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Feb 15, 2011 11:20 AM

SF Visitor - Cheap, cheerful and chow worthy?

Hi everyone, heading to SF in 9 weeks' time and will be there for 3 days. Hoping that you might have some good recommendations for me...

We're casual travellers and don't do fancy schamncy, so we're looking for places where jeans and sneakers are not a problem. Hoping for cheaper eats (less than $12 per entree if possible, can be a little higher) as this is the start of a 15 day holiday :)

Day 1 - looking for breakfast recommendations near the Union Square area. We're from the UK where you don't really get diners as such so a diner would be great. Think bacon, eggs, toast, etc. Maybe pancakes. If we get a good, hearty breakfast we won't eat lunch and that evening we plan Osha Thai. I've been to SF before and loved Osha - is it still good? Would like a rec for somewhere casual for a beer/cocktail before and / or after Osha and we don't mind going to any of the Osha restaurants or any part of SF. We like to walk!

Day 2 - looking for a good bakery close to Union Square for a take away croissant type breakfast and hopefully blue bottle coffee? We're headed out to Point Reyes that day so just ideas for an evening meal please. Preference for ramen, pizza, pasta, steak, burger, bbq, mexican food, again area doesn't matter as long as it isn't way out of the centre (i.e. we don't really want to get a cab).

Day 3 - doing the evening Alcatraz tour which should finish up around 9pm so looking for a quick bite to eat before we head off for the night in Santa Cruz. We might just head to In n Out for this one but any other recs close to Pier 33 gratefully received. No fish & seafood due to an allergy.

Looking forward to these recs and I promise to report back :)


Osha Thai
149 2nd St, San Francisco, CA 94105

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  1. Are you renting a car to get to Point Reyes?

    1. Day 1 - Not too familiar with breakfast options around the Union Sq area, but I would recommend Farmerbrown for lunch. It's a Southern style restaurant... not too sure if you have that sort of option in the UK. Think fried buttermilk chicken, collared greens, grits, gumbo, mac n cheese! The price is more along the $15-20 range, but I still think that is a fair deal considering how delicious everything is.

      Osha Thai is still good, though I've always argued there are more authentic Thai restaurants out there. Osha is more American-Thai. Different preferences I guess.

      Day 2 - If you want ramen, Katana-Ya in Union Sq is a heavy favorite and the long lines will vouch for that. If you want to venture off, the Mission offers pretty much every one of your preferences. Some notable favorites, Nombe for Japanese small plates (and ramen), Pizzeria Delfina for pizza, almost any taqueria for Mexican (it is the hub of awesome burritos/tacos), and just because I think it would be fun for out of towners Cha Cha Cha for Spanish tapas and sangria. The Mission is accessible via BART... wouldn't rec walking there.

      Day 3 - All these touristy parts really make it a challenge to find cheap eats! But I agree with you, In and Out is a must! Do you know about their "secret menu"? Just google it and you will be amazed at the unique preparations they can make with your burger, fries, and shakes!

      430 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      Pizzeria Delfina
      2406 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

      2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      1. Pier 33 to Fog City Diner.
        11:30am-10:00pm MO-THU
        11:30am-11:00pm FRI
        10:30am-11:00pm SAT
        10:30am-10:00pm SUN

        Fog City Diner
        1300 Battery Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

        1. Day 1 - Not a diner, but you could try Brenda's French Soul Food (Tenderloin) for breakfast. They have some very hearty dishes available. If it's a weekend, there will be a wait.

          Osha - yes, it's still dependable. Every time I eat there with a group, everyone is happy. If you are concerned about money, there are less expensive thai options.

          Brenda's French Soul Food
          652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102

          1 Reply
          1. re: selectiveomnivore

            On our last two visits we ate at an OSHA restaurant and were very happy.

          2. Blue Bottle Coffee Mint Plaza fits #2 perfectly

            Blue Bottle Cafe
            66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103