Perhaps the best way to describe Tucson is as a city that thinks it’s a small town. You can feel the quaintness of desert charm and the remnants of the Old West can all around the city.
Saguaro National Park and picturesque mountain ranges surround the city, and the sounds and flavors of Old Mexico come together in the Tucson aesthetics.
The culinary scene in Tucson is definitely one of the city’s major highlights. And if you’re looking around for private dining in Tucson, you won’t be disappointed either.
There are plenty of places to choose from, whether you’re looking to host a corporate meeting, graduation party, or wedding.
In my (humble) opinion, if you’re looking to give out-of-town guests a local taste of Tucson, you should go with Mexican food.
- Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
- Vivace Restaurant
- Arizona Inn
- The Grill at Hacienda del Sol
- Tavolino Ristorante Italiano
- PY Steakhouse
- El Charro Café
- El Corral
- Dante’s Fire
- Reforma Modern Mexican
- Union Public House
- Sullivan’s Steakhouse
But if chimichangas aren’t your thing, never fear! From classy steakhouses to down-to-earth pub fare, private dining in Tucson is a search that yields many options.
One thing’s for sure – the foodie culture in Old Pueblo is real.
6360 N Campbell Ave Suite 180, Tucson, AZ 85718
Fleming’s isn’t a homegrown Tucson spot, but this high-end steakhouse chain has long since stepped into the Old Pueblo and made it home.
Located on the northeast side of town in the foothills, Fleming’s private dining room offers a small outdoor space with fantastic up-close views of the Catalina Mountains that will impress all of your private event guests.
Fleming’s is best known for its steaks, but they also make fantastic cocktails and delicious sides.
I’d recommend trying the Chipotle Cheddar Mac & Cheese for a spicy yet smoky taste of Tucson, and the Cauliflower Mash is a good one too. I personally like this one with hot sauce.
2564 E Grant Rd, Tucson, AZ 85716
As an established local favorite for almost 30 years, Kingfisher specializes in creating and serving memorable seafood dishes. Kingfisher is, without a doubt, Tucson’s top seafood spot.
Not only is the food on point, but its central Tucson location on Grant and Country Club Roads plus the classy atmosphere make this a great spot for hosting a special event like a New Year’s Eve party.
Their private dining space, known as the Green Room, creates an inviting, secluded atmosphere that’s perfect for celebrating graduations, birthday parties, and so much more.
Try starting off the night ordering from Kingfisher’s famous oyster bar, or maybe sampling the Ahi poke stack. And what better way to follow up poke than the Macadamia nut-crusted Hawaiian fish?
6440 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 85718
Nestled in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains, this Italian restaurant in northeast Tucson is the perfect spot for exceptional views of the city.
I recommend dining there in the evening to see a spectacular panorama. Vivace Restaurant is located on Skyline and Campbell, across from La Encantada Mall, and offers a refined and well-decorated space for private dining.
Everything, absolutely everything, on Vivace’s menu is good. But if I have to pick, I’m partial to pasta. For me, there’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned penne with sausage or the seafood lasagnette.
Vivace also offers a variety of seafood dishes and a few vegan options, making good use of the Italian proclivity for eggplant.
2200 E Elm St, Tucson, AZ 85719
The Arizona Inn is a hidden jewel in the middle of Tucson – literally. It’s tucked away and hidden in the Blenman-Elm Historic District of the Old Pueblo.
If you’re a history buff, check out the rich history of the Arizona Inn for an interesting read. This would be a great place to host a special event in historical flavor and Southwest chic.
Arizona Inn is a great place to host all kinds of events, from weddings and work parties to networking brunches and birthday bashes.
One nice feature of the menu is their signature take on many classic dishes, such as the Arizona Inn Burger or the Arizona Inn Quesadilla served with Chipotle Lime Crema. I would also recommend trying the Creme brulee for dessert.
5501 N Hacienda Del Sol Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718
Known simply as Hacienda del Sol, this restaurant is a favorite for so many reasons. It’s hidden away on a relatively quiet and somewhat rustic backroad of Northeast Tucson, and so the desert views, day or night, are spectacular. The food is on another level, and the resort’s rustic atmosphere continues inside the restaurant.
If you’re looking to commemorate a special occasion and you want the rugged feel of the Old West, Hacienda del Sol will fit your bill. Trust me; you won’t be disappointed.
Start by sharing the charcuterie platter with your guests, then move on to delicious entrees like the barramundi or housemade lobster fettuccine.
2890 E Skyline Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718
One of my favorite holiday parties was a private dining event at Tavolino. It featured great food and unique drinks, so I have fond memories of this northeast Tucson spot.
Tavolino is right across the street from La Encantada Mall at Skyline Road and Campbell Avenue. The private dining room was well-decorated and had an open and airy feel with its large windows.
Chef Massimo Tenino is from Italy and has brought many traditional Italian recipes to the creative yet classic menu.
If you’re looking for a good dish to taste and see what Tavolino is all about, I’d recommend ordering the Bolognese or the lasagna al Forno.
And don’t be afraid to sample the more adventurous dishes, like pasta infused with squid ink or red beets.
5655 W Valencia Rd, Tucson, AZ 85757
PY Steakhouse is actually a part of the larger Casino del Sol resort, but it could well stand on its own as a memorable establishment.
Known as the signature dining experience of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, PY Steakhouse is located on the reservation just south of Valencia Road between Ajo Road and the I-19.
PY Steakhouse is known for its locally-sourced menu items and seasonal ingredients. This restaurant offers a cozy, intimate dining experience for a small group like a baby shower or wedding rehearsal dinner.
PY Steakhouse takes a lot of pride in the local meats and produce on its menu, and one of its key features is seasonality.
