Let's face the cold, hard, delicious facts: sometime between breakfast and dinner you’re going to have to get lunch. And it's probably going to involve a brown bag. But it doesn't have to be that way! Because wherever you are in Phoenix, from Avondale to Agritopia, we’ve assembled a list of the Valley’s greatest lunchtime heroes...
A little bit Southwest, a little bit Southern, Historic Downtown Glendale’s casual American restaurant/bar, Cuff, mixes the best of both regions. The riblets, served with Cajun fries and a strawberry cucumber salad, is not too light but not too heavy. Save room for dessert, the pies and cakes come from the kitchen of Mama Toledo.
Get your bento fix and take your pick of meat (we recommend the chicken katsu) or fish. Each bento box order comes with miso soup, rice, wok'd veggies, and cucumber salad. Lunch specials run until 3pm daily.
The award-winning Gilbert restaurant Liberty Market might just be the best (and most creative) in the Arizona burger business. There’s always something new here, but menu staples like the all-things-spicy 6 Alarm burger is a winning pick. Ask your server what’s good and your taste buds will be blown away when the food hits the table.
The Neapolitan-style pizza joint is a Phoenix favorite. Why? It's mastered the art of pizza making, that’s why. Thin. Crisp. Delicious. All of the elements of a good pie are there. Did we mention they are wood fired?
If you’ve decided that today’s the day you’re going to finally start eating healthy (yeah, right, OK) put Pita Jungle on your list of guilt-free, but gratifying spots to eat. The Valley’s own vegetarian resto has tons of meat-free options and healthy burgers on the menu like the chipotle black bean burger and the grilled portobello mushroom burger with roasted red bell pepper and a mix of greens.
You need to add the word “platter” to your lunch vocabulary. Choose three meats from Bobby Q’s lineup of BBQ chicken, pork, sausage, brisket, pulled chicken, or St. Louis ribs. If you can’t stomach an entire plate, no platter, full of barbecue (plus a side and cornbread) go for the lunch combo -- we won’t judge you.
Turkey, avocado, roasted red peppers, grapes, cucumber, lettuce, and a drizzle of yogurt sauce is all wedged between two whole-wheat slices of bread to make ChopShop’s Moroccan turkey sandwich. There's even a gluten-free wrap option for the GF peeps.
Downtown Tempe (Mill Avenue)
We can’t help you from making bad decisions on Mill, but we can try to help you make a good one. When on Mill Ave order a sandwich named after the infamous Tempe street. Ncounter’s Mill Avenue Stack is piled high with thin-sliced sirloin, cheddar, red onion, and greens and lathered up with a blue cheese spread on grilled ciabatta.
You’ve never truly appreciated sprouts until you’ve eaten at Dilly’s. And don’t get us started on the bread. All of it is made in-house. Choose your bread and tell ‘em you want the Dilly Bird. Turkey, avocado, cream cheese, and sprouts make the classic Dilly’s sandwich an instant favorite. And yes, you will want to order the bread bowl. Trust us.
You don’t have to go to Hawaii to get island-inspired eats. Drenched in lime curry sauce and served on a layer of cabbage, rice, and black beans, Hula’s Mongolian beef bowl is big enough to feed a small army, or just you, because you’re really hungry.
One part healthy, one part pizza, Humble Pie’s lunch combo is offered from 11am to 3pm daily. Takeout orders are ready in about 20 minutes, but we recommend grabbing a seat on the patio, or at the bar where there’s AC.
Save the board and bottle for Monday and Tuesday night when you’re feeling happy hour. There’s more to the famous wine bar than bruschetta and cheese boards, like the Nine Iron panini. The Italian-style sandwich is stuffed with hickory-smoked bacon, grilled chicken, fresh mozz, beefsteak tomato, lettuce, and a bit of Dijonnaise.
Steak and salad DO make a good pairing. Especially when served with a creamy blue cheese dressing and bourbon cherries, and topped with crunchy sweet potato chips. The Gladly is a little pricey for casual eats but it makes a great spot for a business lunch.
Always seasonal, always fresh, and always local, many of the dishes on the Bink’s menu are made from ingredients that come from right here in Arizona. Ask your server about the pig sandwich of the week. You won’t be disappointed.
Ditch the T-Bell drive-thru and get some real tacos. Carnitas, veggie, braised beef, chicken tinga, fish, shrimp, pork, and more, you name it, Joyride’s got it.
At Civic Space Park, you know, that area of Downtown with the giant tornado-esque art installation, you’ll find the folks at Fair Trade Cafe slinging coffees, lattes, and teas in the morning. But there’s more to this cafe than coffee, like the stuffed croissant, filled with your choice of turkey and cheddar, ham and Swiss or, for something a little lighter, spinach and feta.
