The Best Lunch Spot in 25 San Francisco Neighborhoods

San Francisco

The Best Lunch Spot in 25 San Francisco Neighborhoods
The Best Lunch Spot in 25 San Francisco Neighborhoods

Flickr/Jennifer Yin (edited)

You know how you know that one good lunch spot by your office, and that one good lunch spot by your house, but literally no other lunch spots by any other things? Well starting today you’ll now know where all the good lunch spots are by ALL THE THINGS. 

Here’s the best lunch spot in 25 different San Francisco neighborhoods.

Tamara Palmer/Thrillist


CDXX (address and info)
What you’re getting: A burger and a Crougnut

CDXX is a pretty playful place where the menu seems designed with munchies in mind (which makes sense when you find out "CDXX" are the Roman numerals for 420). The burgers and entrees here, while pricey, are made with good, quality ingredients (including vegetarian-fed, pasture-raised, and hormone-free meats) and they really go crazy at dessert -- it’s worth splitting a crispy, caramel drizzled cinnamon sugar Crougnut even if it’s absolutely nothing like the New York croissant-donut hybrid that inspired it.

Flickr/Todd Lappin

Bernal Heights

Avedano’s Meats Holly Park Market (address and info)
What you’re getting: Hotter Dog

This old-school butcher shop does some of the city's best panini, and if you’re not feeling fancy (Editor's Note: Are you ever?) it’s really fun to get a hot dog panini, which you can get "Regular" or "Hotter Dog," where it'll come with jalapeños and cilantro.

Tamara Palmer/Thrillist


Mama Ji’s (address and info)
What you’re getting: Steamed Shanghai vegetarian bun, BBQ pork rice roll

The Castro has totally been stepping up its food game over the past couple years and this dim sum destination (which competes with the best ones in the city’s Asian neighborhoods) is no exception. Mama Ji’s, housed in an unassuming casual cafe, focuses on dim sum for lunch (expanding into larger family-style dishes at dinner) with cart classics like dumplings and buns, plus an unparalleled vegetarian bun and the BBQ pork rice roll, which manages to be both plump and juicy.

Tamara Palmer/Thrillist

Civic Center

The Market on Market (address and info)
What you’re getting: Sushi

Americanized (but amazing) sushi rolls start at $8 in the refrigerated cases at this mega gourmet mart, or if you’ve got access to an expense account, sit in the sushi bar and get some fancy sashimi, which is available à la carte and in combos that run $24-$28 for nine pieces and up.

Tamara Palmer/Thrillist

Cole Valley

The Ice Cream Bar (address and info)
What you’re getting: Black bean burger and an ice cream float

1) They actually serve savory food here, and 2) it’s good! Get the black bean burger (which also has brown rice) because it's good, but also because it'll help you convince healthy you that having one of the soda fountain’s outrageous ice cream floats (like the New Orleans Hangover w/ chicory coffee syrup, soda, golden eagle tincture, sweet cream ice cream and soda) is totally OK.

Tamara Palmer/Thrillist


Long Bridge Pizza (address and info)
What you’re getting: White pie

It’s hard to go wrong with any of Long Bridge's thin-crust pizzas, which are all made with local and organic ingredients and baked up with nice leopard spotting and crunchy dough bubbles. But the white pie -- layered up with mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, spinach grown in the restaurant's own garden, a sprinkle of minced garlic, and a drizzle of olive oil -- really allows that dough to shine through.

Tamara Palmer/Thrillist

Financial District

Schroeder’s (address and info)
What you’re getting: Kraut burger

If you’re stuck in FiDi drudgery, you might as well treat yourself to your big meal of the day at this revamped German classic. The sauerkraut in this juicy burger (which also has cheddar, caramelized onions, and mustard) will mask any beer breath that might "accidentally" become a thing while you’re in the building.

Hot Spud

Fisherman’s Wharf

Hot Spud (address and info)
What you’re getting: Steak spud

San Francisco can be tough on transplants or other picky eaters who just want meat and potatoes. Here you can get both in one edible serving vessel thanks to this tourist-embedded spot that isn’t ashamed to bring baked potatoes back. You may or may not want the included Alfredo sauce, depending on your personal level of fanciness.

Tamara Palmer/Thrillist

Hayes Valley

Souvla (address and info)
What you’re getting: Veggie pita and frozen Greek yogurt

Pitas and salads filled with rotisserie meats and veggies are the main offerings here and they’re all fresh and delicious. We usually opt for the lighter veggie option with white sweet potato and garlic yogurt sauce so we can get some of the too-addictive tart frozen Greek yogurt with baklava crumbles on top for dessert.

