Saguaro Corners (copy)

Saguaro Corners on East Old Spanish Trail sits down the street from Saguaro National Park East.

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๐Ÿ’›ย Saguaro Corners

Location:ย 3750 S. Old Spanish Trail

Iโ€™m not saying that a great location means food will be bad. But when views are as scenic as they are atย Saguaro Corners, you donโ€™t need the food to be good to survive. Its lush desert setting, on the far-east side, and a porch with 270 degrees of floor-to-ceiling windows are such a draw that I was originally hesitant. Why invest in a great menu when the space alone makes the place special? But for reasons unknown, they did.

The menu might read as a hodgepodge of comfort food โ€” deep-fried cheese curds and tacos? Cowboy potstickers next to pan-seared salmon fit for a fine dining restaurant? The through line is a commitment to freshness, and doing what you have well. The vegetable sides rotate with whatever is in season โ€” in winter, when I last visited, it was asparagus. I donโ€™t think you can order incorrectly here.

Tito & Pep

Location:ย 4122 E. Speedway

Tito & Pep, a James-Beard-Award-nominated spot, is a love letter to midtown Tucson and the Sonoran flavors that make this place home.

The Parish

Location:ย 6453 N. Oracle Road

Youโ€™ll loveย The Parishย for the same reasons you love New Orleans, the city that inspires the restaurant: atmosphere, food and drink. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

The Owls Club

Location:ย 236 S. Scott Ave.

While I mostly kept bars and coffee shops off this list, I guarantee you, on any given night, there is a Bumble date happening atย Theย Owls Club. Likely multiple. Their seasonal cocktail list and spacious patio (with fire pits) makes it a showy, yet low-stakes, place to see if the chemistry is there.

Honorable mentions:ย Reneeโ€™s,ย The Coronet. Ellice still needs to try:ย Wild Garlic Grill.

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