It’s basically bruschetta in sandwich form, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious. The OMG (which is probably named after the reaction people have after eating such a thing) has fancy bacon... err, prosciutto, mascarpone, and the sweet addition of fig and honey.
Soulful? Soul food? So full? The plant-based menu at Mesa’s Cutting Board will leave your soul, and stomach, feeling full. Quinoa, curried lentils, toasted kale, and baked tamari sunflower seeds are just a few of the ingredients mixed into the healthy bowl.
Old Town Scottsdale
Add some Cubana flavor to your boring lunchtime sandwich and try out the nuevo pork Cuban at Old Town Scottsdale’s Herb Box. Caramelized plantain, pickled red onions, and jalapeños with manchego cheese give this Cuban classic a new twist.
You could be predictable and order tacos, or... you could stuff your face with a massive burrito. Live a little. Order the burrito.
Gadzooks' sole mission is to redefine the enchilada. And we’d say that it's doing a fine job. The Central Phoenix joint gives hungry customers all the power, by allowing them to put exactly what they want on their enchilada. It’s an eight-step process, (cheese, beans, salsas, etc... it’s like an assembly line of tastiness) but you’ll be through the line in no time.
Arguably the best Thai place in the Valley, South Phoenix’s Chanpen Thai is the spot for pad Thai If you’re not trying to burn your taste buds off, order a three. But hey, if you like the heat, go all in and try five. Beat the lunch rush; get your food to go.
Local (and natural) beef, roasted red peppers, grilled mushrooms, fontina, field greens, and farm-made pecan pesto come together to make what Agritopia’s Joe’s Farm Grill calls the fontina burger. Truthfully, this place had us at pecan pesto.
Flavors of Louisiana is as real as it gets. Seriously, you can get alligator on your po-boy. We haven’t tried it but we hear it tastes like chicken. Or, just order the crawfish. It’s a slightly adventurous, but more familiar (depending on who you ask) choice. Of course your sammie comes with a New Orleans-style side, red beans & rice, Cajun chips, or dirty rice.
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1. Cuff5819 W Glendale Ave, Phoenix
2. Sushi Brokers4419 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix
3. Liberty Market230 N Gilbert Rd, Gilbert
4. CIBO Urban Pizzeria603 N 5th Ave, Phoenix
5. Pita Jungle4921 E Ray Rd Ste B2, Phoenix
6. Bobby-Q8501 N 27th Ave, Phoenix
7. Original Chop Shop Co.222 E University Dr, Tempe
8. Ncounter310 S Mill Ave, Tempe
9. Dilly's Deli3330 S Price Rd, Tempe
10. Hula’s Modern Tiki4700 N Central Ave #122, Phoenix
11. Humble Pie2333 N 7th St, Phoenix
12. Postino3939 E Campbell Ave, Phoenix
13. The Gladly2201 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix
14. Bink's Midtown2320 E Osborn Rd, Phoenix
15. Joyride Taco House302 N Gilbert Rd, Gilbert
16. Fair Trade Cafe1020 N 1st Ave, Phoenix
17. 32 Shea10626 N 32nd St, Phoenix
18. The Cutting Board Bakery & Cafe2235 S Power Road, Suite 116, Mesa
19. The Herb Box7134 E Stetson Dr, Ste 200, Scottsdale
20. Most Wanted Taco Shop9822 N 7th St, Phoenix
21. Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soup3313 N 7th St, Phoenix
22. Chanpen Thai2727 E Broadway Rd, Phoenix
23. Joe's Farm Grill3000 E Ray Rd, Gilbert
24. Flavors of Louisiana13025 W Rancho Santa Fe Blvd, Phoenix
At Cuff, you can find standards like sliders, charcuterie boards, flatbreads, deviled eggs, and more on the menu. For barbecue fans, check out the smoked brisket or pork shoulder (served in sandwich form), and of course, Cuff is also about the libations with a seven-drink list of house specialties and some of your old favorites.
Everything you expect and love from an Americanized sushi spot. Decadent, delicious rolls, happy hour and an all-around fun vibe.
The gem of Gilbert’s breakfast scene is definitely Liberty Market. With egg sandwiches, Southwestern-inspired chilaquiles and burritos, and several different scrambles, there’s plenty to choose from on the daily menu, which even includes a couple vegan options.
Having been in the neighborhood for over a decade, Cibo is an undeniable Downtown Phoenix favorite, with every kind of gourmet Neapolitan pizza you could ever want. It's housed in a charming 1900s bungalow in the heart of the city, and serves one of the best Pomodoro Fresco pies around (mozzarella, grape tomatoes, and basil), amongst an extensive list of other thin crust, wood-fired red and white pizzas prepared in classic Italian fashion.
