25 Cheap Eats Around San Francisco

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Published: January 17, 2023

Even though San Francisco can be expensive, you will find dozens of places for cheap eats throughout the city. My list includes highly rated places I love, which also won't break the bank.

You will find mostly locally-owned restaurants with a handful of popular chains mixed in. Many of these places offer some or all main dishes at around $15 or less.

Some even offer enough food at this price for you to share with your group or save some for later.

Here are 25 great spots near downtown SF, Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf, and other places throughout San Francisco.

Cheap Eats Around San Francisco

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Union Square and Downtown San Francisco

You will find dozens of cheap eats in both districts in San Francisco. These are just some of my favorites that I know you will love!

1. Sushirrito

Address: 226 Kearny Street

Sushirrito offers 'Modern Japanese with a Latin Twist," and if sushi burritos sound like your thing, this is the place to be.

With a choice of branches in and around San Francisco, this is the ideal place to try an innovative made-to-order burrito full of flavor in a charming and lively outlet.

Sushirrito is one of the original hybrid food spots, and Japanese mixed with Latin is a clever choice.

Try it. I know you'll love it!

>> Find some of my favorite sushi spots around San Francisco

2. Super Duper Burgers

Super Duper Burgers

Address: 721 Market Street (and various others across San Francisco)

For traditional burgers made from sustainable ingredients and natural products where possible, you can't beat Super Duper Burgers. This brand has a few outlets in the Bay Area and around San Francisco, and if you love a good burger, you'll love this place!

The menu is refreshingly simple, with a choice of burgers, chicken, and vegetarian options. Kids will love the milkshakes! You'll enjoy the ambiance, too, with its hand-painted signs and friendly welcome.

>> Other places I love for a tasty burger

3. Uncle Vito's

Uncle Vitos Pizza

Address: 700 Bush Street on the Cable Car Line

A range of superb pizzas greets you at Uncle Vito's, a long-established traditional pizza house. The dough is made in house each morning, and the ingredients are fresh and locally sourced.

The smells from the freshly baked pizzas add to the feel and comfort of this charming restaurant, and with toppings to suit all tastes, this is a pizza lover's delight.

You'll find Uncle Vito's close to Union Square, and we believe the prices are very reasonable for the quality.

>> More of my favorite pizza spots

4. The Halal Guys

The Halal Guys in Union Square

Address: 336 O'Farrell Street

The Halal Guys serve a fabulous menu of traditional American Halal food.

With a mouth-watering beef gyro platter at the head of the menu, plus chicken and falafel platters, and all available as sandwiches, this is an excellent spot for a catch-up and a light meal or lunch.

Choose from the standard options of hummus and other sides and sauces, fries, cookies, and more, and you have a brief yet adequate menu and great prices.

>> More great Mediterranean spots around SF

5. Pinecrest Diner

Union Square Pinecrest Diner

Address: 401 Geary Street

This 24-hour diner offers a choice of sit-down meals for between $13 and $18 from a menu of traditional American food, such as chicken wings (try the original hot wing sauce!), fries, and chili con carne.

Yet Pinecrest diner is famous for its all-day breakfasts. Traditional bacon or sausage with eggs, ham, scrambled eggs, and a choice of other great breakfast specials, draw people from across San Francisco, and I highly recommend you give it a go.

>> Additional places to eat around Union Square

6. The Bird SF

Address: 115 New Montgomery Street (SOMA) and 406 Hayes Street (Hayes Valley)

The snappily named 'The Bird' is known for its excellent fried chicken sandwiches, wings, salads, and a choice of many sauces and fritters.

If you don't want the bun—though it's freshly made daily by a local baker—try the 'Naked Bird,' which is just the chicken cooked either classic or spicy and served with a side of handmade apple slaw.

Enjoy a beer in a can or on draft to wash down your chicken, and look at the superbly affordable prices.

Fun Tours in San Francisco

Fisherman's Wharf

The Fisherman's Wharf area along the San Francisco waterfront offers many amazing places to eat. These are just a few options that will help you stay within budget.

7. The Codmother Fish & Chips

Codmother's Fish and Chips

Address: 496 Beach Street

Ideally located in Fisherman's Wharf, the Codmother is considered one of the best fish and chip shops in San Francisco. Most patrons order online for delivery or to pick up, and it's fair to say this place has more than its fair share of regulars!

With a choice of traditional fish and chips complete with tartar sauce and ketchup, delicious calamari dishes, shrimp, clam chowder, and a great selection of kids' meals, I guarantee you'll get fresh fish at great prices.

If you decide to eat here, they offer just a handful of picnic-type tables in their outdoor space. It's an amazing place to eat on a sunny day in San Francisco.