Tamara Palmer/Thrillist

Ingleside/Mount Davidson Manor

Champa Garden (address and info)
What you’re getting: Champa Sampler

This combination Lao/Thai restaurant has the Thai staples you’re used to, but branch out a little and try the sampler appetizer, which is a great portion of food for lunch. It comes with Lao sausages, fried veggie spring rolls, a crispy rice-studded salad, thick noodles, and a butter-garlic sauce you’ll seriously consider drinking straight.

Flickr/Ernesto Andrade

Inner Richmond

Hong Kong Lounge II (address and info)
What you’re getting: Abalone dumpling soup and coffee pork ribs

There are dozens of lunchtime dim sum choices to you can choose from, but don’t overlook some of the restaurant’s unique offerings such as abalone dumpling soup and coffee pork ribs, along with your requisite potstickers and pork buns. Hong Kong Lounge II (which, confusingly, isn’t affiliated with Hong Kong Lounge), also has the biggest and one of the tastiest dessert menus amongst SF's dim sum institutions.

Tamara Palmer/Thrillist

Inner Sunset

Lavash (address and info)
What you’re getting: Koobideh

San Francisco is woefully lean on Persian restaurants, but at least the ones it does have -- like Lavash -- are charmers. The specialty here is kebabs and the koobideh gives you a choice mixture of ground beef and lamb, liberally seasoned with saffron and presented with a heart-ringed plate of rice. It’s a good idea to make a reservation here because they always seem to want you to have one even when the place is empty. That said, they do accept walk-ins.


Lower Haight

Memphis Minnie’s (address and info)
What you’re getting: Southern pork belly sandwich

Skip the Tuesday Rosamunde line (yeah, we know it's one of the best burgers in the city) and head to Minnie’s for that day’s recurring special. They call it pork belly but it’s really a candied bacon sandwich (CANDIED BACON SANDWICH) doused in garlic mayonnaise, spicy slaw, and cilantro.

Greens Restaurant


Greens (address and info)
What you’re getting: Summer Sampler

Infuse yourself with the life energy of vegetables cooked simply and expertly with the Seasonal Sampler, a hearty meal that should keep you humming for the day. The current one for summer includes tabouleh, baba ganoush, summer beans with Champagne and shallot vinaigrette, grilled Catalan Farm summer squash, stone fruit chutney, and olives served with pita bread. It’s not a cheap lunch, but you’re also supporting the San Francisco Zen Center and 36 years of beautiful vegetarian food made by Chef Annie Somerville and crew in the process.



Pal’s Take Away (address and info)
What you’re getting: BELTB

Its motto states that it's “always looking for more good stuff to put between two pieces of bread” and it has a weekly changing menu, so it’s hard to get attached to one particular sandwich at Pal’s (which is now back at Tony’s Market & Liquor) -- luckily, it's consistently good no matter what it is. Still, you'll want to rejoice when you see the BELTB, which stands for bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato, and sprouting broccoli. Healthy salad sandwich, yup.

Millers East Coast Deli

Nob Hill

Miller’s East Coast Deli (address and info)
What you’re getting: Brisket Reuben

San Francisco has been making strides in the deli department, but there still really aren’t that many around town. This old reliable spot will fill your craving for a good nosh. This is the only place where you can get a Reuben sandwich four different ways: corned beef, pastrami, turkey, or beef brisket. We suggest the latter, which is luscious.

Tamara Palmer/Thrillist

North Beach

Tony’s Coal Fired Pizza and Slice House (address and info)
What you’re getting: Meatball sandwich

This is always a reliable spot for a quick slice of pizza, but if you’ve got a few minutes to wait, the meatball sandwich is truly truly truly a must. It does make for a good split with a friend, in which case you may still opt to get a slice to go with it anyway.


Outer Richmond

Grindz (address and info)
What you’re getting: Loco moco

In this Hawaiian staple, a fresh-ground steak burger patty is smothered in mushroom gravy, topped with a fried egg, and served over rice. Wallet bonus: you will not need to eat again today.

Tamara Palmer/Thrillist


Papalote Mexican Grill (address and info)
What you’re getting: Naked burrito

You know what's weird? If you’re a person who feels like you eat too many burritos, do note that you're one word -- naked -- away from being a salad person, because that's exactly what a naked burrito will get you at Papalote: everything from your burrito, dumped on a bed of lettuce.

Tamara Palmer/Thrillist

Russian Hill

Dim Sum Club (address and info)
What you’re getting: Shanghai soup dumplings

Located rather randomly in the Da Vinci Villa Hotel, the fantastically named Dim Sum Club is a solid option for the dim sum classics, including the hard-to-perfect Shanghai soup dumplings. Pro tip: get two(wenty) orders.

