Ni Hao Tea | Photo by Tiffany Acosta
There are many reasons why you should travel south to Tucson – we outlined many of them in our Southwest Escapes feature last month. But taking a tour of the city’s burgeoning foodie scene is at the top. Check out these three must-try local restaurants.
Grab a Slice at Caffé Torino
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie… you go to Caffé Torino! This family-owned restaurant has been serving authentic Northern Italian cuisine for more than a decade. It has cozy indoor and outdoor seating, and you’ll be welcomed with a whiff of fresh pizza dough cooking in the oven as soon you walk in. Caffé Torino offers dishes like Fettuccine Alla Panna Con Prosciutto Cotto, which features ham, mushrooms and peas in a creamy parmesan sauce. Try original pizzas like the Oscaiola which is topped with mushrooms, Italian sausage, parmesan shavings, arugula and truffle oil. With family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, it’s no wonder Caffé Torino won Open Table’s Diners’ Choice award in 2015.
10325 N. La Cañada Dr., Tucson, 520-297-3777, caffetorinotucson.com
Travel to South America via Villa Peru
Take a vicarious adventure through authentic Peruvian cuisine at Villa Peru. Husband-and-wife team Walter Salazar and Frida Gonzales head up the kitchen, providing a contemporary twist on Peru’s traditional culinary customs. The modern, colorful restaurant displays aspects of Peru’s history. The floor and a few walls feature the Nazca Lines that traverse the Peruvian desert, while a mural of Machu Pichu adorns the bar. Villa Peru serves up classic dishes like Aji de Gallina: shredded chicken with creamy aji amarillo sauce. Looking for something more refreshing? Try the Ceviche Mixto Clasico, which has seasonal fish, octopus, shrimp, calamari, mussels, clams, aji rocoto pepper and red onions, all mixed with a classic leche de tigre, a spicy marinade made with lime juice, sliced onion and chile. Even first-time diners will feel at home at Villa Peru, which focuses heavily on guest experience, not just the delicious food.
1745 E. River Rd., Tucson, 520-900-7310, villaperutucson.com
Thirsty? Grab a Drink at Ni Hao Tea
Cool down this summer at Ni Hao Tea, which prides itself on its refreshing, high-quality tea and boba. According to its website, the boba is cooked every three hours to ensure its freshness. With its trendy decorations and selfie wall, the space is perfect for an Instagram photo shoot. The most popular menu item is the Brown Sugar Milk (aka Tiger Sugar Milk): brown sugar boba, roasted brown sugar syrup and milk. Customers have the option to choose the sweetness levels of any drink and can choose between freshly brewed black tea or green tea. Ni Hao Tea also offers smoothies in fun flavors like piña colada and taro.
4726 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson, 520-367-4083, nihaoteausa.com