Mi Nidito used to be just one of many streetcorner taquerias in the Mexican neighborhood of South Tucson. Somehow, it became better known than the others, and it has become the place where celebrities from pop culture and politics like to come and be photographed. (Their pictures are on the wall.) Now, if you want to eat here, you will wait in line for a table.
Since it became famous, Mi Nidito expanded from a modest café into a fine-looking restaurant fully outfitted in evocative Mexican décor that includes much artificial greenery, masks and serapes on the gold-painted walls, and capacious booths with plastic-covered back rests.
Meals begin with excellent warm tortilla chips and hot salsa. Most customers then move on to a cheese crisp, which is a super-wide tortilla that is baked to a crisp and covered with melted cheese, cheese and chilies, cheese and guacamole, or cheese and carne asada. As is tradition in Tucson restaurants, the crisp is presented on a silver pedestal so that everyone at the table has easy access to slices.
Meals are rolled out from the kitchen on carts, which makes a lot of sense when you see how huge so many of the dishes are. Each chimichanga is a cylinder the size of a yule log. The “President’s Plate” is a bean tostada, a birria taco, a chili relleno, a chicken enchilada, and a beef tamale. We are particularly fond of the chicken topopo salad, a finely chopped mountain of chicken shreds fresh off the bone mixed with marinated lettuce, peas, beans, and carrots, surrounded by columns of cheese and sliced avocados, plus tortilla chips and sliced tomatoes, with a single round tortilla as its base. Delicious!
Free postcards are available at the cash register. They show former President Clinton sitting at a table the day he came to dine.
Please note that Mi Nidito is closed both Monday and Tuesday.