The chefs at Maya Quetzal have plated authentic Guatemalan eats for more than two decades. “Tasty, well-prepared food has been a defining characteristic of this little Guatemalan restaurant since it opened,” says the Tucson Citizen, which goes on to praise the cheesy house rice and the pollo en pepian—shredded chicken simmered in a sauce of chili peppers, peanuts, tomato, green tomatillo, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. Customers are especially fond of Maya Quetzal’s many vegetarian options, which include the spinach-and-cheese-stuffed chili relleno and the vegetarian plate—a corn tortilla stuffed with spinach, walnuts, tomato, and onion, then folded into an origami swan and deep-fried. The cozy dining room features a simple decorating scheme of rustic, wooden tables, woven blankets, and a prominent mural depicting a rural Guatemalan village.
My Big Fat Greek Restaurant's spirited staff slings authentic Greek fare into diners' maws from a wide-ranging menu. Diners prime bellies with shareable eats such as the flaming saganaki, which, like aging heavy-metal stars’ concerts, captivate audiences with flames and fancy cheese. Entrees such as the award-winning gyro corral rotisserie beef and lamb into a taste-bud-taming pita bed, and the vegetarian eggplant-laden mousaka arrives at tables with an entourage of potatoes and ground beef slathered in a creamy béchamel sauce. After dinner, traditional baklava or double-fudge chocolate serves to negotiate the release of hostages from sweets-demanding molars.
Head chef Aaron May, a Culinary Hall of Fame inductee, presides over the kitchen of May’s Counter as the diner-style eatery turns out made-from-scratch southern cuisine. With bluegrass music thrumming in the background, diners delve into the kitchen’s trademark fried-chicken-topped waffles, or nosh on corn dogs surrounded in waffle batter. Red stools line the counter at the full-service bar, manned by bartenders equally willing to mix sophisticated cocktails or slide a cold PBR into a brown bag. As they feast, diners nestled in cozy booths can watch sports competitions unfold on flat-screen TVs, rather than watching their water glasses compete for the title of most transparent.
Specializing in good, simple comfort food, the folks at Jerry Bob's Family Restaurant offer breakfast all day and a host of lunch specials. Customize your omelet with pretty much any combination of meat, veggies, and sides you'd like. Or, go for a "square meal"—a big plate of ham, hash browns, toast, and square eggs. Afternoons, stop in for a chicken salad sandwich or one of Jerry Bob's specials, such as better-than-mom's meatloaf.
At Azian Restaurant Sushi & Korean BBQ, chefs take care to form every sushi roll by hand following traditional Japanese techniques, but they ask for a little help preparing their Korean barbecue dinners. After marinating pork and beef in soy sauce, garlic, pepper, sesame oil, and sugar, chefs send the uncooked meats to tables where guests take command and grill their meals on a gridiron to seal in flavor and football metaphors. Guests sear meats on the tabletop cooking surfaces and can round out their suppers with warm, baked lobster rolls, hot bottles of sake, and cool scoops of green tea ice cream.
San Giorgi's Coffee's commitment to the earth extends beyond the sustainably grown coffees and teas that line its shelves; the café’s wooden coffee bar and rustic decorations pay subtle tribute to the fertile soils in which beverages began. Each bean and leaf that passes into the café’s mugs is certified organic, and the majority of products also pass stringent fair-trade guidelines. Frozen drinks and smoothies cool off tongues after heated exchanges with rival prime ministers, and paninis are grilled in a press until they are as flat as the tablet PCs soaking up the café’s free wireless Internet.