November 2013. So far, Ms. Karen & I have enjoyed Sunday Brunch at three fine establishments in our quest to discover which restaurant serves the Best Sunday Brunch In Tucson.
Each one was unique in its own special way and we enjoyed them all. But recently I found out something that most residents of our fair city don’t know. Tanque Verde Ranch has a Sunday Brunch and you don’t even have to be a lodging guest there to get a seat at the table. You do, however, have to make a reservation.
One of the features we particularly liked about the places we have enjoyed Sunday Brunch is each have their own special ambiance.
Cushing Street Bar & Restaurant is seriously historical in addition to being a fine dining establishment. Hacienda del Sol is also historical AND has beautiful grounds and views. And brunch at the Garden Bistro is literally dining in a lush garden with plenty of hummingbirds who entertain with their aerial acrobatics.
Tanque Verde Guest Ranch is also historical, dating back to the 1860’s. And with a reservation, before or after Sunday Brunch, you can hop on one of their 120 horses and take off on a trail ride through some of the most magnificent scenery in the Sonoran Desert.
In addition to first-rate lodging, TVGR offers guests so many activities: fishing, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, tennis & other court games, campfire dinners under the stars with live entertainment, horsemanship lessons, and of course trail rides. The Ranch is also a terrific venue for weddings & corporate meetings.
Sunday Brunch is from 12PM to 1:30PM and we arrived just after noon. The huge dining room is splendidly rustic as one would expect of one of America’s premier dude ranches. Like Hacienda del Sol, brunch is served buffet-style and the array of choices is amazing. Lots of fresh fruits & veggies, of course. The breads & pastries are baked in the Ranch’s own bakery. Let’s just say most were hot out of the oven fresh.
They have a salad bar from which you can create just about any conceivable salad. They also have appetizers, such as shrimp cocktail. Ms. Karen thought she was in heaven when she spotted oysters on the half shell.
If all of these preliminaries don’t fill you up, the main course is just ahead. Excellent salmon, slightly cooked asparagus that was still crisp, seasoned skillet potatoes and, at the end of the line, the pièce de résistance … juicy, tender, flavorful prime rib. Altogether, one of the finest meals we have ever enjoyed.
By half way through our brunch, it became apparent to me that I would not be getting on a horse after of meal like this. I was just fortunate they didn’t have to carry me to our car on a gurney.
Then came dessert. Not sure what all was there, but Ms. Karen picked up some morsels and cut them in half, so that we could sample a wide variety of them. Bon bons, macaroons,Cheesecake, shortbread, all decadent. Gluten Free? Didn't see any of that. All high calorie, all to die for.
Hacienda del Sol’s Sunday Brunch is the closest comparison. Included in the price of HDS’s brunch is all the mimosas you can drink, but the price is $40 per. At TVGR, cocktails are extra, but the price of Sunday Brunch is an unbelievably low 25 bucks. No, that is not a typo.
After brunch, we strolled around the beautiful grounds for a while taking in the scenery and the activity in the corral where several ladies were learning the finer points of cattle herding.
Does Tanque Verde Guest Ranch have the best Sunday Brunch in Tucson? Maybe. We don’t know yet because we still have 4 or 5 more places to check out over the next month or so. What we can say with confidence is if you make a reservation and go, you will enjoy one of the finest meals in all of Southern Arizona.
Note: having experienced the Ranch's Campfire Dinner, and having suggested it to several friends who have reported back to us, we definitely recommend the experience. As with other meals and activities at Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, you don't have to be a lodging guest, although that too is highly recommended, but you do have to make a reservation.