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“All ambience, no flavor”
Review of Penca

Penca
Ranked #76 of 2,162 Restaurants in Tucson
Cuisines: Mexican
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed April 4, 2018

Penca claims to serve Mexico City cuisine. Having eaten numerous outstanding meals in Mexico City, I was prepared for something different than the standard, though delicious, Sonoran food served in Tucson. Hip downtown location, urban vibe. Penca has no sign out front–that seems somewhat pretentious. Perhaps it should also have been a warning.

The interior is quite attractive with exposed brick and big windows. We had a reservation and were seated promptly. We ordered drinks soon after and they showed up after some waiting. My sangria was the weirdest I have ever had–a mysterious, multi-hued mix of who-knows-what oddly served in a smallish champagne coupe. It was fairly undrinkable although I tried hard to like it.

The chips arrived with some decent salsa. That was the last item with any flavor.

I ordered fish tacos. There were two very small, thick tortillas on the plate. The fish was overwhelmed by the cabbage and had no flavor. It required several spoonfuls of the table salsa to provide any flavor. Looking online the next day, there was no sign of the chipotle crema nor pico de gallo that were mentioned in the menu. Included on the plate were rice and black beans. Both were completely bland. The rice seemed to have been scraped from the bottom of the pot, and the beans were probably canned. There was no salt on the table to improve things.

My friend ordered tres leches cake for dessert. It, too, was served very oddly, layered in a Mason jar that made it somewhat difficult to eat. At least the whipped cream on top tasted real.

There was none of the flavor and sophistication of Mexico City food here. It seems to be all about ambiance and presentation, without regard for the food itself.

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1  Thank azbuceadora
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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13 - 17 of 250 reviews

Reviewed March 24, 2018 via mobile

We stop here every time we ate in Tucson. It is still our favorite restaurant. Great drinks and imaginative food. Thanks.

Thank Lorraine H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 24, 2018

Solid 4 out of 5. Had a nice Saturday lunch here. Good tacos with special corn tortillas. Great chips and salsa for hor 'oeuvres. Friendly service. Very reasonable prices. Worth the trip.

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Thank cruiseagentandtaxman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 11, 2018

Loved Penca, everything we had was top notch from the Margarita's and Ceviche to start to the amazing steak that I had for my entree. The service was very friendly and attentive.

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Thank Michele M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 9, 2018

Well there's not much really great about this place and I've given it a couple of tries but the last will be the last. The food is just sorta blah and very expensive. Tasteless and blah. I've had better food truck tacos.

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Thank sleepydog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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