>> Additional places to eat around Fisherman's Wharf

8. Tanguito

Address: 2850 Jones Street

A favorite with visitors in Fisherman's Wharf, Tanguito offers a mix of quality Argentine-influenced dishes alongside traditional burgers.

The beef and chicken empanadas are favorites here. I also love the steak sandwich, a perfect choice for a quick, simple, and delicious lunch.

While there is no indoor seating, there are plenty of tables in shaded and covered areas where you can enjoy tasty food at sensible prices.

9. Freddie's Sandwiches

Address: 300 Francisco Street

If you're in the Fisherman's Wharf area and fancy a tasty sandwich, head to Freddie's Sandwiches for what I consider the best selection in the city.

Order online for delivery or pickup and enjoy a classic sandwich from a fantastic menu made with fresh ingredients that's simply sublime.

Or check out the range of specials and other choices, such as my favorite, the Italian Combo. You won't be disappointed.

10. In-N-Out Burger

Address: 333 Jefferson Street

For classic burgers around Fisherman's Wharf, it's hard to beat In-N-Out Burger, which is famed for quality burgers and fries at great prices.

At this California chain, the burgers made the right way—with no heat lamps, microwaves, or frozen items—and you can tell with each bite.

A simple yet adequate menu of burgers, cheeseburgers, double burgers, and fries makes this a great family option, and kids will love the shakes!

More Fun Things to Do in Fisherman's Wharf

Chinatown and North Beach

These two San Francisco districts also offer quite a few affordable options. You'll find various cuisines at a reasonable price, from dim sum to pizza by the slice.

Note that some dim sum restaurants are cash-only spots.

11. Cilantro Taqueria San Francisco

Address: 2257 Mason Street

For the best authentic Mexican cuisine in the Chinatown area of SF, I recommend the wonderfully friendly Cilantro Taqueria, where burritos, nachos, enchiladas, and many more delicious Mexican dishes await.

A choice of beef or shrimp fajitas would be high on my list of favorites, and with eat-in or take-out options, it's an excellent place for a lazy and relaxed evening meal.

Try it when you're in the area. I believe you'll love it.

>> More great Mexican restaurants around SF

12. Golden Boy Pizza

Pepperoni Pizza at Golden Boy

Address: 542 Green Street

Golden Boy Pizza offers a simple yet attractive menu of traditional pizzas. Established in 1978, this charming outlet offers eat-in and take-out options.

Here you'll find foccacia-style, authentic Italian pizza, with a choice of classic pepperoni, cheese, sausage toppings, combinations, and garlic options. You can order by the slice or a whole pan.

The pesto veggie option is simply superb, and that's before I mention the clam and garlic pizza (which you have to try at least once)!

13. Good Mong Kok Bakery

Good Mang Kook Bakery

Address: 1039 Stockton Street

When you arrive at Good Mong Kok Bakery, you may find a line out of the door. Don't be deterred, as the service is really efficient at this wonderfully authentic Chinese bakery, and the dim sum is among the best I have ever tried.

Be aware that there is no seating inside, but the local parks are a great place to relax and enjoy your meal.

With around 50 items on the menu, there is something for everyone. Do take cash as it is a cash-only spot.

>> A full list of my favorite dim sum spots

14. Tony's Coal Fired Pizza & Slice House

Address: 1556 Stockton Street (at Union Street)

The place to go for a slice of genuinely authentic American-style pizza is Tony's Coal-Fired Pizza & Slice House.

Next door to Tony's Pizza Napoletana, this is an excellent choice for sampling pizza baked in unique styles, New York and New Haven. It's all about the cooking method, and Tony himself may be on hand to tell you more!

I know these are some of the best pizzas in SF. Counter-service only, they also offer subs and sandwiches, calzones, and garlic bread to go or to enjoy in their outdoor seating. 

Note: Tony, the owner, is a world-famous pizza chef with several awards to his name. If you have time and a little more cash, you can head next door to his full-service restaurant, where they have several pizza ovens to offer a selection of pizza types from around the world.

15. Alimento

Address: 507 Columbus Avenue

An excellent Italian eatery with a fabulous menu of stunning sandwiches made fresh on the spot, Alimento is an experience that every visitor looking for cheap eats in SF should enjoy.

For a little sweet treat after your meal, definitely try their traditionally made gelato. The range of flavors is fantastic.

This would make an excellent choice for a family lunch, and the prices are reasonable.

>> Additional places I love to go to for Italian food

16. Dim Sum Bistro

Address: 675 Broadway

Chinese dim sum is a great way to enjoy a snack of mixed items, and the popular Dim Sum Bistro has a comprehensive menu offering a full range of these small dishes, including soups, sticky rice plates, and even burgers—although I don't know why anyone would go to a dim sum bakery for a burger!

Everything is cooked on-site using traditional ingredients and methods, and the prices are so good you'll be amazed.

