Mi Nidito – Fine Mexican Food in the Old Pueblo

December 2, 2022

Tucson, a city that feels as if you were in Mexico but you’re not. Filled with many opportunities of Mexican authenticity in any place you end up. However, one place that I know one would not regret having a meal at is Mi Nidito. Mi Nidito which in translation refers to “My Little Nest” is home to one of the best, if not the best Mexican restaurants across Tucson.

It’s 5:30 on a Saturday evening after a long, busy day. As I near the entrance I pass a waiting crowd outside as they socialize and walk through the door into Mi Nidito. I placed my name down and waited around. Considering that it was a Saturday evening with the special event of El Tour de Tucson occurring earlier in the day, I gracefully stood and adjusted myself upon the great vibe of the restaurant. 

A taste of Authenticity

As I waited many other customers came in and out, filling the space around me as they put their names down to wait. Following an approximately shorter-than-expected wait, I am taken back to a small booth amongst other booths and tables. While being guided to my booth in the middle of the restaurant the enriching smells of the other customers’ beans, rice, and flavorful dishes filled my nose as it was very appetizing to be around. It created such impatient suspense for what I was looking forward to in my meal. 

After momentarily sitting a lady comes up and asks for a drink which I ordered. I glanced at the menu and put great thought into whether I wanted to change things up or stick with my usual order. At that moment I then recall what my good friend Jimmy Lopez, the owner of Mi Nidito, told me his favorite dish was, “Carne Seca”, a dried flavorful shredded type of meat. In remembering his answer he told me that “Carne Seca is his favorite within any of the possible orders, burros, tacos, chimichangas” you name it! At that moment I decided to stick with my usual order but decided to amp it up a bit by adding Carne Seca. 

While waiting, I decided to minimize my overbearing hunger with some chips and salsa at the same time as enjoying the atmosphere of others as they conversed, along with the faint Mexican music from the speakers. As the chips disappeared from the bowl, roughly 10 to 15 mins after ordering the waitress arrived with my food. After such a long day and being on an empty stomach I could not help but tear into my beautifully appearing Carne Seca burrito. The burrito, covered in red enchilada sauce and melted Mexican cheese, absolutely made me so eager to just dig in. Piece by piece I found myself having nothing more left to eat, I was either hungry or the food was just that great, actually I’m gonna go with both! As I finished I was handed my ticket and headed to the front where I engaged in a conversation with my good friend Jimmy. From my previous visits, a nice talk and quick catchup conversation is always great with him and to the many who visit.


An Experience to remember

Whether you’re a Tucson native like me or just in town visiting you’ll find Mi Nidito to blow your expectations through the roof. At Mi Nidito the food really captures the heart and soul of “Mexican food”. While dining in at Mi Nidito you’re able to order anything you want to make it just right for you. Need a side for your tacos? Sure, let’s add some rice and beans to the order! Wanna amp your burrito? Make it a combination burrito enchilada style, now that sounds like perfection! Enjoying some fresh Albondigas with a warm tortilla reminds you of your nana’s cooking on that cold rainy day. It’s ok if you’re not a huge fan of soup there are multiple meal options to choose from. In the end you’re gonna find something just right for you that sounds appetizing enough to enjoy. 

I myself, as someone who has grown up within Mexican culture, have been dining at Mi Nidito for many years. From dining in with my family to individually going in and ordering my own food, I have found that over those years I have experienced nothing but great service and food. I would always order the same basic thing growing up because I was so picky, that order was a simple bean burrito with cheese and lettuce on the side. As I would dine in I would always sit there impatiently waiting for my food, thankfully the wonderful atmosphere and decor along with the warm fresh chips were able to provide me with some fulfillment as the hunger from my growling stomach grew. Years later I find myself ordering the same thing as I have always enjoyed it.

An insight of Mi Nidito

In my conversation with one of the owners, Jimmy Lopez, this experience of seeing families dine in and growing up generation after generation is one of the things that he, himself, is proud of as the owner of Mi Nidito. Seeing families come in time after time allows him to recognize how much people enjoy having their great authentic Mexican food as his gratitude for all of their support is always appreciated. 

Jimmy doesn’t forget about the tourists either, he and Mi Nidito have found themselves to have had a lot of big celebrities worldwide over the many years that the restaurant has been running. From President Bill Clinton to Man V Food host Adam Richman, to Willie Nelson you’ll find yourself eating in a place surrounded by a lot of history. Matter of fact you can find the table and seat where President Bill Clinton sat in the restaurant. Even better, you can actually order the President’s plate modeled after what President Clinton ordered when he visited, how cool is that!

Overall Jimmy finds himself to be satisfied with the longevity (past 50 years) of the restaurant. The name “Mi Nidito” came from his late grandmother as the restaurant back then was just four tables in the area which is now the waiting space inside. Aside from keeping the name of the restaurant he still keeps her same recipes as well, in his own words “he keeps the same quality and ingredients” as he enjoys providing the customers with the authenticity of what it means to eat at Mi Nidito. As of now, he finds no plans to expand or grow as he enjoys the smaller-style restaurant. For now, you’ll find Jimmy welcoming Tucsonans and any visitors with a great accommodation meal as they stop in. 

Give it a shot…

To stray away from any bias, if one were to search up Mi Nidito they would find multiple exceptional reviews all over the place. Yelp is a great place for visitors and tourists to check out a review along with photos of food and the menu to help prepare them for their planned dine-in. If yelp isn’t your thing then that’s perfectly fine, one can check out one of the various great articles about Mi Nidito written by Tucson Foodie, Food Network, and Tucson Weekly to receive a more professional perspective of how great the Mi Nidito experience is.

The atmosphere is almost always enjoyable no matter the time of day. Going in for lunch? Stop on by, enjoy your break, and reward yourself for working so hard! Dining in for dinner? Sure come on in, bring your family, have a nice drink while you socialize over a nice plate of enchiladas! Mi Nidito offers an endless amount of appetizers and dishes, you cannot order something that you’ll regret when you’re finished. Your experience will never get old, in fact, it will only get better, regardless of what your plan is nothing but pure satisfaction will surround you when you walk out of those doors. If you take my word and decide to give it a shot I hope that you find your time at Mi Nidito just as great as I have, with the perfect experience made just for you.


Nathanael Martinez is a first year student at the University of Arizona who is undecided and hopes to graduate in 2026.