SF’s Financial District comes alive when it’s lunch time. Hungry businessmen to tourists wander these streets looking for good food to eat. I’ve made my rounds to a number of different places (e.g. food trucks, stands, restaurants) in hopes to find food that is affordable, yet delicious, quick and filling. Finding these places is not easy, especially in a city filled with lots of tech money and expensive rents.
Fear not, lunch gems do exist! I’ve categorized them by convenience – time is money, money is time – as well as cost.
Grab-n-Go: I Gotta Run to a Meeting
When I first heard about Sushiritto (<$10-$15), I scoffed at the idea of eating sushi in burrito form…until I tried it out for myself. It’s actually pretty great, and especially for lunch. Their burrito combinations are delicious, and I especially enjoy the different textures that come from tempura flakes lining the exterior to the crunchy cucumbers packed inside.
Pro tip: Order on Ritual and you can skip the long lines that form during lunch hour. It saves me a ton of time and hassle!
Onigilly (<$10-$15) serves Japanese rice balls and has various different sets you can get for a pretty affordable price. They use milled rice (the healthy good stuff) and high-quality ingredients for the fillings. These rice balls – or rather triangles – can easily fill you up, leaving you fulfilled and not stuffed.
Proper Food (<$15) is your essential take away stand – there are breakfast sandwiches all day, juices and coffee and salads that are always made fresh in the morning from seasonal ingredients. They have a great selection of vegan and vegetarian-friendly options too. You can always get your item heated up if you ask so your entree can taste even better.
Fast Casual: I Can Sit if I Want
If you like variety in your sushi choices, this place is for you. Iku Sushi (<$10-$15) gives you the power to choose which pieces of sushi you want in your box, each type ranging anywhere from $1.20 to $2.00. They also have sushi sets, hot and cold appetizers, and soup.
Pro tip: From 4pm-6pm daily they have a happy hour where everything is 30% off!
You can always make your way to Delica in the Ferry Building for some bento boxes made fresh daily. They have a great selection of “deli-style” salads such as wasabi potato salad or a hijiki salad where you can get them in 1/2 pints, 1 pint or more and priced by weight. Their fried items like shrimp cake or crab croquettes are done well – not oily and flavorful – so you know they are using real ingredients.
The Bird serves some legit fried chicken sandwiches. You can choose to make it spicy, and it’s served with pickles and slaw. It’s simple yet very tasty. It can get pretty busy during the week, so make sure to allot some time for a line.
A Bit Pricey, but Worth the Time and $$$
If you want to be transported back to Japan, and enjoy an omakase, go to Grubbies. They serve their chirashi bowls (~18-$25) through a window so it’s easy to miss. If you get their omakase (~$40), it’ll come wrapped using a furoshiki and have an assortment of fresh fish from Japan, miso soup and rice.
Pabu Izakaya (~$30-$60) is one of my favorite restaurants in the Mina Group because they serve some pretty delicious dishes. Their take on izakaya food is certainly a deviation from the traditional, but it still tastes great. Their sushi is also very fresh. It’s really easy to spend a lot there, so it’s a good place to splurge for lunch if you have the budget.
Pro tip: They have a great happy hour special – Monday through Friday in the Bar & Lounge area, from 3:00pm to 6:00pm – where drinks are under $7 and bites are ~4-$11.
Even though I love Mourad for dinner, their lunch (~$30-$70) is just as good. It’s a great place to take a client or customer out (aka have someone else foot the bill) since it’s not cheap, but it is delicious. They do a nice job creating a lighter menu for lunch, and I appreciate how it is different than their dinner offering.
Are there other notable lunch spots? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. If you enjoy this post, subscribe to the blog or follow me on Instagram (@terryeatsalot)!