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One night, San Francisco or Berkeley

A friend and I are visiting Berkeley this weekend for a conference, and we only get Friday night to ourselves. He is an international who has never been to San Francisco before, so he'd probably prefer to go into San Francisco for dinner rather than stay in Berkeley. So please recommend one or two of your favorite restaurants that are:

- walking distance from a BART station
- in a neighborhood that is nice to walk around
- reasonably cheap (at most $20 per person, but cheaper is probably better)

Any type of cuisine should be fine. Besides the neighborhood, ambiance is not important. Thanks, in advance, for the help!

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  1. Here's a good topic on cheap places:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/359937

    The Mission has a lot of good cheap places and is lively on Friday nights.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Thanks for the speedy reply! That thread is helpful, though a bit overwhelming. My research does seem to suggest the Mission will be the best place to go. Any particular favorites?

      1. re: thefallinggirl

        Inkas, .6 miles from a Bart Station.

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        Inkas Restaurant
        3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        1. re: thefallinggirl

          Angkor Borei (Cambodian), Poc Chuc (Yucatecan), Udupi Palace (South Indian).

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

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Is Udupi Palace in the Mission better than the Berkeley location? I haven't been impressed with the Berkeley one, though I haven't been in a while.

      2. Let me be a little more blunt: $20/pp gets you almost nothing in SF (or berkeley). $20/pp dinner isn't "reasonably cheap", it's bargain basement. Let me give you an example: $10 main + split $4 app + $3 drink (not alcohol, obviously) $2 tax $3 tip and you're at exactly $20. So you're looking for places with $10 mains. And you want it in a happening area that's fun to walk around in.

        I suggest Little Star pizza near 16th and Mission. It's a little loud, but the pizza's very good and fun, and it's near the mission for walking around after.

        14 Replies
        1. re: bbulkow

          You could get a good meal at Limon Rotisserie for $20 pp...the whole chicken comes with two sides and is $16, it would easily feed two. Or you can get half a chicken with one side for $10 and get some ceviche or lomo saltado.

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          Limon Rotisserie
          1001 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

          1. re: bbulkow

            Not near BART, but La Mediteranee has many $12.00 entrées and if they don't drink alcohol, could get out for about $20 a person.

              1. re: wolfe

                Doesn't matter, La Mediterranee is not very good in either San Francisco or Berkeley.

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                La Mediterranee
                2936 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

                1. re: wolfe

                  I was thinking of the La Mediteranee on Fillmore as not being near BART. If someone is trying to keep to a budget, there are certainly worse places to get that much food for the money.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I have only been to the La Mediteranee in Pac Heights, and I found it to be delicious and reminiscent of many home-cooked Middle Eastern meals I've eaten.

                    1. re: vulber

                      I haven't been to the Fillmore location for a few years after a bad lunch there, so your info may be more recent than mine. But tried food catered in from the Berkeley branch and posted about it last year. Funny thing is, other people (non-chowhounds) around me eating the same thing were impressed by overcooked, mushy, dried out food. So your mileage may vary.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        I felt the same as Melanie and avoided it for several years, but late last year a friend insisted since it was within their budget.

                        Since then, since it is in my neighborhood, I probably eat there once a month or so; the pomegranate chicken is very moist and falls off the bone. The selection of spreads are always very fresh. I was very surprised and continue to be so every time I return.

                2. re: CarrieWas218

                  Old Jerusalem in the Mission is good, cheap Middle Eastern food.

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                  Old Jerusalem
                  2976 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                3. re: bbulkow

                  I appreciate bluntness, so it's okay!

                  And I'm also okay with bargain basement, hole in the wall kind of stuff. I probably should have been clearer in the OP that that's what I was looking for; I don't expect you to work miracles and find me a nice sit down place with $10 mains. Even then, I know my criteria are restrictive, which is why I posted instead of picking from another recommendations thread.

                  Thanks again for the tip, pizza sounds just fine, as do the other recs I've gotten so far.

                  1. re: thefallinggirl

                    I'll second Robert's mention of Poc Chuc which is about 1.5 blocks from the 16th St BART station. You will do just fine for $20 which could include a delicious agua de jamaica (no liquor licence here) and the room is welcoming and warm, so you don't even have to sacrifice ambiance and service. Bonus: the food is excellent and might be unique for you, depending where you are coming from. Minus: the neighbourhood immediately around the resto is sketchy, but walking back down 16th (just a couple blocks the other way past BART) will take you into a more interesting zone with bars (Monk's Kettle) etc.

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

                    1. re: grayelf

                      So that means the plata maya and one entree? Two entrees only works if you choose the cheaper ones (but the two I'd order are in the cheap set). What's your opinion of the different entrees - is the orange duck ($18) worth it?

                      1. re: bbulkow

                        Skip the orange duck unless you have a special fondness for that classic prep.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          Of the entrees we've tried (and I should have said this is based on two visits), they were all gigante and could easily have done for two, especially if the platillo maya preceded them. We did not try the duck as we had read it was not as special as the other offerings.

                4. $20/person can be easily done in the Mission if you just drink tap water. I don't find it a hardship so that's what I usually do. Ti Couz works for that; you can split a large salad & each get a crepe w/ whatever you want in it. Come to think of it they also have cheap "bols" of hard cider, so you can go ahead & have that drink :)

                  Also Weird Fish has fun funky atmosphere & good prices. I have gotten out of Pizza Delfina for $40/couple as well. & I think it would be really sad to have your only SF meal at La Med, although it's fine for the occasional meal if you live here.

                  If it were me, I would "self-tapas" through the Mission, stopping at Tartine, any of the good taquerias for a taco, maybe split a pizza, that sort of thing....

                  You could eat perfectly well in Berkeley but it does seem a shame to be so close to SF & not go there.

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                  Ti Couz Creperie
                  3108 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                  Pizzeria Delfina
                  3611 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                  Weird Fish
                  2193 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: indigirl

                    I really like the 'self-tapas' idea. I think my friend would go for that as well. Thanks!

                  2. $20 bucks per...I'd get a burrito (La Taqueria, Cancun, La Cumbre), a drink (take your pick, 500 club, etc.) and ice cream at Bi-rite. Might have enough for a snack at Tartine Bakery or some street food cart.

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                    Tartine Bakery
                    600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                    La Cumbre
                    28 N B St, San Mateo, CA 94401