10 of the Best Cheap Eats in San Francisco for $10 or Less

Inflation is real and we’re feeling it everywhere from gas to groceries. We’ve all experienced the skyrocketing cost of eggs, dairy and packaged goods. In fact, a dozen eggs has increased as much as 70 percent in price over the last year…that is if you can even find them in the store. So you’re not alone if it feels like pretty much everything you buy breaks the bank way more than before.

And while Bay Area prices are especially outrageous compared to the rest of the country, you really can still get great food on a budget. You just have to know where to look. That’s why we rounded up 10 of the tastiest cheap eats in San Francisco, which have somehow remained mystifyingly wallet-friendly. Just make sure to tip really well to thank these restaurants for keeping their prices low. 

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1. Banh mi at Saigon Sandwich ($5)

Ask any cash-strapped local where to find a satisfying, budget-friendly sandwich and they’ll point you to this Tenderloin institution. The no-frills, cash-only Saigon Sandwich serves up a short list of banh mi filled with succulent roast pork, chicken, meatballs or pate and pickled veggies on a soft French roll. You can’t go wrong with any of these choices, but the roast pork is a classic you’ll keep coming back for.

560 Larkin St.; 474-5698

2. Tacos at Señor Sisig (two for $10)

There’s something deliciously brilliant about the fusion of Filipino and Mexican flavors at Señor Sisig. And we’re not alone, judging by the lines of hungry customers consistently queued up to get their hands on hefty burritos stuffed with sisig-style chopped pork and adobo garlic rice. But for a lighter meal that comes in at just $10, go for two tacos topped with your choice of meat (or tofu), onions, lettuce, jalapeños, and signature cilantro cream sauce.  

Various locations;

3. House noodles at Yamo ($8)

This closet-sized, cash-only Burmese restaurant in the Mission is hands down one of the city’s most beloved hidden gems. With appetizers like samusas and spring rolls for only $5 and all entrees for $8, it’s one of the cheapest and tastiest meals in town. Don’t miss the wok-tossed house noodles with fried garlic and your choice of meat or tofu and the savory tea leaf salad.

3406 18th St.; 553-8911

4. Design your own sandwich at Lou’s Cafe ($9.85)

Craving a sub or hoagie minus the $15+ price tag? Head to one of the four Lou’s Cafe locations in the city and design your own for under $10. Turkey, smoked ham and roast beef are all on the menu, but if you’re feeling fancy, you can have crab or hot pastrami brisket for a dollar or two extra. Pro tip: Ask for a combo of Lou’s special sauce and jalapeño spread to really take your sandwich up a notch. 

Various locations;

5. Spicy wonton at Shanghai Dumpling King ($9.50)

There’s little that brings us as much joy as ordering a few rounds of steaming hot dumplings to share with friends. At this West Portal favorite, you can get a single 8-piece order for under $10, but we bet you’ll be hard-pressed to order just one. The Shanghai steamed dumpling, spicy chive and pork and vegetarian are all delicious, but our personal fave is the spicy wonton drenched in chili oil.

696 Monterey Blvd.; 585-1300 or

6. Roti kati roll at Kasa Indian Eatery ($8.50)

Head to Kasa the next time you’re craving Indian street food. Our go-to here is the kati roll—a chewy roti wrap filled with your choice of meat, saag paneer or veggies topped with chutney, onions and a cooling cucumber raita. One is perfect as a light meal or a snack, but if you’re feeling extra hungry, splurge on a burrito-sized super kati roll for $15.

Various locations;

7. Crunchy spice bagel sandwich at Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen ($9)

Two of our favorite things: chewy, New York-style bagels and spicy-savory chili crisp that’s hot but not too hot. Wise Sons had the brilliant idea to combine them in a crunchy spice bagel sandwich with two eggs, greens, melted cheese and garlic aioli. More in the mood for classic Jewish deli fare? A big bowl of their warm and comforting matzo ball soup clocks in at just $10.  

Various locations;

8. Pupusa combo at Panchita’s Pupuseria ($10)

San Francisco might be known for its Mission-style burritos, but you haven’t experienced this neighborhood to the fullest until you’ve had your share of pupusas. With more than a dozen fillings to choose from, there’s an option for everyone at this family-run restaurant that’s been serving up the Salvadorian treat since 1989. The budget-friendly one-pupusa combo comes with a side of rice and refried beans for only $10.

3091 16th St.; 431-4232 or

9. Super burrito at Taqueria El Farolito ($9.25)

In the Mission, you’re never too far from an excellent burrito, but it’s getting harder and harder to find one for under $10. Thankfully, at El Farolito, you can still find a super burrito stuffed with rice, beans, salsa, sour cream, cheese, avocado and your choice of meat for $9.25. 

Various locations;

10. Single smash burger at WesBurger ‘N’ More ($8)

In N Out will always be our #1 for fast-food burgers, but we love WesBurger for more of a local’s spot to satisfy post-happy hour greasy food cravings. Go old-school with a simple Ronald McDonald-style cheeseburger, get the signature Wes with housemade secret sauce, or take it up a notch with caramelized onions on the Merle.   

2240 Mission St.; 745-9371 or

allison mccarthy

San Francisco Editor

Allison McCarthy is a writer and editor with 15 years of experience in the industry. She's currently the San Francisco editor at PureWow, where she covers the best of what's...