I use to work at 3rd and Brannan. Besides the already mentioned, Victor's (Mexican) at 3rd/Townsend, good burritos but not outstanding but that's always subjective.
My favs were Caffe Centro (tuna on toast or the salads) and Mexico au Parc (super taco), both with the benefit of eating in South Park. Miss the park actually...a very nice change from the office.
Also there's South Park Cafe and Chef and the Butler for "nicer" meals.
Re: Brickhouse happened along and I went a few times, very good kobe burger but you have tell them med-rare, nice food but I always like Centro better (nicer staff, less attitude). Also been to Bacar for biz lunch. There's a Thai place next to Zeke's but never went...looks sit down, nice biz lunch or w/ co-workers for an occasion.
re: Robert Lauriston
was at bacar for a business lunch about a month ago (and funnily enough now work right down the street from there!) and it was fantastic. when i looked up the menu online, i was a little wary because the menu choices are so much smaller than the dinner menu. we all ordered from the 3-course menu. i'm kicking myself because i can't remember exactly what i had but i know i had ahi tuna for either the starter or entree. i do remember that i had the cookies to go as my dessert choice. it was cute - they bring you a bag of freshly baked cookies that you can simply put in your purse and go!
the service was very good for a friday noon lunch. i'm excited to work down the street so i can try it once again.
Note that Bacar serves lunch *only* on Fridays.
If you ate there a month ago, that was before the big shakeup: the founding chef Arnold Wong and wine director Debbie Zachareas left a few weeks ago. Chef de cuisine Adam Timney took over for a week or two, then he also left.
re: Robert Lauriston
Hey, hey, hey ... there's nothing wrong with lunch at Coco500 at the corner of 4th & Brannan ... don't hate it just because it is med or something californian.
The sandwich shop next to Wells Fargo is closed. I like Chompers too.
Is ... what was it ... Blanche's still open ... it was a funky joint on the water a block up from the train depot?
I have Brickhouse on my places to stop.
I like Mexico au Parc in South Park as well.
If people are sending you all the way to Delancy street, there is an Indian place on 2nd & Folsum.
to add to viliang's post (and 2nd the naan n chutney rec..)
chava's on 4th and bryant is a bargain
the soup/sandwich place next to wellsfargo is gone :( but zuppa is now open for lunch (tho might not fit in your bargain category. good pizzas, tho.
hotel utah has decent food (4th and bryant)
if you trek toward 6th there's luna taqueria (6th and bryant, that is)
south beach cafe townsend and embarcadero has great pizzas, sandwiches and salads
tres agaves at the bar has good tacos
'course there's subway in the train station and choppers across the street (sandwiches)
on 6th there's grab n go italian -- good soup/sandwiches and if you walk another half block caffe roma across from the hall of justice has great salalds and sandwiches.
oh! and a bunch of places just opened 7th and brannan area (holy grill, some meditteranean place)
Used to work on Brannan and 4th a few years ago, so I can't say if it's still good NOW, but here's a few places we'd hit:
Roadhouse on 4th for sandwiches
The Mexican place on South Park for burritos
Cafe Centro in SOuth Park for sandwiches
Primo Patio on Townsend and 4th for Caribbean food
21st Amendment, Burger Island, and Zeke's for burgers
There's also that sandwich/salad, soup chain place next the Wells Fargo
Whole Foods is now on 4th and Harrison (not too far to walk).