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The SCV’s best lunch deals

The ‘in’ spots where you find good food at good prices

Posted: September 17, 2009 5:12 p.m.
Updated: September 18, 2009 6:11 a.m.

T-Bo's House of BBQ in Canyon Country offers a $9.99 lunch special that includes one half a sandwich, fries and a soda. You can also substitute soup. Shown above, T-Bo's signature coleslaw, North Carolina Pulled Pork sandwich and loaded baked potato soup.

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Times are tough, but that doesn't have to stop you from enjoying a good, solid lunch at a fair price. Our staff recently collected their favorite lunch deals around town, ranging in price from $1.50 to $9.99, with a focus on independent restaurants.

These tasty bargains range from healthy salads to decadent burgers to international tastes of every kind - Mexican, Italian, Indian, Cuban, Chinese, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, and good old American BBQ, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, wings, and fries.

So, whatever you're craving for lunch, clip out our list for a handy reference on where you can indulge your appetite for less.

Bella Cucina - Bring a serious appetite to the $8.99 all-you-can-eat lunch buffet served every day (weekends, too) from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., which includes an extensive salad bar, two pizzas, two soups, four pastas, fruit, and dessert to choose from (plus bowls of hot, buttery garlic knots that are brought straight to your table). This is freshly prepared, excellent food in beautiful surroundings served by attentive staff. It's a real culinary splurge that won't kill your wallet, but will keep you full well past dinnertime. 27430 The Old Road, Valencia. (661) 253-3900.

China Palace - This clean, slightly retro establishment was recently taken over by a former waitress who is doing her best to keep the customers happy, such as the daily lunch buffet. The spread includes over 40 items (sushi, Chinese, Cantonese, and American foods, plus ice cream) for only $6.99 per person from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday - Friday. 23410 Lyons Avenue, Newhall. (661) 255-5222.

Costco - The deal of the century will always be the Costco hot dog and soda combo. Where else can you get a 1/4 pound kosher hot dog or Polish sausage with a 20 oz. soda (with refill) for $1.50? (You need to tack on 15 cents for tax, bringing the total to a whopping $1.65). Of course you need to be a Costco member (memberships are $50 a year). The hot dog deal includes a host of condiments: mustard, deli mustard, ketchup and relish are available at a pump station; chopped onions are also available. If you want sauerkraut for a "kraut dog" simply ask the cashier when you order your dog. 18649 Via Princessa, Canyon Country. (661) 250-2818.

El Trocadero - Authentic Sonoran eatery offers an extensive $7.95 menu on weekedays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., served in their charming Old Town Newhall location. Choice of taco and enchilada plate, chicken or beef burrito, flautas, or chile-relleno plate with rice or beans, or chicken or beef torta and French fries or a grilled chicken or mahi mahi salad. All lunch specials include a fountain drink or iced tea. 24274 San Fernando Road, Newhall. (661) 284-6615.

Jasmine Thai BBQ - Serene little spot serving up some of the best Thai food not only in the SCV, but for miles around. Lunch specials are available from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday - Friday, and include your choice of chicken, beef, pork, or tofu prepared in a myriad of styles: curry, cashew nut, broccoli with oyster sauce, fresh ginger, chili, garlic and basil, mixed vegetables, chicken teriyaki, chili and onion, pepper and garlic, prik king, sweet and sour, spinach, baby corn and spinach, or eggplants with chili garlic, plus egg rolls, green salad, steamed rice, and a soft drink or Thai iced tea for $6.95. 26879 Bouquet Canyon Road, Saugus. (661) 297-4755.

Kimchi Korean Restaurant - Modest yet hip Korean joint offers some bountiful lunch specials - $7.95 gets you savory marinated and grilled chicken, pork, or beef, white or brown rice, and several Korean side dishes (such as their namesake kimchi), plus a pot of tea. You can upgrade to six meaty beef short ribs for just $8.95. 11:30 - 2 p.m., Monday - Friday. 23460 Cinema Dr., Suite B, Valencia. (661) 799-6944.

