Bye bye, FiDi
After two years downtown, I've left to Financial District for another locale (and will soon post a query about lunch recommendations there). I bought lunch almost every day, and here are my top picks, categorized by expense.
Rice and beans, or… (well under $10)
Golden Flower: Excellent bun and imperial rolls. A short walk to Golden Gate Bakery for an egg custard.
Hon’s Wun Tun
An excellent deal. Simple, tasty broth and freshly made wontons. My Hon’s friend and I usually split a side of Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce.
The deli on Union and Montgomery
I can't remember the name of this place, but I'd stop here with a friend on our way up to Coit Tower. The sandwiches are pretty good (I like the salami) and reasonably priced--mostly it was notable for being located in the exact perfect spot for a last-minute Coit Tower picnic.
Pay day ($10ish and over)
Mixt Greens: Salads with excellent ingredients. I enjoyed the “Cowboy”: grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, black beans and Point Reyes blue cheese dressing with a chipotle honey drizzle. A bit expensive ($9-ish for your salad); the long line moves pretty quickly.
Bocadillos: $7.50 for two bocadillos (little sandwiches) and a lightly dressed side salad. I’m a big fan of the juicy lamb-burger; roast beef with onion jam and goat cheese is nice as well.
Myth Café: The bagged lunch (changes daily) is a nice option when time and budget are short. Usually it’s a sandwich, some type of salad (frequently a pasta or grain salad), and a cookie.
Birley’s: My all-time-favorite FiDi sandwich place, this is a London-based shop with an outlet in the Embarcadero. I love the sandwiches, I like the soups. The soup options change pretty frequently; the soup dispensing agent offers generous samples if you’re undecided. The half a packaged sandwich and small soup deal is pretty good—otherwise, you’re running into $10 lunch territory.
On the company dime ($20+)
Perbacco: We liked this place for new employee and future ex-employee lunches. You’ll need a reservation (unlike the Belden Lane restaurants), but it’s worth it. I liked the agnolotti and frito misto.
B44: Among the Belden Lane choices, I liked this one best. I liked paella Barceloneta, fideua negra, and roasted salt cod. FYI: the fish of the day sandwich is salmon every day.
For dieters or people practicing calorie restriction, Seller's Farm Fresh Veggie salad add Chicken is amazingly low-calorie, fulfilling, and delicious all at once. Make sure you have them toss your salad for you, even if you get it to go. They are good at using just the right amount of dressing. This salad isn't cheap but it will go a long way towards keeping you thin, but without making lunch feel like penance.
The deli on Union and Montgomery is Speedy's, a very old neighborhood store. (I'd hardly call it in the Financial District, though--definitely Telegraph Hill.) The current owners bought it about five years ago and have done a fantastic job. They make their own hummus, chicken salad, etc.