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Rotisserie chicken dinner with sides at Village Rotisserie Patricia Chang

21 Standout Lunch Spots in San Francisco

Soup, salad, or smorrebrod?

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The days of the downtown power lunch might be a relic of the past but even working-from-home San Franciscans need a midday meal. Thankfully there are excellent options in every corner of the city, which means a sturdy sandwich or a light salad are never more than a quick walk, bike, or drive away. This list aims to please every kind of lunch craving — be it for a hot bowl of tonkatsu ramen, an overstuffed mortadella and salami sandwich, or the most perfect kale salad. Here are 21 of the best lunch options from North Beach to Noe Valley.

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.

Lucca Delicatessen

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Lucca is the old-school Italian-American deli of the Marina, family-owned since 1929. It’s a meaty sandwich destination, starring Italian combos with mortadella and salami, caprese with fresh mozz and prosciutto, and needless to say, meatballs.

Salami hanging from the ceiling at Lucca Deli Lucca Deli

Molinari Delicatessen

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Molinari is a deli institution in North Beach, strung with sausages and lined with olive oil. Lunch fans pick out a roll, and pile on the cured meats and pepperoncini.

Molinari Delicatessan in North Beach.
Molinari Delicatessan in North Beach.
Photo: Flickr/Cody Simms

Washington Bakery & Restaurant

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Chinatown is filled with amazing takeout options, so to name just one, Washington Bakery is a Hong Kong–style bakery with a case full of buns in the front, and a thick menu with everything from noodles to curry.

Wonton noodle soup. Washington Bakery & Restaurant

Marufuku Ramen

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Marufuku joined the many outstanding lunch and snack options in Japantown in 2017. The Hakata-style ramen comes in a rich and creamy tonkatsu broth sunk with pork belly, or there’s a lighter chicken paitan. 

Turtle Tower Restaurant

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Turtle Tower, the favorite Vietnamese restaurant of the Tenderloin, hits the spot for chicken pho. The northern-style broth is clear and bright, and brimming with tender rice noodles and chicken.

Pho ga from Turtle Tower Turtle Tower

La Cocina Municipal Marketplace

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La Cocina’s long awaited food hall is open for weekday lunches only – but if you can work around the somewhat limited hours you can have your pick among options like smoked sausage and po-boys from Boug Cali, Estrellita’s Snack’s pupusas, guisados tacos courtesy Mi Morena, and more. There’s coffee from Fluid Cooperative Cafe for a post-lunch pick-me-up or cocktails over at La Paloma if your afternoon is headed the other way.

Lorena Masso

Darwin Cafe

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Located in a back alley in the industrial part of SoMa, Darwin Cafe serves one of the best kale salads in the city, a legendary combination of radicchio, baked prosciutto, kale, and aged balsamic, all drenched with Parmesan. Also try the monthly hot roast beef sandwich special, or fresh sandwiches stuffed with summer squash and cheese or turkey.

Cinderella Bakery & Cafe

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The favorite Russian bakery of the Richmond is a go-to for piroshki meat pies, borsch beet soup, and definitely a slice of honey cake for dessert.

Piroshki from Cinderella Cinderella Bakery

Couples have literally fallen in love over the salads and wraps from Souvla, the Greek fast-casual mini chain. Is it the spit-roasted lamb? The harissa yogurt? The garlicky fries? Who can say, but don’t forget the Greek frozen yogurt with baklava crumbles for dessert.

Devil's Teeth Baking Company

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Everyday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. you can swing by either of Devil’s Teeth’s locations, which sandwich the north and south sides of the park, for fresh baked cinnamon rolls and a sandwich. The breakfast sandwich served on a big, fluffy biscuit makes a respectable lunch but there are also more traditional lunch options like a BLT, tuna salad, or grilled cheese.

RT Rotisserie

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Rich Table, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Hayes Valley, spun out with RT Rotisserie, a fast-casual chicken joint. As expected, the chicken salad has a star reputation, featuring lush greens and herbs, sweet dried cranberries, punchy pickled onions, and a crumble of cotija cheese.

