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Lunch spots around the Embarcadero (other than Ferry Building)?

I've recently accepted a new job at a location near the intersection of Broadway and the Embarcadero (I'd previously been working on the Peninsula). I imagine I'll be spending a fair amount of time walking down to the Ferry Building for lunch, but what else should I check out in that area? I'll be taking MUNI to work, so walking or bus-ing distance would be good. Looking more for casual places to eat with co-workers (or take-out) rather than "business lunch"-type places to take clients.

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  1. Sai's
    Orale Orale
    Henry's Hunan
    Oasis Grill

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I saw Ferry Building but missed Broadway & Embarcadero. None of those places I mentioned in my previous post are really worth the schlep. The Hunan on Sansome has the same menu as Henry's but is a nicer place.

      L'Osteria del Forno (porcini pizza by the slice, focaccia sandwiches, lots of other things) http://www.losteriadelforno.com/info/...

      Molinari's for deli sandwiches (takeout only)

      Afghan buffet at Helmand's (if it has reopened)

      Cafe Prague, very friendly and cozy place

      Giordano Brothers


      Piperade-To-Go (takeout only)

    2. Gordon Biersch Brewery- hop on muni or walk 2 Harrison
      Grumpy's Restaurant & Pub - on Vallejo
      Harrington's Bar & Grill- on Front
      Fuzio- One Embarcadero, Top Floor
      Mixt Greens- on Sansome- Salads
      Yes Burgers & Malts- 1 Market
      Hunan - on Sansome and Broadway
      More towards Finacial District
      Norton Vault
      Bistro Burger- Outdoor seating

      There is that side street /Alley off Sansome towards Transamerican building that has a mexican spot and few other options, sorry I am blanking.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Lori SF

        I work in that area, and I'd never go to Gordon Biersch, Harrington's or Bistro Burger -- mediocre food, and in the case of the first two, not cheap.

        No one has mentioned Bocadillos.

        If you walk up Broadway to North Beach there have to be some better options. And there's always Chinatown.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I use to work in that area and yes I find most everything mediocre.. Harrington's has a few good dishes..at least you can eat outside at Gordon Biersch and Bistro Burger especially nice if the weather is good. The burgers are not bad at BB.

          I think North Beach has a similar lunch problem, lot's of mediocre and not cheap places.. besides the two delis there are only one or two places..

          1. re: Lori SF

            I lived one block from Gordon Biersch for over ten years. Other than a good view and ok beer I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I'd rather go to Red's Java House wich is less expensive and IMO better ... even the view.

            My goodnes we have totally different tastes, eh?

            1. re: rworange

              Red's Java House is a good call. GB is not a place that I go to but it is a popular lunch spot amoung friends that work in the Hills Bro. Building.. and a fun spot on a sunny day. I was just giving the OP a variety and knew others would add.. the embarcadero has always been a tough area for lunch spots. At one point I just brought my lunch and sat with friends in the park.

      2. There''s also a decent taco truck in the parking lot at (I think) Broadway and Sacramento (it might be the street one block south of Broadway and Sacramento).

        4 Replies
        1. re: vinchar

          Does anyone remember the little Japanese place on the top corner of Pine .. it was right across the street from the Wells Fargo bank building (I think) I used to work on Pine and Montgomery, and would walk up to this place.. excellent Japanese food, the father and daughter worked the front and the mother cooked... thanks

          1. re: vinchar

            Broadway and Sacramento are parallel. The only taco truck I can think of is the one on Pacific just east of Sansome. Could that be the one you have in mind?

            My colleagues like it. I haven't been.

            1. re: david kaplan

              There is a taco truck on Spear and Folsom that is quite good- they are there from about 10am-4pm Mon-Fri.

              1. re: david kaplan

                Yes, that's it. I meant Broadway and Sansome -- or as the case apparently is, on Pacific, just east of Sansome. I've had the pollo, al pastor, and carnitas tacos, and liked all three, but particularly the two pork varieties.

            2. One Market (went there with Mom in jeans on a shopping day, so casual seems okay there)

              Boulevard (not sure if lunch is served, or if I've mis-remembered a meal)

              Wasn't there a diner in that area with amazing milkshakes, too? I think it was in an old traincar or something.

              Happy lunching!

              4 Replies
              1. re: riceflour

                The OP is looking for working person's lunch places both One Market and Boulevard would be "business lunch"-type places to take clients to with a decent expense account.

                1. re: Lori SF

                  There's always that diner, then. I think it had a Fog in the name or something...

                  I do remember it having really good burgers, too.

                2. re: riceflour

                  Fog City Diner at 1300 Battery St. Kinda foofy upscale diner: http://www.fogcitydiner.com.

                  There are milkshakes on the dessert menu, though!

                  1. re: Annie S.

                    That's exactly the spot! Oh, those milkshakes...if all I had for lunch was one of those, I think I'd be good until dinner. Especially with a banana blended in.

                3. i just went to houston's which is on the corner of Bay and Embarcadero. I know it's a chain, but I have to say that the house made veggie burger on an egg bun is THE BEST VEGGIE BURGER I have ever had. I would order it over a hamburger in a heartbeat! The other things that are on the menu look good. It's corporate lunch fodder, but a reasonably nice atmosphere and they can do quick

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      The Helmand is still red-tagged as of earlier this week.

                      1. re: Neilo

                        Reopened on Van Ness- Helmand Palace

                        2424 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA

                        don't think even open to lunch anymore

                    2. Search this board for "month of lunches". Two years ago, a very dedicated hound ate everywhere. I use her reports regularly and they're still pretty reliable.

                      Most of the lunch action is centered closer to Market St, with pretty ok food courts in Rincon Center and the One Market building. There are a lot of pleasant paths from where you are to there.