Other Cheap Eats Around San Francisco

This part of the list includes other cheap eats in San Francisco scattered throughout the city. You'll find everything from inexpensive American restaurants to one of my favorite breakfast spots.

17. Red's Java House in the South of Market District

Address: 38 Bryant Street (at the Embarcadero, on Pier 30)

Red's Java House serves quality burgers on San Francisco sourdough bread, hotdogs, french fries, and breakfast in a pleasant and welcoming setting. I used to eat here all the time when I worked just a few blocks away.

Their lunch menu is served all day - the fish and chips is a popular choice - and a range of exciting specials such as meatball, eggplant, and parmesan sandwiches, and corned beef and hash add to the variety.

I love the prices here and know you will too! Not to mention the great bay views from their patio seating!

>> More about the South of Market District

18. Good Luck Dim Sum in the Inner Richmond

Good Luck Dim Sum in the Richmond

Address: 736 Clement Street

Good Luck Dim Sum is a classic Chinese dim sum bakery offering various dumplings and other dim sum standards.

Egg rolls and shrimp dumplings, pork siu mai, beef and chicken dishes, garlic noodles, and a choice of chow mein and vegetable options are part of a superb and lengthy menu.

Freshly made dim sum at such prices is not to be missed. Bear in mind it is cash only.

>> More about the Inner Richmond

19. Rossi's Deli in the Castro

Address: 426 Castro Street

Rossi's Deli in the Castro is a famous sandwich joint with a big following. It's best to order online for carry-out. They wrap your food, so it stays fresh.

Classic Rossi's variety of tasty sandwiches includes roast beef, chicken, fresh roast turkey, and hot pastrami.

If you want something simple, they do others, such as tuna salad, corned beef, and ham, all at great prices.

>> More about visiting the Castro

20. Yamo in the Mission

Address: 3406 18th Street

For something different in San Francisco, why not try Yamo? This authentic Burmese restaurant offers a great selection of authentic Burmese dishes at excellent prices: mango chicken for just a few dollars, for example, or the unusual tea soup, which is worth trying.

The menu is comprehensive, and if you're unfamiliar with Burmese cuisine, I am sure you'll appreciate something new. At this price, you can't go wrong.

Just make sure to bring cash with you. 

>> More fun things to see and do in the Mission

21. Banh Mi Viet near Alamo Square

Address: 518 Divisadero Street

Vietnamese cuisine is among the tastiest Eastern cuisines. Banh Mi Viet is a highly regarded San Francisco Vietnamese restaurant offering a variety of classic meals from the region.

Try the shrimp spring roll for a delicious seafood snack or the beef banh mi (their signature Vietnamese sandwich) for a delightful mixture of tastes and spices. This is a friendly, welcoming, and interesting choice with affordable prices.

>> Tips for visiting the Alamo Square District

22. El Farolito in the Mission

Address: 2779 Mission Street

Who doesn't love Mexican food? In San Francisco, there are plenty of choices.

El Farolito is a classic Mexican spot in the Mission District. Burritos of many kinds, quesadillas, Mexican sandwiches, and favorites such as tacos make up the menu, along with many specials and other options at sensible prices.

Mexican dishes make great comfort food—but look out for those spices!

23. Abu Salim Middle Eastern Grill in the Haight Ashbury

Address: 1599 Haight Street

The popular Abu Salim Middle Eastern Grill is located in the famous Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco. A menu of falafel, halal, and other Arabic dishes provides something for everyone in this charming and welcoming restaurant.

The beef, lamb, and chicken wraps—all marinated in a rich mix of spices and served with authentic vegetable accompaniment—are always my choice.

Still, there is so much more to Middle Eastern cuisine that you'll want to try some of the more unusual dishes.

>> More about visiting the Haight Ashbury District

24. Art's Cafe in the Inner Sunset

Address: 747 Irving Street

In the Inner Sunset District, Art's Cafe sees lines queuing for their magnificent and original hash brown sandwiches. Choose from various fillings, including bacon, sausage, ham, chicken, and my favorite, teriyaki beef.

There's a lot more to the menu at Art's Cafe, including pancakes, omelets, and other breakfast dishes. This place is affordable, fabulous, and delicious, making it one cafe you need to visit when in San Francisco.

They are open early every day except Monday, but only until 3 pm. 

>> What else there is to see and do in the Inner Sunset

25. La Taqueria in the Mission

Address: 2889 Mission Street

La Taqueria in the Mission District is a popular food destination offering a menu of authentic Mexican dishes. The burritos are superb, and the chicken taco is also popular.

Friendly and welcoming, La Taqueria is where you'll find a lively and friendly atmosphere, plus great food at sensible prices.

This one is well worth a visit if Mexican is your thing.

Cheap Eats in San Francisco

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