Last fall, we published the 10 Best Lunches Under $10 in Union Square. It was so popular, we figured why not do every neighborhood? Rather than attack this subject as outsiders, we're approaching a hyperlocal dweller from each 'hood to give us their picks—in this case 7x7 contributor Antonia Richmond.
San Franciscans are pretty, ahem, vocal about food, so sound off in the comments about what you'd add to this list.
1. Pupusas from El Zocalo
Though you’ll find many things on the menu under $10, it’s the pupusas—all under $2—that are the star of the show at this mainstay. Cheese, chicken, veggie—you can’t go wrong, especially after knocking back a few at the Argus. Luckily, El Zocalo keeps very late hours. 3230 Mission St., 415- 282-2572
2. Super veggie burrito at Taqueria Cancun
Black beans, no guac, extra green salsa. Heaven. I’m also a fan of the carne asada tacos. Come to think of it, you could eat for several days on $10 here. 2288 Mission St., 415-252-9560
3. Sausage sandwiches at Locavore
Made in-house, the sausages—from Italian to Portugese to maple or cilantro-lime—are big, juicy and loaded with flavor. I love the kielbasa with sauerkraut. There’s also a grass-fed burger for $6. 3215 Mission St., 415-821-1918.
4. Katsu rice burger at Sandbox Bakery
Though there are rows of sweet treats at this Japanese-inspired bakery, it’s the savory mini sandwiches that I crave. The rice burger is really filling—the “bun” is actually grilled rice patties housing spicy chicken katsu or marinated tofu or whatever they've decided to make that day. And you’ll have money to spare for dessert. 833 Cortland Ave., 415-642-8580.
5. Tuscan pork panini from Avedano’s Holly Park Market
It’s fitting that the best pork sandwich around is from a butcher shop. The pork is cured for three days, slow cooked in wine, and then preserved in sunflower oil. The result is a sublime texture that’s perfect with sharp mustard and pickled onions. Yum. 235 Cortland Ave., 415-285-6328.
6. Carne empanda and alfajores from El Porteño
Housed in the tiny Marketplace on Cortland, El Porteño specializes in savory and sweet empanadas. I love the carne, with beef, olive and raisin stuffing. At $4 or less, you can get a meat, a veggie, and a delicious alfajor with dulce de leche or lemon curd. 331 Cortland Ave., 415-357-3621
6. Egg salad sandwich from Paulie's Pickling
This is right next to El Porteño and serve up huge sandwiches and salads. The "local" egg salad is generously flecked with dill and refreshingly light. I love that you can get half sandwiches—with a side of pasta salad. A full meal for four bucks. 331 Cortland Ave., 415-285-0800
8. Greek salad at Moonlight Café
On the rare occasions when I eat salad, I come to this non-assuming spot on Cortland. It’s a pretty basic crepe and egg joint, but the salads are big and fresh. I like this one because it’s full of feta and kalamata olives. 634 Cortland Ave., 415-647-6448.
9. Deluxe falafel at Goood Frikin’ Chicken
It took me about a year to stop laughing every time I saw the sign, and also to realize that this place served Middle Eastern food. I’m glad I did, as I am a falafel fiend. When I’m really hungry, I upgrade to deluxe, which has fried potatoes and eggplant. 10 29th St., 415-970-2428.
10. Spaghetti and marinara at Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack
I was so excited to learn that this only costs $9.95, because I love Emmy’s. Their spaghetti is comfort in a bowl. True, it’s a shame that you have to break the $10 to get meatballs—but maybe you can get a friend to buy you one. 18 Virginia Ave., 415-206-2086.