But, believe it or not, it’s totally possible to vacation in the Bay Area on a budget. The area has ample free and affordable things to do along with budget-friendly hotels. However, one of the most overlooked costs of travel is food! Lavish breakfasts, dinners, brunches, and snacks add up fast.
Instead of breaking the bank on every meal, take advantage of the best cheap eats in San Francisco. And, you won’t have to sacrifice taste along the way.
Check out these affordable spots the next time you’re in the Bay Area.
WesBurger ‘n’ More
For mouth-watering burgers (and more) that won’t cause a gaping hole in your wallet, visit WesBurger ‘n’ More. Located in Mission District, this burger joint offers gigantic burgers for only $12. Order the classic All-American burger, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try the PB&J burger. For night owls, the restaurant has a late night menu from 11 pm – 3 am on the weekends, too. After all, burgers are good no matter what time of day it is!
Good Mong Kok Bakery
Craving dim sum? Head to Good Mong Kok Bakery. Whether you’re in the mood for dumplings, bao, or dim sum, this traditional spot in Chinatown is worth the trip. There is no seating or parking available, so keep this in mind as you plan your visit and day. Most visitors take the BART to this restaurant. And, once you see how cheap the food is, you’ll come back for seconds!
While there are plenty of burrito joints in San Francisco, nothing quite compares to El Farolito. This cash-only restaurant in the Mission District has limited seating, a salsa bar, and some of the best burritos you’ve ever had in your life. Also, due to the spot’s reputation, there’s usually a line. Don’t worry, though, it moves quickly! If burritos aren’t your thing, don’t worry. The restaurant has plenty of other cheap eats to order.
It wouldn’t be a list of the best cheap eats in San Francisco if I didn’t mention Mission Cheese. This place celebrates the three main food groups: cheese, wine, and beer. Featuring creative, shareable, and affordable cheese dishes along with a wide assortment of wine and beer, your taste buds and wallet will both be satisfied at Mission Cheese. Do note that reservations are not accepted. Prepare to wait for a table during peak dining hours.
Formerly known as Clare’s Deli, Turner’s Kitchen features cheap sandwiches ranging from their famous French Dip to vegan wraps. Located near Dolores Park in the Mission district, Turner’s Kitchen is the perfect stop for a quick, light, and affordable lunch. And, if you can’t decide on one of the menu items, go ahead and create your own sandwich. Gluten-free bread is also available for all sandwich items on the menu.
Among the best cheap eats in San Francisco is The Bird. This fried chicken haunt sells its signature chicken sandwich for only $8! Of course, there are other items on the menu, as well, but none will break the bank or demolish your travel budget. Each sandwich is served on a freshly baked bun made that morning and the chicken is always free-range. You’ll be raving about this sandwich throughout the rest of your trip!
Tommy’s Joynt is a local favorite and offers everything from pastrami sandwiches to spaghetti and meatballs. The most expensive item on the menu is the Dinner Plates ($12.90) which include your choice of meat, a choice of mashed potatoes or vegetables, beans or salad, and bread and butter. That’s not a bad deal at all! The joint also offers a large selection of draft beer on tap.
Looking for a healthier meal in San Francisco? Not a problem. Check out Judahlicious! This juice bar and restaurant boasts a large menu of raw, vegan, and gluten-free items including acai bowls, gigantic waffles (GF), and delicious smoothies. Best of all, it’s affordable! While you’re there, be sure to check out their daily specials for healthy and creative meal options. Pair your meal with a smoothie, cup of coffee or tea, or fresh squeezed juice—all while staying with your budget!
Sababa Hot Pita Bar
Sababa Hot Pita Bar brings Middle Eastern street food to San Francisco through a “build your own pita” concept. Similar to that of Chipotle, customers can add their choice of meats, vegetables, sauces, salads, and more. Pitas start at $10 each and are loaded with ingredients! Add on extra protein or sides to customize your sandwich even more. If you’re looking to try something different, order a pita bowl or rice salad, too.
Chow Down at the Best Cheap Eats in San Francisco
Although San Francisco has a reputation for being a bit pricey, there are several places to grab a bite to eat without breaking the bank.
Did I skip your favorite affordable restaurant? Tell me in the comments below!