The 20 Best Dishes Under $10 in the Tenderloin + Tendernob
Last fall, we published the 10 Best Lunches Under $10 in Union Square. It was so popular, we decided to do it with every neighborhood. Rather than attack this subject as outsiders, we're approaching "hyperlocal" dwellers from each 'hood to give us their picks — in this case the editors of The Tender, who call the Tenderloin and the Tendernob their stomping grounds. They tackle both neighborhoods in this cheap eats list.
Check out 10 Under $10s from other SF neighborhoods here.
Tenderloin (Mason-Geary-Polk-Golden Gate)
1. Louisiana-Style Bread Pudding from Hooker's Sweet Treats
There are days when the Louisiana-style bread pudding with seasonal fruit and caramel sauce from Hooker's Sweet Treats has a touch more Bourbon than others. We call those days, "lucky" and you should too as you can grab the bread pudding Tuesday through Sunday with any permutation of Sightglass coffee your heart so desires and trust us, it will desire. $5.50. 442 Hyde St. Cash only.
2. Karahi Chicken from Lahore Karahi
At Lahore Karahi everything is made to order by the always smiling owner Guddu, so we advise you to BYOB so you can better enjoy the wait -- which is totally worth it. Their tandoori fish is the star dish in the menu, but we’re quite fond of their signature Karahi chicken , featuring tender chunks of chicken in a deliciously creamy tomato and bell pepper sauce. Sure, there can be a line some nights, but there's a reason: they serve this in heaven's buffet. $7. 612 O'Farrell St.
3. Bún bò Huế from Ngọc Mai
While we love the famous Phở from Turtle Tower, the Bún bò Huế from Ngọc Mai is one of our favorite Vietnamese noodle soups in the Little Saigon section of the Tenderloin. It's a hearty and spicy broth made with beef and pig's knuckle, with rice vermicelli, lemongrass and spicy shrimp paste that sends us to soup heaven every time. And we love the homey feel of this family-run cute restaurant. $6. 547 Hyde St. Cash only.
4. Sloppy Josephine from Brenda's Soul Food
When discussing the Sloppy Josephine from Brenda's Soul Food we tend to quote those from other neighborhoods and say, "OMFG!!!" because really, you gotta use a touch of F when you talk about how awesome this sandwich is (they also have a vegan version). It's served for lunch from 11am to 3pm Monday through Friday. $9. 652 Polk St.
5. Al Pastor Burrito from Tesoro
Yeah, yeah, the Mission is where it's at when it comes to burritos, but we're big fans of the al pastor burrito from Tesoro. And not only because it's conveniently closer than the Mission and has two locations in the Tenderloin, but also because it's juicy and extremely delicious after a night out in the TL. $5.95 regular, $6.95 super. 868 Geary St & 599 O'Farrell St.
6. The Bánh mì from Saigon Sandwiches
These sandwiches are on every one of these cheap eat lists for a reason: they're tasty and at $3.25, you can get three and stuff yourself silly with goodness. Our favorite is the one with grilled pork, but the tofu option is extremely popular and we suspect it's due to the secret sauce they use in all their sandwiches. $3.25. 560 Larkin St. Cash only.
7. Koh Moo Yang from Lers Ros
It appears that our constantly spreading the word about the excellence that is Lers Ros has gotten around and it's grown mightily in popularity. We stick by the Koh Moo Yang which is their grilled pork shoulder with chili and rice powder sauce. It's a delicious steal. They pull no punches in the spice department, so ask them to dial it back a bit if you can't handle the heat. $7. 730 Larkin St.
8. Tea Leaf Salad from Burmese Kitchen
While we're big fans of their lunch plates, what makes us keep going back to Burmese Kitchen is their addictive tea leaf salad. It's not only one of the crunchiest and tastiest we've had, but it's also one of the most authentic in the city. It features unchopped laphet, the fermented tea leaves which serve as a base for the salad, which the owner buys directly from a small farm in Burma and carries back to his restaurant. That really puts a new spin on “from farm to table”. $5.95. 452 Larkin.
9. The Gözleme from A La Turca
It's a traditional Turkish bread filled with vegetables or meat, closed like a pouch and cooked over a griddle. Order it and be happy or don’t and practice your “I really missed out” look. Starting at $6.25. 869 Geary.
