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Try the new salads at Rooster and Rice’s 2nd Street shop.
Rooster and Rice

19 Affordable Dining Options in San Francisco

Local diners are always hungry for a good deal

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Try the new salads at Rooster and Rice’s 2nd Street shop.
| Rooster and Rice

Inflation takes its toll on everyone, but, outside of gas prices, it might be most felt when eating. Therefore, an affordable dining option is more critical than ever. In a city like San Francisco, where living a middle-class lifestyle runs about $300,000, it’s absolutely clutch to find a cheap bahn mi and a pupusa for $3. Across the board, prices have gone up, but there are still plenty of places to scour the city for waffles, pizza, and even $7 french toast. Let this list of 19 San Francisco restaurants take away those inflation woes and ease the suffering of supply chain-inspired price hikes.

Note: Menu prices may fluctuate.

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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Rooster & Rice

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The menu here is short and sweet, the star attraction being the Thai poached chicken and rice dish known as khao mun gai. Other options, like a vegetarian version or one that features organic breast meat and brown rice, cater to the health conscious and those with dietary restrictions. It’s all extraordinarily takeout-friendly fare. There are four Rooster & Rice locations in the city; the 2nd Street location just introduced salads.

Stefanie Tuder

Yo Yo's

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This Japanese noodle and takeaway sushi shop is little more than a tiny kitchen a few steps away from the heart of the Financial District, but it’s attracted a faithful following for its delicious, bargain-priced udon and soba, in particular. After nearly closing in April 2022, the shop is back on its feet. “Everything” includes crispy puffed rice, seasoned bean curd, and a little dab of wasabi. The restaurant has reopened for takeout, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hot Sauce and Panko

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This popular Russian Hill wing-slinger is a takeout- and delivery-only model, with a retail shop selling hot sauce when you pick up your wings. These are some of the most succulent, flavorful wings in town, available in a range of internationally-inspired sweet, savory, or spicy varieties — most priced around $7 for an order of five. The shop reopens after a temporary closure on August 17.

Wings at Hot Sauce and Panko

Angel Cafe & Deli

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It’s rare to find corner in San Francisco where you can sit, hear the vibrancy of the city, and feel the sun on your face as you eat an affordable breakfast. Such is the vibe at Angel Cafe, the longtime Tenderloin favorite for a quick and hearty bite. The prices smack of 1999 – there’s nothing on the menu above $10.

Angel Cafe & Deli

Kusina Ni Tess

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Perhaps the friendliest and most delicious of the city’s Filipino steam table spots, Kusina Ni Tess is open for takeout Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s got a daily changing menu that you should check if you’re craving something specific — say, chicken adobo (available every day except Monday). Traditional breakfast silog plates are available all day, every day, and most dishes are priced at about $10 for an average order.

La Cocina Municipal Marketplace

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The newest food hall in the Tenderloin is back to indoor dining, so there’s nothing stopping anyone from getting one of their $5 super meals. There are seven different businesses to order from, running the gamut of cuisines and offerings, and each are owned and operated by entrepreneurs from the incubator programs. Word on the street is the nonprofit will install a parklet by the end of August.

Estrellita’s Snacks from La Cocina
Lorena Masso

Nizario's Pizza Geary Blvd

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This one is for the students in San Francisco. The brothers Nizario have been slicing up heat since 1983; one slice of pepperoni pizza is about $5 and five slices of garlic cheese bread costs just $6.95. As pizza gets bigger, and pricier, in San Francisco, don’t forget the old and the cheap.

Om Sabor

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For the quality of ingredients and the relative price of the neighborhood, this new-to-Hayes Valley restaurant is the spot. Dhanistha Rivera and Luis Flores are bringing their brand of vegan Mexican food to Phonobar, a high-end bar and dance floor that shares the space. Try the empanada media noche, an $8 hand pie with smoked mojo seitan. 

Uncle Boy's

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This burger and lumpia joint features a menu where everything is about $11 and is one of those places that’s mentioned, inevitably, by those born and raised in San Francisco’s Richmond and Sunset districts. Don’t deny yourself the Romeo’s Juliet, a burger with mozzarella sticks crammed inside.

Eddie's Cafe

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Also on Divisadero, this is a breakfast spot for those looking for a proper place to dish up before a long day working. Though on the same block as trendier restaurants, the low-key energy at Eddie’s could be found in any diner anywhere in the state. A three-piece french toast costs just $8.25 and the coffee, bottomless of course, is just $3.

