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Uni carbonara made with udon noodles, bacon, uni cream sauce, and a layer of raw uni. Darren Samuelson/Chisai Sushi Club

8 Affordable Tasting Menu Options Around San Francisco

Ball out on a budget with some prix-fixe menus that might not break the bank

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It’s not hard to find an excellent restaurant with an enticing tasting menu in a city like San Francisco. After all, the Bay Area can proudly lay claim to the highest concentration of three Michelin-starred restaurants in the country — and whether you’re craving refined California-Mexican cuisine or upscale Chinese served in a stunning space, there’s pretty much something for any taste on the list.

Of course, if you’re looking to spend a little less on your night out, well, things get a little more tricky. But never fear: there’s an ever-growing number of restaurants around the Bay Area offering multi-course menus that don’t necessarily break the bank. Here’s a list of more affordable tasting menu and prix-fixe options around the Bay Area.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

MAMA Oakland

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The Chronicle’s food critic called Mama one of Oakland’s best dining deals, which makes sense, because for about $35 it’s serving a full meal that includes a salad, pasta, and dessert. You can choose from two options for each course, like, for example, between Mama’s sugo and pappardelle and lemon ricotta rigatoni. The menu changes weekly, and the wine list highlights small-production wines for about no more than $17 a glass. 

Emma K. Morris

Hilda and Jesse

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Retro-fabulous Hilda & Jesse is here to break brunch expectations in North Beach and that includes its rare brunch tasting menu, which costs a cool $45. You’ll have to get the whole table to participate to try the daytime offering but, once secured, you’ll receive a taste of unexpected breakfast options — like a riff on shrimp toast that’s topped with finger lime and banana pudding crowned with coconut fluff — and there’s always the option to add on a double stack of the fan-favorite buttermilk pancakes. 

Trestle Restaurant

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Trestle’s $39 three-course prix-fixe has made it a San Francisco favorite for affordable dining ever since its debut back in 2015. And after a year ensconced in the Vault Steakhouse space, it’s now back on Jackson Street offering roasted rock cod or citrus brined pork loin for a dinner that will be bookended by salad or soup and dessert. 

Routier

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Brought to life thanks to a partnership between pastry chef Belinda Leong of B. Patisserie; business partner Michel Suas of Thorough Bread and Pastry; and chef John Paul Carmona, formerly of Manresa, Routier brings elegant French comforts to a sunny corner of Lower Pac Heights. Get a taste of both sweet and savory via the Formule Routier, which encompasses a soup, entree, and dessert for $55.  

A table of plates from Routier. Albert Law

Sushi Sato

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With restaurants including Tamashisoul in the Marina to Sushi Hon in the Mission, the Mins group has established a reputation for bringing quality fish and good value to the table, and the group’s latest is no exception. At warm and minimalist Sushi Sato, which opened in October in the Tenderloin, there are three options for tasting menus that all come around $50, including the Exclusive Sushi Tasting, which includes five pieces of nigiri with truffles and caviar for $55.

Mr. Pollo

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After a long pandemic pause, Mr. Pollo took up the roost once again in the Mission. This time it’s 

chef Graham Bellefeuille in the kitchen, but he’s still kicking out four-course meals for $40. Fans can count on the second course being an arepa, an homage to the space’s previous life as a South American restaurant. Beyond that though, Bellefeuille rotates the menu every week to highlight what’s growing fresh. 

The sign outside the Mr. Pollo restaurant on Mission Street. Will McGuire

Marlena Restaurant

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Since opening in August 2020, this mom-and-pop restaurant has quickly become a darling of the San Francisco dining scene. And it’s not hard to see why. Husband-and-wife team chef David Fisher and pastry chef Serena Chow Fisher offer Michelin star-worthy plates that spotlight local ingredients in a simple tasting menu format. Diners choose between two options for each of four courses; dinner costs $65 per person with the option to add beverage pairings for $49 per person.  

Chīsai Sushi Club

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Former Ichi Sushi chef Erik Aplin returned to the narrow Mission Street space in 2021, opening Chīsai Sushi Club with an experimental — think BLTA handroll — and relatively affordable 14-course tasting menu. For $80, Aplin rolls out a series of small plates including salad, sashimi, nigiri, temaki, and dessert. There’s also a vegetarian omakase available for $65. 

