

  • A sandwich at Bison Witches.

  • A piece of pie at B-Line on Fourth. Sit in the window and people-watch.

  • Eat outside on the patio at the Flying V at Loews Ventana Canyon. It's not about the food; it's the beautiful deck and view.

If you have any suggestions, the comments section is all yours. And be sure to check back for the lists of Karyn Zoldan, Rita Connelly and Renee Downing

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