Built inside the restored 1925 Gold Spot Marketing building, this Mediterranean eatery is serving a full menu of healthy, guilt-free dishes. Between the Spanish colonial architecture, the casual modern patio, and the cozy leather seating, Pita Jungle is an ideal happy hour locale, with plenty of shared mezze plates and cocktails available. The entrees -- like red quinoa with jalapeño-cilantro hummus -- are rich and well-seasoned, but free of extra fatty oils and refined carbs, as are the selection of seafood and veggie-centric small pates. Even desserts like chocolate-dipped walnut baklava are somehow both low-calorie and indulgent.
Bobby-Q is the perfect setting for the more sophisticated BBQ lover, who wants a glass of wine with their catfish. The generous portions and great quality food will make you want to keep coming back. Not to mention, the menu is extensive, so any barbecue you’re craving will likely be accommodated -- whether you’re looking for wood-fired chicken, brisket, or smoked prime rib.
This health-conscious shop is practically on ASU's campus, and it has one of the best patios in the Valley. It's got that casual campus atmosphere, plus a giant chess set to complete the quirky space.
Head to the patio for an ideal afternoon of languidly nibbling on classic American brunch fare.
For a deli that doesn't dilly dally on delicacies, it's decisively Dally's
Tiki bar plus tons of delicious Polynesian food options.
This pizza pie has got nothing to be humble about. A full 10 inches and a side of salad, mm mmm mm.
Bright, industrial-chic wine bar Postino in Arcadia is beloved for its magical combination of scrumptious bruschetta and exceptional wine. The masterminds at Upward Projects have wooed Phoenix with a handful of staples (Joyride, Federal Pizza, Churn), but if we're being honest, Postino is our favorite -- not just for the wine cafe’s hip, laid-back feel, but also for its excellent service, solid lineup of primarily European and Californian wines, and its dozen (!) varieties of bruschetta (the burrata/bacon/arugula/tomato option is always a smart decision).
The Gladly offers an unbeatable kitchen/bar team with Chef Bernie Kantak and bartender Brian Goodwin. Goodwin serves up a five-drink specialty brunch cocktail menu on Sundays, including curious combinations like vodka, aquavit, watermelon simple syrup, bitter lemon soda, and a Chinese five spice pickled watermelon rind. From the kitchen, Kantak offers brunchers house-smoked pork butt pastrami hash, cornbread waffles, brioche French toast with berries, and, of course, Kantak’s signature chopped salad.
New American cuisine that practices local sourcing and craftily designed menus.
Bright and cheery Mexican joint with a '60s flair.
Coffee with a conscience, pastries with priorities.
32 Shea serves up sandwiches, soups, coffee, and cocktails. Try the OMG: Prosciutto, mascarpone, and fig honey. Yum.
This cafe is all about local and organic ingredients. Great for a healthy lunch, the Soul-Full bowl is one of their staples. This is a bowl filled with vegetarian goodness: Quinoa, curried lentils, toasted kale, and baked tamari sunflower seeds.
This Scottsdale spot can't be beat when it comes to fantastic brunches, offering a number of both sweet and savory options for you meal. If you have a sweet tooth, go for the red velvet or cinnamon buckwheat pancakes, and if you want a bit of both worlds, go for the Bourbon-Ginger Peach Brioche French Toast.
The North Phoenix taquería offers up casual Mexican eats, like tacos (hence the name), burritos, tacos, veggie nachos, tacos, cheese dillas, and tacos. And if you’re broke, you can still eat like a king. A small taco will only cost you about two bucks, while a face-size burrito will probably get you through two meals. It’s among some of the best spots for lunch in Phoenix, but don’t count it out for dinner.
You'd think the name pretty much says all you need to know, BUT, you should also know that everything you select has an eight step process of customization, from selecting tacos or enchiladas, to loading them up with a ton of different options, and finally combining them with drinks and other items to make a meal.
One of the best Thai places in Phoenix, Chanpen Thai is a must-stop for Pad Thai. You can choose your spice level depending on your taste buds. Get a 3 to be comfortable, but a 5 if you aren't afraid of fire.
Joe’s Farm Grill is a Gilbert staple that’s been noticed nationally by the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Known for its ability to make ordinary foods extraordinary, Joe’s Farm Grill takes your typical burger to the next level by using quality, healthy ingredients and produce grown right there on the farm.
A dining experience rooted entirely in the food. Don't expect bells and whistles in this un-presumptuous, charmingly campy location, but you can count on the comforting complexity of Southern flavors. Easily adoptable as a cult favorite, those wishing to take the taste home can purchase signature roux in a can for cooking gumbo at home.