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Best San Francisco/Bay Area Cheap Eats


As the world economy slows down, we may want to tighten our belts, but we still need to fill our stomachs. Splurging at top-rated restaurants is fun for special events, but where can you go for a good quality meal that won't break the bank? Gather the change out of your piggy bank and sofa cushions and take it to one of our selections for the best cheap eats in San Francisco/Bay Area.

San Francisco City
East Bay
Marin County
Peninsula

View the Top 10 Cheap Eats Restaurants in San Francisco


SAN FRANCISCO CITY

The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen Sandwiches
Quick Bite
Dining Room at The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, San Francisco, CA 1 South Park Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94107

Young SoMa start-up employees stand in line for gourmet grilled cheese. More...

Atlas Cafe Café
Quick Bite
3049 20th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

Cozy Mission café known for its tasty sandwich combinations, enclosed patio and great people-watching. More...

Beautifull Healthy
Quick Bite
3401 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
Menu
Globe-spanning, good-for-you food that makes healthy eating seem like the easiest thing in the world. More...

Bill's Place Diner
Quick Bite
2315 Clement St.
San Francisco, CA 94121
Menu
No swanky digs and small plates here. Devoted locals come for the straightforward, homemade diner fare and honest, small-town conviviality. More...

Brass Knuckle Sandwiches
Quick Bite
749 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94109

Formerly served at a popular food truck and now at this brick-and-mortar shop, these rock-music-themed sandwiches are serious fun. More...

Brenda's French Soul Food Creole
13/20
652 Polk St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Menu
This New Orleans-style eatery has turned a seedy street corner into a foodie destination for beignets, grits and epic french toast. More...

Brickhouse Cafe American
12/20
426 Brannan St.
San Francisco, CA 94107

A SoMa staple with solid saloon fare and wacky décor. More...

Burma Superstar Burmese
13/20
Dining Room at Burma Superstar, San Francisco, CA 309 Clement St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
Menu
Burmese cuisine, as authentic as you can get it stateside, is served up to a mixed crowd including college students and older couples. More...

Chef Jia's Chinese
Quick Bite
925 Kearny St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Menu
Fresh, well-crafted Chinese food for next to nothing---a no-frills favorite with local diners. More...

Dante's Weird Fish Seafood
No Rating
Dining Room at Dante 2193 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

Despite the updated moniker, Dante's Weird Fish is still a casual Mission hangout for “pescatarians” and vegans. More...

Delancey Street Restaurant American
11/20
600 Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94107
Menu
The moderately priced food is traditional American fare highlighted by ethnic and regional specialties. More...

El Metate Mexican
Quick Bite
2406 Bryant St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Menu
An unheralded Mission District taqueria with fresh flavors as bright as its yellow exterior. More...

farm:table Coffeehouse
Quick Bite
754 Post St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
Menu
A tiny haven for craft coffee drinks and daily baked goods. More...

Golden Boy Pizza Pizza
10/20
542 Green St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Menu
The surprisingly crisp, yet chewy, medium-thick crusted slices here will force crust-specific devotees to call it a draw. More...

Green Chile Kitchen New Mexican
Quick Bite
1801 McAllister St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
Menu
Organic salads, rotisserie chicken and burritos are offered at this casual eatery. More...

Happy Garden Restaurant Chinese
12/20
815 Clement St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
Menu
This unassuming eatery is a definite find---the large, inexpensive menu is filled with Chinese-American classics, fresh dim sum and delicious daily specials. More...

House of Nanking Chinese
Quick Bite
919 Kearny St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Menu
Inexpensive Chinese food is a draw for tourists and those saving a buck. More...

Kare-Ken Japanese
13/20
552 Jones St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Japanese-style curry is unpretentious, straight-up comfort food. More...

Kate's Kitchen American
12/20
471 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA 94117

Lower Haight locals line up at Kate's for large plates of Southern-influenced breakfast and lunch fare. More...

Libby Jane Southern
Quick Bite
644 Polk St.
San Francisco, CA 94109

Overflow crowds from Brenda's French Soul Food can feast on some of their BFSF favorites here. More...

Lucky Creation Chinese
12/20
854 Washington St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
Menu
Healthful and tasty vegetarian Chinese cuisine in no-frills environs. More...

Mission Chinese Food Chinese
13/20
Dining Room at Mission Chinese Food, San Francisco, CA 2234 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Menu
Be prepared to stand in line at this hip Mission restaurant-within-a-restaurant offering Sichuan-inspired Chinese fare. More...

Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant Chinese
13/20
3132 Vicente St.
San Francisco, CA 94116
Menu
Spicy Beijing-style halal food in the misty reaches of the Outer Sunset. More...

Pancho Villa Taqueria Mexican
Quick Bite
3071 16th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Menu
A local favorite for tacos and burritos, which also means a long line but it moves quickly. More...

Papalote Mexican Grill Mexican
13/20
3409 24th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Menu
At Papalote the meat is grilled to order, vegetarian options abound, and the smoky red salsa is addictive. More...