                      The cafeteria at Levi's headquarters in Levi Plaza used to be very open to the public. Then it became very closed. Then it sort of opened up again for a while. I don't know what the status is these days but if you can get in, it's decent cafeteria food pretty cheap.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                        Those were my months of lunches, and while I'm delighted they were useful, I never made it up as far as Broadway.

                        Not mentioned that I can see above and in that general vicinity is Cafe de Stijl on Union. Decent salads and sandwiches, good espresso drinks.

                        I will be reviving the posts though, since I've just started working in the Financial District again. It is surprisingly hard to find a decent lunch for $7, not $15, especially in a clean and pleasant place. Sounds like I won't be eating pizza....

                      2. Wow, thanks to everyone for all the responses! It appears that this thread will be an extraordinarily useful resource. If anyone wants any reciprocal answers about lunch spots in Redwood City/Menlo Park, just let me know.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: iOrderTheLamb

                          if you find yourself over on Sutter go to Sutter Cafe 330 Sutter at Stockton garage for some really good tamales.. and Two has a takeout try the steak sandwich, excellent !

                            1. re: iOrderTheLamb

                              I would love to hear about great lunch spots in Redwood City/Menlo Park. Currently my favorite place is spice hut in downtown Menlo Park for ~10.

                            2. The new Pizza Orgasmica in 2 Embarcadero Center (corner of Front & Clay) is a nice addition to the local lunch options. By no means a destination but the pizza's better than average, they usually have a large selection of slices, and some of the combinations are fun—the other day I had one with pepperoni, cherry tomatoes, jalapeños, and cilantro. Selection of house-label draft beers (reportedly brewed by Devil's Canyon in Belmont).

                              I'm not sure what their hours are, there's no sign. Phone is 834-9600.

                              1. Yoyo's on Pacific and Battery - take out japanese - decent and cheap!

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: chutney

                                  I was going to mention Yo-Yo's! great udon, teriyaki, decent rolls - nothing fancy but a good value. I would also mention the deli at Levi Plaza where the sandwiches are just too big for one. and if the weather is nice take either to the pier at the foot of Pacific? Broadway?

                                  and let's not forget Clown Alley or Golden Boy Pizza (granted neither are the best)

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    Clown Alley was sold, renamed, and went downhill.

                                    1. re: hill food

                                      Yo-Yo's is OK for quick, cheap sushi and noodles (they have soba, too).

                                      I must dissent on the teriyaki. They smear chicken with a thick, too-sweet sauce and call it teriyaki. I wouldn't recommend it.

                                      1. re: david kaplan

                                        I knew the Alley went away then came back, but it went down again? That's a sad clown - Emmett Kelley would be...?

                                        YoYo's is not super great, but for 5 or so bucks what do you expect? I only ate the unagi/teppa maki or noodles, co-workers talked up the yaki.

                                        1. re: hill food

                                          No recent reports here on Pickles, why don't you try it and report back?

                                          Changing the name from Clown Alley to Pickles is so crazy that I wonder whether the previous owner kept rights to the name and maybe has plans to open one somewhere else.

                                  2. I work in the One Market building and have been exploring the area the past 3 years. I agree with most of the other recommendations, and would add a couple of my favorites

                                    Ferry Building (yes, I know you said NOT to, but these are worth checking out as relatively inexpensive or at least great value/quality):

                                    - Delica RF1 - great Japanese bentos, and curries
                                    - SF Meat Company - great pastrami sandwich
                                    - Prather Ranch - during the Farmers Market days - great burger

                                    Il Massimo (Market) - decent italian foccacia sandiwch/salad combos

                                    Italia Suisse (1 California) - nice deli options and indoor seating

                                    Pasta Paradiso (1 Market food court) - OK pasta, reasonable value

                                    Ozumo - decent but but pricey, business expense account kind of place

                                    Oasis Grill - great value and quality, fun experience to watch him juggle orders

                                    Sellers Market - kinda expensive but good quality - like their pulled pork sandwich

                                    I often just walk over to Chinatown to go to Great Eastern, Bow Hon, Z&Y, or one of those places - really better food for a 10 minute walk. Also stop by Golden Gate bakery on Grant for some char siu bao (pork buns) for taking home ;-)

                                    I tried Pizza Orgasmica and was very underwhelmed.

                                    I like the Molinari sandwiches (East Coast with hots).

                                    Orale Orale is OK, chile verde burrito is the best value IMHO.

                                    Sai's is good, for pho and other dishes - get there early.

                                    Most of the other places are really pretty mass market mediocre, overpriced or both. It's a great opportunity for someone, but I suspect the rents are driving things towards volume and mass appeal rather than quality.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: RichInMV

                                      I had a slice at Pizza Orgasmica today, and I think it's by far the best pizza in the FiDi (not saying much to be sure). The lunch combos are a good deal, too.

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                        Which toppings did you choose ? I had the vegetarian combo today, because they were out of everything else and it was quite terrible.

                                        1. re: osho

                                          Oh, too bad. I can't remember what I had -- meat combo, I think. The fact is, there's no good pizza in the FiDi. There's okay pizza and bad pizza. The pizza I had was not bad -- sorry to hear yours was!

                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                            I could not agree with you more. Pizza offerings are truly dismal in the FiDi area. Similar issue with Japanese/Sushi - apart from Delica and Ozumo - both of which are high ticket.

                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                              It's worth the 10 minute walk up to Golden Boy (Grant/Green) for the excellent Sicilian slices.

                                      2. Try Butterfly on the Embarcardero - in between casual and business - not too busy at lunch and great view on nice day (my fav is chowder plate - both New England and Manhattan)