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Elvira’s Restaurant: Las Vegas Meets Disco & Disneyland

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The place to dine in Tubac is Elvira's Restaurant where the wildly colorful orchestration of decor pairs well with the masterful combination of flavors on your plate

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The town of Tubac is about a 40 minute drive south on Interstate 19 from parts of Tucson. This art enclave halfway between Tucson and the border is where you want to be to frequently meet the artists and shop for jewelry, metal yard ornaments, clothing you won't find everywhere else, paintings, sculptures and artful accessories for your home and person.

Since 1927, Elvira's was firmly planted in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico but because of violence and a downturn economy, Elvira's moved to Tubac in 2009. It's a culinary beacon that many Tucsonans (including myself) declare as their favorite Mexican restaurant in a city already overflowing with damn good Mexican restaurants.

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What differentiate Elvira's from other Mexican restaurants are the sauces, the moles, the spices and the quality of ingredients. Yes, you're going to pay more for lunch and dinner but, trust me, your taste buds and your friends will thank you.

 

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My visiting friend and I skipped appetizers but ate the complimentary warm chips and spicy salsa then went directly for the mushroom enchiladas (vegetarian) and mole served with tender white meat chicken. The enchiladas came three to a serving filled with sautéed portabella and enoki mushrooms and onions swimming in a homey green chile sauce generously topped with cilantro.

Among the seven moles offered, it was difficult to choose one. However, we opted for the Negro because some of the ingredients called her name. Dark, rich, spicy, redolent of a variety of chilies and exotic spices, we probably made cooing noises while eating. Each dish came with a veggie studded rice, creamy pinto beans, and tortillas.

I'm hungry all over again just typing it.

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We eschewed the cocktails and instead chose the "Hola" tequila shots for fifty cents per person (only one per person is permitted at that price). A squeeze of lime, a shot of tequila, more lime...what could be wrong with the world that day?

As you can see from the photos, the décor is wild. The best way to describe is Las Vegas meets disco and Disneyland."

And if you like, love, must have some of these dazzling accoutrements, the adjacent store has everything for sale.

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Elvira's is closed on Monday but open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday with lunch only on Sunday. My compliments to Ruben Monroy who is a graphic designer, interior designer and chef, and Elvira's reflects all his many talents.