Ever just want a bomb, simple meal without spending a fortune?
Sounds impossible? Almost.
Finding cheap eats in SF can be gnarly. Like, one wrong bite at a $5.99 steak and eggs spot in the Tenderloin can cost you a whole day’s worth of stomach pains.
It can also be rewarding. From the best damn cheeseburger to a bowl of pho, there’s plenty of delicious stuff you can get without breaking the bank. Plus, I’m super picky when it comes to my food- quality is real important to me. AND I’ll stay a milli miles away from sketchy places that serve leftovers as a “lunch special” (barf).
So don’t worry. Whether you’re a local or a tourist in SF, here are some of my favorite spots that I recommend to all my homies. All under $10 bucks too.
Why: Hands down, one of my FAV Mexican restaurants in the city. They’ve got an amazing lunch menu with complimentary chips & salsa, tacos, huggee burritos (think: chipotle on crack) for under $10 bucks. They also have bomb margaritas, but then you’ll be going over $10 (worth it).
PS: Tropisueño has a classy, yet cosy and inviting atmosphere with great staff and service. It’s also a great happy hour spot to catch up with friends & co-workers.
Tip: Their lunch specials end at 4pm.
More deets: HERE!
Why: If you haven’t had a sandwich from Ike’s Place, you haven’t LIVED! What makes his sandwiches extraordinary is the “dirty sauce” that’s baked right into the bread. Plus… they don’t skimp on the meat or veggies or avo. ($9-$14)
Not to mention, Ike’s Place has been featured on Man v. Food, New York Times (8 times), 7X7 Magazine’s 100 Things to Eat Before You Die, SF Chronicle… and they’ve got over 6,500 reviews on Yelp.
Tip: Grab a sandwich, ask for it “extra dirty,” and enjoy it at one of the coolest parks ever: Dolores Park over looking SF (it’s only a couple blocks away. Not far).
PS: They’re expanding all over! 17 new locations this year (2015), so if you’re lucky… they’ll open one up near you. Fingers crossed.
Good Mong Kok Bakery
Why: You know you’ve found a worthy eatery when you see a huge crowd out the door- filled with tourists waiting in line with the locals. It’s a small hole-in-the-wall shop, serving some of the best baked goods and dim sum in Chinatown. Plus, everything is suppperrrr cheap too. See the pic collage above? Everything in TOTAL was under $5 bucks.
Tip: When it’s your turn at the counter, don’t hold up the line by being too indecisive. While you probably won’t know any of the names, just point and choose (it’s all bomb… trust me).
PS: This place doesn’t have any tables or seats. It’s perfect for to-go orders and anyone who wants to stop by for a quick snack before exploring the rest of Chinatown.
Location: 1039 Stockton St, San Francisco CA 94108 (b/t Jackson St & Washington St)
Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem
Why: Come here on Wednesdays for $.25 cent wings! You have to purchase two drinks… which you were going to anyways, right? Go during happy hour for $3 drinks and beer.
Tip: Send a friend off to grab seats while everyone else is still waiting (lines get super long, so go early!). To avoid the “2 drinks per person,” just combine everyone’s order into 1 big order.
PS: Unless you’re a bland and boring soul, don’t get the original wings- the sweet chili habanero is my FAV.
Location: 2323 Mission St/ San Francisco, CA 94110 (b/t 19th St & 20th St in Mission)
4505 Burger and BBQ
Why: They serve one of the best BBQ sandwiches in the entire city. The brisket BBQ sandwich ($9.75), is one of the best things you’ll ever have. It’s juicy, smoky, and simply divine. Also comes with a nice slathering of slaw with some pickles on top.
Their “Best Damn Cheeseburger” is also pretty good for the price ($8.75)
Tip: Most of their seating is in the outside patio. Come early to beat the long ass lines!
More deets: HERE
Golden Boys Pizza
Why: It’s an awesome pizza spot in North Beach, serving Sicilian-style pizza by the square ($3.75 per slice).
