A Night Out at La Chingada Cocina Mexicana

Leilani Santillan
December 2, 2022

My parents were born and raised in Mexico. I grew up eating authentic Mexican food made by my mom whose recipes were passed down from my grandparents and so on. I’m from Phoenix, Az, and there you can find many Mexican restaurants spread out all over the city. When I arrived to Tucson in August of 2022, I wasn’t sure about what types of food and restaurants were located near me that I would like based on my Cultural background. Once I started looking into restaurants that served Mexican dishes, I happened to come across one that stood out to me as their customer due to the great sense of feeling at home and surrounded by a united community. After reading a few of the reviews, I knew I had to take a trip to La Chingada.

First Visit 

La Chingada Cocina Mexicana is one of the most visited Mexican restaurants in town, located in Downtown, Tucson. As I entered the restaurant, the first thing that I saw was a bright LED light-up sign that says “La Barra”, meaning bar in Spanish, which consists of a couple of seats that you can sit in and watch the bartenders make the drink/s you ordered. On both your left and right, you will find two large dining areas that are revealed with the help of colorful light projection. Mexican-themed decor like art portraits, party banners, and neon signs are spread throughout the whole restaurant. Seating consists of tables decorated with Spanish comics and white padded chairs.

With plenty of seating and staff working the tables, I didn’t have to wait. Once I was seated, one of the servers brought out their menus for me. As I was taking a look at the menu I recognized every dish that was listed and shortly, the server then came to take my order. The food menu presents their house specials: Chile Relleno, Pasta con camaron al Ajillo, Queso Fundido, La Tampiquena, birria nachos, and Quesa-birria tacos. You can also enjoy menu items like brunch dishes (9 am-3 pm),  a variety of sides (rice, beans, guac, etc.), and beverages. The drinks menu features all sorts of drinks like Mexican sodas, Aguas Frescas (sweet drinks that are infused with fruits, seeds, or flowers), beer, and specialty drinks; such as cocktails and margaritas. 

I spent more time looking through the menu trying to decide what I wanted to order than I did waiting for my food to arrive from the kitchen. I ordered the quesa-birria tacos which also included consome (birria dipping sauce), green/red salsa, cucumber, pickled onions, and lemon on the side. When I took the first bite out of one of the tacos, they were warm and I was tasting many different flavors in my mouth starting with the meat, tortilla, cheese, onion, cilantro, and of course, you can’t forget the taste of the savory spices coming from the salsas. To go along with my dish, I needed a beverage and so I ordered a drink called “Mazapan Horchata”, a mix of sweet vanilla, cinnamon, and cold milk.

Let the night begin! 

Every table was full later that night, filled with people eagerly waiting for their food to arrive at their tables. Before the local musician performance started, the mariachi group members were enjoying a few of the dinner dishes before they took on the stage set up. The mariachi, founded in May of 2021, is called Mariachi Pueblo Viejo, they play at La Chingada on Sundays from 6-9 pm. When the clock hit 6, the mariachi was ready to perform. A few songs that I heard while I was eating were: “El Mariachi Loco”, “Mexico Lindo y Querido”, & “Escandalo”.

Their performance was so easy to the ears and the more I listened to it, the more addicting it became. Although there isn’t an assigned dance floor, a few of the customers just stood up from where they were eating and started dancing. I also got to hear a couple of people commenting to one another about how often they visit this Mexican restaurant throughout the year. After hearing this, I could tell right away that the customers enjoy their time eating their Mexican dinner and drinks while also listening to live Mexican music.

My overall thoughts 

I was very impressed with my first visit, especially since the aromas around the whole restaurant reminded me of the kitchen which my mom still creates to this day, a variety of homemade Mexican dishes. The quality, service, and taste of everything over exceeded my expectations. Not only is the staff super friendly, but the staff truly cares about your experience. The ambiance, location, food, and entertainment are without a doubt what draws so many of its Tucson residents to this place. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a Mexican restaurant to eat at especially since their prices are 100% worth it! 

La Chingada Cocina Mexicana 


110 E Pennington St, Tucson, AZ 85701


Leilani Santillan is currently a freshman at the University of Arizona & is planning on pursuing a Nursing career after graduating in 2026.