Pico de Gallo

Mexican | Southwestern
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Worth driving from anywhere!
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Pico de Gallo is a tidy taqueria that started as a taco stand but has grown into several small rooms by enclosing its al fresco porches. It is self-service, meaning you walk in and study the day’s menu posted on the wall. If you’re not totally familiar with Tucson-style Mexican food, you will likely be able to discuss things with Adam Delgado, son of proprietors Ignacio and Antonia (he explained to us that the purple beverage in the vat next to the sweet rice drink known as horchata is wild-berry lemonade; and that the day’s special taco, cahuamanta, was manta ray). Continue reading

Pico de Gallo is a tidy taqueria that started as a taco stand but has grown into several small rooms by enclosing its al fresco porches. It is self-service, meaning you walk in and study the day’s menu posted on the wall. If you’re not totally familiar with Tucson-style Mexican food, you will likely be able to discuss things with Adam Delgado, son of proprietors Ignacio and Antonia (he explained to us that the purple beverage in the vat next to the sweet rice drink known as horchata is wild-berry lemonade; and that the day’s special taco, cahuamanta, was manta ray). Once you place your order, you pay for it, then find a free table. When the food is ready, one of the staff will summon you to the counter to fetch your plates. Everything except for big bowls of soup comes on disposable dishware with plastic utensils.

Pico de Gallo serves Sonoran-style dishes found on many local menus, including tacos of spiced beef and fried fish; burros and quesadillas; and tamales by the dozen. Coctel de elote (corn cocktail) is always on the menu, but it is not quite the beverage its name suggests. It does come in a large Styrofoam cup, the cup filled with an extraordinary stew of warm corn kernels, drifts of soft melted cheese, hot chili, and lime. Spoon it up like soup; it is corn-sweet and lime-zesty.

Marshaled in a refrigerated case at the counter are plastic red cups filled with the restaurant’s namesake, pico de gallo. In this case, the “nip of the rooster” is a blast of salt, chili powder and lemon juice, sprinkled on top of a ravishing bouquet of watermelon, coconut, pineapple, mango, and even some jicama.

The most compelling thing to eat at Pico de Gallo is the fundamental foodstuff, a soft corn tortilla, either on the side of something else or as the wrap for a taco. Look into the kitchen as you place your order and you will see a big white mound of moistened masa from which the cook pinches off a piece each time a tortilla is needed. When you order three corn tacos, let’s say filled with birria, chicharron, and carne asada, each of the three tortillas will be made to order on the grill. They are soft, earthy, and full-flavored in a way that is an entirely different league from store-bought ones.

Dishes to try
Pico de Gallo, pico de gallo
pico de gallo
Must-Try
Pico de gallo, offered by many of South Tucson's Mexican restaurants, is at its best here. It is one of the most refreshing dishes a tongue can know, especially on a day when the temperature goes above 100.
Pico de Gallo, tacos
tacos
Must-Try
Carne asada is moist, intensely beefy, and the perfect thing to pack inside soft warm corn tortillas along with all the other requisite taco ingredients.
Pico de Gallo, horchata
horchata
Must-Try
Pico de Gallo's horchata is rich and creamy, but not thick. The cinnamon sprinkled on top is coarse-ground, adding texture as well as taste.
Pico de Gallo, Banana Ice
Banana Ice
Must-Try
In the room at the back of Paleteria Diana, shaved Ice is packed into a cup, then topped with your choice of fruit and syrup. This one is banana. Other choices include pineapple, coconut, lime, strawberry, watermelon, mango, tamarind, chocolate, peach, and a few other fruits whose names we cannot translate!
Pico de Gallo, Birria Burrito
Birria Burrito
Must-Try
This big burrito is filled with birria, which is chile-infused beef. It's also got avocado and cheese packed in.
Pico de Gallo, Fish Tacos
Fish Tacos
Must-Try
Although they first came from Baja into the U.S. in San Diego, fish tacos have become popular in Mexican restaurants throughout the country. Pico de Gallo makes them in the classic configuration, and the tender corn tortillas are a perfect wrap.
Pico de Gallo, Tamales
Tamales
Must-Try
The plump beef tamale, still wrapped in it's thick husk. We loved those pickled carrots and onions that come on the side.
Ice Cream Bar
Directions and Hours
Open Today
Sunday9 am - 9 pm
Monday9 am - 9 pm
Tuesday9 am - 9 pm
Wednesday9 am - 9 pm
Thursday9 am - 9 pm
Friday9 am - 9 pm
Saturday9 am - 9 pm
Roadtrips
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
5 stops | 28 min total driving
6 stops | 15 min total driving
Information and Policies
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
No
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
No
Reservations Accepted
No
Delivery Available
No
Takeout Counter
Yes