Pearl's Deluxe Burgers Burgers
Quick Bite
708 Post St.
San Francisco, CA 94109

A wide range of clever toppings turns Kobe beef, buffalo and other patties into huge, juicy burgers that you'll talk about after consuming. More...

Poc-Chuc Mexican
13/20
2886 16th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Menu
Soulful Mayan food on a quiet stretch of 16th Street. More...

Primo Patio Caribbean
13/20
214 Townsend St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
Menu
Caribbean-inspired, family-run restaurant that lays claim to a casual and, on most days, packed back patio. More...

Saigon Sandwiches Sandwiches
Quick Bite
560 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Menu
This popular, simple sandwich shop in the heart of the 'Loin offers bargain-priced, freshly-made Vietnamese sandwiches. More...

San Francisco Soup Company Soup
Quick Bite
Crocker Galleria
50 Post St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
Menu
Local chain's flagship storefront for fast, fresh, artisanal soups. More...

Schmidt's German
13/20
2400 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Menu
Hearty German fare at a hip hangout. More...

Shalimar Indian
11/20
532 Jones St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Menu
A smoky, linoleum-lined room with weathered travel posters may seem incongruous with soul satisfying Indian food, but hey, love is where you find it. More...

Taqueria San Jose Mexican
Quick Bite
2830 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Menu
Classic Mission taqueria best known for being open late on the weekend. More...

Taqueria San Jose Mexican
Quick Bite
2257 Mason St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Menu
Fill up on some of the best burritos outside the Mission. More...

Tony's Pizza Napoletana Pizza
14/20
Dining Room at Tony 1570 Stockton St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Menu
Expect a wait --- but it's worth it for Tony Gemignani's pizza. More...

What's Up Dog Hot Dogs
Quick Bite
2211 Filbert St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
Menu
A dizzying array of tempting dogs and sausages. More...



EAST BAY

Bacheesos Mediterranean
13/20
2650 Telegraph Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704

Exotic, authentic Mediterranean fare --- including a bustling buffet --- at good prices. More...

Bakesale Betty Bakery
Quick Bite
5098 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, CA 94609

Famous for its fried chicken sandwiches, this bakery also sells cookies, brownies and scones made from the best ingredients. More...

Burma Superstar Burmese
13/20
4721 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, CA 94609
Menu
Enjoy shorter wait times than those in San Francisco for Burmese favorites such as rich samusa soup. More...

Cactus Taqueria Mexican
Quick Bite
1881 Solano Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94707
Menu
The tortillas are lard-free, the chips are fried in safflower oil, and the meat is from high-quality purveyors like Fulton Valley and Niman Ranch. More...

Cactus Taqueria Taqueria
Quick Bite
5642 College Ave.
Oakland, CA 94618
Menu
The tortillas are lard-free, the chips are fried in safflower oil, and the meats are from quality purveyors. More...

Casa Latina Mexican
Quick Bite
1805 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94702
Menu
Above-average Mexican taqueria, bakery and café on San Pablo. More...

Cheese Board Pizza Pizza
Quick Bite
1512 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94709
Menu
Its chewy-crunchy sourdough crust topped with gourmet cheese, this pizza is an East Bay favorite. More...

The Fifth Wheel American
13/20
898 San Leandro Blvd.
San Leandro, CA 94577

Sit down, relax, and fill up at this authentic vintage diner. More...

Home of Chicken & Waffles Southern
12/20
444 Embarcadero W.
Oakland, CA 94607
Menu
This Oakland eatery serves crispy fried chicken, waffles and other soul food specialties. More...

Homeroom American
13/20
400 40th St.
Oakland, CA 94609

Mac ‘n’ cheese is king at this vibrant restaurant. More...

Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe American
13/20
Dining Room at Rudy 4081 Hollis St.
Emeryville, CA 94608
Menu
Fun, punk diner known for satisfying, down-home cuisine; co-owners include a member of Green Day. More...

San Francisco Soup Company Soup
Quick Bite
1300 Clay St.
Oakland, CA 94612
Menu
Local lunchtime favorite for fast, fresh, seasonal soups. More...

San Francisco Soup Company Soup
Quick Bite
2512 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
Menu
A favorite for fast, fresh, seasonal soups just across the street from UC Berkeley. More...

The Sunny Side Cafe American
Quick Bite
Dining Room at The Sunny Side Cafe, Albany, CA 1499 Solano Ave.
Albany, CA 94706

Hefty portions of hearty breakfast and lunch fare, crafted with eco-sensibilities in mind. More...

Tacubaya Mexican
Quick Bite
1788 Fourth St.
Berkeley, CA 94710
Menu
This Mexican spot on Berkeley's bustling Fourth Street serves outstanding tacos, tamales and churros in a bright, busy space. More...

Trueburger Burgers
Quick Bite
Dining Room at Trueburger, Oakland, CA 146 Grand Ave.
Oakland, CA 94612

A modern-classic burger restaurant with flavor as honest as its serious foodie cred. More...

