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One night, San Francisco or Berkeley

thefallinggirl Apr 25, 2010 03:07 PM

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!

  1. m
    ML8000 Apr 27, 2010 04:54 PM

    $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.

    Tartine Bakery
    600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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

    1. i
      indigirl Apr 27, 2010 02:47 PM

      $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.

      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
        thefallinggirl Apr 27, 2010 03:39 PM

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

      2. bbulkow Apr 26, 2010 01:56 PM

        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
          tvham Apr 26, 2010 02:10 PM

          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.

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

          1. re: bbulkow
            CarrieWas218 Apr 26, 2010 03:43 PM

            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: CarrieWas218
              wolfe Apr 26, 2010 03:48 PM

              Which one, which city?

              1. re: wolfe
                Melanie Wong Apr 26, 2010 03:59 PM

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

                La Mediterranee
                2936 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

                1. re: wolfe
                  CarrieWas218 Apr 26, 2010 04:43 PM

                  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
                    vulber Apr 26, 2010 04:47 PM

                    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
                      Melanie Wong Apr 26, 2010 05:03 PM

                      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
                        CarrieWas218 Apr 26, 2010 05:34 PM

                        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
                  Robert Lauriston Apr 26, 2010 04:06 PM

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

                  Old Jerusalem
                  2976 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                3. re: bbulkow
                  thefallinggirl Apr 26, 2010 05:53 PM

                  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
                    grayelf Apr 27, 2010 10:04 AM

                    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.

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

                    1. re: grayelf
                      bbulkow Apr 27, 2010 01:29 PM

                      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
                        Melanie Wong Apr 27, 2010 03:45 PM

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

                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                          grayelf Apr 27, 2010 04:17 PM

                          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. Robert Lauriston Apr 25, 2010 03:09 PM

                  Here's a good topic on cheap places:


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

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    thefallinggirl Apr 25, 2010 03:13 PM

                    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
                      wolfe Apr 25, 2010 03:31 PM

                      Inkas, .6 miles from a Bart Station.

                      Inkas Restaurant
                      3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                      1. re: thefallinggirl
                        Robert Lauriston Apr 25, 2010 05:41 PM

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

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

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          Caitlin McGrath Apr 26, 2010 03:59 PM

                          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.

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                            Robert Lauriston Apr 26, 2010 04:05 PM

                            I like the Berkeley location.

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