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The 20 Best Dishes Under $10 in the Mission

Empanadas from Chile Lindo. Photo via mswine on Flickr.com

We asked the fine folks over at Mission Loc@l to bestow upon us their 20 favorite dishes under $10 found in the Mission District (10 seemed like about 10 too few for such a sprawling and food-rich neighborhood).

Their list of picks — ranging from Tartine Bakery treats to bites from Valencia Pizza and Pasta — are below. Check out their "Best Thing I Ever Ate in the Mission" feature and our other 10 under $10 neighborhood lists while you're at it.

1. A large bowl of the daily soup from Stable Cafe
It doesn’t matter what’s in it—mushrooms, tomatoes, onions—it’s always delish, always ($4 for a cup, $6 for a bowl) and with goat cheese covered pieces of toast enough to hold you until tea at 4 p.m. 2128 Folsom St., 415- 552-1199

2. Pot pie and a salad at Mission Pie 
Pot pies are $7. Add a salad for $2. The meat is always perfectly juicy and tender and the veggies perfectly seasoned. The staff will finish cooking the pie you ordered and bring it to you oven-fresh, steaming and perfectly delicious. 2901 Mission St., 415-282-4743

3. The Carts outside of Fabric8 on Friday nights
The carts rotate every week but one of the favorites is the Magic Curry Kart. Get a small bowl of curry for $3, a larger bowl for $6. 3318 22nd St., 415-647-5888

4.  Salmon, spinach and tomato eggs benedict Valencia Pizza and Pasta
This unpretentious joint is legendary among the young and broke for their cheap prices and large portions. The Benedict's a whole meal in itself, so don’t anticipate having room for something else. Weekends only. $6.95. 801 Valencia St. 415-642-1882

5. Idli vada sambar from Udupi Palace
It may be a chain restaurant, but it also fills that void present in every neighborhood unfortunate enough to live without a South Indian greasy spoon. The dosas are notoriously filling and narcolepsy inducing. On a foggy day, order the flatbread, plus one fried lentil donut, and one steamed lentil donut, immersed in savory vegetarian broth. 1007 Valencia St., 415-970-8000

6. Mexican breakfast at Los Rosales
This working class Mexican restaurant has full, delicious Mexican breakfasts for $5.75. And lunch is usually under $8 bucks. 301 South Van Ness, 415-552-2326

7. La Cumbre’s cheese quesadillas
There’s so much here that is good and inexpensive, but if you’re seriously broke, $2.75 gets you four quesadillas, with a huge tortilla and a lot of cheese. Big spenders can add pico de gallo for another 50 cents. The frugal can hit the salsa bar. 515 Valencia St., 415-863-8205

8. Beef tongue taco at La Taqueria
Filled to the brim with melt-in-your-mouth slowly cooked beef tongue will only set you back $3.50, or $5 if you add avocado and sour cream. One is plenty, but if your appetite is bigger, pair it with a spicy chorizo taco topped with sour cream and you’re still at $8.50. 2889 Mission St., 415-285-7117

9. Croque Monsieur at Tartine
Thick slices of Tartine’s legendary bread are piled with gruyére, bechamel, seasonal vegetables and/or ham and then baked to sinful perfection. The $9.75 happiness is served with a side of crunchy and spicy pickled carrots.
600 Guerrero St., 415-487-2600

10. The daily sandwiches at Pal’s Takeaway
This hideaway is the best reason to have a Twitter account name: get on their list to receive tweets about their daily changing list of fresh sandwiches. All are made with ingredients from local farms, are large enough to share, served between 11 am to 2:30 pm, Monday–Friday and cost between $8 and $9. 2751 24th St. inside Tony’s Market, 415-203-4911

11. The cold sesame noodles at Mission Chinese Food
Cold, spicy and made delightfully exotic by almond milk, chrysanthemums and fermented radish, this satisfying dish is my go to discovery for 2011. At $8 for a very sizable bowl, this noodles will send you reeling with joy. 2234 Mission St. inside Lung Shan Restaurant, 415-863-2800

12. The lamb shawerma at Truly Mediterranean
The Jordanian family behind Truly Mediterranean has been turning out a perfect lamb shawerma for close to 10 years, and they are still going strong. Ask for a deluxe to add eggplant and potatoes, which have been caramelized on the grill. 3109 16th St., 415-252-7482

13. Grilled prawn tacos at Papalote
Everyone goes for the burritos, but they’re missing out on the grilled prawn tacos—still with a charcoal taste for $8.95. 3409 24th St., 415-970-8815

14. An arepa at Pica Pica Maize Kitchen
Only $7.99. Fresh and impossibly filling. 501 Valencia St. 415-400-5453

15. An empanada at Chile Lindo
It’s easy to pick up after you’ve gotten off the 16th Street BART station and headed East. The empanadas taste just like they make them in Chile—really good. It’s in the old Labor Temple Building on the ground floor and you can sit outisde on a stool and enjoy it and catch up on neighborhood gossip with Paula. 2944 16th St., (415) 621-6108

16. Senroppen Salad from Cha-Ya
Just a pile of astonishingly fresh shaved radishes tossed in the tiniest amount of vinegar. It’s a strange thing to dream of, but you might find yourself doing just that. 762 Valencia St., 415-252-7825

17. Burger from Zeitgeist
It’s not so much that it is a good burger. Although it is. It’s that you can get it without having to leave the Zeitgeist, or your enormous Bloody Mary, which is extraordinarily good. And it’s only $5. $6 with cheese. And because you have to wait four million billion years until it’s finished, it also provides a free lesson in patience. 199 Valencia St., 415-255-7505

18. Pozole from Gracias Madre
Normally made with pig feet, Gracias Madre has made the perfect vegetarian version. On a rainy day, there is little that is more satisfying for $7. And for the ardent carnivores, Chava’s at 24th and Mission can provide you with leaded. 2211 Mission St., 415-683-1346

19.  Fish tacos from El Metate
At 20th and Bryant, El Metate is well off the beaten path, but always has a line out the door. Everything they do is good, but their fish tacos inspire the most yearning. 2406 Bryant St., 415-641-7209

20. Hog Cakes from St. Francis Fountain
We're not saying that a bacon, cheddar, and green onion buttermilk pancake is a good thing. It feels wrong, like a violation of breakfast norms, from the minute you pour maple syrup over it, to the minute you finish the last bite. But sweet jesus, it’s delicious. And unless you are a superhero of eating, you’re best off just getting the two for $6.50. 801 24th St., 415-826-4200

Anything to add to the list? Let us know in the comment box!