Salad in Civic Center
I'd love to find a place that sells a mixed green or spinach salad with grilled chicken for $10 or under. Is it hopeless?
Feel free to recommend a good Vietnamese chicken salad as well. I used to order that salad at Phu Huong (Pink flamingo) but they recently closed and I haven't been able to find a suitable replacement.
For green salad with chicken the closest place I can think of and the best choice is Mixt Greens (two locations) and maybe Wolfgang Puck Express in the cellar of Macys - warning the cellar is a food court.
CPK has a good variety of salads- two locations on on Third and one on Van Ness.
114 Sansome St Ste 120, San Francisco, CA 94104
California Pizza Kitchen
53 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94103
you may have luck at morty's deli on golden gate at hyde. it opened last year and has become a staple for hastings students. i'm a sucker for the warm chicken blt and the warm eggplant parm sandwiches. one of my friends adores their ruben, and another loves the spinach salad, though she does get it vegetarian (and always notes how pleased she is that the hard boiled eggs aren't overcooked). the meat is sliced or grilled fresh to order, whether for sandwiches or salads, and the salad greens are generous and fresh. you should be able to get out of there for just under $10.
be sure to get the frequent buyer card... you'll be surprised how quickly you will fill that up. sometimes i think i should just sign over a portion of my loan to morty's at the begining of the semester!
280 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102
For a salad with chicken you might try the basement of the court building at 400 McAllister, across the street from City Hall. After you go through the metal detectors and down into the basement, there's a cafe downstairs that has a "make your own salad" set up where you can choose your greens (mixed greens, spinach, romaine) and then pick 7 toppings (in addition to the chicken). It's a much healthier fare than most of the other places around there, although Ananda Fuara on Market street is good for true vegetarian (no chicken, but good chicken substitute) food.
I would eat there all the time if I worked a few blocks closer. There used to be a cafe around 12th and Folsom with the same set up but is sadly gone.