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.
Meal maestros at El Minuto Cafe layer tortillas, seasoned meats, green chilies, and cheeses to forge authentic mexican burritos, enchiladas, and combination plates for lunch, dinner, or catered affairs. Spice-infused morsels of carne asada, chorizo, and chile con carne bust the seams of burritos and chimichangas, and vegetarian alternatives showcase hearty mounds of beans, cheese, or guacamole. Tacos and enchiladas accompany sides of rice and beans, and lone-wolf tostadas arrive à la carte. In business since 1939, the downtown eatery’s dining room sports neutral tones accented by colorful paintings and twinkling chandeliers, and an outdoor patio flecked by bright lanterns creates a joyful atmosphere paralleled only by field trips to the laughing-gas factory.
El Parador's modern glass façade proves somewhat deceiving; upon entering the restaurant, guests are transported to a provincial Mexican town where tropical foliage casts shadows on walls of rustic adobe. The name—which loosely translates to a place of luxury and warm hospitality—suits this interior as well as it suits an outdoor patio accessible through elegant french doors. If they can pry their eyes away from the scenery, guests can explore a menu that encapsulates the vibrant flavors of traditional Mexican cuisine, from the fried tortilla shells of chimichangas to the rice and flavors of homemade chile relleno. As chefs skillfully fill and furl tortillas, bartenders mix tangy margaritas and mojitos to heighten each dish's robust flavors.
El Parador also has five themed rooms - including a fireplace room and the south atrium with room for up to 130 - available to rent free of charge and with room for up to for parties, family gatherings, breakfast meetings, and escaped zoo animal reunions.
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).
The cooks at Mr. Antojo prepare burritos, chimichangas, and tacos alongside nachos and house specialties. Signature offerings include the Sonoran hot dog—wrapped in bacon and topped with chorizo, guacamole, chili sauce, and cheese—and bacon-wrapped peppers stuffed with cheese.
Zivaz takes an inclusive approach to south-of-the-border fare, peppering its menu with pan-Latin influences and fresh, flavorful, local ingredients. Jump start an edible excursion with the Tour de Zivaz ($14.95), an ever-changing sampler platter featuring chef's choice items that highlight the current themes of Zivazian dining, or take control with one of the 15 signature entrees, such as the Milanesa de berenjena (breaded eggplant with queso fresco and tomatillo salsa, $9.95) or pollo en pibil (orange and achiote-juice-marinated chicken with grilled pineapple, $11.95). Traditional Mexican entrees are easy to spot as well, so isolate a chile relleno ($10.95) with your face and obliterate hunger for one more day. No matter which part of the Romance-language southern flavor world your cuisine comes from, all of Zivaz's meals are best washed down with one of its signature margaritas—go classic ($6) or try a special hibiscus margarita ($6.50).