Tamara Palmer/Thrillist


Merigan Sub Shop (address and info)
What you’re getting: Widowmaker

Can't bear the line at Darwin? Head to Merigan just a couple blocks over for a heart-stopping-but-hopefully-only-for-a-second Widowmaker: roast beef, mortadella, salami, prosciutto cotto, and turkey, all dressed with provolone, pickled onions, hots, shredded lettuce, and dressing. It’s something you can totally split. (If you're a quitter.)

New Delhi Restaurant


New Delhi Indian Restaurant (address and info)
What you’re getting: Balti-style mango prawns or mushrooms

New Delhi’s food has some indescribable feel-good qualities that'll leave you energized after lunch here. It’s always good to ask about any seasonal specials that might not be on the menu, but the mango prawns (or mushrooms for a vegetarian version), made with imported mangos and seasonal tropical fruits, are flavorful and filling without being heavy.

Flickr/Jennifer Yin

Upper Haight

Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery (address and info)
What you’re getting: Magnolia Pub Burger

This is one of the few decent lunch options in the 'hood, and basically THE place to go if you want to get your burger on, preferably with the additions of applewood-smoked bacon, a fried egg, and cheese (blue, Gruyere, or cheddar). You have our permission to nap under your desk for the rest of the day after you're finished.

Mozzarella Di Bufala

West Portal

Mozzarella Di Bufala (address and info)
What you’re getting: Feijoada

The pizza is good here and by all means get it if that’s what you’re craving for lunch, but what makes this place more special and interesting than the average pie shop is its menu of traditional Brazilian dishes. The feijoada -- a black bean-based stew with smoked meats that’s accompanied by collard greens, rice, and toasted yucca flour -- is definitely the most exotic dish to ever be served in the history of not-culinarily-adventurous West Portal.

Brenda's Meat & Three

Western Addition

Brenda’s Meat & Three (address and info)
What you’re getting: Fried veggie po-boy

For some reason, they only serve the fried veggie po-boy (with vegan remoulade!) here and not the original Brenda’s French Soul Food on Polk St. It’s too bad, because the cornmeal-crusted cauliflower, okra, and yam bits are absolutely fabulous and should be enjoyed regardless of one’s meat-eating predilections.

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Tamara Palmer was born in San Francisco and appreciates that she hasn't been exiled yet. Celebrate with her @eatstreetfood.

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1. CDXX 5800 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94124

Looking fora place to eat on your lunch hour? CDXX has a burger and a croughnut waiting for you.

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2. Avedano's Holly Park Market 235 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110 (Bernal Heights)

Trying to decide what to pick up for your barbecue this weekend? Look no farther than "The Griller" at Avedano's: a 20lb assortment of dry-aged, bone-in steak, tri tip, flat iron steak, pork ribs, sausage, half-chickens, and ground beef. While you wait for them to gather your supplies, try one of their sandwiches to whet your appetite.

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3. Mama Ji's 4416 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94114 (The Castro)

A dim sum palace with all of the classics, including a porcupine-like deep-fried shrimp ball and a steamed egg custard bun that is DIVINE.

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4. The Market on Market 1355 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Who knew Americanized sushi rolls could taste this delicious?

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5. The Ice Cream Bar 815 Cole Street @ Carl, San Francisco, CA 94117

A convivial meeting spot for Cole Valley patrons and nostalgic patrons alike, this 1930s style soda fountain serves up ice cream made on site, as well as outrageously addictive black bean burgers. The retro space -- decked out with diner counters and accessorized with old-school forks and clinky metal dishware -- completes its funky, vintage look with an authentic, old-fashioned soda fountain.

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6. Long Bridge Pizza Co. 2347 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107 (Dogpatch)

Pizza's nothing without a really good crust and an excellent sauce. Long Bridge Pizza Company has both of those-- maybe because ALL they do is pizza. Seriously. No wings, no sandwiches, not even a salad. Just good pizza. Oh, and no slices, but whatever. You wanted to eat an entire pie anyway.

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7. Schroeder's 240 Front St, San Francisco, CA 94111 (Financial District)

This Financial District beer joint is one of the oldest in SF, but after a refurbishing, it's been able to keep all of its classic qualities (22-draft beer program, beer boots, old murals, impressive taxidermy) while adding pleasing aspects like a drop-down projector screen, an improved food menu, and rentable stein lockers.

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8. Hot Spud 2640 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

Because who doesn't love getting creative with baked potatoes?

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9. Souvla 517 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Head over to Soulva for the perfect light lunch of a veggie pita and some frozen greek yogurt.

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10. Champa Garden 613 Faxon Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112

The Champa Sampler is everything that you could possibly want on one plate, featuring Lao sausages, fried veggie spring rolls, and more.

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11. Hong Kong Lounge II 3300 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

This small, Inner Richmond dim sum spot is comfy and well designed, and it serves up the usual suspects, as well as some under-the-radar options like the clay pot dishes (steamed pork ribs, salty fish, etc.).

