The chefs at Lupita’s Café grill authentic Mexican fare and serve a menu of all-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. Savor the shrimp tacos ($9.95) or fill up on huevos rancheros ($6.95), whether the sun is rising or already busy cooking its dinner. The eatery’s lunch specials reward daytime diners with dishes such as Tuesday’s choice of beef pozole or two tamales with included arroz con leche for dessert ($6.95). Selective eaters can take destiny into their own hands with the restaurant’s option to combine three dishes, choosing from enchiladas, tostadas, tacos, gorditas, or tamales ($9.95). No matter what diners indulge in, the café accommodates all with timely service coordinated inside a space that's more vibrant than a rainbow trapped in a blender.
Each tamale at Tucson Tamale Company is a hand-rolled, gently steamed, gluten-free masterpiece perfected from years of experimentation—making the eatery's constantly changing menu an art gallery for the mouth, only without any debonair art thieves attempting to make off with your taste buds. Former Fortune 500 executive turned passionate tamale chef Todd Martin starts each tamale with a starchy corn base known as masa, then builds on it with a wild mix of meat, vegetables, spices, and cheese before steaming it inside a cornhusk. The most recent board of fare features the vegan New Delhi tamale that's stuffed with vegetable curry, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, corn, onions, coconut milk, and yellow curry. The meaty JoJo consists of chipotle beef, jalapeño masa, and cheese, and expels a spiciness that travels at least four circles into Dante's Inferno. For something sweeter, try the Boise's blend of sweet potatoes roasted with sun-dried tomatoes and wrapped in yam masa. The Wisconsin grilled cheese (comprised of cheese, more cheese, and trace amounts of cheese) puts a bold twist on a classic comfort food. Depending on the range of your stomach's rage, choose one tamale ($2.95, $4.95 with side), two tamales ($5.39, $6.29 with side), or feed the whole choir with a family platter ($24.95 for eight tamales, two large sides, and salsa).
Papagayo's dinner menu and pared-down lunch menu offer traditional south-of-the-border treats and elegant chef-created entrees. Pass around a plate of the chimichiquitas (a combination of mini chimichangas, $10.25) to your hungry synchronized hurdling team before leaping simultaneously into the main course. Tamale traditionalists will take heart in Papagayo's wide selection of familiar house specialties, such as the fresh, green chiles rellenos ($13.95) or cabbage-topped shrimp tacos ($15.95). The culinarily curious will want to explore Executive Chef Maria Mazon’s creative creations: Milanesas de puerco ($16) boasts a plate of boneless, breaded pork chops lightly fried and served alongside an eggroll stuffed with chipotle mashed spuds, and the pollo en salsa de chile morron ($16) features a spice-rubbed chicken breast grilled and cozily blanketed in a decadent red-pepper cream sauce.
At Las Brasas, the appetizing sizzle of chicken and green onions on the grill gets bellies rumbling for a smorgasbord of burritos, burgers, and tacos. Las Brasas's small but diverse selection seamlessly blends well-loved Mexican street food with homey, traditional dishes, serving bean-topped Sonora-style hot dogs alongside piping hot bowls of menudo. Visitors can quiet hunger rumbles with hearty burritos and tacos, or wrap their hands around tortas made with telera bread.
If a craving for tacos strikes on a Tuesday, you're in luck. At Carlota's Mexican Restaurant, tacos are the star of the show every Tuesday, with plenty of other authentic Mexican dishes available as well. Of course, taco eating doesn't have to be limited to one day a week, but diners might want to try other Mexican eats from the menu as well, which can be paired with margaritas and icy cold beers.