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Top 10 Best Cheap Eats in San Francisco - Chinatown - San Francisco_ image by peeterv from Getty Images Signature

The 10 Best Cheap Eats in San Francisco, CA

By Sometime Traveller

Updated on

San Francisco is known for its diverse collection of culinary experiences from around the world. If you are looking for cheap eats in San Francisco and want to explore food vibrancy and the authenticity of various cuisines, then this is the place. This diversity is evident in the wide range of restaurants, food trucks, and markets throughout the city. 

As a reader, you might think that distinct options mean a greater price, but in San Francisco, you don’t have to worry about it. This place will offer finger-licking delights at nominal and affordable prices that don’t require you to go broke. 

Without any further delay, let’s dive into my list of the best cheap eats in San Francisco, which I have curated exclusively for you. This blog is a must-read to understand the food areas and the specialities they offer there.

Ten Terrific Cheap Eats in San Francisco

Let’s scroll down to read about the famous food areas and marketplaces in San Francisco for all the foodies out there so that you can experience taste perfection at convenient pricing.

1. Ferry Building Marketplace

 Ferry Building Marketplace - Photo by -  Rob Osterhouse
Ferry Building Marketplace – Photo by – Rob Osterhouse

It is known as the culinary hub for food vendors, producers, and specialty shops. The vibe is quite buzzing with activity and serves as a vibrant gathering place for locals and visitors alike. From freshly baked bread and pastries to gourmet cheeses, chocolates, meats, and seafood, you will have the best and most affordable offerings by local vendors. 

There are plenty of other stalls at the Ferry Building Marketplace, including patties, empanadas, and coffee shops. You should browse this area for cheap options like sandwiches and tacos or pick-up ingredients for a DIY meal.

Best Spots (+ Location): Gott’s Roadside, Hog Island Oyster Co.

2. Mission Burrito

Mission Burrito originated in the Mission District, where they became famous for preparing hearty, portable burrito meals combined with Mexican ingredients and American influence. Mission Burritos are large and contain sufficient fillings, such as four tortillas, rice, beans, and meat, making them a value-packed food. 

Several spots in the Mission District are known for their burritos, each with its own local loyal following and signature style. Visit the Craftsman & Wolves and taste their famous The Rebel Within. This mouth-watering sausage muffin has just the perfect boiled egg inside with a runny yolk.

Best Spots (+ Location): La Taquiera, El Farolito, Taqueria Cancun

3. Chinatown 

Gateway to Chinatown in San Francisco⁠ Image by Orvar Belenus from Getty Images
Gateway to Chinatown in San Francisco⁠ Image by Orvar Belenus from Getty Images

Chinatown is another food destination for Asian cuisine lovers. There are plenty of stalls in Chinatown that offer delicious food at affordable rates and of premium quality. Customers choose Chinatown over any other option because the authenticity of the taste has been maintained, plus it offers scenic views of San Francisco. If you’re taking your Fox Car Rental with you, be mindful that there is limited free parking space throughout the park.

Best Spots (+ Location): Delicious Dim Sum restaurant, Good Mong Kok Bakery, Dim Sum Corner, Great Eastern Restaurant

4. Off the Grid Market

 Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center - Photo by Helen Kwan
Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center – Photo by Helen Kwan

Off the Grid Market has adventurous food scenes and plenty of amazing cuisines to choose from. Off the Grid Market is 16 miles away from the airport. If you take your SFO Car rental with you, in 20-30 minutes, you’ll reach this place. This market partners with 300 food and drink suppliers.

Whether you’re looking for an Asian Delight or a European taste, this market will surely have something to satisfy your hunger. In addition to food items, Off the Grid Market is also famous for homemade beverages and different cocktails. The years of experience that they possess in serving fast is really commendable. 

If you want to try exceptional food truck delicacies, then include Off the Grid Market in your checklist. And yes, before visiting the place, check its website to see the schedule of its food truck market.

