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Recommendations: Lunch Places - 5th & Mission/Market in SF

Looks like I'll be spending a good amount of time at a new work space at 5th and Mission so I thought I'd ask for lunch recommendation in the area, within a 1-2 block radius. EDIT: I'm looking at around $6 buck (+/-) range.

I definately perfer mom and pop places, sandwiches/salads as a first choice, burritos and rice plates as a second...although a chain once in a while is okay. Metreon is a bit too far.

So far I've figured out a few:

Taqueria Cancun at 6th/Market (maybe once a week)
Top Dog at 7th/Market (twice a month)
Mel's Diner 4th/Mission (maybe twice a month)
Cafe Infusion (haven't eaten there yet)

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Metreon is too far? Isn't it a block from 5th/Mission -- across the corner from Mel's Diner?

    4th St. Bar and Grill (next to Marriott) is good for normal sports bar food.

    Should have more food options later this week in the Bloomingdale's/Wesfield Shopping Center.

    Tu Lan -- 6th between Market and Mission.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kc72

      Let me rephrase that - given what's offered at Metreon, it's a little too far. If something outstanding was offered, then of course it would be worth it. :) Just can't think of anything in there that's I'd go there for.

      Definately going to check out Bloomie's but I'm guessing it's over the $6 buck range (just changed to the original post)...and I'm not so much into malls.

      Tu Lan -- now that's a good tip, thanks. I haven't been there for a while if I'm thinking of the same place -- huge servings, been there for 16 or so years.

    2. Cafe 36 on 5th between Mission and Market on the Mint side.
      They make an excellent greek salad with Pita. Total mom and pop shop. very nice people, a little gruff when it get's busy, but still a solid deal.
      He will call you pumpkin.

      I prefer Taqueria Chili Verde over Balazo and Cancun. They just seem to taste better and be more authentic.

      Little Delhi (on the corner of Eddy and Mason) is delicious Indian.

      they just opened a King of Thai Noodle on 5th across the street from the mint, but it is just as ho hum as all the others...

      The new mall is opening this week, there will be lots of food in there!!!!

      Also, Opi's at 6th and Market has a takeout stand that does dogs and burgers and popcorn and softserve!!!!!
      that is my usual afternoon treat. a softserve twist.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jupiter

        Jupiter, thanks on the tip for Cafe 36. I tried it and it's pretty much what I was looking for...reasonable prices, good food, not a chain. I had the BLT and falafel. Both good with the falafel being a deal given the portion. The owner was nice but I think he'll be calling me dude.

        1. Latte Express - across from the SF Centre on 5th between Market & Mission has terrific Banh Mi for less than $4.00.

          Also, Tu Lan is at 6th & Market.

          If'n you want to upscale, forget about Metreon. The new places at Westfield will be open next week; Bristol Farms, 'wichcraft & Slanted Door takeout could all be great splurges.

          1. Also, Beard Papa is a must if you ever need a sugar high (right across the street from the Metreon). There is always a line but it moves pretty fast.


            1. Beard Papa is also opening in the new San Francisco Centre expansion this week.

              1. I used to work at that corner, and my favorites were:

                Little Delhi. The $7-8 lunch combos are a little more than your stated $6, but one lunch combo plus a small appetizer is more than enough for two people. Or save half a lunch combo for lunch the next day. You get your choice of meat entree (butter chicken!) a vegetarian curry, rice, salad, and a HUGE naan. One of the best deals in the city, and one of my top 5 for Indian, period.

                I know everyone loves Taq. Cancun, but I prefer Taqueria Chili Verde around the corner, a few doors up from Tu Lan. Their green salsa is amazing most of the time. I would say one in five times it's sub par, but most of the time it's the perfect balance of heat, crunchiness, and smooth avocado flavor. I usually get a super taco and snack on all you can eat chips and dip. The burritos are good too, but just standard for SF. And all the Latinos in there are usually drinking one of the huge bowls of soup.

