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“Skip the bad dinner experience and go for the late night bar!” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of La Cocina

La Cocina
Ranked #55 of 1,971 Restaurants in Tucson
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $6 - $13
Cuisines: Mexican, Southwestern, Bar, American, International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Romantic, Bar scene, Dining on a budget, Families with children
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Neighborhood: El Presidio
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Skip the bad dinner experience and go for the late night bar!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 3, 2012

I'm going to start with the positive parts of La Cocina first:

This is one of my favorite bars in Tucson. PERIOD. As far as late night boozing goes, I love it here. Beautiful courtyard area, cheap drinks, DJs, bands, good people - what else could you want in a watering hole? They even cook up some reasonably priced tacos on the grill til closing - it's perfect!

Now the bad:

If you're looking for a nice spot to grab a meal, the "restaurant" part of this place is misleading. Go eat somewhere else before coming to La Cocina and avoid the disappointment. After being a regular here at the bar for quite a while, I decided to go to dinner the other night with my girlfriend. Worst experience ever.

It took about 30 minutes to get a drink (I should have just got up, walked to the bar myself and gotten them, but he waitress insisted she'd have them for us). When the drinks came, she brought the wrong drinks. We were already hungry and annoyed, so we drank them anyway, since we didn't want to wait for her to come back.

After an hour had passed, our food finally arrived. It looked pretty, but was very lackluster - especially for the prices they charged. The "fish tacos" were pretty much the same tacos I can order from the grill after 10pm at the bar, but instead of chicken or beef, they're fish. Somewhere in there, there was allegedly fish. There was barely any fish in them, the fish smelled a little funky and was not tasty at all, AND they were 2x the cost of the $3 tacos from the outdoor grill. I could have gone to Rubio's and had way better food.

The girlfriend's burrito was filled with some bland chicken all mashed up and soggy, with virtually no flavor, and the rice and beans were stuffed in there with it. It was covered with a "southwest" style raisin sauce of some sort - that also lacked in flavor. Too bad we didn't have a waitress around to bring some salsa. I thought this was supposed to be Mexican food?

We were offered a round of drinks on the house for the wait, and after another 20 minutes passed, we received new drinks - At least we got the correct drinks this time, so that's a plus.

Being that there was plenty of time to watch the tables around us, it was easy to see that this wasn't an isolated incident. I'm pretty sure every single table in our vicinity had wrong food delivered and had complained about it taking an hour to have their food delivered.

I'll never bother with the restaurant ever again, but as I said at the beginning, I LOVE the bar here!! Just save yourself the headache and go eat beforehand, show up later to get your drink on and have a taco or too from the grill.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank ThirdWorldWanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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222 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    106
    80
    28
    4
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
arizona
2 reviews
“The Best Courtyard in Town!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 3, 2012

La Cocina, in the heart of downtown, is the best of Tucson. Known for their amazing, handmade cocktails without pretension, good variety of local brews, and an innovative menu that has wide ranging appeal. The wait staff is wonderful - high marks to Eric, who is knowledgeable and attentive, without being pushy. We love coming for the live music in the gorgeous courtyard, and enjoy this restaurant as a great place to come on a date or with the kids. Everything is fresh and well made, and the menu changes routinely. La Cocina is a reflection of the magic of downtown Tucson and should not be missed.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank onearizonatraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
26 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Very Lively and Colourful”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 9, 2012

We stop for a quick dinner and were impressed with the livelyness of the place. Food is ok, but the atmosphere worthed the stop.
Friendly and fast service, we felt 500 miles south!
I recommend for the experience!

  • Visited September 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank goldeeagle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Level Contributor
47 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Great food, wonderful atmosphere!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2012

I've been here about 6 times since relacating to Tucson. This place is great, and I take all my visiting family and friends here. The menu has some interesting options that you don't find at most places. All the food tastes fresh, and there is something for everyone, from a burger made from free range beef, to a plate of chicken curry made with quinoa instead of rice. The appetizers are light and really good, and the portions for dinner are not large, but you will not leave hungry. I rated a 4* instead of 5* because my last trip there they changed the menu, the appetizers were the same as well as the salad and sandwich options, but the main courses had almost all changed and I was slightly disappointed with the new options. I know the menu changes frequently, and they do have good specials, but with all the wondrful options they usually have I was dissapointed.

This place is great for friends, couples, business or solo, I don't think children would do well. The atmosphere is intimate and they have live music a few nights a week. Service is very relaxed and you will be there a while, but it is nice not to feel rushed while eating, and you know your food is fresh, not waiting under some heating lamp.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Bumann84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte,NC
Level Contributor
142 reviews
86 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Went there for an event was ok but nothing super exciting”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 3, 2012

The meal was ok nothing great sitting outside was enjoyable. they had music which we could not hear where we sitting but it sounded nice when we walked by to go to the bar. The wine was not cheap and they did not offer much variety but may be that was not the thing to drink there.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank Clttravelor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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