If you work downtown, we’ve got your inexpensive lunch conundrums solved. From grab-and-go to sit down service, these 9 under $10 dishes will get you through lunchtime satisfied with a full belly and less of a ding to the wallet.
Alejandro’s Cafe: Daily Lunch Special – $5.50
31 N Scott Ave / (520) 623-3277
Served with chips and salsa, Alejandro’s Daily Lunch Specials vary by day of the week, such as the Chicken Fajitas on Monday or the Burro with your choice of meat on Thursdays. Even if you venture off the specials menu, you’re not likely to break ten bucks (2 tamales with beans, lettuce and tomato is just $4) and all their portions are generous.
- Chicken Fajitas on Monday
- Burro w/ choice of meat on Thursdays
- 2 tamales with beans, lettuce and tomato for $4
Caffe Milano: Fusilli alla Pizzaiola – $7.25
46 W Congress St / (520) 628-1601
This is somewhere you could take a client or three. For a classy midday meal without the bill, tuck into Caffe Milano’s for cheap lunch specials, sucsh as a big bowl of fusilli with spicy red sauce, black olives, capers, garlic and oregano, served with Italian bread.
- Fusilli with spicy red sauce, black olives, capers, garlic and oregano, served with Italian bread
- Penne al Gorgonzola in creamy sauce with spinach
- Antipasti Milano with parma prosciutto, genoa salame, mortadella with pistachos, brie, provolone, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, olives, steamed potatoes and Milano salad on a bed of mesclun
Empire Pizza: Italian Grinder – $7.75
137 E Congress St / (520) 882-7499
Get your hoagie fix with Empire’s Italian Grinder, heaped with pepperoni,salami, provolone, lettuce, onion, tomato, hot peppers, and italian dressing. Dine at a table or have a seat at the bar and chow down.
- Chicken Parmesan
- Veggie Grinder
Gio Taco: 3 Taco Combo – $9
350 E Congress St / (520) 882-8226
Get a side of chips and salsa with any three creative Gio tacos, like the “Korean BBQ” beef short rib with mango and carrot slaw, or “M’s Veggie” with sweet potato “chorizo” on a spinach corn tortilla.
- Koren BBQ Short Rib Taco
- Metzger Dip Taco
- Citrus Marinated Grilled Chicken Burito
Maynards Market: Tuna Sandwich – $8
400 N Toole Ave/ (520) 545-0577
If it’s a classic sandwich you’re craving, head on down to Maynards Market for a gigantic fresh baguette brimming with albacore tuna salad, bibb lettuce, radish, hard cooked egg, fresh herbs, and baby pickles with a smear of mayo. For an even cheaper lunch, buy tuna salad and other prepared foods by the pound from their deli case.
- Tuna Salad Sandwich
- Caprese Panini with Fresh House-Pulled Mozzarella
- Roasted Pork + Applewood Ham Cubano
Miss Saigon: Bun Ca Cari Dua – $8.99
47 N 6th Ave / (520) 884-4778
With a menu this big and this good, where do you even start? Miss Saigon‘s delicious authentic Vietnamese fare is a must for a quick casual lunch with lots of shared plates. Try the grilled catfish topped with coconut curry over vermicelli noodles and greens or any of their beef pho soups. They also have a full vegetarian menu.
- Bun Ca Cari Dua
- Pho Tai
- Bun Bo Hue
Sparkoot: Portabello Burger – $7.50
245 E Congress St / (520) 623-4477
Airy and cozy, Sparkroot is known for its delicious Blue Bottle coffee and great atmosphere. But they also have a food menu worth tasting. If you’re hungry, get the marinated mushroom burger topped with walnut pesto on a house-made bun, served with greens.
- Portabello Burger
- Sweet Potato Tacos
The Little One: Daily Offerings
151 N Stone Ave, Tucson
Located on the SW corner of Alameda and Stone, this hidden gem is cash only, closed by 2:30, and totally worth it. Latin-inspired, homemade specials change daily, but you can expect to find delicious, inexpensive dishes like fish tacos, chilled gazpacho and Pollo en Chile Ancho y Tamarindo.
- Fish Tacos
- Chilled Gazpacho
- Pollo en Chile Ancho y Tamarindo
Urban Fresh: Green Goddess Wrap – $7.95
73 E Pennington St, Tucson / (520) 792-9355
Perhaps the healthiest lunch spot downtown, Urban Fresh is one of our favorite juice and smoothie bars around. Fuel up on a tasty and filling Green Goddess wrap, stuffed with avocado, kale, cucumber, pea shoots, basil, sundried tomato pesto, and green hummus.
- Green Goddess Wrap
- Any item from daily special board