5. Little Italy

San Francisco, Little Italy Image by peeterv from Getty Images Signature
San Francisco, Little Italy Image by peeterv from Getty Images Signature

As we know, San Francisco is less famous for its Italian Cuisine than cities like New York and Chicago, but it still favors a nice Little Italy neighborhood in North Beach. Italian heritage, charming streets, and authentic pizzerias also surround this area. 

In addition to serving delicious pizza slices, Little Italy also satisfies the taste buds by offering wholesome pies, which are a budget-friendly option. 

Best Spots (+ Location): Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, Golden Boy Pizza

6. FoodHall

Outside Foodhall Image by Joshua Lee
Outside Foodhall Image by Joshua Lee

These are indoor marketplaces in San Francisco that offer unlimited food varieties, from tacos and sushi to barbecues and desserts. The lineup of Culinary Talent and global flavors here is something to come and try. Foodhall promotes positive community gatherings with live music, a lively atmosphere, and a bunch of co-foodies to connect with. 

There are coffee shops, gourmet grocery stores, and a wine bar, making it a one-stop shop for grabbing a meal or various food items. The mixture of local and international food vendors makes this place more exciting and not to be missed.

7. Boudin Bakery

This eatery joint holds a special place in the heart of San Francisco. It has been serving mouth-watering baked goods for over 170 years. It is renowned for its sourdough bread, which has a tangy flavor, chewy texture, and crispy crust. Their affordable bread bowls create a comforting meal for the customers, providing the perfect vessel for enjoying the last bite. 

Boudin Bakery has several locations throughout San Francisco, and its bakery products are available at select grocery stores and retailers throughout the city.

8. The Richmond District

San Francisco Richmond District and Golden Gate Bridge⁠ Image by JasonDoiy from Getty Images Signature
San Francisco Richmond District and Golden Gate Bridge⁠ Image by JasonDoiy from Getty Images Signature

For experiencing culinary diversification at pocket-friendly rates, The Richmond District in San Francisco is a perfect place. Asian Cuisines, along with Chinese and Russian delicacies, are their specialties.

Visitors can find numerous Chinese restaurants serving regional dishes such as Szechuan cuisine Cantonese seafood, accompanied with Russian Bakeries, delis, offering items like borscht, pelmeni, etc. 

The Richmond is home to several beloved local eateries that have become the neighborhood’s favorite over the years. There is no shortage of affordable and delicious dining options to choose from here. 

Best Spots (+ Location): Burma Superstar, Shabu House

9. The Fillmore

The Fillmore has a rich history of vibrant soul food and a Southern Cuisine scene. Visitors can enjoy classic dishes like fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and cornbread. It is home to savoring international flavors and offers plenty of cafe options where visitors can grab a quick meal or enjoy a comfortable meal. 

If you have a sweet tooth, Fillmore offers gourmet chocolate options, a variety of dessert shops and bakeries, high-quality produce, and food creativity.

Best Spots (+ Location): The Fillmore Bakeshop

10. The Tenderloin

This neighborhood provides hidden gems for budget-conscious foodies. The cuisines this place offers include Thai, Indian, Pakistani, Ethiopian and more. Because of its abundance of budget-friendly eateries, these establishments range from premium diners to casual cafes and cheap takeaway restaurants. 

The Tenderloin has been serving the community for decades with its classic comfort food, soul-fulfilling breakfasts, and satisfying lunch meals.

Best Spots (+ Location): Shalimar and Saigon Sandwich


Where can I find cheap eats in San Francisco?

Look for taquerias and food trucks in neighborhoods like Mission District, Chinatown, etc.

Are there any happy hour deals or specials in San Francisco?

Yes, many restaurants and bars offer happy hours on drinks and appetizers. Check online listings for recommendations.

How can I save money on dining out in San Francisco?

Consider sharing dishes with friends or dining during off-peak hours when restaurants may offer specials.

Where can I find affordable breakfast options in San Francisco?

You can go to diners, cafes, and bakeries that offer breakfast specials or combo deals. Some bakeries also seres discounted pastries or coffee in the morning.

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