Basically, there’s two occasions one goes to Golden Boys. The first, is if you’re craving some cheap, fast, and bomb ass pizza. The second, is if you’ve got late night munchies or alcohol-induced hunger from a night out. So whether it’s 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning, Golden Boys will never disappoint.
Tip: It’s cash only. If you see a line (which you probably will) don’t worry because it moves fast.
Location: 542 Green Street, San Francisco CA 94133/ 415-982-9738;
Why? Ever have a Vietnamese sandwich before?? I’ve had my fair share, and this place rocks. They don’t skimp on the meat or the veggies either, and everything comes stuffed in a French baguette with the usual accoutrements of pickled carrots, jalapeños, and cilantro.
BTW it’s only $3.75 for a big ass sandwich (regular), but you should DEF treat yourself to the combo for $4.25 with extra pate. It’s worth the extra $.50 cents. Trust me.
Tip: I usually buy 2 or 3 or 4 and save it for lunch the next day (it’s just as good when you put it back in the toaster/oven)
PS: They are located in the Tenderloin. Kinda ghetto but not tooooo far from Union Square either. Just avoid making eye contact with the crazys.
Location: 560 Larkin St. / San Francisco, CA 94102/ 415-474-5698
Why: My fav pho place ever, and it just so happens to be only $6.75 (small)- $8.25 (large) for a huge ass bowl! The noodles are silky smooth (made fresh daily) and the meat is top quality. Their bowl of pho is savory, robust, full bodied without being too greasy or heavy.
Tip: They serve “Northern Vietnamese Style Pho,” which means it doesn’t come with the extra veggies or hoisin sauce (the brown sauce). What you see is what you get. Their “less is more” approach provides a broth that is well-balanced with a meaty flavor that doesn’t dominate the dish.
PS: Their chicken noodle soup has also been featured on 7X7 Magazine’s 100 Things to Eat Before You Die.
More deets: HERE
Super Duper Burger
Why: This one is pretty much a no-brainer. But I figure I’d include it in this list for all my out-of-towners! They serve bomb-ass burgers, fries, and the best strawberry milkshake ever. They’ve got locations all over the city, so if you happen to pass by one while starving, it’s a must try!
Super burger (8oz) $7 / Mini burger (4oz) $5 / Mini combo (4oz) patty + french fries + drink = 9.25
Tip: A dollar more gets you bacon, avocado or roasted Portobello. And a dollar-fifty gets you an organic egg or blue cheese. And don’t forget the free house-made pickles that sit on the condiment stand in self-serve jars.
Locations: Click THIS and scroll to the bottom.
Why: They’ve got some pretty amazing Japanese curry with delicious pork cutlets, cooked to perfection, drenched in a spicy curry sauce… heaven. For only $8.50 a plate… look at how much food they give you!! (I wish I had a better pic)
Tip: If you’re hungry, tired, and just getting off work… this is the perfect place to pop in for a quick bite. You can totally call ahead to place your order and enjoy in 10 minutes.
PS: Be on the lookout for their sign, it’s easy to miss! While they are located in the Tenderloin, it’s much more hip & classier than that. The interior is pretty modern, with a wooden bar table where you can watch them cook & prepare your meal right in front of you.
More deets: HERE!
Why: While this place isn’t exactly “cheap,” they’ve got $1 happy hour oysters all day from 11:30 am- 5:30 pm.
Oh and this view + a glass of wine = heaven.
Plus, it’s like ballin on a budget.
Tip: Be sure to get there early to snag a seat at the bar (first come first serve basis) OR you can wait for a table in the line outside.
PS: The food is nothing special and overpriced. I’d just come here for their happy hour specials.
More deets: HERE
Side: Do you guys have any other recommendations?? Do tell below!
And I’ll be posting more cheap eats on Facebook every week, follow along –> www.facebook.com/cyneats