On a Friday in early September, 2021, Neighbor Roy and I had lunch at the Garden Bistro at Tohono Chul Park. For the uninitiated, Tohono Chul is one of at least 4 Botanical Gardens in Tucson. I had reviewed this restaurant some years before when we were doing our Best Burgers in Tucson series. At that time, the Garden Bistro’s cheeseburger was rated #2 behind the superb burger at Cayton’s Burger Bistro at Dove Mountain. I wanted to see if our #2 rating held up.
We arrived at the Garden Bistro at 12:30 PM and were seated immediately. There were plenty of open tables in this lovely garden. Roy ordered prickly pear hot tea ($3.75) and I ordered a margarita with salt ($10). We ordered our lunch as soon as our drinks arrived.
Roy ordered quesadilla filled with shrimp ($18.50): choice of Shredded Red Chile Chicken or Cilantro Avocado Shrimp with Mexican Cheeses, Roasted Chiles, Avocado, Spinach, Red Cabbage, Dried Corn, Arbol Salsa & Willcox Charro Beans.
I ordered their Chul Burger ($18.50): ½ Lb Sirloin Burger, Grilled Ciabatta, Chul Sauce, Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Tumbleweed Onions, Arugula, Pickle & Tomato with fries.
When our orders arrived, we asked our waiter the name of the bush behind us. He didn’t know, but then pointed out the many fruit trees in the garden, including a heavy-laden grapefruit tree on the opposite side.
Roy commented that his quesadilla was really good, but too much for one meal and took the remaining half home with him. My burger was not a good as I remember it from my first visit here. Good but not nearly the #2 I recalled. The fries, however, were perfect.
Roy commented afterward, ” I would give it four saguaros based on the food, service, and above all–the unique environment.” I agree with Roy. 4 Saguaros it is, for Garden Bistro.
Tohono Chul Garden Bistro
7366 North Paseo del Norte
Tucson, AZ 85704
Brunch Daily | 8am – 4:30pm
Happy Hour: Fridays | 4 – 8pm