We found an authentic Sandwich Cubano in Chandler -- and for under $8. With no sign other than a small a-frame out front declaring it the "Best Cuban Food Around," Mimita's Cuban Cafe is easy to miss.Take a second look, because this place is serving nothing short of delicious, well prepared Cuban food.
Jenny Zink The Sandwich Cubano at Mimita's Cuban Cafe in Chandler is a top under $10 lunch pick.
Phoenix is just a few hip vegan restaurants and bakeries away from being officially cool. We were so excited when Bragg's Factory Diner opened for breakfast and lunch off Grand Avenue in downtown Phoenix because it touts a fully vegetarian and mostly vegan menu. Plus, we heard about the vegan pies, cookies, and doughnuts. The cute vintage-inspired décor pays homage to the historic roots of the building, which used to be the front of the old Bragg's Pie Factory.
Heather Hoch Breakfast for lunch might not have been a good call.
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If you've ever spent a long, lonely night wishing that Chipotle made enchiladas (and soup), your wildest dreams have come true. Gadzooks has a create-it-yourself vibe with options like tacos, chopped salads and "ladas." Or you can just go for the housemade tortilla soup. If you're following the process thus far, just wait because things are about to take a turn for the complicated.
Heather Hoch The diagram menu of how to order at Gadzooks -- study before you enter.
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Good French cooking can be hard to find in Phoenix. When Crepe Bar opened its doors last year, we Chow Bella-ers jumped all over it. Not only was there finally a good place to grab delicious French cooking, it was also cheap and available during daylight hours. Every so often, we find ourselves drifting toward south Tempe just so we can pop in for a quick and inexpensive lunch.
Heather Hoch Crepes galore for under $10 at Crepe Bar.
The menu at Jobot has expanded! What used to just be some breakfast items, tacos, and sweet and savory crepes in a coffee house, now includes yummy gourmet sandwiches. We've heard rumors of even more new menu items to come, but for now we just had to try the sandwiches and see if they passed the lunch-under-$10 test.
Heather Hoch The Jo-Bahn Mi on Jobot's new sandwich menu.
Maybe 4/20 has our mind in that place, but when we stopped into Bowl of Greens on the downtown ASU campus off Central Avenue, we weren't sure if we should expect a Cheba Hut-style stoner gimmick. Luckily, the Mediterranean joint that specializes in build-your-own salads wasn't just a cheesy ploy to lure potheads. The hard-working staff quickly busts through seemingly unending lunch lines, delivering a tasty and healthy alternative to the college-area norms -- especially considering that same building used to house a Sbarro.
Heather Hoch Offerings at Bowl of Greens.
Considering how many people think Phoenix is devoid of any culture, we sure have our fair share of kabob joints springing up. From Lebanese to Turkish to Greek, the kabob you get depends largely on where it comes from. We were excited to try out the Persian-style kabobs at ZK Grill. With three Valley locations and lots of rotating specials, Zaytoon Kabob Bistro (as it was formerly known) has a good selection for lunchers eating on the cheap.
Heather Hoch Cheap, cheap chicken kabob wrap with fries from ZK Grill.
You don't have to be an über-hippie vegan nut to enjoy Desert Roots Kitchen. You don't even really have to be on a health kick. Instead of using fake meats and faux cheese, Desert Roots simply uses real-deal grains, legumes, and veggies -- along with a good amount of seasoning and spice to add flavor. The little deli-style restaurant in the Mill Avenue Shops corridor primary has outdoor seating, but you can always grab your food to-go when it gets too hot.
Heather Hoch Desert Roots' lentils have some serious flavor -- without the calories.
We've always liked the look and feel of downtown Phoenix's cutest little Brit pub, the Rose & Crown. Located in a converted historic house in Heritage Square (across from Pizzeria Bianco), the bar caters to a relaxed crowd of people usually just chatting and sipping pints. Rose & Crown offers your classic bar games on the inside and a large patio with plenty of umbrellas on the outside. The food is on the greasy side, but it's pub food, so that's to be expected. What we didn't expect was the lunch deals.
Heather Hoch A lunch fit for a king from Rose & Crown.