I don’t come to Tucson to eat rustic European cuisine at a brasserie style restaurant. It somewhat shocks me that there is such a place here, and that it’s popular, and that the food is good AND that the location and restaurant interior are so perfectly on point! But that just proves that my ideas about Tucson cuisine are badly out of date because The Coronet has worked some serious magic and created a cozy bistro that fits in perfectly right at the junction of downtown and 4th Ave.
The Coronado Hotel building dates back to 1928. Chef owners Sally Kane and Gregor Kretschmann took over the restaurant space in 2013 and opened The Coronet last year. The original windows are gorgeous and the rest of the interior blends Mission tile floors, Victorian stained glass and furnishings collected from all manner of far-flung places on Craigslist. This eclectic blend of European influences inside an old adobe building brings the Spanish style of Old Tucson into the funky setting of 4th ave. and makes it all work. Sally Kane said she wanted to create a café like you would find in any major city and she’s succeeded well because The Coronet feels true to the desert spirit but the food is definitely 21st century.
My friend Eric and I had cocktails and we tried the sardines, the pate and the cheese plate. All the food was beautifully presented, the cocktails weren’t too sweet or too pretentious and our server was both knowledgeable and attentive, sometimes a rare combination in Tucson. Of all the food, I least loved the pate de campagne, which I expected to be mostly meat but instead had layers of vegetables and seemed more like a terrine. But that was a fault of expectations I think, and not the actual dish.
The Coronet is completely delightful. It looks good, it feels good and it tastes good. Tucson food lovers, this is the place you’ve been waiting for. I hope you get a lot more like it.