So I spent this past summer working in the Financial District of SF, and lunch was always the highlight of my day. Well, I look forward to food in general, but dude, when you’re in SF, the options are quite overwhelming. No worries, though. I got ya’ll covered. Chances are, if you’re working in/around the Financial District, you don’t have a whole lot of time for lunch. Or maybe you have lunch provided by your company, in which case I hope this guide convinces you to venture out. Even if you’re just passing by the area, you’re probably getting charged for parking 15 minutes at a time. So time is of the essence.
This guide is for people who need to grab and go but still want variety and quality food. I don’t think any of these places are actual sit-down restaurants, but there are some true gems in the area, and SF stole my heart this summer one lunch break at a time 🙂 I actually hated the city before this summer. And I dreaded working in the city. But dude, the food definitely did not disappoint. 10/10 would do it again!
Disclaimer: Some of these places I don’t have pics for cause I was too rushed to take one. But I promise, the food is good 🙂
If you want options and variety, this place is great. I came here for lunch and was surprised by the number of choices in their buffet. They do have standalone items too that are available for order, but I decided to go with the buffet option to try as many things as I could. They charge by weight, and I believe it’s $8.99 per lb. which is pretty reasonable. Don’t get too much from the salad bar…there are more options on the other side! They’ve got French, Asian, Mediterranean…everything, basically. If you spend over $10, you get a free drink or bottle of water. $10 gets you a pretty good amount of food (unless you fill your whole box with super dense meat or something), so I think it’s worth it. All in all, great place for lots of choices.
This is location is an express stand, so you’re not gonna find any seats or tables. There are only 2-3 people working so lines can get really long, but it moves surprisingly fast! The guy who was making the sushiritos when I was there…props to him, cause he was making everything! And then you have one lady who’s in charge of the cash register. Doesn’t seem like much, but their system is pretty efficient. You’ll get your sushirito within 3 minutes after you order…unless you get pork belly, or one of the other items that requires heating.
I got the Salmon Samba, and it was delicious! Love the flavors and textures in this one. You have a little bit of crunch (from the pickles and some other crispy topping), and it goes very well with the super tender salmon. The salmon has so much flavor and it’s cooked so well. You get a decent amount of it too. I also love the wasabi powder that they use–it adds a slight (VERY slight) kick, which I personally find refreshing. The sushirito was wrapped very well, and it pretty much stayed together until I got to the very bottom. And that usually doesn’t happen…at least in my experience at other Sushirito locations. The portions aren’t huge, but they’re surprisingly filling!
3. Miss Tomato Sandwich Shop
I’m really surprised that the lines here don’t get that long. So here’s my PSA: if you’re in the long line for Sushirito next door and don’t want to wait that long for deliciously amazing food, come next door to this place! The sandwiches here are amazing, omg. So happy I decided to try this place (hint–I was going to Sushirito initially, haha). They have a pretty large menu…which I found slightly overwhelming. But as soon as I saw the Chicken Pesto Panini item, my mind was made up.
It was absolutely delicious. Best chicken pesto sandwich I’ve ever had. The bread was perfectly toasted (and buttered), with a slight crunch. The chicken was incredibly moist and flavorful–and I loved how they included dark and white meat. There was just the right amount of pesto sauce, and the avocados, tomatoes, and provolone cheese all added to make this one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. The sandwich isn’t really that big, but you’ll be full, lol. And it’s less than 8 bucks!
This was my happy place over the summer, haha. The line can get long but they run the place very efficiently so it moves quite fast. And you’ll need the time anyway to decide on what you want to order. They have quite the selection! You can either order individual rice balls (they range from $2.47 to $3 something) or get them in a 2 or 3 set combo. I don’t actually know for sure if the combos are cheaper…but I assume they are.
I decided to go with the Edamame Set. It comes with 3 onigiris and edamame on the side. Your final price will vary depending on which of the onigiris you choose. I recommend the shrimp, the crab meat, and the pollock roe. All three of them are delicious! Surprisingly flavorful for such simple food. They include just the right amount of rice to balance out the saltiness of the filling, and the seaweed they use is yummy too. The crab meat was probably my favorite, and it’s actually legit crab meat…not imitation crab.
5. Halal Cart
The line here can get ridiculously long (seems to be a recurring theme now, lol), BUT, like the others, it moves fast. You get your food literally right after you order, as you’re paying. They’ve got a simple menu and a very efficient system going…I was impressed! I love the gyro over rice (#4). You get a lot of meat, an ok amount of rice (wish they gave a little more), 2 pita slices, and a good amount of veggies (tomatoes and cabbage). The meat was very flavorful and I loved the rice! The pita was good too, and the veggies were…veggies, haha. Pretty good amount of food for $10. Beware the red sauce. It’s not labeled and it looks like BBQ sauce but it’s not! It’s spicy af. Wish I could handle spice…it does add a nice kick of flavor.
6. The Sandwich Stand
The food here is tasty and the prices are amazing. Definitely one of the best meals value-wise that you’ll find in the city. The combo is such a great deal–a sandwich, 2 spring rolls, and a drink–all for just $10. Love the BBQ pork sandwich here and the shrimp spring rolls are fantastic. They toast the sandwiches right there when you order so the texture and warmth of the bread are perfect too. Keep in mind that this place is cash only. But seriously you won’t find a better bang for your buck anywhere else!
7. Oasis Grill
Get the Chicken Mediterranean Melt, with a little bit of spice. When I went, I was very taken aback by the portion size…the thing is huge! It literally stands on its own. It’s wrapped very much like a burrito, but the texture of the wrap is thicker, with a very slight crisp. I really liked it. They are very generous with the amount of food that goes inside the wrap as well. The chicken was very flavorful and tender! The amount of spice they put in was perfect–enough to add a subtle kick and not be overwhelming. They include a good amount of veggies as well. The sauce is great and ties the whole thing together very nicely. It’s $11 something, and it seems like a lot, but when you take into account the amount of food that you’re getting, it’s really not that bad.
8. Amawele’s South African Kitchen
The food here is very different, especially if you’ve never had South African food before. Their menu is pretty small (thank goodness, otherwise I’d never be able to decide). I went with their Babotie Paleo. The dish is meat heaven, I kid you not. They weren’t kidding when they said Paleo. I was not prepared for the amount of food, lol. Their portion sizes are ridiculously large, and you can feel it in its weight! This dish is like 90% meat. The beef was delicious though and had so much flavor, so I can’t really complain. It’s served ground up over a bed of veggies and fruit (broccoli, pineapple, raisins, carrots, cauliflower). Whatever seasoning they use–it’s perfect!
9. Henry’s Cafe and Deli
This place is definitely a hole-in-the-wall. And I mean that literally as well. The entrance (and the shop itself) is so tiny you’d literally walk past it unless you were looking for it. Thankfully, they have a sign outside featuring some of their menu items, so it wasn’t too hard to find! Prices here are amazing, especially for the amount of food that you get. I recommend the bulgogi over rice. It comes with kimchi, salad, and dumplings on the side. I only managed to get through half of it. Everything was delicious, though! The meat was very well-seasoned. Kimchi was a bit sour (but some people prefer that), but the dumplings and salad were both good.
10. Super Duper Burger
Dude. This place has the best chicken sandwich ever!! The texture of the bun was great, the chicken had SO much flavor and was super tender, and the chipotle sauce added a slight kick which I found to be perfect. Highly recommend. Get a side of garlic fries too. I hear their breakfast sandwiches are also quite good, but I haven’t had the chance to try them. Please let me know how it is if you guys do 🙂
Hope you guys enjoyed this post! If ya’ll have any recommendations, please let me know!