Lunch is one of the best times of day to sample the best of the modern Phoenix food scene. It's usually easier to score a table at last minute, lunch specials abound, and you don't have to worry about making it to the restaurant before closing time (Phoenix is still a little hard-up on late-evening dining options).
For an Arizona-centric lunch option with a sprawling menu of small plates, vegetable dishes, hand-made pasta, and even a sandwich or two, check out Ocotillo in midtown Phoenix. This is one of the liveliest lunch spots in midtown, the place to go to catch a glimpse of the downtown crowd doing business, or to simply enjoy the gourmet (but never pretentious) comestibles of co-chefs Walter Sterling and Sacha Levine.
For a cool downtown spot where you can also grab a gourmet tea, cocktail or pretty much anything else on your to-eat list, head to The Larder + The Delta, a Southern-inflected food counter located inside the DeSoto Central Market in Phoenix. The menu changes often, but the food is grounded in Southern cooking, where plates are dressed up and mashed up with the various whims and inspirations on chef Stephen Jones' culinary palette.
In the mood for pizza? Check out Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana in downtown Pizza, where you can savor excellent pizza made in the traditional style of Napoli.