Scenes Eddie’s Cafe Sunday 11am

Marnee Thai Restaurant

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The cook behind this Sunset restaurant, with locations in both Inner and Outer, has cooked for the prince and princess of Thailand so there’s no reason Chai Siriyarn’s creations should be anything other than a million dollars a bite. No matter; try the tom kha.

Coconut noodles from Marnee Thai Marnee Thai

Dinosaurs

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This sandwich shop has three locations in San Francisco and each one offers seven different sandwiches for about $12. The $6 avocado shake is rare for a drink of its kind, too.

Banh mi from Dinosaurs Dinosaurs

Yuanbao Jiaozi 元寶餃子

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While each item here seems pricier than you’d expect, you would also be surprised to find that each order is a Trojan horse for many dumplings. One order of fish dumplings, at about $10, includes about 14 dumplings. In addition to the big servings, the service is quick and chipper, a true delight when you’re ready to chow down.

Happy Bakery

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Thank god there’s an ATM kitty corner to this cash-only Sunset destination. Cars double park every morning of the week as regulars dash in and out for siu mai, taro peanut butter dumplings, and buns of all kinds. 

At this tiny, no-frills Burmese diner, everything on the menu — from the assortment of curries to the garlicky house noodles — will run you just $6.50, cash only. It might be the best bang for your buck of any restaurant in the city. Yamo is open for takeout with limited hours, Monday through Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m. Call in or wait patiently outside to place your order.

garlic noodles at yamo Omar Mamoon

Rhea's Deli & Market

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This Valencia staple once served a Cardi B-themed sandwich, and at a deliciously low price that would have given the Bodak Yellow rapper a chortle. Most of the sandwiches are nods to San Francisco streets or parks. Thankfully, the sandwiches run for an average of $11 at this shop.

Rinconcito Salvadoreño

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For a big weekend, one might blow a wad of cash and get the pricier items at this Bernal Heights’ restaurant. Or, one could purchase a plethora of pupusas, a timeless cheap eat. On average each pupusa is just $3, and, to wash it all down, the coffee is just $2.

bloomstock

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This 420-friendly Bayview waffle and coffee house has stellar prices. The house blend is $2.75 a cup, and the vegan waffles start at $7. With a 20 percent tip included, a lucky duck of a customer could find themselves spending less than $15 for a drink, a waffle, and a seat at one of San Francisco’s sweetest little parklets.

a waffle at Bloomstock Bloomstock

Beep's Burgers

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This space age-themed, ’60s-style diner in Ingleside serves one of the best inexpensive burgers in the city. Even during shelter in place, Beep’s remained open for its regular hours, offering its Twinkie milkshakes, jalapeño poppers, and roughly $8 burgers to the true believers.

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Rooster & Rice

The menu here is short and sweet, the star attraction being the Thai poached chicken and rice dish known as khao mun gai. Other options, like a vegetarian version or one that features organic breast meat and brown rice, cater to the health conscious and those with dietary restrictions. It’s all extraordinarily takeout-friendly fare. There are four Rooster & Rice locations in the city; the 2nd Street location just introduced salads.

Stefanie Tuder

Yo Yo's

This Japanese noodle and takeaway sushi shop is little more than a tiny kitchen a few steps away from the heart of the Financial District, but it’s attracted a faithful following for its delicious, bargain-priced udon and soba, in particular. After nearly closing in April 2022, the shop is back on its feet. “Everything” includes crispy puffed rice, seasoned bean curd, and a little dab of wasabi. The restaurant has reopened for takeout, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hot Sauce and Panko

This popular Russian Hill wing-slinger is a takeout- and delivery-only model, with a retail shop selling hot sauce when you pick up your wings. These are some of the most succulent, flavorful wings in town, available in a range of internationally-inspired sweet, savory, or spicy varieties — most priced around $7 for an order of five. The shop reopens after a temporary closure on August 17.

Wings at Hot Sauce and Panko

Angel Cafe & Deli

It’s rare to find corner in San Francisco where you can sit, hear the vibrancy of the city, and feel the sun on your face as you eat an affordable breakfast. Such is the vibe at Angel Cafe, the longtime Tenderloin favorite for a quick and hearty bite. The prices smack of 1999 – there’s nothing on the menu above $10.

Angel Cafe & Deli

Kusina Ni Tess

Perhaps the friendliest and most delicious of the city’s Filipino steam table spots, Kusina Ni Tess is open for takeout Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s got a daily changing menu that you should check if you’re craving something specific — say, chicken adobo (available every day except Monday). Traditional breakfast silog plates are available all day, every day, and most dishes are priced at about $10 for an average order.

