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CUISINES
Southwestern, Latin, Spanish
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options
Meals
Brunch
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Reviews (2,875)
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All reviews carne seca enchiladas chips and salsa cheese crisp beef flan taco rice shrimp salad mexican food oldest mexican restaurant original location downtown tucson house margarita minute wait worth the wait
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Reviewed yesterday

My favorite place to eat very good food and service prices are resonable!! The owner is one of the nicest people in town!!

Date of visit: February 2024
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Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

How can you not choose to go to the oldest Mexican restaurant in Tucson and taste the carne seca. My hubby chose the Carne Seca platter and I had the Original Charro style Taco’s. Food was gorgeous and so filling. Service was unbelievable. We had...some flan to follow. You could ask for anything more, seated quickly, served quickly and delicious food. Make sure you go!More

Date of visit: May 2024
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I recently led a group of 26 senior citizens to Tucson for a week of food and culture. We had the good fortune to eat at three Flores Family restaurants. Each offered Sonoran Southwest flair. Each was delicious. Each was unique. El Charro with its...iconic chimichangas had the most traditional Mexican cuisine of the three and my group LOVED it. The Monica, their newest, was a favorite for many. They have a huge selection of Southwest meals and our buffet featured around 15 of them. SO GOOD. The most upscale, and my favorite, was Charro Steakhouse & Del Ray. Their grilled salmon and carne asada were over-the-top delicious. All three restaurants had excellent desserts. THANK you Carlotta Flores and Flores Family Group for your gracious and accommodating welcome. I will return.More

Date of visit: May 2024
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Coming from the Northeast, we knew we’d be indulging in Mexican food on this trip. We selected El Charro Cafe Downtown based on reviews and location. A reservation was necessary for prompt seating, even on a Monday evening. The combination meals allowed us to sample...many menu items, all fresh and full of flavors we don’t get back home. Our server was notably professional, and especially helpful in letting us customize a plate of nachos for our picky-eater. We would absolutely return to El Charro Cafe Downtown the next time we are in Tucson.More

Date of visit: April 2024
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Being from the East Coast, I am always on the hunt for Mexican food when out West. El Charro certainly fit the bill. Food was delicious, but like many other reviews note, the service is lacking. I made a reservation two weeks in advance, knowing...that Saturday nights fill up at this famous spot. I was confused why the hostess seated us under the covered porch, seeing that there were open tables inside? The vibe is much better indoors, and that is part of the reason we chose this spot. Regarding the food, the prickly pear margarita is divine. Get the mini chimichanga starter - supposedly they were invented here. Tamales were delicious too, and something I don't come across often. I would return here for sure, but next time specify a seat indoors.More

Date of visit: April 2024
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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We were referred to this restaurant when looking for the best local Mexican food. This place is near the downtown area we decided to check it out. It was decent food and we’re glad we went. The property is well furnished and in southwest theme....They have a good parking lot across from it (which is tricky to find in downtown Tucson) although you had to pay for it. I think it was around $6 and we didn’t have a choice of timing. Unfortunately our order was made wrong and they had to remake it. Had a dirty glass as well. The folks were all nice and corrected the issues, but just seemed like one of those days. However we’re still rooting for this place.More

Date of visit: April 2024
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Reviewed April 17, 2024

This el churros has an amazing staff!! I would especially like to say that Kim is an amazing person so sweet and friendly and very patient she sold us on a chocolate tamale that was to die for!! I was in euphoria, then she comes...to the table with a gift and a hug!! She warmed my heart please have more of her in this world 🙏❤️😃👍🏻More

Date of visit: April 2024
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Reviewed April 14, 2024

This is a place that lives up to its legend. The chimichangas are very good, with a soft but perfectly fried tortilla and gooey, soft innards. We had the minis to sample and it made me wish I had gotten the full meal. That said,...all of our dishes were quite good. The carne seca was the best we tried in Tuscon. The chicken verde tamale was scrumptious. I had a burro de res with Christmas salsa. I strongly preferred their green sauce. We were less entranced with the enchiladas because most came with heavy cream sauces, but the pork was very tender. The walls were beautiful. A special shout out to our server Ian. He was kind, attentive, knowledgeable, friendly and made the whole experience even better because of it.More

Date of visit: May 2023
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Reviewed April 10, 2024

