Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jan 25, 2009 09:03 PM

Looking for great/inexpensive food to try in SF/!

My friend and I are taking a weekend trip up to San Francisco from LA/San Fernando Valley. I've been looking for some recommendations fairly close to Fisherman's Wharf (Nowhere out of San Fran please!). Anything inexpensive is great, and specifically my friend and I are partial to:

Indian food
Middle Eastern food or Greek Food (from what I've read there may not be much in SF)
Authentic Mexican food (I hear mission district is good? any specific places?)
South American food (I don't know if there's much of this, i haven't read much)
Mediterranean food

I'm also very interested in trying African food, so if anyone has any great recommendations for that sort of food :) southern/western? I'm not too sure on the differences but either are fine.

or anything else you think is worth mentioning!

the closer the better!
Thanks :)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. inexpensive around the Wharf? - good luck, instead just park yourselves at 16 and Valencia (15 Montgomery bus to BART or 42 Loop to same - or either to the Mission bus). and you'll find most of your requests

    Falafel, VN, Indian, don't get people started on the best Taquerias - search the board, I have my faves and dear friends have theirs, but it can come to blows.

    re: African there is (was?) a semi-Senegalese place called Baobab in the Mission that has received mixed comments as to authenticity - I dunno, but it was always yummy and had a Jack D and Tamarind cocktail that pulled me back to high school (long story) for Ethiopian; Axum on Haight is so hardcore they won't serve half the menu if it is against their Coptic calendar restrictions - but still good.

    am I alone posting in the tentative? so many places in so many cities have closed in the past year.

    1. Some of the places I'm thinking of trying are

      Yank Sing

      9 Replies
      1. re: ashleyy

        Yank Sing is crazy overpriced for dim sum. Good, but overpriced.

        Just sayin'

        1. re: ashleyy

          10 years ago Kokkari was THE Greek place. I have a friend that will not eat Greek unless a family member has made it, but she loved the place.

          Yank Sing is good for standbys, I had the fortune of working at a firm that brought in Dim Sum every Thursday - in down times we'd try out other sources, but always went back. but then when you're dealing with 100+ people, there are are a lot of opinions to deal with.

          Pearl City was my personal fave.

          but you'll get as many recommendations as for Taquerias.

          you won't go wrong (probably)

          1. re: ashleyy

            I used to like Axum Cafe a lot when I lived nearby, but haven't been recently. The best value is the veggie combo and I thought the food was the best of the other Ethiopian places around, but I'm no expert.

            1. re: ashleyy

              Your best bet for cheap food is head down to 16th & Mission. Pauncho Villa's is worth checking out for the scene if you haven't been there, Poc Chuc operates at a higher level but is a much smaller place, Truly Mediterranean's good for shawerma and falafel. I also like Old Jerusalem down past 24th on Mission.

              If you want to stay nearer the Warf make your way over to North Beach & Chinatown. There are a lot of small casual places there. Maybe a 20 minute walk from FW.

              Truly Mediterranean
              3109 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

              Poc Chuc
              2886 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

              Pancho Villa
              3071 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

              Old Jerusalem
              2976 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

              1. re: ashleyy

                Is there food in Fisherman's wharf? SF is a small city--get a muni bus map and the phone number of a cab company and you are pretty much good to go.
                A Greek friend really likes Kokkari, but it is pretty expensive. For Indian, you could try udupi palace in the mission (cheap, authentic) or Dosa (more expensive, more trendy). Cafe Zitouna is a nice place for Middle Eastern. I kind of like De Afghanan Kabob for its freshly made bolani, borani kadoo, kabobs (although the mothership in Fremont is better).
                For Vietnamese, I would try turtle tower for northern pho or Pagolac for seven courses of beef.
                For cheapie fun, you could walk down Stockton St in Chinatown and sample whatever suits your fancy. Golden Gate Bakery and Red Blossom Tea on Grant are also good.

                1. re: ashleyy

                  I wouldn't call Kokkari "inexpensive" au contraire!

                  1. re: Concetta

                    I wouldn't either. but the OP brought it up upthread

                    1. re: Concetta

                      I think Kokkari was the single most expensive meal I've ever had in SF.
                      Granted, we weren't being careful -at- -all- and over-tended to hit the
                      high end of the wine list a bit too much, but man. I was floored.

                      You can certainly do better than I did but you'll need to be careful.

                    2. re: ashleyy

                      I've heard Axum is good.
                      Love Shalimar, but only the one on Jones near Geary.
                      Kokkari is great, beautiful -- but -- far from cheap.
                      I LOVE Yank Sing.
                      I have Indian friends who love Sultan, I just have not been yet. They also like Mehfil on 2nd/Folsom. I like Roti on West Portal but it isn't cheap like Shalimar.

                    3. You will have to sort through this list but I am sure there are some good choices in you desired area. There is a problem in that you can't have close to WF and still include the Mission.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: wolfe

                        Hey Ashley! As a big fan of visiting San Francisco, I beg you to reconsider and catch a streetcar, bus or just walk out of Fisherman's Wharf. Even cabbing it seemed really cheap to me when we've done that occasionally. I can't tell if you've been before, but getting around is relatively easy and quick, and many of the neighbourhoods are cheek by jowl. Check out this simplified map to give you an idea of how close you will be to various 'hoods. I'm thinking specifically of the Civic Centre/Tenderloin for great cheap eats (Vietnamese or how about some Burmese??) in an area often described as sketchy but hasn't scared me yet

                        1. re: wolfe

                          wow thanks for the great site!
                          yeah i'm not too familiar with the area, i haven't been there since i was very young.

                        2. Assab Etrirean on Geary and Collins
                          La Vie on Geary and 22nd Ave for Vietnamese
                          I second your thoughts on Shalimar and Kokkari

                          1. Anyone been to a place called Absinthe?
                            I know its not cheap

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ashleyy

                              Rep on Absinthe:
                              Location + Bar + a good looking room + you don't have to make a reservation. It's a good choice if you need to be in that few block are (like for symphony or opera). It's cheaper than Jardinere but more formal than Citizen Cake. And the bar's good (Jardinere's bar is exceptional though - and a live jazz alcove)
                              However, comparing city-wide it's a little expensive for what you get - the food doesn't quite rise to a Delfina or Foreign Cinema or CAV, and there's no price difference. And Zuni's not that far either, a real treat.
                              If I was traveling, and I had a hotel within a two blocks, I would be thrilled to stop in for an evening snack & drink. If I was traveling and I made it the center of an entire evening, I'd be disappointed.
                              All that having been said, I haven't eaten there in a while. I figure places like this will have trouble in the down economy, being neither star destination nor low-cost neighborhood.