My favorite cheap eats in the Bay Area

Here is a list of some of my favorite cheap eats in the Bay Area. All are $10 or under for the entree, and often for the entire meal, except where noted. Some listings are for specific items only. If you go to these places and order something other than what’s listed, caveat emptor.

Hot Dog: Top Dog in Berkeley. the location at Durant above Telegraph is still my favorite for the “ambience”.

Burger: Burgermeister.Several locations, but I like the Columbus Ave in North Beach and the Westlake Center in Daly City locations. You get a 1/2lb. Niman Ranch burger with cheese and fries for $8.95.

Mexican/Taqueria: I happen to really like El Buen Sabor on Valencia near 18th, but the Alambres at Taqueria Cancun on Mission near 18th is still an all-time favorite dish.

Ice Cream: the Salted Caramel at Bi-Rite Creamery on 18tyh near Dolores, hands down

Chinese Food: China Delights in the Appian 80 shopping center in Pinole. Can’t go wrong with any dish.

Dim Sum:  Custard tarts from Golden Gate Bakery on Grant Ave. Crazy busy, people (me) line up to buy these while they are hot by the dozen. I’ll buy a dozen, and eat 3 while they are still hot.

Donuts: The cake or blueberry cake donuts from Royal Donuts in Burlingame. They are right off California Drive and Burlingame Ave. by teh Caltrain station. Get them while they are still warm.mmmmmmm.

Sushi: I have to admit that I am a bit of a sushi snob, but I do enjoy Sushi Sam’s on E.3rd Ave. in San Mateo. I have to say that the two items I most often order are non=sushi items. The kurobuta kakuni (black pork stewed in milk) and the another stewed beef appetizer whose name escapes me are two things which I always order. The Sam’s Special is pretty good too, which is a tempura shrimp hand roll ( I normally do not oder rolls). The nigiri is usually very fresh and the toro (fatty tuna) is often delicious.

Pancakes: It’s Tops on Market near Octavis. Beware the funky hours.

Fruit: Peaches from Frog Hollow Farms at the Ferry Plaza. Probably more than $1 per peach, but when they are in season, they are worth twice that.

Diner: Lafayette Coffee Shop on Hyde in the Tenderloin. CAUTION: this neighborhood is not for everyone. It’s a typical American diner run by Chinese folks. The place looks like it is stuck in the 50’s. If you oder the off teh daily specials, get the short ribs or the roast pork, and you’ll do fine. $7.95-$8.95 gets you soup, salad, your meat (roast pork with applesauce), mashed potatoes or rice with gravy, vegetables AND your choice of jello or homemade rice pudding for dessert. Old school food, big portions, dumpy surroundings, scary neiighborhood and great prices. I may not go for two or three months, and when I walk in, May and Tommy know what I want to eat before I even open my mouth. It’s that kind of place.

Barbecue: Open. Since the demise of Flint’s(R.I.P.) on San Pablo in West Oakland, I don’t have a favorite. I love the sauce from Everett & Jones, but the meat is just so-so to me. Can you suggest any favorites?


2 Responses to “My favorite cheap eats in the Bay Area”

  1. Barbeque: I’ve been hitting Lilly’s on Divisadero pretty hard lately. The meat has a great smokey flavor and the sauce is fantastic. $12 bucks gets you a whole chicken, one side and some SWEET Wonderbread slices for “saupin’s.” $20 bucks gets you a rack of ribs, two sides and the same great Wonderbread. FYI: Take-out only.

  2. Thanks. I used to go there when it was Brother-In-Law’s, but have been staying away since the change until I heard from someone else that it was okay. I’ll check it out ASAP.

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