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Best Lunch in Phoenix

10 Best Lunch Spots in Phoenix for a Midday Feast


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.

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 Naples. 

For a gorditas or burrito infusion, stop by Tacos Chiwas, one of central Phoenix's most popular Mexican restaurants. 


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Once a humble downtown Phoenix food truck, Short Leash Hot Dogs is now one of downtown Phoenix's most-loved local eateries. The restaurant specializes in gourmet hot dogs - but these are not your typical ballpark hot dogs. They come wrapped in toasty, pillowy naan bread and topped with an assortment of unique, fresh ingredients. For example, there's the currywurst, a knockwurst sausage slow-cooked in a tomato and onion curry broth and then topped with crunchy onions. The results are playful and delicious. New hot dog specials grace the menu regularly. Don't miss the "Rollover" menu, featuring a delightful mix of gourmet donuts, including the infamous "The Bear" doughnut, a smoked gouda and bacon donut filled with peanut butter custard and topped with cracker jacks. The flavors are initially confusing, but ultimate a palate-pleaser.

Recommended for Lunch because: For a relaxed lunch in downtown Phoenix, Short Leash Hot Dogs is a solid choice.

Patricia's expert tip: Try any of the signature dogs on the menu with a veggie dog. The menu also offers specialty salads.

Read more about Short Leash Hot Dogs →




This Central Phoenix urban pizzeria is situated in a restored 1913 bungalow, making it the perfect backdrop for a leisurely lunch or romantic dinner. Exposed brick, hardwood floors, authentic stained glass windows and a working fireplace means that you'll have much to admire while you nosh on your salad, antipasti, made-from-scratch pasta or artisanal pizza. Each pizza is made-to-order and hand-tossed by Chef Guido Saccone, native of Sicily, and then topped with a delicious drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Memorable small plates include arancini, Arborio rice deep-fried with a center of mozzarella. If you're not a pizza mood, or jsut looking for something on the lighter side, the farro salad is quite good.

Recommended for Lunch because: Cibo is a good choice if you're looking for an intimate lunch spot in downtown Phoenix.

Patricia's expert tip: A lunch menu is served Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Savor the joys of an authentic Cornish pasty (pronounced pass-tee) without even having to jet off across the pond. The Cornish pasty is a traditional English comfort food featuring a variety of meats, veggies and cheeses, all stuffed into a pastry pocket. The pasty gets a twist at the Cornish Pasty Company, where diners can choose from an extensive menu of signature, premium, and vegetarian pasties. Try the Oggie, the traditional Cornish pasty made with steak, potatoes, onion, rutabaga, and served with a side of red wine gravy or ketchup. Pasty lovers will enjoy exploring the diverse menu, which also features Mexican, Italian, Greek, and Indian variations on this English classic. The large veggie pasty menu has made this a favorite stopping point for vegetarian foodies.

Recommended for Lunch because: The Dressing Room's stylish yet casual dining room, plus a well-rounded menu, makes for a great lunch option in downtown Phoenix's Roosevelt Row neighborhood.

Local Expert tip: Did you know that Cornish Pasty Co. ships most pasties to almost any location in the U.S.? The restaurant ships Mondays through Wednesdays. Contact the restaurant for details.

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Zookz Sandwiches is the brainchild of chef Carole Meyer, who spent 18 months experimenting with a patent-pending sandwich press designed to create delicious, wholesome "sandwiches with an edge." The disc-shaped grilled sandwiches at Zookz are crispy on the outside and deliciously gooey on the inside, made from scratch with freshly baked French, white or whole wheat bread. The bread is stuffed with your choice of thinly sliced meats, cheeses and other fillings and then sealed using Meyer's unique press.The fresh sandwich creations at Zookz promise to deliver exceptional quality while also delivering convenience to foodies on-the-go.

Recommended for Lunch because: Central Phoenix is the only place in the world to experience Zookz sandwiches, which are deliciously gooey on the inside and crisp on the outside.

Patricia's expert tip: Ask for "Carole's Kitchen Special," seasonally-inspired sandwich creations that are not on the Zookz Sandwiches menu.

Read more about Zookz Sandwiches →


Rumor has it that some of the best Al Pastor burritos can be found just east of downtown Phoenix at El Fundador Taqueria. The small family-owned restaurant might be labeled as a typical west Phoenix hole-in-the-wall for some, but the kitchen delivers hot and delicious Mexican food nirvana for Phoenix foodies in the know. While it might be difficult to choose the best Al Pastor in Phoenix, the one here certainly has its merit: savory, spicy and fall-off-the-bone pork spit-grilled pork is wrapped in a pillowy soft tortilla. The results are nothing less than delicious. The menu features an eclectic pick of burritos, tacos, stews, quesadillas and other Mexican food staples, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a bad pick in the bunch. The dining room is small and nondescript, but the food speaks volumes.