Udupi Palace Indian
12/20
1901 University Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Menu
The Berkeley outpost of this mini-chain serves inexpensive, vegetarian South Indian food on a busy stretch of University Avenue. More...

Wally's Cafe Lebanese
Quick Bite
3900 San Pablo Ave.
Emeryville, CA 94608
Menu
Tucked away Mediterranean diner frequented by Pixar workers on Emeryville's brief stretch of San Pablo. More...

MARIN COUNTY

Amici's East Coast Pizzeria Pizza
12/20
Dining Room at Amici 1242 Fourth St.
San Rafael, CA 94901
Menu
This comfortable pizzeria offers reliable East Coast-style thin-crust pies, a generous antipasto salad and extras such as soy cheese. More...

Barney's Gourmet Hamburgers Burgers
Quick Bite
1020 Court St.
San Rafael, CA 94901
Menu
Still a classic place for an unusually wide range of burgers. More...

Bovine Bakery Bakery
Quick Bite
11315 State Hwy. 1
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

A Marin destination for all types of earthy baked goods, rustic pastries and snacks. More...

Bridgeway Cafe American
11/20
633 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA 94965
Menu
This casual eatery on a scenic Sausalito block is a nice spot for breakfast or lunch. More...

Bubba's Diner American
Quick Bite
566 San Anselmo Ave.
San Anselmo, CA 94960
Menu
Still a great place for meatloaf, pork loin, burgers and fries. More...

Casa Manana Mexican
Quick Bite
Arco Building
711 D St.
San Rafael, CA 94901

This authentic Mexican is one of Marin’s hidden culinary treasures. More...

Phyllis' Giant Burgers Burgers
Quick Bite
2202 Fourth St.
San Rafael, CA 94901
Menu
The space may be tiny but the burgers definitely aren't---Phyllis' serves up some of the biggest and best burgers around. More...

Pine Cone Diner American
12/20
60 Fourth St.
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
Menu
This Point Reyes Station-based diner bright with retro décor features a menu of hearty comfort classics. More...

Pizzeria Picco Pizza
Quick Bite
316 Magnolia Ave.
Larkspur, CA 94939
Menu
One of Marin’s hottest “Neapolitan-inspired” pizza spots, Pizzeria Picco specializes in extra-thin crusts topped with often organic ingredients. More...

Sol Food Puerto Rican
Quick Bite
732 Fourth St.
San Rafael, CA 94901
Menu
San Rafael native Sol Hernandez's first restaurant serves Puerto Rican criolla cuisine. More...

Sol Food Puerto Rican
Quick Bite
901 Lincoln Ave.
San Rafael, CA 94901
Menu
This Sol Food location is a sit-down restaurant offering the vibrant, full-bodied food of Puerto Rico. More...

Table Cafe California
Quick Bite
1167 Magnolia Ave.
Larkspur, CA 94939
Menu
Table Café is a charming little place that offers imaginative dishes fusing California, Asian and Indian flavors. More...

Taqueria San Jose Mexican
Quick Bite
615 Fourth St.
San Rafael, CA 94901

This unassuming eatery draws diners for its tacos and enormous burritos. More...

Tiburon Grill American
12/20
The Lodge at Tiburon: A Larkspur Hotel
1651 Tiburon Blvd.
Tiburon, CA 94920
Menu
Rustic and urbane décor and a menu devoted to American classics---Tiburon Grill offers something for everyone. More...

Tub Tim Thai Thai
12/20
510 Tamalpais Dr.
Corte Madera, CA 94925
Menu
For 20-plus years, this family-run restaurant has been serving solid Thai food. More...

PENINSULA

Amelia's Mexican
Quick Bite
2042 Broadway
Redwood City, CA 94063
Menu
Redwood City eatery for reasonably priced Mexican and Salvadoran fare. More...

Barbara's Fish Trap Seafood
12/20
281 Capistrano Rd.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Menu
A historic fisherman's diner that is both funky and homey, with good, straightforward food. More...

Cafe Borrone California
Quick Bite
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Menu
A classic California café, Borrone is a locals' favorite. More...

Cafe Epi Café
Quick Bite
405 University Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Menu
This lunchtime spot offers Parisian-bistro style eats, sweet treats, plus a wide array of wines and coffees. More...

Gyros Gyros Mediterranean
Quick Bite
498 University Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Menu
A neighborly café serving gyros, Greek salads and good baklava. More...

LYFE Kitchen California
Quick Bite
Dining Room at LYFE Kitchen, Palo Alto, CA 167 N. Hamilton Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Fresh, fast, vegan and gluten-free options help LYFE deliver on its namesake promise to "Love Your Food Everyday." More...

ZAO Noodle Bar Noodles
Quick Bite
261 University Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Menu
Popular noodle house offers affordable bowls of noodles, soups and starters from nearly every corner of Asia. More...

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