Dante's Fire takes its name from the tale of a fiery inferno, but for Tucson foodies, a trip to the restaurant could be downright heavenly. "This is a small plate lover's paradise," wrote one 10Best contributor of the spot's mostly tapas-style menu. Creative flavor pairings shine in dishes such as chilled corn bisque with preserved tomatoes, crab salad, and basil oil, and the charcuterie plate, which features drunken apricots and house-made bread alongside artisanal meats and cheeses. Chef Ken Foy rounds out the menu with heartier entrees such as brie-topped burgers and truffled chicken marsala.
The cocktail list here is similarly creative. Drink options range from the Tamarind Tiger, made with jalape?o tequila, tamarind syrup, and Averna, to a refreshing martini topped with cucumber foam. For a memorable dessert, try the Foie Pops Deux?an unusual treat made with chocolate streusel, Fireball-vanilla mangoes, coffee reduction, and local honey from the most avant garde beehive in town.
Grand Cinemas, originally opened in 1998, has two second-run theaters, Crossroads and Oracle View, in its movie-watching network. Films may be a few months old by the time they reach Grand Cinemas’s 35-foot screens, but Dolby surround sound and a unique snack bar keep the experience from going stale. Their managing staff is always eager to accept suggestions for feature films both large and small, and their modest ticket prices and membership packages grant visitors a bigger budget for snacks, offering discounts of up to $2.50 on a single item and diamond-studded soda glasses. See independent films from Hollywood and Sundance at the Crossroads location at a discounted rate.
The chefs at Aussie Cantina serve up authentic Australian eats and American favorites with Southwestern flavors in a friendly pub setting. Specialties from the land Down Under include traditional sausage rolls and meat pies, Australian lamb, and dingo dogs, in addition to build-your-own burgers that may be adorned with such toppings as cheese, egg, beet root, or Hatch green chili. Kangaroo tacos are available seasonally, and cantina cocktails, a wine list, and 24 beers on tap, including Coopers, quench thirsts from lengthy walkabouts. Aussie Cantina, which was built using repurposed materials such as bait barge timber and rusted tin, is located just south of the University of Arizona.
Heat's stylists have no scissors. Its shelves have no hair dye. Instead of creating permanent hair transformations, the staff members at Heat ? A Blow Dry Lounge refresh existing looks with simple washes and stylish blowouts. In each uncomplicated service, stylists use hair dryers and styling tools to morph hair's natural curvature into playful waves, bouncy curls, or strands that make a straight beeline down backs like a jail-breaking top hat. Feather extensions, tinsel, and braids can doll up the session, and makeup applications and invigorating fragrances round off the menu of services to ready centerfolds for a glamorous night on the town.
Many sports bars are judged on the size of their televisions. Too few are evaluated by the number of side-by-side stock-car and motorcycle drag races that happen on their premises. At World Sports Grille, there are both. More than 30 high-definition TVs—including one with a 103-inch display—broadcast sharp resolution of sports heroes’ graceful moves and sports anchors’ autograph-covered toupees, and nearly 75 racing, action, and other gaming consoles pit players into virtual battle. In the game room, TVs and videogames join forces, with sounds of cracking baseball bats and crunching football pads mingling with bells, whistles, and engine throttling. This mixture of athletic entertainment and interactive play powers part of the formula that launched World Sports Grille to the top of Tucson Weekly's list of Best Sports Bars for four straight years (2009–2012).
The menu of classic bar food and snacks has also snagged accolades: half-pound Angus burgers capped with brioche buns have taken home the Great Tucson Hamburger Contest title. Guests can sample the winning burgers—such as the barbecue bacon smothered with a tangy house-made, beer-flavored sauce—while sidled up to the square bar under autographed jerseys and memorabilia, or while out on the patio next to fragrant coriander or cacti plants guarding the restaurant from balloon invasion. World Sports Grille also partners with the Tucson Padres for events, and UFC fights have drawn standing-room-only crowds.
When it first popped up at the intersection of Park and University, Wilko was a quick stop for UA students to grab some espresso or refrigerated food to-go. But a massive overhaul in 2010 transformed the space into a fully functional restaurant, and one that has continually added to its menu since.
As a modern gastropub, Wilko prepares all of its inventive comfort food right on-site. That includes sandwiches, flatbreads, and a group of "Tasty Misfits," which don't fit under any menu category, but come in the form of Sonoran bratwurst or pan-seared tilapia. In addition to the eats, diners can fill up empty water balloons or wash down bites with more than 30 wines, craft cocktails, and more than 10 beers on tap.