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Looking for thoughts on my "cheap eats" choices and possible ideas.

My mother and I are planning a trip to SF in January, and while we've already selected our pricey dinners, our cheap eats meals are subject to change. I would love to hear your thoughts on what we've chosen, as well as any ideas you might have! I came up with most of these from Chowhound reviews, so I figure they will be decent, but every little bit helps.

my list:
Saigon Sandwich Shop
Gold Mountain
San Tung

Thank you so much for your time/thoughts!

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  1. Additional details: We will not have a car, so in San Francisco proper is likely a necessity. We like all kinds of food, so pickiness is not an issue. I'd prefer to keep it under ~20 a person, and the cheaper it is, so much the better! Area of the city is not terribly important, nor is atmosphere.

    4 Replies
    1. re: GirlyQ

      "the cheaper it is, so much the better! Area of the city is not terribly important, nor is atmosphere."
      Red's Java House, double cheese burger on hard roll. fries and coke $9. view of the bay, the Bay Bridge from patio. Conveniently located 3/4 miles from Ferry Building and boats to Sausalito.

      1. re: wolfe

        Oh, this sounds wonderful! The location is fabulous! Thank you so much.

        1. re: GirlyQ

          Red's is my all time favorite dive in The City. The burger is not the best choice though. The fish and chips for about $8, or the corned beef sandwich might be a better choice. I used to be a fan of the hash, but the last few times, the spuds were barely cooked. Depending on the weather, the open bar in back can be nice, but watch out for the seagulls, aka s**thawks.
          Also Yuet Lee at Stockton and Broadway for Chinese Seafood, esp. salt and pepper squid, San Francisco's answer to fried clams. Crab should also be plentiful in Jan. Enjoy!

          1. re: little big al

            Red's! That's a dive. My call at Red's is an egg sandwich with sausage, double egg, on sliced sourdough. I think that'll set you back about 4 big ones. Add a LOT of Tabasco. Great place though, view not to be beat.

            Next question: what do you think about schwarma, and do they have it good where you come from? My fav is Med Delite at the corner of 16th and Valencia, but I actually think there's a place two blocks south on Valencia that's better. The atmosphere at Med Delite is tops, although you're crammed in at two bar stools. The schwarma is only very good, so you might have better where you come from.

            Next for cheap eats would be Cafe Tartine. The sandwiches there are something else, and two people can split one. Not sure if it's open late enough.

            Another great dive in the heart of the mission: overlooked Sycamore. Feast on the pork belly doughnut holes and the lamb sliders, have a west coast beer, get out for $20.

    2. la Torta Gorda, 24th St. (directly east of the BART station on Mission) -- the huitlacoche quezadilla and chile en nogada are both quite good, and the huevos divorciados looked good too. the chicken mole we tried was one of the better versions we've sampled in SF, as was the champurrado. Mission Pie is on Mission a few minutes' walk from the station, as are a number of potentially interesting stops if you like panaderias, pupusas, tacos al pastor usw.

      1. Prime Dip Sandwiches (6.99up) comes with a choice of sides and dipping sauce.
        -choice of prime rib, roasted pork, pastrami, roasted turkey, corned beer.
        a block from saigon sandwich
        btw think gold mountain on broadway is closed.

        1 Reply
        1. re: shanghaikid

          Outerlands (on Judah in the Outer Avenues, not too far from Ocean Beach) is worth consideration.
          Excellent bread and open face sandwiches.
          Lunch: soup and sandwich, tea and tip should run about $20 per person.


          Outerlands Cafe
          4001 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122

        2. Mission Pie
          Farmers markets
          American grilled cheese kitchen
          Little skillet
          Out the door
          The sentinel
          Park chow

          1. There's Taqueria Cancun and Pearl's Deluxe Burger at 6th and Market. Both inexpensive.

            1. Do you mean Underdog hot dogs, or the Taco Shop At Underdog's Sports Bar (made by Nick formerly of Nick's Crispy Tacos)? Nick's Crispy Tacos on Broadway is really good, cheap, and has fun decor for a taco shop. I've heard favorable reviews of Underdog's tacos but I can't vouch for them myself.

