Dining Out

Plenty of culinary options to wow moms on Mother’s Day and all spring long

It’s spring and even though our winters are mild, the season finds us looking for new, fresh foods to enjoy. Restaurants across Tucson are dishing out fare designed to tempt our palates, with a special emphasis on Mother’s Day, May 8.

Mama’s Famous Pizza and Heros is giving a free dessert to any mother who comes in to dine on Mother’s Day. Around Mama’s, moms get the first spot in line.

“Mama’s was named after my grandmother,” says operations manager Liz Biocca. “We are big celebrators of mothers and the importance they hold in the family dynamic.”

The restaurants offer some unusual pizza toppings, such as artichoke hearts, green chiles and eggplant, and they have gluten-free pizza, too. Desserts are also available.

Reservations are recommended for large groups.

Find Mama’s at one of these locations: Oracle and Magee, 297-3993; Speedway and Swan, 319-8856; 22nd and Kolb, 750-1919; and Broadway and Houghton, 751-4600.

This spring the Eclectic Café, 7053 E. Tanque Verde Road, is featuring a brunch menu on Mother’s Day but because it is a popular day to eat out, general manager Jason McCarty suggests diners make reservations.

McCarty says the zucchini bread French toast is popular, but “our most popular item is the huevos rancheros, which, I hate to brag, are the best in Tucson.”

McCarty is also introducing a happy hour menu that lists, among other things, filet mignon tacos, which will be available by the end of May.

For reservations, call 433-4346.

Across town at Tavolino Ristorante Italiano, 2890 E Skyline Dr., look for daily spring specials, which will include soup, a salad special and an entrée. General manager Jason Blackburn also says Sunday dining at Tavolino’s will be an experience: “The menu will be not our regular [menu], but rather an exceptional brunch menu will be available every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.”

For reservations, call 531-1913.

Head northeast to El Cisne, Cocino de Mexico, 4717 E. Sunrise Dr., for lunch or dinner and cocktails. Father and son owners Phil and George Ferranti have added a new taste for spring: chile en nogada. That’s a poblano chile stuffed with ground beef, raisins, walnuts and almonds, spiced just so, topped with a walnut and almond white sauce and garnished with pomegranate seeds and cilantro. For Mother’s Day, there’s a set menu with brunch options and mimosas.

El Cisne also will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo from noon to midnight with $3 appetizers, beer and margaritas. At 2 p.m., live music begins.

For reservations, call 638-6160.

Not too far north is Gourmet Girls, a gluten-free bakery and bistro, 5845 N. Oracle Road. June is bringing new ideas, including happy hour and a new addition to the lunch menu, which will feature small plates with mighty flavor, like barbecue wings and mozzarella sticks. Arts and Eats, an opportunity to dine and experience some form of the arts, will begin the third Thursday of June.

Mother’s Day is also special at Gourmet Girls. Open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., the restaurant will feature quiche with asparagus. For lunch there’s chilled honeydew soup and grilled marinated salmon. Mothers will receive a complimentary dessert.

For reservations, call 408-9000.

Take a drive to Oro Valley and you will find Noble Hops, a gastropub, at 1335 W. Lambert Lane. May is a big month for the restaurant because not only is there a Mother’s Day offering, there’s also a birthday celebration, which begins the day after Mother’s Day. Noble Hops is turning five, so they are offering five days of $5 specials from May 9 through May 13. For Mother’s Day, Noble Hops will open at 10 a.m. for brunch, with mimosas and a Bloody Mary bar where guests can choose their own garnishes, spices and seasonings, says owner Suzanne Kaiser.

For reservations, call 797-4677.

Head back to the center of town for 2-for-1 mimosas for mothers throughout Mother’s Day weekend at Ghini’s French Caffe, 1803 E. Prince Road. Owner and chef Coralie Satta says she’ll bring back her popular lavender lemonade starting with the Puttin’ On the Dog charity event May 6, which will feature many Tucson Originals restaurants. Ghini’s will soon add dinner on Saturdays. Satta’s focus — as it has been since she opened the café in 1992 — is on locally-sourced products, organic when possible, with all dishes made from scratch.

For reservations, call 326-9095.