La Cocina Municipal Marketplace

The newest food hall in the Tenderloin is back to indoor dining, so there’s nothing stopping anyone from getting one of their $5 super meals. There are seven different businesses to order from, running the gamut of cuisines and offerings, and each are owned and operated by entrepreneurs from the incubator programs. Word on the street is the nonprofit will install a parklet by the end of August.

Estrellita’s Snacks from La Cocina
Lorena Masso

Nizario's Pizza Geary Blvd

This one is for the students in San Francisco. The brothers Nizario have been slicing up heat since 1983; one slice of pepperoni pizza is about $5 and five slices of garlic cheese bread costs just $6.95. As pizza gets bigger, and pricier, in San Francisco, don’t forget the old and the cheap.

Om Sabor

For the quality of ingredients and the relative price of the neighborhood, this new-to-Hayes Valley restaurant is the spot. Dhanistha Rivera and Luis Flores are bringing their brand of vegan Mexican food to Phonobar, a high-end bar and dance floor that shares the space. Try the empanada media noche, an $8 hand pie with smoked mojo seitan. 

Uncle Boy's

This burger and lumpia joint features a menu where everything is about $11 and is one of those places that’s mentioned, inevitably, by those born and raised in San Francisco’s Richmond and Sunset districts. Don’t deny yourself the Romeo’s Juliet, a burger with mozzarella sticks crammed inside.

Eddie's Cafe

Also on Divisadero, this is a breakfast spot for those looking for a proper place to dish up before a long day working. Though on the same block as trendier restaurants, the low-key energy at Eddie’s could be found in any diner anywhere in the state. A three-piece french toast costs just $8.25 and the coffee, bottomless of course, is just $3.

Scenes Eddie’s Cafe Sunday 11am

Marnee Thai Restaurant

The cook behind this Sunset restaurant, with locations in both Inner and Outer, has cooked for the prince and princess of Thailand so there’s no reason Chai Siriyarn’s creations should be anything other than a million dollars a bite. No matter; try the tom kha.

Coconut noodles from Marnee Thai Marnee Thai

Dinosaurs

This sandwich shop has three locations in San Francisco and each one offers seven different sandwiches for about $12. The $6 avocado shake is rare for a drink of its kind, too.

Banh mi from Dinosaurs Dinosaurs

Yuanbao Jiaozi 元寶餃子

While each item here seems pricier than you’d expect, you would also be surprised to find that each order is a Trojan horse for many dumplings. One order of fish dumplings, at about $10, includes about 14 dumplings. In addition to the big servings, the service is quick and chipper, a true delight when you’re ready to chow down.

Happy Bakery

Thank god there’s an ATM kitty corner to this cash-only Sunset destination. Cars double park every morning of the week as regulars dash in and out for siu mai, taro peanut butter dumplings, and buns of all kinds. 

Yamo

At this tiny, no-frills Burmese diner, everything on the menu — from the assortment of curries to the garlicky house noodles — will run you just $6.50, cash only. It might be the best bang for your buck of any restaurant in the city. Yamo is open for takeout with limited hours, Monday through Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m. Call in or wait patiently outside to place your order.

garlic noodles at yamo Omar Mamoon

Related Maps

Rhea's Deli & Market

This Valencia staple once served a Cardi B-themed sandwich, and at a deliciously low price that would have given the Bodak Yellow rapper a chortle. Most of the sandwiches are nods to San Francisco streets or parks. Thankfully, the sandwiches run for an average of $11 at this shop.

Rinconcito Salvadoreño

For a big weekend, one might blow a wad of cash and get the pricier items at this Bernal Heights’ restaurant. Or, one could purchase a plethora of pupusas, a timeless cheap eat. On average each pupusa is just $3, and, to wash it all down, the coffee is just $2.

bloomstock

This 420-friendly Bayview waffle and coffee house has stellar prices. The house blend is $2.75 a cup, and the vegan waffles start at $7. With a 20 percent tip included, a lucky duck of a customer could find themselves spending less than $15 for a drink, a waffle, and a seat at one of San Francisco’s sweetest little parklets.

a waffle at Bloomstock Bloomstock

Beep's Burgers

This space age-themed, ’60s-style diner in Ingleside serves one of the best inexpensive burgers in the city. Even during shelter in place, Beep’s remained open for its regular hours, offering its Twinkie milkshakes, jalapeño poppers, and roughly $8 burgers to the true believers.

Related Maps