Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Tucson Gem Show Dining

Tucson Gem Show
Tucson Gem Show dining

Welcome Gem Show vendors and buyers. Let’s eat, drink, explore, and be satiated.

Here are some wonderful independently owned places to eat in and around various gem show venues and in Tucson.

Mercado San Agustin
Located west of I-10 @ Congress – drop in for French lunch, dinner, and cocktails; La Estrella Bakery for an empanada or Mexican breads, and Taqueria El Pueblito for takeout.  The Thursday Farmers Market happens from 3 to 6 pm.

Near TCC
Most of downtown dining is near TCC but here are a few of my favorites:

Casa Vicente
Tucson’s only Spanish restaurant. Everything about CV is excellent – décor, hospitality, service, food, and drink. Viva Sangria!

La Cocina
Located just north of Tucson Museum of Art, this gem of a restaurant has a serene courtyard within Old Town Artisans. The venue features live music in the evening (outside), cocktails, delicious food to please every palate.

V’s Fine Thai Dining
V’s has been plagued by streetcar construction on both Congress & Stone, making it nearly impossible to get there. V’s has what I consider the most inviting patio downtown. It reminds me of South Beach in Tucson. You have to see it to believe it and you have to feel it, there’s got to be a tropical breeze in there somewhere. Check out this venue for modern Thai cuisine; there’s an intimate wine room for private parties too.

Other downtown favorites are Milano’s, The Hub, 47 Scott Street, Cup Café, Downtown Kitchen & Cocktails (try the Siam Slinger cocktail!), Maynards Market & Kitchen, and Café a la C’art at Tucson Museum of Art. And Sparkroot for the best coffee in Tucson.

Southside Tucson/Ajo Way
Must try the kings of Sonoran hot dogs – try them both and decide for yourself.

El Guero Canelo


Let us know which you prefer. They are caddy corner on South 12th Avenue – the independent Mexican food restaurant row strip.  Also you might try Ruiz food truck, another contender for Sonoran hot dogs written up in the New York Times no less.

Tucson Bead Show/St. Philips Plaza/corner
There are many good choices – Vivace, Scordato’s Pizzeria, Union Pub House, Liv’s, OM, Contigo

Whole Bead Show/Viscount Hotel – near Williams Center
This is a new venue for this show. Nearby independent restaurants include Baggin’s, Zivaz Mexican Restaurant (try the hibiscus margarita), Nadine’s Bakery for divine blackberry Danish & homemade marble rye bread, 5th Street Deli – chopped liver sandwiches like mother doesn’t make; and Hungry Fox for breakfast – think double yolk eggs and white bread. And Crave Coffee House.

Follow on Facebook to find out about the next Food Truck Roundup.

If you’re new to Tucson, eat locally. Chain restaurants have the same old, same old. You can experience the same burrito in every city. Try to experience as much local flavor as possible.

This is last minute. Gotta rush off to buy beads for the Beading Divas to the Rescue Bead Drive…bracelets that help animal rescues.

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