Restaurants in Tucson’s foothills generally have one distinct advantage: the beauty of the Santa Catalina Mountains in their backyard. Restaurants in this part of town are generally aimed towards a more sophisticated audience, but it’s still Tucson, so you can generally walk in wearing jeans.
Commoner & Co.
6960 E Sunrise Dr
Located near the entry to Sabino Canyon, the items on the menu at Commoner & Co. are familiar: short rib, a burger, country salad, meat loaf, shrimp cocktail. The catch is that Commoner takes these items and presents them in fresh, seasonal and upscale ways, all in an atmosphere that’s relaxed and cool. The shrimp are vodka-poached, the short rib comes with a bone-marrow bread pudding and the meatloaf is dressed with a super-luxurious mushroom broth. It all makes for a dining experience that’s familiar yet fun.
5601 N Hacienda Del Sol
If you’re at The Grill at Hacienda del Sol and you don’t order wine, you’re doing it wrong. With over 900 labels and 6,000 bottles of wine, 16 consecutive “Best of Awards of Excellence” from Wine Spectator, and trained sommeliers on-hand at all times, there are few places anywhere where you can have a wine-focused experience of this quality. Plus, the food is amazing, elegant and expertly crafted.
Prep & Pastry
3073 N Campbell Ave
When Prep & Pastry opened in 2014, the reaction was immediate and ecstatic. Duck confit hash? Yes. Pork-belly breakfast sandwich with a sriacha aioli, salmon eggs benedict, french toast made with lemon poppy brioche? Yes, yes and yes. The ingredients are fresh, the pastries are delicious and in just a few years, Prep & Pastry made Tucsonans re-evaluate their feelings about brunch.
Union Public House
4340 N Campbell Ave
Sometimes you just want to go to a really cool bar. A really cool bar with excellent food. The pot pie is a particular highlight with a garlic confit and leek crema dancing with the roasted chicken and vegetables. Want to watch the game, hang out around good-looking people and enjoy a great cocktail? Union Public House might be the perfect spot.
Reforma Cocina y Cantina
4310 N Campbell Ave
Yes, it’s a Mexican restaurant, a bit removed from where you’d normally expect great Mexican food to be, but if you’d like an upscale take on Tucson’s favorite cuisine, Reforma won’t disappoint. Everything is made from scratch (including the tortillas), they have hundreds of tequilas and mezcals to choose from, the happy hour is superb and the patio is lovely. Definitely not a streetside taco shop, but there’s no need to be afraid to mix it up sometimes.