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15 Affordable Dining Options in San Francisco

Local diners are always hungry for a good deal

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The Bay Area’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) was up 4.9 percent in December compared to a year before, meaning inflation is indeed still up across the board. That said, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CPI was at 6 percent in just October, meaning while inflation is still up, it’s also gradually decreasing. All of that is pretty important when you live in the third-most expensive metro area in the country. For those who love a deal, praying an affordable home might appear out of thin air, eating on a budget is a timeless luxury. And as the numbers show, it’s still a wise time to get a meal on the cheap. Here are 15 restaurants in San Francisco where you can stretch your dollar.

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 multiple 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 $8 for an order of five.

Wings at Hot Sauce and Panko

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 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 offers multiple businesses to order from, running the gamut of cuisines and offerings, and each are owned and operated by entrepreneurs from the incubator programs. La Cocina also offers $5 meals so the community has access to affordable food.

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 $7. As pizza gets bigger, and pricier, in San Francisco, don’t forget the older, inexpensive, and reliable spots.

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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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

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

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 no more than $8, cash only. It might be the best bang for your buck of any restaurant in the city.

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 made the Bodak Yellow rapper 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 multiple 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 $8 for an order of five.

Wings at Hot Sauce and Panko

Kusina Ni Tess

Perhaps the friendliest and most delicious of the city’s Filipino steam table spots, Kusina Ni Tess is open 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 offers multiple businesses to order from, running the gamut of cuisines and offerings, and each are owned and operated by entrepreneurs from the incubator programs. La Cocina also offers $5 meals so the community has access to affordable food.

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 $7. As pizza gets bigger, and pricier, in San Francisco, don’t forget the older, inexpensive, and reliable spots.

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

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

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

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 no more than $8, cash only. It might be the best bang for your buck of any restaurant in the city.

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 made the Bodak Yellow rapper 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.

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