A Seafood Tower hand roll with raw scallop, Fort Bragg uni, and ikura, topped with nori butter melted on top, inspired by a the flavors and components of a traditional seafood tower. Darren Samuelson/Chisai Sushi Club

MAMA Oakland

Emma K. Morris

The Chronicle’s food critic called Mama one of Oakland’s best dining deals, which makes sense, because for about $35 it’s serving a full meal that includes a salad, pasta, and dessert. You can choose from two options for each course, like, for example, between Mama’s sugo and pappardelle and lemon ricotta rigatoni. The menu changes weekly, and the wine list highlights small-production wines for about no more than $17 a glass. 

Emma K. Morris

Hilda and Jesse

Retro-fabulous Hilda & Jesse is here to break brunch expectations in North Beach and that includes its rare brunch tasting menu, which costs a cool $45. You’ll have to get the whole table to participate to try the daytime offering but, once secured, you’ll receive a taste of unexpected breakfast options — like a riff on shrimp toast that’s topped with finger lime and banana pudding crowned with coconut fluff — and there’s always the option to add on a double stack of the fan-favorite buttermilk pancakes. 

Trestle Restaurant

Trestle’s $39 three-course prix-fixe has made it a San Francisco favorite for affordable dining ever since its debut back in 2015. And after a year ensconced in the Vault Steakhouse space, it’s now back on Jackson Street offering roasted rock cod or citrus brined pork loin for a dinner that will be bookended by salad or soup and dessert. 

Routier

A table of plates from Routier. Albert Law

Brought to life thanks to a partnership between pastry chef Belinda Leong of B. Patisserie; business partner Michel Suas of Thorough Bread and Pastry; and chef John Paul Carmona, formerly of Manresa, Routier brings elegant French comforts to a sunny corner of Lower Pac Heights. Get a taste of both sweet and savory via the Formule Routier, which encompasses a soup, entree, and dessert for $55.  

A table of plates from Routier. Albert Law

Sushi Sato

With restaurants including Tamashisoul in the Marina to Sushi Hon in the Mission, the Mins group has established a reputation for bringing quality fish and good value to the table, and the group’s latest is no exception. At warm and minimalist Sushi Sato, which opened in October in the Tenderloin, there are three options for tasting menus that all come around $50, including the Exclusive Sushi Tasting, which includes five pieces of nigiri with truffles and caviar for $55.

Mr. Pollo

The sign outside the Mr. Pollo restaurant on Mission Street. Will McGuire

After a long pandemic pause, Mr. Pollo took up the roost once again in the Mission. This time it’s 

chef Graham Bellefeuille in the kitchen, but he’s still kicking out four-course meals for $40. Fans can count on the second course being an arepa, an homage to the space’s previous life as a South American restaurant. Beyond that though, Bellefeuille rotates the menu every week to highlight what’s growing fresh. 

The sign outside the Mr. Pollo restaurant on Mission Street. Will McGuire

Marlena Restaurant

Since opening in August 2020, this mom-and-pop restaurant has quickly become a darling of the San Francisco dining scene. And it’s not hard to see why. Husband-and-wife team chef David Fisher and pastry chef Serena Chow Fisher offer Michelin star-worthy plates that spotlight local ingredients in a simple tasting menu format. Diners choose between two options for each of four courses; dinner costs $65 per person with the option to add beverage pairings for $49 per person.  

Chīsai Sushi Club

A Seafood Tower hand roll with raw scallop, Fort Bragg uni, and ikura, topped with nori butter melted on top, inspired by a the flavors and components of a traditional seafood tower. Darren Samuelson/Chisai Sushi Club

Former Ichi Sushi chef Erik Aplin returned to the narrow Mission Street space in 2021, opening Chīsai Sushi Club with an experimental — think BLTA handroll — and relatively affordable 14-course tasting menu. For $80, Aplin rolls out a series of small plates including salad, sashimi, nigiri, temaki, and dessert. There’s also a vegetarian omakase available for $65. 

A Seafood Tower hand roll with raw scallop, Fort Bragg uni, and ikura, topped with nori butter melted on top, inspired by a the flavors and components of a traditional seafood tower. Darren Samuelson/Chisai Sushi Club

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