Chicken salad at RT Rotisserie Patricia Chang

Lucinda's Deli & More

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A former Horsefeather chef opened this sandwich spot near Alamo Square, because he likes taking a mortadella sub to the park with his pitbull. The sandwiches are simple, but the chef touches come through with lots of different spreads and toppings, from flavored mayos and housemade barbecue sauce to pickled and crispy onions.

Roast beef at Lucinda’s Deli Patricia Chang

Kantine

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Kantine originally started as a smoked-trout-toast destination at the farmers’ market, before settling in as a beautiful Scandinavian-inspired bakery and cafe on Market. The savory porridges and salads are lovely, but you still can’t go wrong with an open-faced smorrebrod on sprouted rye.

San Tung

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San Tung is best known for its golden chicken wings and saucy noodles, but the popular Chinese restaurant also has a solid list of lunch specials. Choose from hot braised tofu, dry-fried chicken, Mongolian beef, or three dozen other items, all of which come with soup of the day and steamed rice.

Palm City

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Palm City calls itself the “premier westernmost hoagie destination in the country;” an Outer Sunset cafe and wine shop where Dennis Cantwell and Monica Wong serve the Philly-style sandwich with mortadella, finocchiona, mozzarella, parmesan, arugula, and nduja mayo; traditional garlic roasted pork with broccoli raab, toma, and cherry pepper aioli; and a well-stuffed BLT. It’s now open for seating at tables inside and out, first come, first served.

Hoagie from Palm City Patricia Chang

HOT JOHNNIE'S

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This casual pandemic-born shop is all about the pastrami, which is brined and cured in house in small batches. You can have it sliced and folded into several sandwiches; the Dutch Crunch feels particularly SF in that it’s served on the city’s favorite sandwich bread and smothered in muenster, pepperoncini spread, housemade pickles, and sprinkled with fresh dill. Take it to go or out back to enjoy on the restaurant’s hidden patio.

Pastrami sandwiches from Hot Johnnie’s Hot Johnnie’s

Sanguchon Eatery

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Peruvian chef Carlos Altamirano brought marinated meats and flaky empanadas to Valencia with this brightly decorated Valencia corridor counter shop. The menu is built around beef, pork, and chicken served in sandwiches and on skewers, technically anticuchos, so be warned, this isn’t the light seafood fare you might be expecting.

Lomo saltado sandwich from Sanguchon Sanguchon Eatery

Village Rotisserie

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Australian-style chicken arrived in Noe Valley thanks to Village Rotisserie, a quaint little shop with a glass case stuffed with golden roasted birds and fresh vegetable sides. Order a half or quarter chicken plate and round out the meal with kung pao brussels, roasted beets, or duck fat potatoes. There’s a sunny back patio through the narrow dining room if you want to dine on site. 

Soba noodle salad at Village Rotisserie Patricia Chang

La Taqueria

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The Mission is rich in excellent tacos and burritos, and La Taq is an institution. Of course, the best super burrito is a hotly contested matter of personal opinion, but this one skips the rice, so it’s slightly less nap-inducing. Ask for dorado, so it’s griddled until golden.

Auntie April's Chicken, Waffles, & Soul Food Restaurant

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April Spears is back to serving the Bayview her soul-satisfying fried chicken and waffles, as well as braised oxtails, red beans and rice, and shrimp po’boys.

Dinosaurs

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The Ocean Avenue location of mini-chain Dinosaurs makes for a great grab-and-go lunch option, with Vietnamese iced coffee, avocado milkshakes, spring rolls, and a good-sized banh mi stuffed with shaking beef, lemongrass pork, or spicy tuna.

Dinosaurs

Lucca Delicatessen

Salami hanging from the ceiling at Lucca Deli Lucca Deli

Lucca is the old-school Italian-American deli of the Marina, family-owned since 1929. It’s a meaty sandwich destination, starring Italian combos with mortadella and salami, caprese with fresh mozz and prosciutto, and needless to say, meatballs.

