Let’s be honest, food can be expensive. The prices of food at restaurants continue to rise, and it seems like both cooking at home and eating out are becoming more challenging to do on a budget.
So, here is a list of five yummy meals for under $10 in Tucson that don’t lack in flavor or leave you feeling hungry.
Sauce is a great choice if you are looking for an inexpensive, quick bite for lunch or dinner. They offer “light bites”, or appetizers, along with salads, pizzas, paninis, pastas, soups, a variety of desserts, and a wine and beer menu. There is easily something on the menu for everyone, including picky eaters and those who adhere to gluten free and vegetarian diets.
Some great choices:
Sausage and Caramelized Onion Pizza – $10
Turkey and Fontina Panini – $9
Spicy Chicken and Sausage Mac and Cheese – Large: $8.75, Small: $5
Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese – Large: $8.75, Small: $5
Bowl of Tomato Soup – $4.50
Sauce has multiple locations in Tucson. Here is where you can find the one nearest you.
Beyond Bread is another fast, order-at-the-counter restaurant. Beyond Bread is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is known for its freshly made bread. You have to see (and smell) it to believe it!
Beyond Bread offers daily specials, with different kinds of sandwiches, salads, and mac and cheese—all for under $10. Personally, I recommend trying a “delicious duo”, which is a choice of soup or salad with a half sandwich. The delicious duos range from $6.75-$7.50. The sandwiches, salads, and soups (which come in a bread bowl or with a slice of bread) cost a little more, but all come in huge portions for under $13 and can make for leftovers.
Beyond Bread has three locations in Tucson. Here is where you can find the location nearest you.
Forget Chipotle (is it just me, or are the bowls getting smaller and smaller?) and try BOCA Tacos y Tequila, a hole-in-the-wall taco shop awarded “Best Tacos” in Tucson Weekly’s Best of Tucson 2016.
BOCA offers 24 varieties of gourmet tacos, original salsas, and fresh chips, plus a local craft beer menu and a full bar. Tacos range from $2.50 to $4.25 each, and come on flour tortillas, corn tortillas, or cabbage-wrapped. Each taco is served with guacamole (no extra charge here!), cabbage, and salsa. Sides of rice and beans are only $1.50 each.
BOCA is located near the University of Arizona campus, at 828 E. Speedway Boulevard.
Blanco is a sit-down, stylish restaurant with unbeatable views of the Tucson. Blanco is a great place to have a leisurely meal with friends or family.
Blanco is known for their great happy hour deals, which run every day from 3-6 pm. The happy hour food menu features $4 tortas and $3 tacos, nachos, quesadillas, and a variety of dips. Mexican beers are $3, sangria and well drinks are $4, and margaritas, wine, shandies, and micheladas are $5.
If you happen to miss the awesome happy hour deals, there are some flavorful, fun options on the regular menu as well. For an appetizer, try the queso. It’s a little bowl of heaven for only $3. If you’re willing to spend more than $10, try a cheese crisp (like a Mexican pizza). My favorite is the roasted chicken and poblano chile for $11. The taco meal, which includes three tacos, comes with a side of rice and beans and runs between $10-$14.
Blanco is located in the La Encantada shopping center at 2905 E Skyline Drive in the foothills of Tucson.
Karuna’s is a great option for a quick bite or for take-out after a long day. Almost everything on the menu is under $10 and is made fresh to order. You can personalize each dish by choosing mild, medium, or spicy based on your spice preference, and almost every item on the menu can be made vegetarian.
The weekday lunch buffet is only $8 and offers a variety of foods, such as pad thai, veggies, curries, and fried rice. Many, including me, consider Karuna’s to have the best pad thai in Tucson. The chicken pad thai is only $7.25 and can easily feed two people, or become a second meal for later in the week. Another great option is their curry, which runs between $7.95 and $9.45.
Karuna’s is a tiny hole-in-the-wall, located at 1917 East Grant Road.
Header Image by Julie DeMarre.