Tried to go on a Saturday night at about 8:30 and we were told that there was a 2 hour wait even though they close at 9pm. That's fine, we decided to get online and make a reservation for the following Monday. Arrived and got...seated outside. It took a bit for our waitress to arrive to order our drinks. After we received our drinks we weren't asked for our order for quite some time even though the restaurant looked to be about only half full. We placed our order and that was fine. Again after watching others around us receive their orders, ours arrived. We had to ask another waiter for silverware. Our food, a bowl of soup and enchiladas did have good flavor but both were barely warm. We were never offered refills on water or drinks nor did we get a refill on chips and salsa. We were disappointed as we had been looking forward to eating here based on previous reviews and the long history of the restaurant.More

Date of visit: April 2024
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Reviewed April 1, 2024 via mobile

It was absolutely delicious, the service is impeccable, and the price was so reasonable I couldn’t even believe. I saw this restaurant on the food channel. We are from the Midwest, and while out there made a point to go there, it was no disappointment....It was seriously the best we’ve ever eaten. That tamale was incredible. Without a doubt, what I did notice is they don’t over salt everything they just had tons of flavor .. I would highly recommend anytime you’re in Tucson to eat at this restaurant. we will definitely be back.More

Date of visit: April 2024
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Reviewed March 28, 2024

Had nice family dinner in one of the smaller rooms - pleasant environment so pleasant conversations were had. Food had mixed results - we were early dinner (4:30) so no busy yet at that time but my and another of the 8 meals were cool...rather than hot. Prices are quite high . Service was very good .More

Date of visit: March 2024
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Reviewed March 28, 2024

Staff, service, and atmosphere were all fine. Its been over 30 years since being in the Tucson area and I knew I wanted to try carne seca. I really built it up in my head and honestly was a little let down by my dish....our waiter suggested the enchilada, so i went with that. What I got was a real mealy dry meat with an odd flavor. Since its been so long, either I forgot what it was like, or El Charro messed it up somehow. overall pretty disappointing. I'm left wondering. my wife enjoyed one of their fancy margarita's, and while I can't remember what she ordered, it was good.More

Date of visit: March 2024
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Reviewed March 20, 2024

I had seen this place on a YouTube review. The Birthplace of the Chimichanga. When I was in Tucson, I had to try it. First impression, this place is busy. In my opinion, you eat where the truckers and locals eat. So, this checked that...box. A little wait and we were ushered into a unique dining experience. The building is actually a home. It is tight quarters, but that adds to the experience. Seated right next to the outside window, it offered views and plenty of people watching entertainment. To see people clamoring to get in, the excitement in their face, I could not wait to get my food. We ordered exactly what we came for. The original Chimi with dried beef. We also had the table side guacamole. WOW. At home in Minnesota, we have plenty of choices for Mexican food, nothing in my experience touches this. This is fantastic. Service to food they rock it.More

Date of visit: March 2024
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Reviewed March 14, 2024 via mobile

A local resident recommended El Charro Cafe to eat a cheesecrips. Thanks for the recommendation!!! We’ve never eaten anything like it. It was very good and perfect to share with another person.

Date of visit: February 2024
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Reviewed March 13, 2024 via mobile

My wife and I visited this Mexican restaurant after being recommended by a friend who always goes here. We started off with 4 assorted chimichangas followed by a Grilled chicken pastor with red rice and a side portion of fries which my wife and I...both shared after being advised by the waitress. If you are a large eater then go ahead and have one for yourself but a number of people were using take out boxes to take food home. Only have a photo of the starter and menu as was too busy digging into my main course before I realised 🤣More

Date of visit: March 2024
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Questions & Answers
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Lavender H
September 22, 2020|
Answer
Response from R9713PRjackd | Reviewed this property |
Sorry, I don’t represent this restaurant. I don’t think they deliver food at all. They focus on their clientele in visiting their place of business. Fresh authentic Mexican food is their expertise.
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butterfly47
May 21, 2019|
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Response from 572donnao | Reviewed this property |
Yes
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Jeannine G
August 19, 2017|
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Response from Carol55Travels | Reviewed this property |
Was there for a late lunch. Did not see any mention of Happy Hour. You might want to give them a call.
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EL CHARRO CAFE - THE ORIGINAL, Tucson - El Presidio - Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about El Charro Cafe - The Original

Yes, El Charro Cafe - The Original offers takeout services.

Yes, El Charro Cafe - The Original offers delivery services.

Yes, El Charro Cafe - The Original is taking precautions against COVID-19. A full list is available within the "safety precautions" section of this page.

El Charro Cafe - The Original is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travelers:
  • Food: 4
  • Service: 4
  • Value: 4
  • Atmosphere: 4