Budget Beat

Lunch Under $10: Mexican Buffet at La Fonda Del Sol in Scottsdale

La Fonda Del Sol restaurant is located in plain sight, sitting between a vapor store and bicycle shop on the southeast corner of Shea Boulevard and Scottsdale Road. But even if you've driven by the little eatery a million times, chances are good that you've never actually noticed it.

And despite the fact that La Fonda Del Sol Mexican Food may not look like much, the restaurant has a Mexican lunch buffet that's both filling and cheap.

See also: Lunch Under $10 at Nandini Indian Cuisine in Tempe

Walk into the restaurant located at 7223 E. Shea Boulevard in Scottsdale and you'll see the buffet on the left. To your right you pass by a wall of pictures from past visitors -- our favorite of which was of Phoenix native Linda Carter, a.k.a. Wonder Woman.

The restaurant provides chips and salsa to customers once seated. Two small bottles of salsa will appear, but they're not labeled, so here's your warning: The one with fewer spices in it will be the most spicy, and it packs a punch right between the eyes that might just cause your nose to run. We determined that mixing the two salsas gave us the perfect amount of heat.

The buffet features a wide variety of Mexican dishes. You'll find flavorful soups including menudo, a traditional soup made with tripe, and cocido beef soup. The cheese enchiladas and cheese chili rellenos are both equally good (and vegetarian-friendly). Both dishes were well-prepared and seemed to be never ending.

The variety of meats, beans, and veggies allowed us to mix-and-match our meal. The restaurant offers flour tortillas, taco shells, and tostadas, which you can use as a base to create whatever concoction you want. Chicken and steak fajitas are two common options, but you can also fill your taco shell with shredded or ground beef, rice or beans, and then head to the cold sidebar and go crazy with pico, fresh chopped cilantro, limes, lettuce, and cabbage. The restaurant offers sour cream, too, but sadly no guacamole.

Our favorite dishes included the chicken in red sauce and we were impressed with the fish dish on the buffet as well. After all of the heavy plates of cheese and meats we would have liked some salad, but we couldn't find any salad dressing on the buffet.

The lunch buffet at La Fonda Del Sol is $9.95 and is offered Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The regular menu is also available.

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