La Indita–Tucson, AZ

La Indita
722 N. Stone Ave.
Tucson, AZ
(520) 792-0523
After several moves La Indita is now located on N. Stone Ave.

La Indita

The name La Indita is a clue to the kind of food you will get here, namely “Unique Tohono O’odham Tarascan home style cooking from family recipes.” It is a Mexican restaurant but the recipes are interpreted by the  Purépecha (or “Tarascan”) tribe of Michoacán and further influenced by the Tohono O’odham people of Arizona. The result is not quite like I have had anywhere else, but it is still very Mexican.

I am usually a big fan of Mexican food but this is one of the best I have had anywhere. The concept here is similar to Tumerico, but I think the food here is more typical of the Mexican food served in the Southwest. Both of these restaurants integrate Native American food into the menu. I know Tumerico uses all natural and organic ingredients and I believe the same is done here. Tumerico is totally vegetarian and La Indita has a large number of vegetarian items. Both restaurants are excellent but I especially liked the food here.

La Indita serves Tohono O'odhon and Michoacan style Mexican food

La Indita serves Tohono O’odhon and Michoacan style Mexican food

I was fortunate enough to have been served by Meleena, the granddaughter of the restaurant’s founder, and to be filled in on a brief history of the family’s migration from Michoacán to Arizona. The food here cannot be understood without knowing that it has elements of both Mexican and Native American styles. Some dishes that are largely Native American are the beef with red chile, beef with green chile, calabacitos, and nopalitos.

My experience indicates that that the Native American element makes Mexican food better.

Chips and Salsa

Chips and salsa

Chips come wit a flavorful and spicy salsa

The Salsa was spicy with a rich flavor, and with the chips this definitely started the meal off on a good note. The Chips were thick and crispy, just the way I like them.

The Food

Combo no. 7

Combo no. 7

I explored the food here through a combination plate, in this case Combo No. 7. This was one of the vegetarian combos, something that in many restaurants would be a red flag indicating something I would want to avoid. Here though I got three delicious items that were all tied for the best ones on the plate.

The Mushroom Taco (on the right) was the only item served on a traditional tortilla. The filling answered a question I didn’t even know I had, i.e. “how can mushrooms be used to make an excellent taco?” The answer is whatever they do here.

The middle item is the Chalupa made with beans, squash, and cabbage. The “tortilla” here was a very thick bread that looked and tasted like Indian fry bread with a texture and flavor very close to a sopapilla.

The Flat Enchilada (on the left) had the same thick bread with vegetables for texture and a red sauce with a flavor similar to ones in New Mexico but somewhat less spicy than most (but that still satisfied my chile craving).

The rice and beans were excellent but the Rice especially stood out for being more flavorful than most. These items were not afterthoughts, but seemed to be well thought out as components of this vegetarian meal.

A Little Extra
Sometimes it pays off to make a comment such as “I wish I could try your mole” which was rewarded with a sample of La Indita’s excellent Michoacán style mole. This was a little thin and runny as opposed to thick like the El Paso variety. Meleena explained that it is made with cocoa beans instead of Abuelita, which does a lot to explain both the flavor and the texture of the sauce. The mole is vegan, with other ingredients including prunes and dried chile ancho peppers. I count this as one of the best moles I have ever tasted, and after eating a combination plate a taste is really all that I had the capacity to consume.

Closing Comments
This was some of the best Mexican food I have ever eaten. Despite the Native American influence, which I think makes it better, the food at its heart is Mexican.

Outdoor patio

Outdoor patio

There is an outdoor patio which will be very attractive much of the year, and which will help offset the fact that the dining room is fairly small.

The red enchilada here was about as spicy as the ones in El Paso, and other items kept my interest purely with their flavor (although probably with the presence of some type of chile such as was included in the mole).

Even though the restaurant is casual I would call it Mexican fine dining–the type of elevated food that is touted on cooking shows by celebrity chefs. Prices are a little higher than at most restaurants and it takes a while to prepare the food, but it is a good place to come for a special meal.


Cuisine: Mexican & Tohono O’odham
Cost: $$ to $$$
Hours: Closed Fri. evening & Sat. lunch
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: May 8, 2024
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Flat Enchiladas, Chalupa, Mushtoom Taco, Mole, Chips, Salsa

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 4
Special Ratings
star 5 Flat Enchilada
star 5 Mushroom Taco
star 5 Chalupa
star 5 Mole
star 5 Rice
star 5 Chips
star 5 Salsa


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