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  • 11 Tucson food and drink experiences that go beyond the tacomatadornetwork.com
  • 11 Weird and Wonderful Reasons to Visit Tucsonfodors.com

Food and ambience

Local cuisine, Southwestern, Latin, Spanish, Vegetarian Friendly
Established in 1922, El Charro Cafe of Tucson, Arizona is The Nation's Oldest Mexican Restaurant in continuous operation by the same family. Featuring traditional Northern Mexico-Sonoran style and innovative Tucson-style Mexican Food, El Charro Cafe is truly as Gourmet Magazine wrote: "A Taste Explosion". We are innovators and originators and have proven this with our efforts in maintaining old world quality with new found concepts such as recipes lower in trans fat or designing dishes for those who need to dine gluten free! Whatever your needs, El Charro Cafe and family are prepared to show you that; "We are not the best because we are the oldest, We are the oldest because WE ARE THE BEST!"
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options
Southwestern, Latin, Spanish
Delivery, Parking Available, Television, Highchairs Available, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Free Wifi, Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Private Dining, Seating, Street Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Accepts Credit Cards, Table Service, Live Music
Reviews (2,708)
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All reviews carne seca enchiladas chips and salsa fried beef cheese crisp flan taco beans salad steak mexican food oldest mexican restaurant original location our waiter house margarita downtown tucson minute wait
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Reviewed 3 days ago

We didn’t have rezzies and we normally do. Still, we just ordered a cocktail and enjoyed the evening in their outside area. Good authentic Mexican food. Tamales were pretty good and the guacamole (done at the table) was really tasty.

Date of visit: October 2021
Reviewed 1 week ago

This was our first visit to Tucson. My husband wanted mexican food. I didn't think we would like it - I usually like more upscale restaurants. But the food was good, Lot's of different drinks to choose from. The service was great as well.

Date of visit: October 2021
Reviewed 1 week ago

After visiting nearby Saguaro National Park, we decided to have dinner at El Charro. It was probably the best Mexican food (and one of the best meals, period) I've ever had. I got a combo that came with a chile relleno, cheese enchilada, and their...famous carne seca. All of it was amazing (the rice was fluffy and flavorful, the refried beans were delicious, and the tortillas were fresh), but the carne seca and the chile relleno were both standouts. I'd never had anything like carne seca before, and will now be counting down the days until I head out west again to have some more. We also got the guacamole, which is prepared tableside and can be altered to your preferences. It was so fresh and delicious. I ended the meal with the churro and sopapilla dessert - both were amazing. Highly recommend for anyone in Tucson.More

Date of visit: October 2021
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Very cool vibe and food was perfect. I had the tamale trio and a Cadillac margarita. Everything was fresh and presentation was attractive. This is such a great place. I will go back again and again.

Date of visit: October 2021
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

A great way to visit downtown with easy parking across the street and a tasty mexican meal from a place with a lot of history. We had lots of choices and enjoyed tasty dishes that were well prepared and service was prompt.

Date of visit: September 2021
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

It took a while for a table to become available. However, it was worth the wait. They were out of the vegan jackfruit taquito trio. So she ordered the spinach enchilada. I had the chicken fajitas. We ordered the sopapillas and churros for dessert. Everything...was phenomenal.More

Date of visit: September 2021
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Great Mexican and great margaritas! We had the Cadillac de la casa and were not disappointed! As we had eaten a late lunch we ate a light dinner. We were lucky enough to have a photo with Coach Kerr who has been eating at El...Charro for many many years.More

Date of visit: September 2021
Reviewed August 12, 2021 via mobile

The dinner at El Charro in downtown Tucson was excellent. This historic Mexican restaurant is a local favorite and the top Mexican restaurant in Tucson. The seafood enchiladas and margarita natural were excellent. The steak quesadilla was one of the best I have had. Service...was excellent.More

Date of visit: August 2021
Reviewed August 1, 2021

This restaurant is simply not to be missed. It is historic and still serves up delicious Tucson cuisine. Good drinks as well.

Date of visit: June 2021
Reviewed July 21, 2021

We are new to Tucson and have been waiting to go to a local favorite. We choose El Charro downtown on Court on Wed. July 20, 2021. We had to stand in the front entrance for about 15 min before being acknowledged to be seated,...restaurant was busy. (About 3PM) We were excited to have Margarita's before our meal. We ordered a pitcher of Margarita's soon after being seated. Our server, Danielle, said that she could also take our food order. We ordered Carne Seca to split. Within 10 min our food arrived, (??!!) no Margaritas, :( We told her to cancel the pitcher as we wanted to drink before the meal. Our food was cold. We told our server Danielle and she said that the Carne Seca is not served real hot. Refried beans and rice were cold. We had 4 small Tortillas. We were considering buying a $100 gift card during El Charro's special buy $100 card and get another $100 card free this month but will NOT now. Very disappointing. El Charro's has lost a potential local regular.More

Date of visit: July 2021
FloresConcepts, Marketing at El Charro Cafe - The Original, responded to this reviewResponded July 28, 2021

Hello, Thank you for taking the time to give us feedback. First off let me apologize for the poor experience on your last visit that is not at all how we do things. We have provided feedback and training to our staff and management to...More

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Questions & Answers
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Lavender H
September 22, 2020|
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.
May 21, 2019|
AnswerShow all 15 answers
Response from 572donnao | Reviewed this property |
Jeannine G
August 19, 2017|
AnswerShow all 4 answers
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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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.

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