Neighbor Roy and I were looking for something different for lunch on Friday in early August 2022. We selected El Berraco, a Latin and Seafood place on 1st Avenue in Tucson. Arriving, this restaurant looked kind of like a ship with a patio in front. We entered and were told that we could sit wherever we wished. So we chose a booth with hard bench seating. Given its configuration, it was somewhat difficult for me to get my legs under the table. In hindsight, we should have taken a regular table.
Our server was prompt and took our drink orders. Roy ordered his usual hot tea. I ordered a prickly pear margarita, mostly because I didn’t see a regular margarita offered on the menu.
When our drinks came, we ordered an appetizer, calamari, which was fried calamari served on lettuce with a garlic and serrano dressing ($15).
We then ordered our lunches. Roy ordered Pastor Tacos, which were 3 Pastor shrimp tacos with grilled pineapple, cilantro, served with a spicy piña salsa ($18). I ordered their Surf and Turf, a la Josper Rib Eye and chuqui shrimp with chimichurri potatoes ($48). I would have ordered scallops, but didn’t see any on the menu. The menu, by the way, was a screen display with beautiful photographs of the various food offerings. Also, in the back of the restaurant was a large screen with the same pictures rotating in a slide program. All looked delicious and very appealing.
Roy can tell you about his dining experience at El Barraco.
“This week Jim and I decided we wanted a fish lunch and we selected a new fish restaurant on N. 1st Avenue, in what was once one of Tucson’s oldest and best Mexican restaurants. The new restaurant is called El Barraco. From the street there is an open, misted patio–but today was too hot and humid for our liking so we dined inside. The interior is done in nautical style, complete with large rounded windows and plank-like seating. We were greeted and promptly seated. There was one of those God-awful puzzles for iPhones to take pictures of their menu. (Editor’s Note: QR CODE menu?) Fortunately, our waiter brought a small screened TV type which contained pictures of all items. It did take a few minutes to review choices, which were extensive. We selected an order of calamari to split. I also ordered hot tea and settled on the fish tacos. Our server was attentive, brought me more tea, kept our water glasses full, and promptly removed leftovers quickly. The calamari was served–it was a large platter with perfectly done calamari. Shortly after we finished our appetizer, my main dish of three tacos (very small) was served. All three were crammed full of chopped-up fish and both veggies and fruits–never had this type of tacos before–very good.
What was not so good was the tab–just over $100.00 for the two of us, This is by far the most we have ever spent for lunch. To rate this restaurant–it had an extensive menu, the decor was appropriately themed and the service was excellent–I would normally give it 4 saguaros, but unless you hit the lotto I could not recommend this restaurant–its a shame, nice place, good staff, and well-done menu, but the pricing needs work.”
Contrary to Roy’s appraisal, my rib eye was chock full of gristle. Very tough. Also, my four large shrimps were not peeled, so that was very messy. An unpleasant experience to say the least. I finished half of the steak and shrimp and asked for a to-go box. As it turned out, Roy forgot to pick it up off the table when we left, but since I didn’t think it was worthwhile, it didn’t really matter.
Moreover, my prickly pear margarita was ridiculously sweet, with definite hints of fruit punch.
I rate El Berraco three Saguaros for its very extensive menu, very good service, OK decor’, but the tab was outrageous. $101 + tip for lunch. Ouch!!! That and my main meal was almost inedible. But the calamari was very good.
Editor’s Note: Ms. Karen here.
Okay you guys. Enough is Enough. The Calamari was a decent price as were the tacos. Surf and Turf was probably the most expensive item on the menu. AND I do recall, #1 this was supposed to be seafood lunch, not a 4-course meal, although I agree that $48 bucks for 4 shrimp covered in sauce but not peeled with a grisley steak is a bit much. And #2, FRESH FISH is expensive. Looking at the rest of the menu, and the cost of bringing fresh fish in from who knows where, is NOT CHEAP. So take a step back you old farts and give these guys a break. I am giving them a 4 saguaro just for putting up with you two. -kr
2960 N 1st Avenue, Tucson AZ.
(520) 620 9828
Sun to Wed
11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Thu 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Fri & Sat
11:00 AM – 10:00 PM