By Danielle Zalewski
From the outside Boca Tacos y Tequila does not look like much of anything. It hardly even looks like a restaurant. It’s located slightly east from the intersection of Speedway and Euclid and one could pass Boca every day and hardly notice it.
The inside is not much better. It is small and dark with a cave-like feel, with maybe five tables for customers. The décor is slightly obscure for a Mexican restaurant and is more appropriate for a 1950’s diner. However, do not let the strange ambiance dissuade you.
Chef Maria does Mexican food the way it is supposed to be. With fresh, natural flavors infused into gourmet tacos and specialty salsas, there is something different to try on every visit. The market style of the restaurant– where customers order at a register and sit down and wait for their food to be brought to them– gives Boca a relaxed atmosphere and gets customers in and out in as quickly as ten minutes. Single tacos are priced under $5, so expect to spend around $10, depending on how many tacos and what kind of tacos are ordered. But also expect sit-down restaurant quality.
Boca is a place to go when you want a quick Mexican dinner without the fuss of going to a sit-down restaurant. You can enjoy a bistec taco with tender braised beef marinated in spicy ranchero sauce, adorned with homemade guacamole and fresh cabbage on a tortilla made in house while sitting around the outdoor fire pit.
The specialty salsas that Chef Maria changes every day are unlike anything else offered at Tucson Mexican restaurants. Every few days, Chef Maria creates a new blend of exotic flavors and spices to create her one of a kind salsas. Watermelon and scorpion pepper salsa in theory is a unique idea, however, it simply is not for everyone. Boca does not offer a generic salsa to complement the house-made tortilla chips. Most of the salsas are very spicy and not for the fainthearted. It seems Scorpion peppers may be a favorite of Chef Maria.
Boca made national news in January of 2011 when owner Bryan Mazon planned to add a lion meat gourmet taco to the menu for the exotic taco Wednesday special. Mazon said in an interview with the Arizona Daily Star in 2011, “I’m doing the African lion to get my name out.” The taco fell through when the restaurant received threats from angry protestors. Mazon said, “many threats on the safety of our restaurant, our families, our customers and our vendors” were received when news spread about the taco. It is not illegal to serve lion meat in the United States as long as the species is not endangered; other Arizona restaurants have served lion meet. Boca has featured many exotic meats for their exotic taco Wednesday; from kangaroo, to alligator, python, rattle snake, elk, and more.