By Jennifer Cuellar, on June 28, 2019

Where to Find the Best Cheap Eats in San Francisco

If you’re planning to visit San Francisco, you already know you’re in for the culinary adventure of a lifetime. While San Francisco’s food scene is world-class, you can save your pennies for shopping sprees and streetcar rides—there’s enough cheap eats in San Francisco to keep both your belly and your bank account full. If you’re asking yourself, “How can I eat cheap in San Francisco?” just follow our guide!

1. Sam Wo Restaurant

Sam Wo Restaurant, which opened in 1907, upholds its legendary reputation by serving consistently satisfying Cantonese dishes at remarkable prices: most menu items are $10 or under, guaranteeing that you’ll eat cheap in Chinatown.

2. House of Pancakes

Not all the great Chinese food in San Francisco is in Chinatown. The Taiwan-inspired House of Pancakes in the Inner Parkside neighborhood features savory pancakes, hand-pulled noodles, and a variety of dumplings. You’ll instantly understand why cheap food in San Francisco is truly out of this world.

3. You See Sushi

While Chinatown has a deservedly famous reputation for delicious meals, San Francisco is home to a wide range of international cuisine. You’ll find it easy to indulge in some of the best cheap sushi in San Francisco. You See Sushi has a menu of seemingly endless maki and nigiri selections at unbeatable prices.

4. Onigilly

For a twist on classic sushi, head to Onigilly for seaweed-wrapped Japanese rice balls. They offer over 15 flavors to mix and match, including vegan and gluten-free options.

5. Ritual Coffee Roasters

Time for a coffee break! Ritual Coffee Roasters has several locations throughout the city, and a visit to one of them will convince you why there’s so much food to love in San Francisco. And when you’re ready for more cheap food in San Francisco, check out the Valencia St. location for a fresh-brewed, locally-roasted, incredibly delicious cup of coffee and a fresh pastry for under $10. It’s a perfect light lunch or mid-afternoon snack.

6. Street Taco

No California cuisine is more beloved than the street taco, and that’s what you’ll find at the aptly-named Street Taco. Located in the famed Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, this restaurant serves made-to-order tacos and burritos in organic, handmade tortillas.

7. Fisherman’s Wharf

There’s no way you’ll want to leave San Francisco without sampling some fresh, delicious seafood, and you don’t need a large budget to take advantage of the city’s prime Pacific location. Head down to Fisherman’s Wharf in the Marina district. You’ll find an abundance of seafood vendors selling their fresh catches just steps from the water’s edge. Fresh containers of a la carte crab, shellfish, and other succulent seafood are ready to be eaten as you walk along the historic waterfront.  The best cheap food in San Francisco is truly right at your fingertips.

8. Super Duper Burgers

Sometimes, even in a culinary kaleidoscope like San Francisco, you just want a burger. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a simpler, more satisfying, yet still uniquely San Franciscan burger than the one served at Super Duper Burgers, a small Bay Area chain of restaurants. Super Duper features a fast-food-inspired menu with optional upgraded twists—like an organic egg added to a two-patty burger, garlic and cheddar on your fries, or an organic chocolate shake.

9. The Candy Store

Don’t leave San Francisco before satisfying your sweet tooth! The Candy Store’s name says it all. You’ll find glass jars filled with candy both familiar and foreign, new and nostalgic. You’re allowed to choose as little—or as much—of the sweet stuff as you want.

What are some of the best ways to experience cheap food in San Francisco? Try some of these exciting options for adventurous eating:

  • Go on a gourmet chocolate tour to sample some high-quality sweets and learn about chocolate production methods.
  • Let a local guide show you the least touristy—and most savory—authentic regional Chinese flavors on a Chinatown food tour.
  • Marvel at memorabilia from San Francisco’s legendary rock ‘n’ roll scene with priority seating at the Hard Rock Café San Francisco.
  • Don’t leave Northern California without indulging in wine tasting in the nearby Napa Valley wine region!
  • You’ve been so thrifty on your San Francisco visit that you’ll surely be happy to indulge a little on a champagne brunch cruise on the Bay, where you’ll get to see the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge from a whole new perspective.

What are you waiting for? Set your sights on the Golden Gate and get ready for the city of peace, love, and good eats. With all the money you’ll save at these delicious hot spots—and our San Francisco on a budget guide—you’ll have more cash to bring treats home.

Header image: Via canadastock/