Located in a lovingly restored 1920s-era building in downtown Tucson, Penca Restaurante has become a destination for local gourmands looking for upscale riffs on the cooking of central Mexico. The seasonally-inspired menu features fine renditions of traditional dishes like chile en nogada (roasted chile poblano stuffed with traditional pork, fruits and nuts, finished with a sherry walnut sauce) and mole de guajolote (braised turkey in a traditional mole poblano). You’ll also find small plates, and of course, several taco options. This is not merely a chic Mexican restaurant, though, but also an award-winning bar. The “international bar” features more than 30 mezcals, a very good wine list, creative craft cocktails, and premium, hard-to-find tequilas.
Recommended for Bars because: The international bar at Penca has fast become one of the most cosmopolitan cocktail bars in downtown Tucson.
Patricia’s expert tip: Come to sample hard-to-find agave-based spirits like bacanora
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