Welcome to Ask Eater, a column from Eater SF where the site’s editors answer difficult dining questions from readers and friends. Have a question for us? Submit it via this form.
Hi Eater SF,
[Given the] surge right now…. I don’t want to get together with people for Thanksgiving, but I want to have a nice Thanksgiving meal at home, just for myself. Would you be able to find out about restaurants [serving meals] just for one?
I did read your article you did a couple of days ago, but it’s all for a group of people. I live by myself, and I’m looking for a boxed meal with all/most typical Thanksgiving items. I’m more than happy to pay more than a normal to-go meal, but not $70.
What’s up, Kevin!
What a sharp question. Thank you for finding a hole in our coverage, and maybe in the city. Family meals do seem to be the trend this year, with many restaurants featuring spreads for two, four, or more people, and nearly all of our takeout recommendations reflect that. But you are too right — solo, responsible diners such as yourself deserve to tuck into a festive dinner at home.
Here are a few holiday offerings that we were able to find for the discerning solo diner. Unfortunately, after flipping through menus, the hardest part was finding something within your budget! So readers, please help us out — if you spot any Thanksgiving takeout options for one for less than $70, please let us know. We would be happy to update this list, in solidarity with all of our fabulous single friends.
Bi-Rite Market, the resident grocer of food-obsessed Mission Dolores, appears to be a Thanksgiving fan favorite. Several readers wrote in to recommend the TV dinner! A throwback tray complete with turkey, mash, stuffing, Brussels, butternut, and cranberry sauce, for the low price of $16.99. Plus, you can pick up a 6-inch personal pie for only $12.99 more, which sounds like just the right size for breakfast leftovers.
Guerra Quality Meats, the old-school butcher shop in Inner Parkside, is carving up big roasts to better feed solo diners. Their Thanksgiving deal is priced at only $18 per person, and that stacks up deli containers filled with turkey, mash, stuffing, candied carrots, gravy, and cranberry sauce. And they’re carrying pumpkin pies from Costeaux French Bakery (of Dutch crunch fame).
The Dorian boozy brunch destination in the Marina has a surprisingly affordable Friendsgiving deal, with a couple of important notes in the fine print. They have a prix fixe menu for only $36! That includes turkey, mac and cheese, Brussels sprouts, and pumpkin spice churros. But it’s only available on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday (skipping over the holiday itself), and the $36-deal is only for sit-down diners. However, the restaurant promises us that they’ll weigh out all of those items deli style, so a solo diner could still pick up an affordable array of turkey and sides.
Tommy’s Joynt is always a reasonably priced Thanksgiving option, where regulars line up cafeteria-style to get trays loaded with turkey legs and stuffing. And at least according to their social media (multiple attempts to reach them have not been successful), they do plan to be open for the holiday this year. Although it’s worth giving them a buzz before making the trip, given that the open-and-close rumors have swirled this fall.
House of Prime Rib is doing takeout for the first time ever, so if you prefer a holiday beef over turkey, now is the meat eater’s moment. A slice of prime rib, complete with mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, Yorkshire pudding, runs between $40 and $50, depending on the cut. But no online orders — according to the SF Chronicle, it’s old-school walk-ups.
A tipster wrote in to recommend Zazie, the warm bistro in Cole Valley. The Cali-French favorite has a lovely menu for $59 per person, which includes a salad with persimmons and goat cheese, turkey with wild mushroom gravy, and brioche bread pudding, and more. And they’re throwing in a complimentary bottle of Beaujolais for every order.
Balboa Cafe is running a prix fixe for Thanksgiving, which is set up per person. Choose one item from each course, so you could go classic with butternut soup, brined turkey, and pecan pie, although I myself would go straight for crab cakes, short ribs, and pumpkin cheesecake. But at $75, it does exceed your budget.
Park Tavern, the indulgent brasserie in North Beach, puts out a decadent Thanksgiving. Their prix fixe menu is per person, and it includes caviar blini, spiced pumpkin soup, turkey, beef, or salmon, and all the buttery sides, with pie for dessert. Again, it’s over budget at $85, but if you consider caviar worth the splurge...
Third Cousin loves to feed the neighborhood in Bernal Heights, and they are offering a dinner for “one to two” people, if you are into the leftovers concept. It loads up on herb-roasted turkey, sausage stuffing, green bean casserole, giblet gravy, and pumpkin and pecan pie. It does ring in at $99, but if it covers a couple of meals, let’s call it within budget?
Updated Friday, November 13: Readers wrote in to recommend Bi-Rite, Guerra’s, and Zazie, which have been added to the list.