Recommended for Lunch because: If you have made it just west of downtown and want some of the best tacos in Phoenix, come in for a bite.

Patricia's expert tip: Try the Al Pastor tacos or burrito, some of the best spit-fire Mexican pork in town.

Read more about Taqueria El Fundador →




Chris Bianco, the well-known chef and restaurateur, started Pane Bianco as an offshoot of Pizzeria Bianco, the award-winning Phoenix pizzeria that gained him national attention. Pane Bianco is a tiny sandwich shop with an even smaller menu. The menu consists of a few sandwiches and salads, but the results are extraordinary. All the breads are baked on site in the cafe's wood-fired oven, and the mozzarella could only be fresher if you made it yourself. (The mozzarella is in fact made in the restaurant). The focaccia and caprese salad are both outstanding. This is a popular take-out lunch spot, and it's easy to see why.

Recommended for Lunch because: The Bianco family are the leading stalwarts of the Phoenix food scene, which means you shouldn't miss the hand-crafted sandwiches and bread at Pane Bianco.

Patricia's expert tip: Stop by for Happy Hour and bar bites from 3 to 6 pm Monday through Friday.

Read more about Pane Bianco →


Los Reyes de la Torta


Mexico City-style tortas have landed in Phoenix, and you'll find them at Los Reyes de la Torta, a casual eatery featuring some of the best Mexican-style sandwiches in town. These award-winning sandwiches feature a variety of quality meats and cheeses, served on a perfectly toasted and buttery bolillo roll. For the truly adventurous, and hungry, the King Carlos V is a monumental torta and a challenge to even the most voracious eaters. Even if grilled, stuffed-to-the-gills sandwiches are not your thing, be sure to pay a visit to the juice bar. You'll find a huge selection of traditional, fresh-squeezed fruit juices that are refreshingly good.

Recommended for Lunch because: You will not walk away hungry from Los Reyes de la Torta. There is something to fit everyone's taste.

Patricia's expert tip: Try a delicious, fresh-squeezed agua fresca drink with your meal.

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You would think that finding authentic Neapolitan-style pizza would be a challenge in the Arizona desert. If traveling to southern Italy in search of great pizza isn't feasible right now, you can satiate your appetite for great pizza with a visit to Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana. The pizzeria features thin-crust pizzas made according to the ancient pizza-making traditions of Napoli, in an oven imported from Italy. The expansive menu runs the gamut from the classic margherita to savory specialties like the quattro stagioni (four seasons), which is loaded with sausage, mushrooms and salami. The menu also features antipasti, pasta dishes, and salads.

Recommended for Lunch because: Pomo Pizzeria is a fun, modern Neopolitan pizza restaurant in downtown Phoenix where the pies are reliably delicious.

Patricia's expert tip: Start with the delicious and ultra-fresh caprese.

Read more about Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana - Downtown Phoenix →


Ocotillo is a bonafide food and drink compound in central Phoenix, with a sprawling, ambitious menu of New American eats. Here, "New American" means everything from big plates of gorgeously burnished roasted chicken, enormous falafel burgers, or perhaps a small plate of roasted cauliflower that's almost as appetizing and richly flavored as a slab of steak. For dinner, the menu offers a selection of vegetable and meat small plates, house-made pasta dishes, and entrees. For lunch, feast on big, fresh gourmet salads, sandwiches, roasted chicken dishes, pasta, or put together your dream meal with various small plates. The restaurant is also home to an outdoor beer garden, a swanky indoor bar, an extensive wine list, an on-site gourmet coffee bar ("O-To-Go"), and a popular weekend brunch.

Recommended for Lunch because: Ocotillo is a lively midtown Phoenix lunch destination, but the fresh, local-centric New American menu makes it worth the wait for an open table.

Patricia's expert tip: Reservations are highly recommended, especially if you're angling to come for the weekend brunch.

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Since its debut in the spring of 2016, Tacos Chiwas has become the darling of the local Phoenix Mexican food scene. You can thank the restaurant's tight, focused menu, which specializes in the soulful cooking of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Come here for tacos built on freshly-pressed tortillas �" highlights here include the Lengua (tongue) and tripas (tripe) tacos. You'll also want to try the homemade gorditas, especially stuffed with something like rajas, the restaurants medley of fire-roasted peppers, which are blended with melted queso asadero and a smear of refried beans. Speaking of beans, don't miss the restaurant's homemade bean stew, served with sliced-up hot dogs and perfumed with cilantro.

Recommended for Lunch because: For a fast yet satisfyingly homespun lunch, don't miss Tacos Chiwas.

Patricia's expert tip: Try the homemade gorditas.

Read more about Tacos Chiwas →


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Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega works as a writer and editor in Phoenix.

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