Find 6 of the Valley's best bento boxes at Japanese restaurants in Phoenix | Phoenix New Times

Best bento boxes: 6 top Japanese lunch specials in Phoenix

Bento boxes are a great way to sample multiple courses for an all-in-one price. Here are 6 of our favorites.
Try the teriyaki steak bento box lunch from Yama Sushi House.
Try the teriyaki steak bento box lunch from Yama Sushi House. Yama Sushi House
Share this:
We love a good deal and we hate cooking in record-high temperatures. So some cold, refreshing sushi accompanied by fixings that make up a bento box are the perfect summer lunch.

According to historians, bento boxes first appeared in Japan in the Kamakura period between 1185 and 1333. The word "bento" was derived from translations of "convenient" or "useful" and the portable meals later became popular as workers and students would use them to take lunch on the go. At restaurants, bento boxes are a great way to sample multiple courses for an all-in-one price.

Many restaurants feature bento boxes with a colorful variety of dishes, often including bites such as seaweed salad, miso soup, dumplings, sushi rolls, sashimi, tempura style vegetables or meats, teriyaki meat or tofu, chicken or pork katsu rice and more. Bento boxes are a hearty way to break up the day and get a taste of some of the restaurant's best offerings.

Here are six of our favorite Japanese restaurants in Phoenix for standout bento box lunch options.

Iron Chef

10810 N. Tatum Blvd.
Popular local fusion restaurant Iron Chef offers a variety of both Chinese and Japanese specialties made in-house. With a friendly waitstaff and a cozy feel, it's an excellent option for snagging an $11 sushi and sashimi or tempura bento from the Japanese lunch menu. The shrimp tempura bento box comes with soup, salad, a California roll, fried rice and lightly battered shrimp tempura. The sushi and sashimi bento box option comes with soup, salad, three pieces of sushi, three pieces of sashimi and a California Roll. Sushi options include eel avocado, spicy tuna, yellowtail or salmon. Add a glass of floral iced Jasmine Green Tea to beat the heat.

Sushi Brokers

Multiple Locations
This hip sushi spot with multiple locations and a full bar has speakers playing current pop music. Sushi Brokers offers its bento box selection from 11 am to 3 p.m. Options include an $11 sushi lunch bento featuring a California roll with one piece each of yellowtail, tuna and salmon. Upgrade to a $15 specialty bento that includes a choice of specialty roll rather than a California roll. Sushi Brokers' bento box lunches also come with sides of miso soup, cucumber salad, white rice and wok-cooked veggies. This is one of the more generous portioned boxes on the list. Those who don't love sushi can also enjoy alternative bento box options with tempura shrimp, teriyaki chicken or chicken katsu.

Sushi Crush

E. Greenway Road, Scottsdale
Check out this fast-casual sushi spot for a $12 bento box lunch deal that includes miso soup, green salad, choice of entree, sushi and a side. Sushi Crush's entree choices are chicken teriyaki, salmon teriyaki, beef bulgogi or shrimp tempura. Side choices are edamame, gyoza, crab puff, seaweed salad or cucumber salad. Sushi Crush has a cozy, family-friendly feel with bright lighting, booths and traditional tables. Ramen along with Korean dishes including bibimbap and bulgogi bowls are also on the menu.

Yen Sushi + Sake Bar

N. 43rd Ave., Glendale
Yen Sushi + Sake Bar has two locations in the Valley. While the Scottsdale restaurant is known for its revolving sushi service, the Glendale restaurant offers bento box lunches. Order a $12.49 bento box lunch for a filling mix of miso soup, rice, salad, two pieces of tempura, four pieces of either California roll or spicy tuna roll and a grilled entree. Pick between chicken teriyaki, beef teriyaki, salmon teriyaki or spicy pork. For $3 extra, guests can upgrade to barbecue short ribs. As the name of the restaurant implies, this spot also offers a wide selection of sake, beer, and wine.

click to enlarge
Hiro Sushi's sashimi and mixed tempura lunch combo is $16 and comes with lightly battered and fried vegetables including sweet potato, onion, asparagus, and mushrooms.
Melissa Parker

Hiro Sushi

9393 N. 90th St., Phoenix
Hiro Sushi promises an authentic experience, proudly stating that its owner trained in Japan for 25 years before bringing his sushi to Arizona. The team of sushi makers are a point of interest at a long table where patrons can choose to sit and watch their rolls being wrapped and prepared. This urban-style exposed-brick spot offers bento box lunches that include miso soup, rice, a salad and a choice of two mains starting at $15. Options for mains are mixed tempura, chicken teriyaki, salmon teriyaki, fried oysters, two pieces of shrimp tempura, a California Roll, gyoza, or chicken or pork katsu.  This is a very popular spot even in the summer, and does not take reservations. We recommend coming early to snag a table, especially if lunching with a larger group.

Yama Sushi House

Multiple locations
With locations in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Chandler, the sleek and modern Yama Sushi House has an appealing selection of bento boxes. The options include four pieces of California roll, salad and white rice along with the main course. Lunch Bento Boxes are served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bento boxes with chicken or pork katsu are $11 while the Yama Bento with a mix of sashimi, teriyaki steak or teriyaki chicken options are $18. 
Can you help us continue to share our stories? Since the beginning, Phoenix New Times has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix — and we'd like to keep it that way. Our members allow us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls.