On Speedway, we give it a 4 out 5 and it’s probable you will run in to us, ’cause we are going back.’
In this review of Tucson’s Boca, we visit a Funky little bohemian gastro taqueria. “Our tacos are awesome man!” said the sign out front. I’ve whizzed by Boca a million times and a little culinary voice in my head keeps saying… Look back! You are making a mistake, Kitchen Liaison, you should try it. What if it’s one of the best restaurants in Tucson and you are missing out?
Summary of first impressions: Incredibly cold Pacifico beers a la my trips to Mazatlan, an eclectic offering of elevated tacos, and food that is incredibly fresh, thoughtfully prepared and presented.
It’s an elevated taco stand.
Located on Speedway near Euclid, there is plenty of parking around back. As you walk in, you get an immediate sense of the owners’ love for what they do. It’s an elevated taco stand. A beautifully feminine vibe greets you with a logo on the wall that features giant lips imprinted behind the word Boca. And the Chef, who brought us our food herself, explaining each of the thoughtfully prepared salsas that came with our tacos, is a talented and passionate young woman.
At the time of writing this, it is my understanding that she’s about to go up against the reigning Tucson Iron Chef from Acacia. We’ve eaten at both places, we can predict with confidence that Chef Maria is probably going to be our new Iron Chef. As Restaurants in Tucson go, she and her cooks are executing at a higher level on a day to day basis.
So, there is a little space right there as you walk in the front door where you order at the counter, and then a slightly larger space with a few tables and a make-shift little bar that provides limited seating. Then outside you find a nice little patio. It’s kind of like an inside-out food truck. We loved it and can’t wait for the weather to warm up so we can eat on the patio.
Boca was genuinely chill, loud and then quiet for a while, filled with funky festive patrons clearly excited to be there supporting and eating the food of Boca. Food comes out of the open kitchen and goes by you to another table and you think, “Man, I hope I ordered that.”
Then your food comes out and arrives with five little gourmet salsas and a warning that one was hot. And I mean really hot. Flavor combinations that surprised our palates included a ginger habanera, jalapeno banana, and a star anise mole that stopped my breath for a moment. They were all incredible. I tried the macho taco, which is a taco with chopped steak stuffed into a chili, and then smothered in cheese. It was an awesome combination of flavors and my first bite lead to another and the next thing I knew, it was sadly gone. We also ordered the Mary Tierra which is a taco with steak and beer battered shrimp in it! We kept slathering on the sauces and smiling.
To the novice first timer visiting Boca, and even though the tacos are a good size, we recommend you order at least two tacos.
So we have these delicious tacos and a few sides. The rice is unbelievable (best in Tucson) and the signature Boca balls (fried and breaded potatoes) are interesting. Add in some exquisite salsas, and a cold beer and you just feel the love pouring out of the kitchen. Take incredibly fresh and delicious ingredients and combine them with a talented chef and cooks with a cool hang out vibe, and you can count on us coming back every time. Did I mention the giant PBR sign on the wall and they boast 40 types of Tequila?
Leaving Boca, we felt like we’d found a diamond in the rough. This one makes our list of Places to Eat in Tucson. For us, it’s time to eat our way through Boca’s menu. We hope you will too.
Service- 4 (Counter service was great)
Overall rating from me 4
Everything you need to know is here at www.bocatacos.com