Karma Indian Restaurant - A vegetarian's dream, with a few odes to the carnivore, the lavish $8.95 buffet here includes a rotating roster of four vegetarian dishes, three meat dishes (always featuring Tandoori chicken), rice, hot naan bread, a salad and fruit bar, plus rice pudding for dessert. Monday - Friday, 11:30 to 3 p.m. 23460 Cinema Drive, Valencia. (661) 288-0080.

Liar's Café - Tucked away in the industrial center, this small establishment run by Keith Ortiz, a former police officer, turns out classic diner fare at unbelievable prices. Nothing on the menu is over $8.95, but the BLT with sinfully delicious fries or your choice of freshly made side salads is a particular standout at just $4.50. 28150 Avenue Crocker, Valencia. (661) 257-7676.

Margarita's Mexican Restaurant - Bountiful buffet of Mexican favorites served in Margarita's charming, colorful dining room includes handmade tortillas, rice, beans, five different entrees (such as fajitas, chili verde, enchiladas, etc.) and soup and salad bar for just $8.95, from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., Monday - Friday. 23320 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. (661) 255-1136.

Mojito - Want to impress business clients, but don't have the expense account? Try Santa Clarita Valley's Cuban Mecca Mojito, which has to-die-for décor, festive music, gracious service, and three lunch specials priced at $7.95: grilled mango chicken salad, "Sandwiche" Cubano (roasted pork and sliced ham with melted Swiss, mustard, and pickles on toasted Cuban bread) and the Medianoche (like the "Sandwiche Cubano" except it's served on a toasted Cuban sweet roll). 26876 The Old Road, Valencia. (661) 254-2018.

Pho Nga - With fall around the corner, you may get a hankering for a big bowl of soup soon. At this funky little Canyon Country spot, you can get a steaming cauldron of Vietnamese pho - rice noodles with beef, chicken, or seafood plus the usual accoutrements of basil, onion, bean sprouts, and lime on the side - for just $6.45. 18741 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country. (661) 251-0270.

Salt Creek Grille - The recently launched $6 burgers before 6 p.m. offers a real deal, high-quality, juicy burger and Salt Creek Grille's famous garlic fries, served up at one of the swankiest locations in town - the patio is perfect for people watching. Your choice of classic cheese, mushroom & Swiss, bleu cheese, or turkey with jalapeno peppers, grilled onions, and cilantro-jalapeno mayo - or a low-carb burger with sauteed mushrooms and gorgonzola. 24415 Town Center Drive, Valencia. (661) 222-9999.

Saucey's Wings & Fries - Lunch box for just $7 includes five huge wings in your choice of delectable sauces (habanero mango, buffalo, Creole, honey chipotle, black peppercorn, hoisin, smokey BBQ, sticky lemon, garlic & parmesan, and country fried gravy), choice of incredible fresh-cut fries (sea salt and pepper, cheddar cheese, chili, gravy, or garlic) and a bottomless cup for a refreshment station boasting an Icee machine in addition to traditional soft drinks. 25347 Wayne Mills Place, Valencia. (661) 799-WING.

T-Bo's House of BBQ - There are a variety of different styles of BBQ on offer here, which you can sample in the spectacular lunch special, priced at $9.99. The special includes half of a sandwich (North Carolina pulled pork, Texas brisket, BBQ smoked chicken or short ribs), soda and fries. You can substitute a bowl of soup instead of fries if you wish - the loaded baked potato soup is stellar. 19403 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country. (661) 250-2100.

Tri-Tipps - A carnivore's delight, the namesake Tri Tipps plate includes six ounces of slow-roasted, tender tri tip, tangy coleslaw, seasoned corn on the cob, and a fresh-baked breadstick for just $6.95. Tri tip tacos run around $2.50, plus there are plenty of other options well under $7. 27350 Newhall Ranch Road, Valencia. (661) 295-5536.

Z Pizza - Thin crust is the name of the game here, as well as quality ingredients: organic flour and tomato sauce, low-fat mozzarella, gourmet toppings. At lunch, customers can order two slices of pizza from four varieties on offer daily, as well as a refillable drink for just $5.99...but wait, there's more! Order two combos and you get the second one for just $1. That's $6.95 for two lunches! 27015 McBean Pkwy., Valencia. (661) 259-5000.

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