10. The 'Loin cold sandwich from Morty's Deli
Give it a try if not for any other reason than the name (they also have a Tender burger with pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions and chipotle mayo for $8.95). All of Morty's offerings are pretty solid on the sandwich front, so go crazy, but only during the week as he's unfortunately closed on weekends. $7.25. 280 Golden Gate Ave.
Pupusa lunch combo from Olivo's, $6.50.
Tendernob (Post to Pine)
1. Any burger from Pearl's Deluxe Burgers
When the burger is calling, it should be calling from Pearl's Deluxe Burgers. You really can't go wrong and they offer so many different types of meat (even buffalo!) as well as add-ons that pretty much anyone is going to go away happy and mighty full. Starting at $6.49. 708 Post St.
2. Crimini Mushroom and Goat Cheese Omelette from Canteen
While the dinner menu at Canteen is adventurous and glorious (not to mention well above the $10 price range), their weekend brunch menu offers all the creativity of Dennis Leary's culinary mind at an early morning price we can afford. Such as the Crimini mushroom and goat cheese omelette. $9.75. 817 Sutter St.
3. Bangan Bhartha from Maharani
Fire-roasted eggplants with a special blend of spices in a tomato-based house sauce, called Bangan Bhartha, is one of the many favorite dishes from Maharani that makes us consider it one of the best Indian restaurants in the whole city. The decor is eclectic, especially in their aptly named Fantasy room where you can sit barefoot on fancy pillows, but both the portions and quality of this favorite establishment will leave you going Naan n' What? when you walk out. There's a reason why huge Indian tour groups dock there regularly for sustenance. $8.95. 1122 Post St.
4. Housemade Quiche from farm:table
While their morning crowd whirls in and out to sit around the single table, or outside enjoying the elusive San Francisco sun on Post Street, those who go to farm:table know that Kate puts together a great menu that rotates daily. When the house-made quiche pops up (check on their Twitter), you should take it upon yourself to make the trek from wherever you are as it's one of the best this side of the Left Bank. $8 with a side of salad. 754 Post St. Cash only.
5. Salteh from Yemeni's
Salteh is Yemen's national dish and the one from Yemeni's is delicious. It's a hot boiling spicy stew with vegetables, eggs, potatoes, and a green, bubbly broth. Traditionally eaten with Tanour flat bread it provides you with a conversation piece that you can eat readily and happily. $5.95 with vegetables, $8.95 with lamb. 1098 Sutter St.
6. Pupusas from Olivo's
Olivo's is the only place in the Tendernob (and even the Tenderloin) area who serves those delicious Salvadorian filled savory pancakes, pupusas. The choices are cheese, cheese & beans or cheese & pork. Two for $4.25, with rice & beans $6.50. 1017 Larkin St. Cash only.
7. Nasi Goreng from Borobudur
This is probably Indonesia's best known dish which is a combination of: fried rice, egg, onion, and a choice of meat or mixed vegetables. They also have their own house version with anchovy paste and a super-hot version with spicy shrimp paste. $9.95. 700 Post St.
8. Lunch Special from Sanraku
We have friends that come from far and wide to dig in to the lunch special from Sanraku. It's served with miso soup, salad and a main that changes every day-- such as their spicy tuna roll or Genmai Chirashi (sliced fish over rice). Monday to Friday only. $10. 704 Sutter St.
9. The Gouda Good sandwich from Bite
It is their most popular for a reason: it's a heavenly combination of their rotisserie chicken with Gouda cheese and special pepperhouse sauces on Dutch crunch. In fact, any sandwich with chicken in it is a sure bet, and they have many to choose from--including a build your own option. Plus they're open late (2am!) to roll on by while you're gettin' your drink on in the neighborhood. $7.99. 912 Sutter St.
10. Breakfast from Golden Coffee
Golden Coffee is known as one of the cheapest and tastiest greasy spoon breakfast places in San Francisco, where you watch your food being made while trying to get over last night's hangover. Although they have many breakfast options to choose from (and even Chinese food), you can't go wrong with their classic scrambled eggs with corned beef, hash browns and toast. $5.50, add coffee for $1.35. 901 Sutter St. Cash only.
Have anything to add? Let us know in the comments!