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I am SO broke in S.F.

  • g

I am so ridiculously broke in S.F. (hopefully for a short-term) and am now needing to reconsider the spaces I used to eat when I had a little cash.

Any suggests on good, cheap food in the City...??? Don't care for sushi or dim sum...but anything else goes...


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  1. I live in the East Bay, but the SF Gate just reviewed "Bargain Bites" for the Bay Area. See link below.


    Link: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cecelia

      This topic is two years old and has some out-of-date recommendations, here's a topic on the same subject from the past month:


    2. there's always the $2.00 bahn mi - some very good ones in the Tenderloin. Saigon sandwich and Wrap Delight on Eddy right by the Federal Building are quite good. Several others also in the neighborhood.
      There might even by some for $1.75? Then there's always the burritos in the Mission - filling and cheap. Taqueria San Jose, Pancho Villa, La Cumbre.....

      1. j
        Joan Kureczka

        Hard to go wrong with Rosamunde and a beer at Toronado.

        1. 6th & Bryant Taco Truck
          King of Thai Noodle house(various locations)
          Il Pollaio(in North Beach half chicken w/ fries and bread < $10).
          Bahn Mi Saigon, cheap and good!
          Plutos(Sunset & Marina)
          Chow(is it still considered cheap?)

          1. My favorite super-cheap eat is the Wor Won Ton Soup at Just Wonton in the Sunset. Amazingly large amount of good food for about five or six bucks a person.

            1. It's hard to nearly impossible to find non ethnic food that's cheap and good in the City. I can't remember the place now, I think it's Park Chow that has $10 or less pastas?

              1. r
                Robert Lauriston

                tacos at Taqueria San Jose
                slice of Indian pizza at Zante
                Saigon Sandwiches aka Saigon Banh Mi
                Truly Mediterranean
                Thai House Express on Larkin
                pupusas at La Santaneca
                slice of porcini pizza at L'Osteria del Forno

                1. Denny's Cafe (not the chain) on Geary by 19th Ave: Breakfast (8am-11am) and afternoon tea (3:30pm-5:30 or 6pm) specials for $2.35, tea or coffee included! Daily, lunch and dinner specials starts at $4.95 which include a cup of soup, garlic bread, entree and tea/coffee (more beverage choices w/ dinner specials). The portion and quality is great for the price.
                  Mr. Chan's on Mission in Daly City (across from Mission Plaza Albertson's, several blocks from Daly City BART:
                  Chicken fried rice for $2.50 that's enough for 2 meals. Really good chow fun and chow mein starting at less than $4. 1/2 fried chicken for $3.95.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: anna

                    I'll second Mr. Chan's. Went there recently and it was both cheap ($7 for two people) and enjoyable. They've got three specials for... I think it was $2.75 or something else ridiculously cheap. Plus we got free hot and sour soup with our meal.

                  2. I heard about the Hawthorne Lane Happy Hour deal from a local blog, and have already gone 3 times.

                    The food is good and very cheap, and it is nice to not eat ethnic or diner-type food for the price.

                    Link: http://www.gastronomie-sf.com/2005/08...

                    1. t
                      The Scribbler

                      In addition to bargain bites in the Chronicle, try Naan and Curry and A la Turka.

                      Also, do a search for places in the Tenderloin for some very good Indian/Thai/Vietnamese places, all quite cheap.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: The Scribbler
                        Robert Lauriston

                        A La Turka and Naan 'n' Curry are both on the Chron's "bargain" list.

                        Gyro King and Shan aren't.

                      2. I really like Peasant Pies and you can fill up on 2 pies or 1 pie and soup for about $5. They have locations on Irving in SF and in Noe Valley.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Mari
                          Robert Lauriston

                          Tom's Peasant Pies still exists? I thought they went under.

                          When they opened it seemed bizarrely expensive to me but if you get two pies and soup for $5, either the prices have dropped or inflation has made it a bargain.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Yes - they are still around. The total for 2 pies is about $5.50. OR soup and 1 pie is about $5.50 as well. They just introduced a beef pie that I want to try.

                            1. re: Mari

                              I must have walked into a Peasant Pies 4 or 5 times now and walked out with nothing. None of the flavor combos sound good to me. Is it always strictly vegetarian? Maybe I'll have to bite the bullet and try one next time.

                              1. re: KathyR

                                I really like these pies because they are cheap and relatively low in fat and other junk. My favorites are the curried yam and the chicken/potato version. I think they're worth a try for $2.35 each, but make sure to get the pie warmed up.

                            2. re: Robert Lauriston

                              I discovered mistipies for $5.75 at Mission Pie on 25t Street. I think they are tastier if you are into a buttery, flakey crust. The garlic rosemary beef has a tender beef stew quality.

                          2. There's a place on Judah, between 9th and 8th, where you can get 2 items over rice for $3.50, no joke. They close early (i think 6ish?), but the food is good! I forget what it's called, maybe Wing Sing? It's next to a bookstore, across the street from the bakery - you can't miss it. Great Chinese grub, including dim sum.

                            Petra's is a great sandwich/salad place on Guerrero, between 17th and 16th which is a buck or two cheaper than most places. They also have free wireless.

                            I think people may have listed these, but I also like Askew Grill and Pluto's

                            Link: http://jennipah.blogspot.com

                            1. Any one of a dozen burritos in the Mission. Five bucks gets you enough calories for a whole day. Also, in addition to the bahn mi joints, there are a lot of pho places that can fill you up on the cheap, great for a cold and rainy day...and apparently those days are right around the corner.

                              1. OK, if we are going to resurrect this...Yamo (Burmese, $5.25 entrees, 18th and Mission) and around the corner on Mission, Yucatasia. They have have a whole roasted chicken leg wrapped with rice and pickled onion for $3!!!! And it is delicious! Also served in a banh mi but she tends to leave out ingredients if she is hurried.

