Using third-generation family recipes and fresh, regional ingredients, the chefs at Zivaz instill 15 signature platillos with authentic Mexican flavors. All entrees arrive at tables chaperoned by black beans, rice, green salad, and embarrassingly unhip tortillas in hawaiian shirts. Diners can sink incisors into the carne asada and enchilada platter ($14.95) or ignite taste buds with the chili con carne's shredded beef in red-chili salsa ($11.95). Seafood fans can get their fix with the flame-grilled salmon marinated in achiote ($13.95), and vegetarians can rip into sizzling tofu fajitas ($10.45) or gently breaded eggplant with cheese ($9.95). After 5 p.m., diplomats from across the entire menu, from hot-tempered chili peppers to cool, collected jalapeños, assemble for the Tour de Zivaz, an ever-changing platter of samples curated by the chefs ($14.95).
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.
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).
Marinated meats burrow into taco shells, tortillas, and breakfast platters amid Zendejas #13’s sprawling spread of Arizona Wildcats memorabilia. Located within walking distance of the Wildcats football stadium, the restaurant attracts sports fans and students with its red-blue-and-white color scheme, pigskin-themed decor, and burrito-punting contests. At the bar, mixologists concoct heady margaritas from shots of tequila and juicy hints of fruit. In the kitchen, carnitas-stuffed burritos join rice and beans to form dinner-friendly combos, and breakfast plates of machaca and egg greet daybreak with shredded beef, not rooster calls.
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.