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Aug 25, 2007 10:25 AM

Good Cheap Eats by the S.F. Zoo

Going to the zoo today, my first time ;)
was wondering if there are any good lunch spots near the S.F. zoo, or is it worth eating at the zoo?

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  1. This may be too late for you, but anyhow..

    The places across the street from the zoo are all pretty horrible. The food inside the zoo is better than it used to be. Three cafes, one Mexican, one Asian, one burgers. If the weather is good, we usually take a picnic and eat on the beach near the zoo. Or you could go to the Park Chalet, but that's not exactly cheap.

    Be sure to see the new grizzlies!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Glencora

      There is a diner type place either across from the zoo or just up the street where I have had a breakfast that was much, much better than horrible. In fact, it was pretty darned good. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name but it has a man's name in it. Perhaps someone else can chime in?

      I ate inside the zoo about two months ago and would much rather eat at that place across the street. Food at whichever cafe I ate at (There were both burgers and asian food on the menu) was vvery non descript, and getting a table required some agressiveness and at least two adults(grab a table, take turns getting your food cafeteria style, keep telling folks no when they want to take your other chair you are saving for the person getting food....or if you go at peak hours, forget, you will either have to wait or sit on a concrete wall to eat....)

      1. re: susancinsf

        You have to be thinking of John's Ocean Beach Cafe. I haven't been there is a few years myself, but recall that it had the feel of a '50's place (even had '50's music on the old juikebox), so it's surprising that it's "only" 28 year old.

        I don't recall what I ate, only that it went down well.


        1. re: Gary Soup

          yes, that is it. nice spinach omelette, and lots of tasty sounding specials, IIRC.

          1. re: susancinsf

            I'll give it a try. Thanks. I can't remember the names of places, either, but I know I had some bad pizza and fries (not together) over the years at places across the street from the zoo. It's fuzzy, though, because the focus was on kids, not chow. Isn't there an Irish place, too?

            1. re: Glencora

              Was the bad pizza at Pasquale's? I haven't eaten at the Sloat location, but the one on Irving is good.

    2. At the shopping center at Sloat near Sunset Blvd, there's a Ono Hawaiian BBQ that's decent and cheap.

      1. probably too late to help you, but at Taraval and 41st there is a whole block of chinese restaurants and i can vouch for two of them : Win's and the one at the very corner of 41st that i think is called Old Shanghai, or something like that.
        good cheap chinese.
        Win's specializes in chinese Barbecue and has FANTASTIC Ribs.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jupiter

          Actually, this is a good thread and might be helpful to others. I've often thought that we could do better than eating at the zoo or on a cold beach, but I really don't know the area. Thanks.

          1. re: Glencora

            There is also a cheap-o sort of diner type restaurant that does breakfast all day sort of food at 46th and Taraval called Bull's Head Too.
            They are alright. i have eaten there a few times and it is definitely better food and more variety than what you will find at the zoo, and it is very kid friendly and they make good ice cream shakes also.

        2. Thanks everyone for all the suggestions! I wish I would have posted sooner because I did end up eating at the taqueria, and was enjoying the cheese nachos and the chicken taco. That is until I almost bit into the hair in my taco!
          I quietly went to the back of the counter and let them know. They did offer a new taco but I opted for my money back.

          The chicken in the taco was nicely seasoned and it was served asada style.
          The nachos where good though!

          Next trip I will definetly check out one of the spots you hounds suggested!

          1. Adding a place record

            John's Ocean Beach Cafe
            2898 Sloat Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94116