                                1. Lightening Foods [several locations downtown] is a good salad by the pound place, with lots of hot entrees as well. It isn't especially cheap [$3.50 a pound I think] but after 2pm the salad bar is half-off, and you can get a very solid lunch AND soda for less than $5, sometimes less than $4. Their fried chicken is addictingly good and served fresh even past 2pm.

                                  1. Second Yamo, cheap Vietnamese, and Naan and Curry in their several locations.

                                    And excuse me, but is Grishnackh an Orc name? What is Orc food like?

                                    1. Hitch a ride to Christophe's in Sausalito and do an early bird 4 course prix fixe, under $20.
                                      In the city, how about Massawa in the Haight? Not much for decor, but good Eritrean fare.

                                      1. IJK's on Mission Street in Daly City. It's a hole in the wall, but my husband and I really enjoy the Chinese food there. Actually, we've had friends from New Mexico, Italy, and Texas liking it a lot too. It's closed on Tuesday's. The woman is very nice. The food is very cheap, and you can get their rice plates even if it isn't lunch time. I always order the beef and scrambled egg over rice, and my husband gets the Hunan Fish over rice.

                                        1. Tu Lan - on 6th at market....little $$ goes a looong way!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: jbyoga

                                            I'll heartily second Tu Lan. Again.

                                          2. There's a paperback book published locally called something like, "Broke-Ass Stuart's Guide to SF" You could browse through it - has some great ideas, like the bars you can get all the free eats you can consume for the cost of a beer, or a coke I suppose if you're clean & sober. Great quality food too in many cases.

                                            A favorite low cost Salvadorean restaurant is Panchita's - there are 3 of them I think, but mine is on the south side of 16th. st. just east of Valencia. Pupusas are corn meal turnovers filled with pork, beans and cheese, etc. For $3.25 you get two of them, all the fresh fried chips and salsa you want and a delicious pickled veg. salad that is a perfect foil for the unctuous, and very delicious pupusas that they make to order. There are a lot of other mixed Mexican type plates on the menu that are very, very inexpensive - and the quality is great. Their Salvadorean tamales are, in my opinion, the best tamales in town. They are big, tender, with chicken, potatoes, raisins, olives, capers - and they cost $1.65 each.

                                            Another favorite restaurant is Tu Lan, a venerable Vietnamese restaurant on the west side of 6th. st. just south of Market. For around $5 you get a very filling meal of pho (meat/noodle/veg. soup), or a huge bowl of noodles, sauce, veg. and meats. Another very low cost Vietnamese restaurant I like is Sunflower, on the south side of 16th. st
                                            just west of Valencia, with it's twin around the corner on Vaelncia south of 16th.

                                            My favorite Mexican restaurant lately, where you can get a good meal for around $5 is La Corneta on the east side of Mission around 22nd - 23rd. La Corneta is distinguished among all the other Mexican restaurants - taquerias anyway, that I know of as making really great rare (!) carne asada on a flame grill to order (YOU MUST ASK) and that makes all the difference. That charry, juiciness is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Sit in the back, where it's quiet.

                                            A very inexpensive Italian restaurant (run by Chinese people) is Little Henry's on the north side of Balboa, east of 38th. ave. They have a very big menu with everything from full soup to nuts meals - both Italian and American, to big sandwiches, clam chowder, salads, breakfast items - you name it they probably serve it. Not great, but good, and definitely cheap. Little Henrys and Panchitas are 2 places when I eat there I'm saying things like, "My God, I cannot believe how much food I am getting for so little money" Whenever I eat at Little Henry's I always take home enough in the doggy bags for maybe 2 more meals.

                                            Another favorite, this time high quality, inexpensive restaurant is Valencia Pizza and Pasta on the west side of Valencia on the south corner of 19th. serves 3 (!) of the best lamb shanks in delicious gravy, garlic mashed pot., fresh veg., garlic bread, soup or a really good salad with field greens for "tah-dah!...under $12! Everything they serve is wonderful from breakfasts, to panini sand., spag. with tons of clams in the shell, roast beef, desserts...it's all fine. You could propbably just eat here all the time with forays to Tu Lan for Asian and Panchita's for Latino and have ALL your culinary needs covered at the lowest cost to best quality ratio. in all of SF. I kid you not.

                                            1. i totally second you on Valencia Pizza and Pasta! Huge breakfasts and field greens salads, and great comfort food like enormous platters of incredibly tender and beefy shortribs and mashed potatoes. I've never had pizza or pasta there (!), but everything else is a great value. It's such a surprise -- you would never guess it was such a good spot at first glance. My friends and I are always astonished that our bill is usually less than $30 for about 4 of us!

                                              i would also suggest the 3 for $1 (or $1.50) dimsum places on Clement. I've spent less than $5 for baked pork buns, scallion pancakes, har gow, and a drink. It's a quick, cheap and filling lunch on Clement in between browsing at Green apple and shopping at kitchenware heaven Kamei. The quality is certainly not Yank Sing or Parc Hong Kong, but it's good enough!

                                              And if the dimsum places are closed on Clement, hit King of Thai or China First for good food at great prices.

                                              1. oops, sorry for the repeated posts. i'm not sure what i did wrong...every time i hit the back button, it reposted!

                                                1. Not dirt cheap, but worth mentioning. If you're in the mood for a burger, there's nothing like the buffalo burger, medium rare, at Pearl's Burger on Post. You could get a pretty filling meal for under $13 (big burger, combo fries/onion rings, milkshake with real fruit), or share your sides and get out for under $10 each. Delicious!