              If you are talking about Underdog hot dogs, unless you're itching for their vegan offerings or are specifically looking for an organic hot dog, I'd suggest you go elsewhere. I got their regular a few months back, and found it no better than a supermarket hot dog and bun, and definitely not a destination worthy spot. Rosamunde and Showdogs are my top picks, but search the boards for others.

              Rosamunde Sausage Grill
              545 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

              The Taco Shop at Underdog Sports Bar & Grill
              1824 Irving St, San Francisco, CA

              Show Dogs
              1020 Market St, San Francisco, CA

              1 Reply
              1. re: hyperbowler

                Agreed. Not impressed with the linguica I tried here, and thought it was overpriced for the quality (I know, quibbling over a $5 sausage is a First World Problem, but realizing I could buy Schwarz's sausages and make most of this stuff at home has raised my expectations of SF's sausage middlemen).

              2. Little Vietnam Cafe, hole in the wall, 6th Ave nr Clement St. Great grilled chicken Banh Mi, $4.50, especially, if they serve it hot from the grill but good cold to. Love the lemon Grass tofu $5 to take home for a snack. A few counter spaces and a little outdoor seating. Save room for a dimsum dessert on Clement. An egg tart coconut bun, sesame ball?

                Vietnamese Sandwich Shop, bet 5th and 6th Ave, Clement St. The lightly coated fried chicken banh mi, though smaller than the grilled chicken at Little Vietnam, is wonderful. The grilled chicken isn't as tasty here.

                Or skip the bahn-mi - just chow out on dimsum on Clement St.

                $12 Tuesdays @ 2223 Restaurant @2223 Market St., the Castro. Great bang for the buck.

                The pulled pork is our favorite. Also, the meatloaf.

                Valencia Pizza: Little hole in the wall. Diner food. Huge portions. Platters with small salad, potatoes /pasta and three fresh vegs.

                19th@ Valencia.

                China Rice bowl acrossthe street from San Tung if the line is too long at the former.

                Peasant Pies ~3.50 lowcal "pasties", green salad or soup. The chocolate tart for me.

                We like the pork chops. Not the pizza or the Italian dishes, according to the friends who turned me onot Valencia. At these prices ($) it's hard to fault the cooking even if something is a little overcooked orthey forget the mustard in the mustard sauce.

                Cool neighborhood. besides.

                3 Replies
                1. re: stanbee

                  <<<Vietnamese Sandwich Shop, bet 5th and 6th Ave, Clement St.>>>

                  Do you mean Java Source on Clement between 4th and 5th? That seems to be the closest banh mi shop to this location. I've been meaning to try it - some swear by it, though the reviews seem sharply split as the place is a little forbidding. Every time I've passed by during business hours there are a ton of guys smoking outside playing dominoes.

                  +1 on:

                  The Sentinel (not dirt cheap, but amazing value)
                  Pearl's Deluxe Burgers
                  Taco Shop at Underdogs

                  Lers Ros
                  Darbar or Lahore Karahi
                  Pancho Villa Taqueria (sorry Cancun fans, it's worth paying a buck or two more for decent ingredients and salsas)
                  a bacon dog cart - preferably the one on the west side of Mission around 19th ;)
                  Melody Cafe
                  Venga Empanadas
                  Balompie #3/Los Planes/La Santaneca

                  In my opinion Saigon Sandwiches is good but not head and shoulders above other SF banh mi places, so I'm not sure I'd bother with a special trip.
                  2223 is closing soon, not sure exactly when.
                  Bullitt sounds fun but if you like cocktails I would consider spending a little more and checking out Smuggler's Cove or Rickhouse. They still won't break the bank.

                  Where are you traveling from? If it is somewhere with a dearth of good Chinese food, I might consider substituting a place like Old Mandarin Islamic or Z&Y for the slightly overrated San Tung. And maybe add a pho joint - Ha Nam Ninh is closed until at least mid-December but I think they will be open by the time you are here.

                  1. re: bigwheel042

                    Have never thought of walking through the smoke to try anything there.

                    Maybe I spaced on the name . Newish shop where Java restaurant used to be bet 5th and 6th on Clement. Only recommending the fried chicken sandwich so far. The 5 spice chicken sandwich is up and down but not as tasty as at Little Vietnam on 6th Ave nr Clement.

                    1. re: bigwheel042

                      +1 on a bacon dog cart, and +1 on Pancho Villa.