Salami hanging from the ceiling at Lucca Deli Lucca Deli

Molinari Delicatessen

Molinari Delicatessan in North Beach.
Molinari Delicatessan in North Beach.
Photo: Flickr/Cody Simms

Molinari is a deli institution in North Beach, strung with sausages and lined with olive oil. Lunch fans pick out a roll, and pile on the cured meats and pepperoncini.

Molinari Delicatessan in North Beach.
Molinari Delicatessan in North Beach.
Photo: Flickr/Cody Simms

Washington Bakery & Restaurant

Wonton noodle soup. Washington Bakery & Restaurant

Chinatown is filled with amazing takeout options, so to name just one, Washington Bakery is a Hong Kong–style bakery with a case full of buns in the front, and a thick menu with everything from noodles to curry.

Wonton noodle soup. Washington Bakery & Restaurant

Marufuku Ramen

Marufuku joined the many outstanding lunch and snack options in Japantown in 2017. The Hakata-style ramen comes in a rich and creamy tonkatsu broth sunk with pork belly, or there’s a lighter chicken paitan. 

Turtle Tower Restaurant

Pho ga from Turtle Tower Turtle Tower

Turtle Tower, the favorite Vietnamese restaurant of the Tenderloin, hits the spot for chicken pho. The northern-style broth is clear and bright, and brimming with tender rice noodles and chicken.

Pho ga from Turtle Tower Turtle Tower

La Cocina Municipal Marketplace

Lorena Masso

La Cocina’s long awaited food hall is open for weekday lunches only – but if you can work around the somewhat limited hours you can have your pick among options like smoked sausage and po-boys from Boug Cali, Estrellita’s Snack’s pupusas, guisados tacos courtesy Mi Morena, and more. There’s coffee from Fluid Cooperative Cafe for a post-lunch pick-me-up or cocktails over at La Paloma if your afternoon is headed the other way.

Lorena Masso

Darwin Cafe

Located in a back alley in the industrial part of SoMa, Darwin Cafe serves one of the best kale salads in the city, a legendary combination of radicchio, baked prosciutto, kale, and aged balsamic, all drenched with Parmesan. Also try the monthly hot roast beef sandwich special, or fresh sandwiches stuffed with summer squash and cheese or turkey.

Cinderella Bakery & Cafe

Piroshki from Cinderella Cinderella Bakery

The favorite Russian bakery of the Richmond is a go-to for piroshki meat pies, borsch beet soup, and definitely a slice of honey cake for dessert.

Piroshki from Cinderella Cinderella Bakery

Souvla

Couples have literally fallen in love over the salads and wraps from Souvla, the Greek fast-casual mini chain. Is it the spit-roasted lamb? The harissa yogurt? The garlicky fries? Who can say, but don’t forget the Greek frozen yogurt with baklava crumbles for dessert.

Devil's Teeth Baking Company

Everyday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. you can swing by either of Devil’s Teeth’s locations, which sandwich the north and south sides of the park, for fresh baked cinnamon rolls and a sandwich. The breakfast sandwich served on a big, fluffy biscuit makes a respectable lunch but there are also more traditional lunch options like a BLT, tuna salad, or grilled cheese.

RT Rotisserie

Chicken salad at RT Rotisserie Patricia Chang

Rich Table, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Hayes Valley, spun out with RT Rotisserie, a fast-casual chicken joint. As expected, the chicken salad has a star reputation, featuring lush greens and herbs, sweet dried cranberries, punchy pickled onions, and a crumble of cotija cheese.

Chicken salad at RT Rotisserie Patricia Chang

Lucinda's Deli & More

Roast beef at Lucinda’s Deli Patricia Chang

A former Horsefeather chef opened this sandwich spot near Alamo Square, because he likes taking a mortadella sub to the park with his pitbull. The sandwiches are simple, but the chef touches come through with lots of different spreads and toppings, from flavored mayos and housemade barbecue sauce to pickled and crispy onions.

Roast beef at Lucinda’s Deli Patricia Chang

Kantine