Must visit places SF, Berkeley, and Palo Alto on a budget?

Going to be visiting SF in a week for 6 days (2 people). We’re open to having all types of food, but would like to keep it around $30 and under per person. I also wanted to get some sushi while we’re here- has anyone had the omakase at Amami San? We’re only in Palo Alto and Berkeley to visit colleges in the morning so lunch or breakfast recommendations would be the best.

How many people?


Rick & Ann’s for breakfast in Berkeley: red flannel hash, especially if you have a teenager along for the college tour.

Sushi House in Palo Alto, not a must visit, but a good value (budget) Japanese restaurant. Still not a must, but another recommendation is Fuki Sushi (not a budget place).

So dinner recommendations only in SF?

Where are you coming from? Some things aren’t worth the time, for example, I’d say skip Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, and sushi if you’re coming from LA.

Berkeley / Oakland area for lunch:

Ao Sen
Augie’s Smoked Meat
Banh Mi Ba Le
Bird & Buffalo
Champa Garden
Chengdu Style
Dosa by Dosa
Funky Elephant
Great China
Hawking Bird
Miss Ollie’s
Pyeong Chang Soft Tofu House
Shan Dong
Temple Club
Vik’s Chaat
Wood Tavern (great though untraditional pastrami sandwich)

Palo Alto for lunch:

Palo Alto suffers badly from Upscale Demographics Syndrome so most places are overpriced. Currently, the only place I strongly recommend is Bevri, the only Georgian restaurant in the Bay Area. Oren’s Hummus Shop and Gyros Gyros on University (downtown) and Mediterranean Wraps on California Avenue (sort of the second downtown, not as overrun with techies) have good food at reasonable prices.

There’s good Mexican food nearby in Redwood City.

San Francisco on a budget:

A La Turka - Tenderloin / Polk Gulch
Angkor Borei - Cambodian - Mission
Barbacco - Italian small plates - FiDi
Burmese Kitchen - Richmond District
Esan Classic - Issan Thai - Tenderloin
Gyro King - Turkish - Civic Center
Hawker Fare - Thai - Mission
La Santaneca - pupusas, best curtido I’ve had - Mission
Lers Ros - Thai - Tenderloin
Maykadeh - Persian - North Beach
Old Jerusalem - Palestinian - Mission
Pauline’s Pizza - Mission
Saigon Sandwich - banh mi - Tenderloin
Sunrise Deli - get a bag of falafels, everything else sucks - Inner Sunset & Financial District
Taqueria San Jose - tacos al pastor or chorizo - Mission
Truly Mediterranean - falafel & schawerma wraps (Middle Eastern answer to burritos) - Mission

Out of your price range, but if you’re going to have one splurge, go to La Ciccia. It’s unique and delightful.

these shouldn’t even be in the same sentence. you can’t even get an entree for less than 30 bucks a person here

Indeed. Slipped through when I was cutting and pasting from a few lists.

And l’Osteria del Forno closed.

Recs for any meal would be good in SF. I’m coming from CT so anything is great.

Sushi lunch in Berkeley / Oakland, local favorite Kirala, serious traditional Uzen.

Sushi Sam’s on the way back to SF from Palo Alto.

Palo Alto is tough. For lunch, Pluto is fine for a salad. Or more interestingly Curry Up Now. Or something light at Blue Bottle before your coffee.

In (north) Berkeley, I’d get Indian at Ajanta. And if you’re going to have sushi, you’re going to bust your budget, but Sushi Sho in El Cerrito (just north of Berkeley) is terrific.

In SF, if you’ll be here on a Saturday, graze the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market. Porchetta sandwich from the Roli Roti truck if you’re a meaty sort of person. Green Papaya Salad from Out The Door (take out window of The Slanted Door) if you’re not meaty. Or mushroom curry from Delica. Or “Classic” from Reem’s. Or…

Tacos or burritos in the Mission to get back under your budget.