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23 Affordable Dining Options in San Francisco

Local diners are always hungry for a good deal

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With COVID-related restrictions mostly lifted throughout the region, indoor dining is back into play. That means the Michelin-starred restaurants and high-end tasting menus are an option once more — though there are some relatively affording tasting menus out there, too, if you know where to look. But there’s also a hearty subset of restaurants in San Francisco that continue to offer some of the city’s best dining, whether squeezed into a tiny outdoor table or taken home to enjoy.

The 23 spots on this list are doing their part to feed the people, one inexpensive cheeseburger, taco, or bun rieu bowl at a time.

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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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

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. The original version comes with a generous portion of chicken, chicken fat–infused rice, a side of broth, and a tangy-savory dipping sauce — all for $12.95. 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; order online for pickup or delivery from the one closest to you.

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. On a hot day (or, really, any day) the best move is to order the cold soba with everything — just $8.25 for a full order, though the half-order size is just right for lighter appetites. “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 for 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 at $6.99 for an order of five. Order online for pickup or delivery.

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.

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 less than $8 for a small order. Call in or order delivery via Postmates.

Blue Danube Coffee House

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This Clement Street staple has the coffee shop ubiquitousness brought to a boil by Friends’ Central Perk. But there’s no laugh track rolling when it comes to the prices: a double grilled cheese for $10 or a peanut butter and jelly bagel for $4.50. There are pricier ends of the menu, but all the paninis cost less than $8, and a quiche-plus-salad combo runs just $9.

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 incubators programs.

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 $4.50, a slice of cheese pizza runs just $4.19, 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.

The Flying Falafel

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This fast-casual falafel shop offers pitas, platters, and hummus bowls topped with your choice of falafel, spiced kebab, faux-chicken shawarma, or crispy chick’n — yes, everything on the menu is vegan. At $7.95, the falafel makes for a plant-based option that’s easy on the wallet. Both the SoMa and Union Square locations are open for pickup and delivery via apps like Caviar and Postmates during weekday lunch hours only — Monday through Friday.

Om Sabor

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For the quality of ingredient 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 entirely under $10 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 $7.15 and the coffee, bottomless of course, is just $1.95.

Scenes Eddie’s Cafe Sunday 11am

Bob's on Baker Street

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On both Polk and Baker Street, a pastry-lover would be delighted to find a Cinnamon Toast Crunch doughnut for just $2.50. While it’s tough to beat the industrial prices offered by, say, Safeway, these local favorites offer novel and craft flavors of doughnuts for under $3 a pop. Plus coffee is just $3 for a large of Bob’s own blend. 

Bob’s Donut & Pastry Shop
Credit: Hillary Dixler
Hillary Dixler Canavan

Oakside Cafe

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This sandwich and coffee shop holds guard over the thoroughfare that funnels many a San Franciscan out of the city and onto the highway. All of the bagels (sans the one that comes with lox) are under $4, and for a vegan sandwich, one that looks to nourish beyond the typical salad-on-a-bun, it’ll cost just under $8.

Marnee Thai Restaurant

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The cook behind this Sunset restaurant, 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 for a meagre $10.50.

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 under $10. 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 just $10.95, is 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. The “Mission Street,” a pastrami riff served on Tartine bread, is only $8.95.

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 $6. With a 20This 420-friendly Bayview waffle and coffee house has stellar prices. The house blend is $2.75 a cup, and the vegan waffles start at $6. With a 20 percent tip included, a lucky duck of a customer would find themselves spending $10.50 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 burgers — at $7.25 for a quarter pounder and $9.75 for half pounder — for takeout.

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Rooster & Rice

Stefanie Tuder

The menu here is short and sweet, the star attraction being the Thai poached chicken and rice dish known as khao mun gai. The original version comes with a generous portion of chicken, chicken fat–infused rice, a side of broth, and a tangy-savory dipping sauce — all for $12.95. 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; order online for pickup or delivery from the one closest to you.

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. On a hot day (or, really, any day) the best move is to order the cold soba with everything — just $8.25 for a full order, though the half-order size is just right for lighter appetites. “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

Wings at Hot Sauce and Panko

This popular Russian Hill wing-slinger is a takeout- and delivery-only model, with a retail shop selling hot sauce for 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 at $6.99 for an order of five. Order online for pickup or delivery.

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.

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 less than $8 for a small order. Call in or order delivery via Postmates.

Blue Danube Coffee House

This Clement Street staple has the coffee shop ubiquitousness brought to a boil by Friends’ Central Perk. But there’s no laugh track rolling when it comes to the prices: a double grilled cheese for $10 or a peanut butter and jelly bagel for $4.50. There are pricier ends of the menu, but all the paninis cost less than $8, and a quiche-plus-salad combo runs just $9.

La Cocina Municipal Marketplace

Estrellita’s Snacks from La Cocina
Lorena Masso

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 incubators programs.

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 $4.50, a slice of cheese pizza runs just $4.19, 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.

The Flying Falafel

This fast-casual falafel shop offers pitas, platters, and hummus bowls topped with your choice of falafel, spiced kebab, faux-chicken shawarma, or crispy chick’n — yes, everything on the menu is vegan. At $7.95, the falafel makes for a plant-based option that’s easy on the wallet. Both the SoMa and Union Square locations are open for pickup and delivery via apps like Caviar and Postmates during weekday lunch hours only — Monday through Friday.

Om Sabor

For the quality of ingredient 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 entirely under $10 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

Scenes Eddie’s Cafe Sunday 11am

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 $7.15 and the coffee, bottomless of course, is just $1.95.

Scenes Eddie’s Cafe Sunday 11am

Bob's on Baker Street

Bob’s Donut & Pastry Shop
Credit: Hillary Dixler
Hillary Dixler Canavan

On both Polk and Baker Street, a pastry-lover would be delighted to find a Cinnamon Toast Crunch doughnut for just $2.50. While it’s tough to beat the industrial prices offered by, say, Safeway, these local favorites offer novel and craft flavors of doughnuts for under $3 a pop. Plus coffee is just $3 for a large of Bob’s own blend. 

Bob’s Donut & Pastry Shop
Credit: Hillary Dixler
Hillary Dixler Canavan

Oakside Cafe

This sandwich and coffee shop holds guard over the thoroughfare that funnels many a San Franciscan out of the city and onto the highway. All of the bagels (sans the one that comes with lox) are under $4, and for a vegan sandwich, one that looks to nourish beyond the typical salad-on-a-bun, it’ll cost just under $8.

Marnee Thai Restaurant

Coconut noodles from Marnee Thai Marnee Thai

The cook behind this Sunset restaurant, 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 for a meagre $10.50.

Coconut noodles from Marnee Thai Marnee Thai

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Dinosaurs

Banh mi from Dinosaurs Dinosaurs

This sandwich shop has three locations in San Francisco and each one offers seven different sandwiches under $10. 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 just $10.95, is 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

garlic noodles at yamo Omar Mamoon

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

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. The “Mission Street,” a pastrami riff served on Tartine bread, is only $8.95.

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

a waffle at Bloomstock 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 $6. With a 20This 420-friendly Bayview waffle and coffee house has stellar prices. The house blend is $2.75 a cup, and the vegan waffles start at $6. With a 20 percent tip included, a lucky duck of a customer would find themselves spending $10.50 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

Read Review |