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Cheap Good Eats in SF


theisenm85
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I'm taking my girl out for our 6th anniversary... money is tight however. We both like food/aren't afraid anything (myself anyway, but she's pretty good), wanted to know what some eGulleteers thought some of the best eateries were in SF for your dollar.

I don't want anything that's gonna be significantly over 30$ a head... someone has to do quality food for less than that, right?

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Can you do one blow-out for $50 a head for one special night? If so, consider Aziza where you will get a fabulous, extensive meal which starts with two soups between you (usually a spicy lentil and lately a creamy sunchoke). Then there are a handful of sides like amazing spreads and house-made flatbread, kefta and grape skewers, and a salad of arugula, Humboldt fog cheese, and persimmon. Then you will get the opportunity to choose your own entrées from the menu - and I'd recommend the rabbit and the lamb shank (although their couscous is to-die for!). Finally, you finish off with two desserts, also from the menu. A seriously fabulous restaurant that never fails to impress and is my go-to restaurant for people visiting San Francisco as there is nothing else like it that I've found.

Otherwise, HERE is the search of Bargain Bites reviews from the Chronicle throughout the city. There are a lot to be had.. Another new one to me is S.P.Q.R. on Fillmore. On their menu, they have a whole array of appetizers for $7.00 each, three for $18 and five for $25.00. The two of you could do a whole of serious eating if you ordered five and she ordered three and you each had a glass of wine.

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Another one of my old favorites from my old neighborhood that will fit this bill is Izzy's Steak & Chop House on Steiner between Chestnut and Lombard in the Marina. They do a creamed spinach to plotz for. With the exception of the Veal Chop you should be able to meet your dollar goal and do well.

Here's the link: http://izzyssteaksandchops.liveonatt.com/

hvr :biggrin:

(Edited for the link)

Edited by HVRobinson (log)

"Cogito Ergo Dim Sum; Therefore I think these are Pork Buns"

hvrobinson@sbcglobal.net

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I'll wade in having just returned from a four-day stint in San Francisco. I did a crazy amount of research before we left because a) I'm obsessive b) I love to eat good food at a good price and c) you have to pick and choose in a town overflowing with restos as SF is. We have a tendency to go for taste and price over decor but there were two places we dined at that combined quality with atmosphere, and neither broke the bank:

Jitlada (1826 Buchanan btwn Sutter and Bush): this small resto is cozy and relatively understated. Go for Chef Pai’s specialties -- you'll know them when you see them. We ordered the shrimp ginger rolls, the wonton like appetizer offering, the mango salad, the special noodles with black bean, the sea bass and the pumpkin curry with chicken. They were all excellent, with the standouts being the mango salad, noodles and the sea bass. I am somewhat wary of “fusion” approaches but the chef here knows how to mix in different ingredients to complement the more traditional Thai elements and make it all sing. Case in point: dried cranberries in the mango salad. Sounds whacky, tastes awesome. Our bill for three hungry people came to about $90 including a couple of beers.

Colibri Mexican Bistro (438 Geary btwn Taylor and Mason): a cosy if overheated (why are all indoor spaces in SF so warm?) slightly postmodern take on a classic Mexican restaurant. Arches and wrought iron with dark wood booths but somehow not as cheesy as it sounds. The menu was similar: regional tapas with some unusual dishes not regularly seen outside Mexico, given a bit of a spin. The guide book I got this recommendation from said “unpretentious, delicious and atypical” and I would agree with one exception. The tortilla soup has gone downhill since that review, or they were having an off night soupwise, as it was bland, too sweet and kinda Campbell’s Tomato-y. Not inedible but not stellar. The other items we sampled were all winners: tamales with mole, chicken with mole (my brother-in-law is a big mole fan), chiles rellenos with a delightful cheese and veggie stuffing, three sopes with beef, chicken and again a delicious mixed veg topping, and carnitas (chunks of slow cooked pork whose rather rustic appearance belied a serious yummy factor). Service was attentive and informed, and extra tortillas and limes were brought without complaint or charge. The tab was about $90 with a beer and we were too full to contemplate dessert.

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SPQR is tasty and fun, but the portions are tiny and it ends up being pricey. Also all that great Italian wine will run the bill up.

My faves in your price range are EMMY'S SPAGHETTI SHACK and FRONT PORCH. They are both in the Mission and are fun, hip, young places with really tasty food. If you go to Emmy's get the scallop and melon app, so delicious. The spag and meatballs are always a pleasure and a huge plate is under $10. The other menu items are generally great, though I usually go when I crave the spaghetti. Front Porch is kind of Jamaican influenced soul food. Good fried chicken...as a matter of fact, fried chicken and champagne was a combo I discovered there.

BLUE PLATE is another place in that neighborhood, a step above in terms of food and atmosphere but still not stuffy and very good prices. The food is sophisticated comfort food. Not sure if you can do $60 all in there, it depends on wine and how much you order. The portions are generous there so I like to share.

B STAR BAR, out on Clement, is owned by the Burma Superstar people. A bit less of a hole in the wall, and with excellent burmese/fusion small plates, this is a good option with great prices and a fairly nice atmosphere.

PIZZETTA 211 and DELFINA PIZZERIA are both excellent food, casual but still special atmospheres, and both have very good small plates/apps as well as pizzas and well priced wine.

Another place I have been meaning to check out is PANCHITAS II on 21st below mission. I think it is Salvadorean and the reviews I have read are great and it is supposed to be inexpensive. It is cute from the outside, white tablecloths and candles, I recall.

Good luck! Let us know what you pick!

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