Cheap Eats in San Francisco

Apr 18th, 2005, 07:59 PM
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Cheap Eats in San Francisco

I will have three teenagers in San Francisco on Thursday and Friday of this week and I need to find some inexpensive places to feed them. We are on a school trip and the kids must pay for their own meals. We are staying at the Grand Hyatt near Union Square and we will not have a car. Also, I am thinking of taking them to the Exploratorium. Would seniors in high school find this interesting? Thanks for any suggestions!
desertgirl is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 08:13 PM
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My almost 13 yr old grew out of the Exploratorium years ago, so I don't think high school seniors would be interested unless they were really into science. My son loves the Metreon, owned by Sony and has video games, a playstation store, an Imax movie theatre and some pretty good and fairly reasonably priced restaurants. Also, wandering around Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf area is something that they would enjoy, but would avoid eating too many places there as they are quite pricey. For restaurant recommendations, check Have a great trip!
deniseredeker is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 08:32 PM
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Hi desertgirl. Check out the SF Chronical website: for cheap eats also.

Staying at the Grand Hyatt is great. It is right at Union Square so you can walk to a lot of places.
LoveItaly is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 08:55 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. One more question: How long would it take us to get from Union Square to Berkeley via BART? My students would like to see it, but it may be too much for the 24 hours we are there.
desertgirl is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 09:29 PM
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Hi desertgirl. You will be at the Grand Hyatt so you will walk down either Powell St. or Stockton St. about three blocks to the BART station. The BART station is at Market St. BART takes about 30 minutes to get to Berkeley.

With just 24 hours I do not know if you would want to take the time to do this however. But imagine your teens would enjoy seeing Berkeley. BART'S website is: www. You are a good sport! Welcome to SF.
LoveItaly is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 10:05 PM
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A popular and cheap place for food is Blondie's Pizza. Big slices and specials w/ a soda for about $3.00. There is also a Burger King on the same block. They are on the block where the cable cars route begins.

You are also close to Chinatown and can get lots of interesting and inexpensive foods.

enjoylife is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 10:09 PM
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Hi desertgirl, on Powell St., past Union Sq., past the VillaFlorence and Kuleto's is Lori's Diner. A 50's kind of place. Just happened to think of it for some reason due to enjoylife's post. And as she said Chinatown has some good bargains, again will give you ideas.
LoveItaly is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 10:35 PM
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Great suggestions--thanks! Years ago I remember eating at a place called the Fog City Diner. Do you know if that is still around and near the Grand Hyatt?
desertgirl is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 04:31 AM
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Hi Desertgirl,

Just checked, there is a web site for Fog City Diner. it's You can check out the menus, etc. I've lived in SF 16 years, but have never gone there. I hear it's okay, but it is very pricey. It's by Levi Plaza, close to the Wharf.

Blondies Pizza on Powell just off Union Square by the cable car turnaround is great pizza, a large slice and a great idea for lunch...and what teenagers don't like pizza?

In Union Square (on top of Macy's) there is also "the cheesecake factory" it's a little pricey, but big portions, you could make a meal off the appetizer menu.

Chinatown is great, for food, as well as inexpensive souvineers. Don't buy from the first shop you see, they all carry basically the same stuff, so look around a bit.

There is the cable car museum, which is a free tour, that the kids might enjoy. it will show them some unique SF history, and it's FREE! You are also in walking distance from the Museum of Modern Art if that would be an interest.

If you take the 38 Geary Bus from Union Square, out to the "Avenues", there is a great Mexican place called "Tommy's Mexican Food" It's at 5929 Geary between 23rd and 24th ave.
"Tommy's Mexican Restaurant
(5929 Geary Blvd, tel 415-387-4747, Open 11am-11pm daily, Wheelchair Accessible).
Tommy's has been run by the same family for decades and has a loyal following. The service is as good as the food is tasty. The menu features familiar Mexican combos and regional Yucatecan dishes - try the polio pibil (chicken wrapped and cooked in banana leaves and served with rice and black beans)." They are open for lunch and dinner and are inexpensive for a lot of food. If you don't have a lot of good Mexican food where you are from, they might really enjoy it! It's usually crowded, but the tables turn over quickly so you won't have to wait long.

Have fun! And, if you find some fun things to do, please reply after your trip, my 17 year old Goddaughter is coming for a month in June/July. Maybe you'll find some things to suggest to me?!

Enjoy yourselves!!
andiamo is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 04:38 AM
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We really enjoyed chowder in a bread bowl on Pier 39, at Bowdin's (sp?) i think. The pier is touristy but the kids will love it. Great views of the GG Bridge and they'll love the show put on by the seals behind the shops. Have fun!
ellen_griswold is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 09:49 AM
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Lori's diner is inexpensive, and may be fun with the 50s decor.

Fog city diner, I believe, has a variety menu from cheap to expensive.

Would seniors in high school be interested in visiting the Berkeley University? Call ahead, maybe a tour can be arranged?
FainaAgain is offline  
Apr 21st, 2005, 11:42 AM
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I love Sear's breakfast (It's not the department store!). We went to eat there last year, but it was closed for remodeling. Hopefully it is back up and running. Silver dollar pancakes are a specialty.
Since they were closed, we ate at Lori's diner. We weren't impressed. Service wasn't very good and didn't seem like there was a lot of food for the money. Fun atmosphere though.
Be sure to take the kids to Ghiradelli for a sundae just so they can say they did. Unfortunately it's not near as good as it was 20 years ago. Very crowded and very expensive. $6-8 bucks a sundae.
iluvtravel is offline  
Apr 21st, 2005, 12:36 PM
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I have not eaten at Sears since they reopened so have no idea what the food is like. It is on Powell, across the street from the SirFrancisDrake Hotel so a good location for you desertgirl.

The reason I have not eaten there is because there has always been a long line down the sidewalk with people waiting to get in. And I will not stand in line to get something to eat.

Not sure if the long line is because the food is fantastic or if it is because so many tourist know about it.

Maybe if you can get those kids up and going early in the morning you could avoid the lines.

BTW, a place for inexpensive food is Lefty O'Douls. It is on Geary, just a half a block or less from Powell St. Going west on Geary. It is a buffet.
You can get lots of food for a small amount of money. Never seems to be a problem getting a table. It is a HofBrau (sp?). Knowing how much teens eat this might be a good place to try.

LoveItaly is offline  
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