Because the ingredients are always rotating, some of the dishes may look unfamiliar. Not a problem—try the “Trust Me” tasting menu with selections by the chef himself.
And the best part? You can also pair the tasting menu with selected wines right from the PY Steakhouse wine cellar.
If you only had time to visit one restaurant in Tucson, and you were asking me for advice, I’d send you to El Charro.
The downtown location is close to numerous attractions, such as the Tucson Museum of Art and El Presidio Historic District.
The private dining experience here offers patrons a comfortable, rustic, and unique Old Southwest aura.
El Charro is a true-blue, homegrown Tucson favorite, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more authentic Southern Arizona dining experience.
Founded in 1922 in the house that is still in operation today, El Charro’s dishes are truly memorable.
El Charro’s claim to fame, if it even needs one, is the invention of the chimichanga. And in case you get past that and want to try more menu items, check out the Carne Seca, a tamale platter, or the (Family Recipe) Chile con Carne.
2201 E River Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718
El Corral is sometimes a Tucson synonym for “prime rib.” With its Old West-style ranch setup and excellent food, El Corral is the perfect place for private dining events. Situated on River Road, a main artery of the Old Pueblo, El Corral is easy to find yet offers a secluded, quiet atmosphere for diners.
El Corral doesn’t exactly have some of the finesse of other steakhouses, but it is excellent food served in a warm, friendly atmosphere.
The casual ambiance will put everyone at ease and make for an enjoyable time. In case you decide not to do the prime rib, El Corral offers plenty of other steakhouse cuts and traditional fare. It’s all good, trust me.
2526 E Grant Rd, Tucson, AZ 85716
The name sort of says it all here. With elements of the famous The Divine Comedy intertwined into menu names, this centrally located dining spot on Grant Road and Tucson Boulevard has something for everyone.
Dante’s Fire is perhaps best known for three things: its cocktails, its late hours, and its eclectic style.
The signature Cucumber Martini and other appealing drinks make this a perfect spot for special occasions like wedding receptions, cocktail parties, or anything else happening in your life.
Another thing that makes Dante’s Fire original is the three different restaurants on-site! Try hitting up The Sexy Grilled Cheese & Salad Company for lunch if you want anything cheese-related.
Or you can also do the Oy-Vey menu. This spot features a unique fusion of New American cuisine that meets traditional Jewish favorites, like Matzah ball soup.
4340 N Campbell Ave Ste 101, Tucson, AZ 85718
If El Charro is the place to sample traditional Sonoran Mexican food, Reforma is the spot to try the modern take.
Located in the stylish and trendy St. Philip’s Plaza, you won’t at all be disappointed if you visit on a Saturday night.
There’s usually live music around, and Reforma lays claim to the largest selection of tequila in Arizona.
Reforma’s menu doesn’t stray too far away from traditional Mexican fare, but it adds more modern and exciting twists.
Try starting with their guacamole (it’s a must) or salsa menu and then moving on to the tacos, enchiladas, or burritos. They even boast an exclusively vegan menu!
3719 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85716
Feast lies somewhere between hipster cult favorite and creative artisan dining spot. It’s about a 10-minute drive from the University of Arizona, located on Speedway Boulevard, just before Alvernon Road.
What started out as a takeout-only stand has now grown to accommodate dine-in customers and private dining events.
Feast offers both an outside and inside space for private dining experiences like business lunches or work conferences.
Feast changes out their menu on the first Tuesday of every month to keep it interesting and because they only use seasonal ingredients.
But don’t be discouraged—this month’s lamb meatball sandwich or venison tenderloin is sure to please.
306 N Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85711
Cielos is on the premises of the famous Lodge on the Desert. Like the Arizona Inn, the Lodge in the Desert is a unique, secluded spot in the heart of Tucson that has an interesting history and refined aesthetics.
Located in the middle of the city, Lodge in the Desert describes itself as an “urban oasis,” which is very much what it feels like.
Cielos is an excellent spot for a private party that wants a fine dining experience in a classically rustic, Old Southwest atmosphere.
For authentic tastes of Tucson, you should try the Sonoran Steak, stuffed Poblano, or the Honey-Chipotle chicken breast.
And be sure to pair your meal with one of Cielo’s famous margaritas. Cielos is the proud winner of the 2019 World Margarita Championship.
4340 N Campbell Ave Ste 100, Tucson, AZ 85718
Centrally located in St. Philip’s Plaza, Union Public House offers the perfect combination of a jovial atmosphere and stylish aesthetics.
Casual enough for a work party but fancy enough for a private event, Union Public House is a surefire pleaser for an upbeat crowd.
Union Public House is best known for its drinks, but this restaurant has done an outstanding job pairing classic cocktails with comforting pub fare.
For starters, try sampling the poutine fries or the Mason jar vegetables. You move on to the pot pie or the fish ’n’ chips, and if you still have room, check out the waffle churros or the Whiskey Apple Pie.
1785 E River Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718
If you have to choose one place in Tucson for a surefire fine dining experience, it would be Sullivan’s. Located on the central pathway along River Road, Sullivan’s has everything you could possibly want for a memorable private dining experience.
Sullivan’s has become a local favorite for everything from happy hour to hosting a rehearsal dinner. Sullivan’s offers excellent steakhouse fare and fantastic sides.
Try the three-cheese mac or cream-style spinach (it’ll pair perfectly with the NY strip or a filet mignon), and then finish it off with the bananas foster bread pudding.
If you want to host a classy event and make sure that everyone’s pleased with the food, Sullivan’s is a good stop for you.
One of the great parts about private dining in Tucson is the variety. Whether it be classy steakhouse service or a creative amalgam of seasonal ingredients, private dining in Tucson offers it all.
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!