Budget Beat

$10 Lunch at Rice Paper

In the mood for some tasty Vietnamese food in Downtown Phoenix?  Well, good luck finding a spot. Your options might be pretty limited, but at least we have Rice Paper!

Rice Paper sits in a quaint re-purposed house off 7th Street just north of Palm Lane. Inside you'll find a very modern and cozy atmosphere, and if the weather is nice, you can grab a seat outside on the patio and take in the sights of 7th Street while chowing down on a plate of sushi-style spring rolls or a hearty bahn mi.

From tasty beef soup (easily big enough for two) at $9 to a full arrangement of spring rolls ranging from $3.50 to $4.75 or a decent sized side of garlic noodles for just $6 -- everything on Rice Paper's menu is relatively affordable for the quality of food coming out of the kitchen.

My lunch date and I wanted to taste a couple dishes, so we decided to share a plate of fresh chicken and basil spring rolls, a bowl of fragrant pho, and a side of the savory garlic noodles. Rice Paper doesn't skimp on their portions. Everything was huge, and we had more than enough food for the two us. The pho was packed full of fresh veggies, the broth was almost as good as my favorite hole-the-wall Vietnamese pho houses, and the tasty garlic noodles had just the right amount of garlicy kick and could have almost been a meal in itself. The spring rolls, which are made by an ex-sushi chef, were my favorite part of the meal. Crisp lettuce and basil hugged the flavorful pieces of chicken, and the curry hoisin sauce was an interesting complement to the roll.

It may be a bit of a stretch to eat by yourself for under $10, but if you bring a friend who likes to share, you can definitely get out of Rice Paper for under $20 (excluding tip and drinks). I ended up paying around $18 for a 3 course lunch for two, and my date and I both left full and satisfied.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jayson Swearingen