Sonoran Restaurant Week: 5 Must-Try Gourmet Menus

Sonoran Restaurant Week and high end dining are two things I have always enjoyed in Tucson. Like everyone who lives in the Old Pueblo, I’m grateful to have an array of options to choose from when it comes to “date” and special occasions.

So here are my top five recommendations for where to have an upscale experience during this year’s Sonoran Restaurant Week. This list focuses on restaurants I’ve dined at over the years, and all five include a $45 three-course prix fixe menu.

Maynard

400 N. Toole Ave.
Dining room at Maynards (Photo by Natalie Moe)

Dining room at Maynards (Photo by Natalie Moe)

You feel like you’ve been transported somewhere else when you walk into Maynards. Nestled in the historic railway depot, the restaurant is still a dreamy and romantic place for me due to its unique architecture. My favorite, being a link between the high ceilings and the windows that stretch across the restaurant to provide soft, natural light.

Beyond the first impression, one quickly recognizes the exceptional wine list (awarded by wine spectator), a creative bar program, and of course, an ever-changing seasonal menu.

Halibut, yellow potatoes, whey butter at Maynards (Photo by Natalie Moe)

Halibut, yellow potatoes, whey butter at Maynards (Photo by Natalie Moe)

For me, one of the highlights of this year’s menu is the marinated cucumber toast on homemade focaccia.

Dining room at Maynards (Photo by Natalie Moe)

Dining room at Maynards (Photo by Natalie Moe)

After being lightly toasted, it is freshly poached with ricotta made from Golden Rule Dairy, a small, family-owned and operated Jersey dairy farm in Arizona. From there it is drizzled with EVOO from Queen Creek Oil Mill and lightly sprayed with special vinegar. If I could, I would eat this all day.

For more information, visit sonoranrestaurantweek.com.

Augustine Kitchen

100 S. Avenida del Convento

Photo by Natalie Moe

Agustin Kitchen is located in the picturesque Mercado San Agustin. The decor is elevated but welcoming, and one of the finer details is the bar’s 500-year-old tiling that comes from an Argentinian estate. In the dining room, towards the open kitchen, you will see freshly shipped oysters on ice. If you enjoy oysters, I recommend ordering them with your menu.

Duck confit at Agustin Kitchen (Photo by Natalie Moe)

Duck confit at Agustin Kitchen (Photo by Natalie Moe)

The highlight for me is the Cauliflower soupwhich is then followed by a Duck confit which includes cauliflower rice. The aromatic scent of truffle oil with the cauliflower soup is enough to make you want to take a bite before the bowl even hits the table. The salty granola added a nice crunch and I enjoyed the thinly sliced ​​apple.

For more information, visit sonoranrestaurantweek.com.

Tito & Pep

4122 E. Speedway Blvd.

Albondigas Shrimp and Scallops at Tito & Pep (Photo by Natalie Moe)

In the heart of downtown Tucson, Tito & Pep is easily spotted on bustling Speedway Boulevard. Displayed outside a brick building, it is mid-century modern artwork with the teal and burnt orange colors identified as the restaurant’s iconic branding. The upbeat and contemporary neighborhood bistro serves mesquite-based cuisine that embodies the spirit of Tucson and the Southwest.

When I want to have fun with friends or guests from outside, Tito & Pep is my reference.

The highlight of this year’s Sonoran Restaurant Week menu is the Albondigas Shrimps and Scallops. I was immediately intrigued because it was my first time eating seafood albondigas since I had only ever experienced beef as the main ingredient. The end result made me mentally think this was Tito & Pep’s best dish.

Albondigas Shrimp and Scallops at Tito & Pep (Photo by Natalie Moe)

Albondigas Shrimp and Scallops at Tito & Pep (Photo by Natalie Moe)

Accompanying the albondigas, sweet corn is charred by the restaurant’s signature mesquite wood fire. It serves two purposes, as the base of the dish and as a rich cream. You will notice a light black dusting and it is the charred skin of the poblanos mixed into a fine powder.

For more information, visit sonoranrestaurantweek.com.

Charro & Del Rey Steak

188 E. Broadway Blvd.

Iceberg Wedge at Charro Steak (Photo by Natalie Moe)

For a more urban aesthetic, I go to Charro Steak & Del Rey. On the Charro Steak side, you’ll find modern, minimalist decor, while the Del Rey side has a clean, colorful approach. The restaurant focuses on sustainable seafood and hormone-free beef and chicken.

If the name Charro sounds familiar, that’s because it’s another successful concept run by the same owners who brought the famous El Charro Café to Tucson, celebrating 100 years in business as a America’s oldest continuously operating Mexican restaurant by the same family.

Relleno Fried Green Chili Churro (Photo by Natalie Moe)

Creatively, I was impressed with the dessert on the Sonoran Restaurant Week menu. The team took an indulgent approach with a tasty Churro Fried Green Chili Relleno. After the chili relleno is lightly fried, it is then rolled in cinnamon sugar and topped with a scoop of dulce de leche gelato. To complete the plate, it is drizzled with dulce de leche and sprinkled with Tajín spiced peanuts.

For more information, visit sonoranrestaurantweek.com.

PY Steakhouse at Casino del Sol

5655 W. Valencia Rd.

Sonoran Restaurant Week at PY Steakhouse (photo by Natalie Moe)

Impeccable tablecloths. Sparkling chandeliers. Elegant decor. When you think of a traditional upscale restaurant, you think of the PY Steakhouse at Casino del Sol. But at the same time, you’re greeted with a few surprises, like a dry-aging cooler that ages their steaks and charcuterie. From the extensive award-winning wine list, your tasting palate has over a thousand choices to choose from.

As a foodie, I loved the dessert on the Sonoran Restaurant Week menu. I always enjoy when salty and sweet elements are combined. On the sweeter side, there’s a dense almond cake served with a silky sauce made with vanilla and The Flying Leap Vineyard Arizona Orange Brandy. A savory ice cream made with EVOO from Queen Creek Olive Mill accompanies the cake, along with toasted and candied almonds.

For more information, visit sonoranrestaurantweek.com.

Take advantage of the last two days of Sonoran Restaurant Week and book a reservation at one of these upscale restaurants.


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