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12. Lavash 511 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA 94122

We think that Lavash is the reason that there are not a lot of Persian restaurants in SF. No one wants to compete with their delicious menu.

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13. Memphis Minnie's BBQ 576 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (Lower Haight)

Memphis Minnie's is a 1950s' styled BBQ joint that slings eats slow-cooked meats, Southern-style. Minnie's meats pass the taste test by using white oak logs (no gas, no electricity!). This spot has everything from ribs to pulled pork to some killer wings. Meats here can come slathered in savory sauces, so you might need a bib-- we won't judge!

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14. Greens Restaurant 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123

An OG on the vegetarian front since 1979, Greens is the real deal: A legit, upscale restaurant in a beautiful space within Fort Mason that basically showed America that you can still eat really, really well without all the meat and cream and all the other things associated with fine dining back during the fall of disco. Though founding chef Deborah Madison has passed the reigns onto Annie Somerville, the food continues to pull in people from all across the world. You’re not to mess around here: get the price fixe, sit back, and be blown away when you realize all the next-level things she can do without the magic of bacon.

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15. Pal's Takeaway 2751 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

A couple of caterers/restaurateurs have co-opted the deli inside Tony's market to sling ultra-fresh, constantly changing gourmet sandos and cheap salads.

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16. Miller's East Coast Deli 1725 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

Wait until you see the size of their brisket reuben.

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17. Tony's Coal-Fired Pizza & Slice House 1556 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133 (North Beach)

Slice House is the by-the-slice outpost next door to Tony's Pizza in North Beach. It's a reliable spot for a quick slice, and if you've got a few minutes to wait, the meatball sandwich is a must. It makes a good split with a friend, in which case you might still opt to get a slice to go with it anyway.

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18. Grindz Restaurant 832 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118 (The Richmond)

For the best Tiki-free Hawaiian food in San Francisco, go to Grindz in Inner Richmond. The spot serves lunch and dinner during the week and brunch on the weekends. Everything on the sweet-and-savoury menu is addictive. There will be SPAM, and it will taste amazing, especially when fried in cornmeal batter or shredded atop buttermilk waffles. The portions are pretty generous, and even if you've cleaned your plate off, you'll still want to order the Hawaiian bread pudding for dessert.

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19. Papalote Mexican Grill 3409 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

Nicer than the average hole-in-the-wall Mission taqueria but still super casual, Papalote serves up traditional tacos, quesadillas, and burritos in a sit-down counter-order space. Packed tight with rice, beans, pico de gallo and your choice of meat, the ginormous burritos are the definition of bang-for-your-buck and can easily be split between two people. Make sure you complement your order with plenty of chips served with the restaurant's signature roasted tomato salsa, which counts Bobby Flay as one of its many fans.

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20. Dim Sum Club 2550 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

We'll give you one guess as to what you should order from this place...

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21. Merigan's 636 2nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107 (Soma)

Offering New York style sandwiches, traditional East Coast Italian flavors meet the Bay in the form of spring vegetable Parmesan heroes, polenta and arancini sides, and hot breakfast sandwiches. Born out of chef/owner Liza Shaw's quest for "the perfect sub," the result is simple food done well that makes a solid lunch choice in SoMa.

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22. New Delhi Indian Restaurant 160 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Their plates are colorful and flavorful without being too heavy, making it the perfect lunch spot.

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23. Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery 1398 Haight St, San Francisco, 94117 (Upper Haight)

Before breweries were opening on every block, San Franciscans were getting their craft beer fix at Magnolia. This OG brewery is located in Dogpatch, but you can sip its suds and chow down on bar fare at the Haight St. restaurant as well. Magnolia offers outdoor tables for those rare sunny days, plus booths and communal seating inside. You’ll also find 12 rotating Magnolia brews on tap every day, a guest pour, and a few cask choices as well.

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24. Mozzarella Di Bufala 69 West Portal Ave, San Francisco, CA 94127

This is an eatery for people of all culinary levels. For those who don't feel like exploring, order a slice of pizza. Anyone who really wants to go on an adventure should check out their Feijoada, a bean based stre with smoked meats.

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25. Brenda's Meat & Three 919 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94115 (Western Addition)

This Western Addition diner is Brenda Buenviaje's follow-up to her Tenderloin gem, Brenda's French Soul Food. The spot is more casual and more Southern than the original, but equally crowded for weekend brunch and dinner. The hallmark of the menu is the namesake meat & three, where you choose one meat (fried chicken, meatloaf, BBQ beef brisket, to name a few) and three down-home sides (potato bacon hash, collard greens, glazed yams). The spicy, peppery, and crispy fried chicken is near addictive, as is the veggie po' boy.