Restaurants & Bars

Southwest

Near the U of AZ campus (Tucson)

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Restaurants & Bars 1

Near the U of AZ campus (Tucson)

BigCountry | Jan 23, 2006 10:04 PM

Being stranded in Tucson without a means of transportation is hardly the preferred option for a New Yorker. Especially for one whose mobile friends wouldn’t care if they were having Domino’s or DiFara’s.

That said, my dining options have always been minimal at best. If it isn’t on or directly adjacent to the University of Arizona campus, odds are I can’t get there. It’s with that in mind that I want to mention my two favorite local joints, both located just off of campus at the corner of University & Park.

Panizza is the newer of the establishments, specializing in paninis. While their version is admittedly a “new twist on an old classic,” good ingredients make it worth a visit. In a “city” which nearly caused me to die of shock by finally stocking fresh basil in the supermarket, that’s certainly a big deal. Each panini is more than generous. I’ve yet to try more than a few, but have enjoyed all that I’ve sampled. The pizza isn’t traditional either, but it’s still closer to the real thing than anything else I’ve found here (order it with the fresh basil!). Again, “one” slice is more than plenty for one person. The only dessert I’ve tried so far are the chocolate chip cookies (very enjoyable), but I do look forward to trying the gelato. The place is actually nice, too… the dessert case is adorned with a note, naturally saying “Leave the gun… take the cannoli.” TV’s are turned to Food Network or Turner Classic (with minimal volume).

I tend to prefer its neighbor though, The Fat Greek. The gyro is as good as I’ve ever had. Salads are top-notch. Good, not great, tzatziki. I’m not big on the souvlaki (a little peppery for my taste), but it’s not bad at all. Really, really enjoyable as a whole. I exist on the gyro and salad for weeks on end without getting sick of it. Worth a look.

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