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May 15, 2007 09:45 AM

20th & Harrison lunch recs

My new job is on 20th and Harrison--I'm unfamiliar with this part of the Mission (or Potrero?) and would love recommendations on walkable lunches. No particular cuisine necessary, but I'd appreciate reasonable prices ($10 or less) and the ability to get in and out within an hour (which is possibly not an issue in this neighborhood, compared to the bustle of downtown). Some days I am stuck at my desk, so both dine-in and take-out options would be great.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. El Tonayense taco truck at 22nd and Harrison.

    1. I used to work around there a while ago (around 1999-2000) and the sadly departed Hung Yen was my favorite place. Of course, that doesn't help you much in 2007. On a more useful note, Atlas Cafe at 19th (?) and Alabama had good sandwiches way back when - I really liked the roasted sweet potato sandwich in particular. Universal Cafe has always been good but it's more of a splurge, as is the Slow Club. I'm sure others can pitch in with more ideas.

      1. Welcome to the neighborhood -- I work at the electron factory at Bryant and Mariposa. The Slow Club is excellent for lunch, although they do get busy most days between 12:30 and 1:15, and they will do take-out. The higher-end items on the menu will go over $10, but you can get a superlative burger and fries, or a flatbread or ahi tuna salad for just under that benchmark. I haven't been to the Universal in years, they keep changing their lunch-opening status and I gave up on them, but they were great back in the day. Also on the high end, but worth it, Blowfish Sushi on Bryant near 20th. Wonderful tempura and sushi and sashimi. All three of these are fashionably noisy.

        On the less fashionable end, Evergreen Garden at 18th and Harrison is decent Vietnamese, not great, not bad, but the outdoor sheltered patio is especially pleasant and they will also deliver promptly. The pho is pretty good, the imperial rolls are tasty when they're fresh and gluey when they're not, dishes with pork, tofu, vegetables, or beef are usually better than the chicken which is tasteless. Some of the Thai menu there is nice too, I especially like the garlic noodles with pork.

        Jade Cafe at 16th and Bryant delivers, and is not bad -- I think their soups and noodle dishes are better than the rice plates, the Singapore noodles are very good. For most of our Chinese delivery, though, we prefer Yum Yum House on Valencia, who deliver very fast, the food is always hot and fresh and nice standards. The Japanese place next door to it on Bryant is terrible. There's another Japanese place, I Luv Teriyaki and Sushi, on the lower level of the Safeway complex on 16th and Bryant/Potrero, which has some okay food -- the pork teriyaki is nice -- avoid the tempura. The Safeway itself is as upscale as any Safeway could be, and has some steam-table specials which are okay when you want comfort grub; they also have a big sushi department that makes a few things to order.

        The huge Starbucks at Mariposa and Bryant has a very large menu and wonderful staff. I don't recommend most of the lunch food highly but it will do in a pinch. Arc Cafe kitty-corner from it served okay food and decent coffee dispensed with horrible attitude, and is now closed to reopen under new management. Tortilla Flats on Bryant and 18th serves basic, but tasty, burritos, and diner-style specials and sandwiches. The New York Street Deli on 18th and York has some nice specials and basic sandwiches, but I caution you against most of the soups. Deli-Up on 20th and Bryant is another basic sandwich shop, beloved by fans of curly fries, also lots of salads.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Nina

          Wow--thanks for your list! It looks like I have a lot to explore. I've been to Blowfish for my welcome lunch; I look forward to trying your other recommendations. A superlative burger is always welcome.

          1. re: Nina

            Nina, thanks for that reply! I live near this neighborhood so it's nice to read about these places, many of which I've passed but never tried.

            I am hoping to give Evergreen a try some time, good to know about the patio, I'll try to go on a nice day. I have had wonton noodle soup at Jade Cafe and it's pretty good. Nothing too special though.

            Dave MP

            1. re: Dave MP

              Evergreen is what used to be Hung Yen. HY also has a special place in my heart; it was the first Vietnamese food I ever ate. Definitely went downhill toward the end.

              Also nearby in one direction or another: El Metate, Cafe Gratitude, Cafe Liliane (15th & Potrero), the torta place on Folsom & 21st.

              Oh, and the Cafe on the corner of Harrison and 22nd--La Taza?

              1. re: Windy

                There's a little drama behind Evergreen

                Has anyone tried El Rincon ... for dios sake?

                Honestly, how many times CAN I mention this place? I keep trying to stop by but I'm never there on the right day at the right time.

                They redid their website and the pictures of the food look good. I want that Cubano first though ... then the ropa viaja.

                Corner of 16th & Harrison

                Lunch: Tues - Sunday 11 am - 2 pm

                1. re: rworange

                  I have noticed El Rincon several times, but I haven't tried it. From the outside, it doesn't seem like an actual place to eat. The website is really nice though, and those sandwiches look good. I'll give it a try soon.

                  Dave MP

                  1. re: rworange

                    We ordered takeout from Evergreen once. Everything was downright awful, so I have no reason to order from there again. Yum Yum House at 17th & Valencia is far superior.

              2. re: Nina

                Great comprehensive list, but did you skip the Florida Street Cafe at Florida and 19th I believe? This is a great place, more of a culinary school with an excellent restaurant and excellent value. See attached link. Also, Universal Cafe is open on certain days for lunch as well.