The Best of South Tucson

by Michael Stern
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South Tucson Treasures

South Tucson is surrounded by the city of Tucson, but legally and culturally – and edibly – it is a world unto itself, with more excellent Sonoran-style Mexican restaurants than anywhere else. Here are the two great sources of that most baroque American wiener, the Sonoran hot dog — El Guero Canelo and BK Carne Asada & Hot Dogs. This regional dog consists of a bacon-wrapped beef dog that is dressed with chopped tomatoes and onions, pinto beans, jalapeno sauce, mustard and mayonnaise. Must-eats include green corn tamales at Los Jarritos, an Azteca quesadila at El Indio, and four-star tacos at Pico de Gallo. For donuts, apple fritters, and Mexican wedding cookies, Le Cave’s (since 1935) is the place to go.

1

El Guero Canelo

For Sonoran-style Mexican food, especially for Sonoran hot dogs, El Guero Canelo is a picnic-style restaurant that is a Tuscon, Arizona, best bet.

2

BK Carne Asada & Hot Dogs

One of Tucson, Arizona's premier sources of the Sonoran hot dog, BK's also has a menu of superior tacos, tortas, caramelos, burros and quesadillas.

3

Los Jarritos

Los Jarritos is a 12th Avenue cafe where Tucsonians come to eat and chat and enjoy traditional Sonoran fare from green corn tamales to hangover-cure menudo.

4

El Indio

Green chile, made with pork, tomatillos, and a few kinds of chile, is some of the best anywhere at El Indio, a large, welcoming, low-profile Tucson gem.

5

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo is a Tucson taqueria serving the city's best tacos. Also: pico de gallo (chile-spiked fruit salad) & coctel de elote (cheese & corn soup/stew).

6

Le Cave’s

Le Cave’s is a vintage Tucson bakery known for donuts. We recommend the chocolate-frosted, maple-frosted, powdered-sugar, and cinnamon-sugar varieties.