The #1 Restaurant From Yelp's 2024 Top 100 Celebrates Vegetarian Latin Flavors

The crowd-sourced and customer-review website Yelp, with its massive network of users chiming in daily to share their thoughts on businesses all over the world, including restaurants, plays a significant role in the culinary world. So, when an eatery is ranked number one for the year, it represents a considerable triumph. For 2024, Tucson, Arizona's Tumerico received the honor of being voted the nation's top-ranked restaurant out of 100. In 2023, it was voted number one among the Southwest region's restaurants. Perhaps what is most impressive is that Tumerico serves an entirely meatless Mexican menu.

If you're a fan of Mexican food, you know that meat is a famous part of the cuisine, featured in dishes like tacos, tamales, barbacoa, and carnitas. But owner and head chef Wendy Garcia, a 2022 James Beard Award semifinalist, has excelled in creating classics like these in vegan and vegetarian versions. Yelp reviewer Kate S. shared glowing thoughts on the eatery, writing, "[I]t's not vegetarian food that happens to be great — it's great food that happens to be vegetarian. They hit it out of the park." 

To date, Tumerico has garnered an average ranking of 4.8 stars out of 5 from over 1,000 reviews, many from people who don't consider themselves vegans or vegetarians, which speaks volumes about the cuisine.

Even meat eaters are impressed

Some of the colorful plates of delicious-looking food featured on Tumerico's social media outlets certainly don't appear to be meat-free, thanks to chef Wendy Garcia's mastery of her craft. She draws inspiration from family dishes she grew up eating in her hometown of Hermosillo, Mexico. Garcia is admittedly passionate about traditional Mexican food and wanted people to experience it, but with plant-based ingredients. One of the "secrets" of her craft is jackfruit, which acts as the meat substitute in dishes like the Cuban Tacos and Al Pastor Tacos.

Homemade, long-cooked mole sauce and expertly-made salsas add soul and incredible authentic flavor to her menu, which changes with the seasons. Customer favorites include the aforementioned tacos and the restaurant's Ropa Vieja plate, featuring plant-based carnitas with cilantro sauce and mushrooms. Every entree also comes with rice, beans, salad, cashew cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, and tortillas.

Tumerico has two locations in Tucson, so if you're ever in the immediate or surrounding area, it's worth a stop. In a region that excels in and is plentiful with Mexican cuisine, Tumerico truly stands out for its unexpected ingredients, combined in a way that makes diners feel like they're eating in a cozy Mexican kitchen. Garcia believes this is the result of a dedicated team effort. You certainly won't miss the meat.