                I think I was at one of those two places once a week for the better part of two years.

                1. Tu Lan is the place. I avoid the taquerias on the 6th an Market corner but a lot
                  of people don't. You're only a moderately long walk from the Tandoriloin, a
                  bunch of Indian and Pakistani restaurants clustered around the intersection
                  of Jones and O'Farrell. Try 'em all.

                  Metreon is only a block away from you. I wouldn't recommend going there but
                  if that's too far, you're really limiting yourself. All of chinatown is available: up
                  Stockton, through the tunnel, and weeks of never eating in the same place twice.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                    Do Not give in to Metreon. If you're looking to spend $12 on a mediocre lunch, at least go to Westfield where the overpriced food promises to be a little better:
                    - Out the door (Slanted Door)
                    - 'wichcraft (from Tom Colicchio)
                    - Another Beard Papa
                    - Straits
                    - Zazil (from the Colibri owners)

                    Of course, my money's on Tu Lan for everyday fare.

                  2. To add to the list of recs:

                    Siam Thai -- Mason & Ellis -- The owners have two separate locations across the street from one another. Same menu. The one inside the Renaissance Parc 55 hotel is classier.

                    Cafe Dolci -- On Market St. between Ofarrell and Kearny. Great place for Vietnamese (bahn mi) sandwiches. $3.50/sandwich. Pricey compared to other places, but in a convenient location.

                    1. Alrighty then, looks like I have some eating to do. Thanks for the suggestions.

                      Just a few notes; yes, I am limiting myself in regards to location. If I go past 1-2 blocks, I might not come back and I don't want to take more the 30-40 mins total. OTOH, perhaps I'll get bored and look further. re: Beard Papa...is there heroin in that stuff? Definately going to check out Taqueria Chili Verde, Tu Lan and Cafe 36.

                      I know there's a bunch of stuff in Westfield and I'm definately going to check it out...just scared there might be a $8 buck item that I'll get hooked on...plus malls, feh. I'm sure there will be many reviews here so I can wait until they start pouring in. Also going to take a look at Howard St., might see some there.

                      Again - thanks

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ML8000

                        Not an Indian Food fan?
                        alas, can not convert you to the wonders of Little Delhi....

                        so close, but so far....

                        1. re: jupiter

                          Frankly, no. In grad school a classmate made Indian food from scratch (even bread and yogarts) and that pretty much wrecked anything after that. I know there's good Indian food out there, just haven't had time to fully get into it. I do go to a couple of places like Vik's in Berkeley which is good but seems to have a cult following...and the prices have crept upward.

                      2. Have you tried the Samovar tea house above Yerba Buena Gardens? Not cheap, but not more expensive than any other $15 place in the Metreon. If you ever have time for a longer lunch and it's a nice day, it's a great place to sit for an hour. The restaurant itself has one entire wall that's just a giant window, as well as actual outdoor seating.

                        Portions are small, but the food is tasty. You can choose entrees like sandwiches and salads, or go by country of tea origin (Chinese, Russian, English, or Japanese set lunch). The menu is very fun to read, and there are dozens of teas to choose from.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Pei

                          Not sure about the tea house but definately will to YBG just to sit and eat and chill out. Forgot all about it, use to go there 10 years ago, but I worked in NOMA so it was a walk.

                        2. I just wanted to let you know that I had Banh Mi at Latte Express on 5th today - the #4 was delicious!
                          Grilled honey pork, pickled radish & carrot, cucumber, cilantro & peppers on a beautifully-baked fresh baguette. Add a giant M&M cookie, and I got out of there for less than five bucks.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: foodiegrl

                            Their vietnamese iced coffee's are a favorite in our office. enough sugar to knock your socks off....they mix hazlenut flavoring with their condensed milk so it is quite the sweet coffee explosion in the morning.

                            1. re: foodiegrl

                              OK, that does sound good and reasonable. I'll have to check it out. Vietnamese pork done right is always welcome.