El Torero

Review by: Michael Stern

It is all too easy to drive past El Torero. Despite a sign on 4th Avenue, its set-back location off 26th Street provides enough camouflage to make a stranger never know that it exists. If and when you do realize that it exists, chances are good that you will assume it isn’t open for business. The front door of the pink-painted building, far at the back of the parking lot, is inconspicuous to say the least.

But it is impossible to ignore food this good. Start with a wafer-thin tortilla crisp of cheese and green chile strips, presented en pedestal so all at the table can pull away slices. The main menu is a broad one, featuring all the familiar tacos, burros, enchiladas, and chimichangas, plus a few items that are truly special. These include off-the-bone Turkey topped with a spectacular spicy-rich dark molé sauce or, on occasion, the similar sauce known as pipian, which includes pumpkin seeds. If you are looking for a dish that is uniquely Tucsonian, that would be a topopo salad — a great conical mount of lettuce and other vegetables packed with your choice of chicken, shrimp, chili, guacamole, or carne seca, the sides of the mound columned by logs of hard cheese.

Directions & Hours

11am - 8pm
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

What To Eat

shrimp Vera Cruz

tortilla crisp

topopo salad

Chips and Salsa

Albondigas Soup

Casuela Soup

Chile Verde Con Carne

Turkey Mole


El Torero Recipes


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