Dining Out In San Francisco On A Budget

Today’s post is dedicated to all budget foodies who, like us, can’t resist from trying new dishes when traveling across the US.

Best of San Francisco’s food. Christian Cable.

Known as one of the most expensive cities in the United States, San Francisco is also one of the most pleasant cities. From vibrant, walkable districts to mild weather all year long, the reasons to visit the city by the bay are plentiful. While an obvious approach to saving money on a trip to the West Coast city may be to search for discounts on San Francisco hotels, greater savings can be achieved by maintaining a limited food budget. For those who wish to keep an eye on their restaurant expenditures, San Francisco offers many restaurants that are big on value.

Bar Crudo

Thanks to the city’s bayside location, San Francisco is a haven for fresh seafood. Bar Crudo serves an enticing seafood chowder which consists of fish, squid, mussels, shrimp, potatoes, and applewood-smoked bacon. Those who love oysters should stop by during happy hour when West Coast oysters can be had by the dozen or half-dozen for just $1.

San Francisco bar. Photo by Muy Yum.

Turtle Tower

When in the mood for a hearty bowl of noodle soup, Turtle Tower is the place to go. The eatery serves its specialty, pho ga long, a Hanoi-style Vietnamese chicken soup at $7.75 for a small bowl; $9.25 buys a large bowl for larger appetites.


Pita lovers will enjoy the budget-friendly sandwich wraps served at Souvla. Menu items include pitas filled with a choice of chicken, lamb, pork, or vegetables. For desert, the restaurant offers four types of frozen Green yogurt with varieties that include crumbled baklava, honey, and even olive oil and salt.

Delicious Greek treat. Picture by Παύλος.

Duc Loi/Mission Banh Mi

Located inside the Mission Market, this banh mi counter serves hearty Vietnamese sandwiches at just $5. The sandwiches are generously sized and come in traditional and fired chicken varieties.

Saigon Sandwiches

Another slightly less expensive banh mi option is located in the Tenderloin. Locals flock to Saigon Sandwiches for their remarkable Vietnamese sandwiches, priced from $3.25 to $3.75. The sandwiches are filled with meat, pickled vegetables, mayo, and, in some cases, pate all sandwiched between a French roll.

Saigon sandwiches. Picture by dacbietfood.

El Gallo Giro Truck

Also located in the Mission area, this Mexican food truck arguably serves some of the city’s best tacos. Menu items include, but are not limited to the lengua, braised chicharrones taco, and the al pastor. The menu also includes burritos. Tacos are priced at approximately $2 each. The El Gallo Giro truck typically sets up shop just off the 24th street corridor.


For North Indian and Pakistani food in the Tenderloin, Shalimar is a well-known eatery among local foodies. While the restaurant’s ambiance may leave much to be desired for some, the food is well worth the visit, and the prices are exceptional. For $6.95, customers may enjoy curry dishes. Goat-centered main courses can be had for less than $10.

Highlights of Pakistan cuisine. Photo by Lola Blue.

A city of fine restaurants and prices to match its extravagance, San Francisco also offers surprisingly good deals on great food. With many eateries offering dishes for less than $10, budget-conscious vacationers should have no trouble with eating their way across the lively city.

Which place would you book for a dinner?


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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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22 thoughts on “Dining Out In San Francisco On A Budget”

  1. Katie Featherstone

    I love the sound of El Gallo Giro Truck! I never spent much time in the states, but i think the food must be quite eye opening!

  2. Such a mouth watering foods on the table! And I am very happy to know that I could have them in a very lesser price!

  3. Adventures with Luda

    This is awesome! My “places to eat at” list just got some new additions :)
    It also reminded me of one place called Judy’s Cafe in the Marina (which is sadly closed now)– for $12 you could order a huge omelette or burrito and wouldn’t need to eat for the rest of the day :p

  4. Chinatown, Mission and even in Clement (Outer Richmond?) – there’s a lot of budget friendly eats that can be had in a city as expensive as San Fran. Thanks for this post.

  5. Loved your list. I want to suggest that, if someone is looking for authentic Mexican tacos with home-style recipes then El Gallo Giro Truck is the perfect place and the food is completely in the budget.

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