Powell street offers countless options for a quick bite to eat. Even the Westfield mall has a plethora of options to please a hungry local with food unlike most food courts in the country. Though nothing draws me more than the idea of enjoying a stress free lunch with delicious thai food. Bangkok Noodles on Powell Street near Union Square is my favorite place after a movie or a tireless day of pants shopping. Their Spicy Beef Stew soup has just the right amount of flavor and size to recharge me on any rainy day. With every entree under 9 dollars, it’s hard to just order one even if you’re going to end up taking it home. The place is a narrow restaurant sandwiched between a currency exchange stand and tourist giftshop often filled with hungry people in a quick moving line. Try the ground chicken with string beans - you’ll thank me later.

Bangkok Noodles 110 Powell Street San Francisco, CA 94102

Golden Coffee is my refuge. I’m not entirely positive as to why I have continued to come here for years, or why I always order the same thing. Perhaps its old school,unkempt, corner dinner charm sparkles with hints of a bygone era. Perhaps the odd familiarity of the same three workers serving a menu that is equal parts Chinese food and traditional American breakfast eats serves as the perfect escape on a Sunday morning, when I’m too tired or too hungover to try and “brunch”. Most importantly, there are moments in all of our lives where nothing beats eggs and “bacons” dowsed with Sriracha hot sauce beside a generous portion of magical hash browns. On days like this, there aren’t enough odd greens in the world to “sprig” a plate with that would satisfy the way Golden Coffee has never once failed to satisfy. The hash browns are seriously magical.

Golden Coffee Shop 901 Sutter St San Francisco, CA 94109

La Torta Gorda feels like a Puebla set 1950s diner. Go ahead, pretend you came in a T Bird instead of a bicycle, settle in and talk slow, get a giant juice to share with your table mates—La Torta Gorda is a gem. As the name implies, the popular reputation of La Torta Gorda is built on their Tortas. Large unwieldy sandwiches full of succulent meats, avocado, queso fresco, refried beans, onions, mayo and peppers—they make new diners into immediate die-hard fans. You can’t go wrong by ordering a sweet and savory Hawaiian or a traditional spicy Tings, shredded chicken and onions. However, the regulars, including myself, eventually find their way to the Especialidades Poblanas part of the menu and once you bite into a seasoned soft egg in the Tlacoyos al Albanil there is just no going back to sandwiches.

La Torta Gorda 2833 24th Street San Francisco, CA 94110

A bowl of Pho on a foggy San Franciscan night will bring some much needed Vietnamese heat into your life. Sunflower Vietnamese Restaurant on Mission and 16th takes it to the next level by serving you a bucket of noodle soup that will transport you to the jungle. For under 7 bucks you can eat until you’ve acquired your own Buddha belly and still have leftovers for lunch. The wait staff consists of two tireless servers running back and forth like an artful dance filling water, taking orders and offering up colorful phrases like “Just for you young man!” Sunflower is the perfect after yoga spot, as the cross eyed horse paintings on the wall lend an air of casualness perfect for stretch pants, and the fresh spring rolls will compliment your down dog healthfulness.

Sunflower 506 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103

This place reminds me of being at my grandparent’s house. The women of Yamo serve up a hearty meal. They’re fast and all about business. This divey gem certainly has its allure. From the older gentlemen regular to the wayfarer wearing dapper don on his first date with a fire engine lipstick wearing lady, Yamo is the go-to cheap eats place that cures any pangs of hunger. Although it’s a bit cramped and may you find yourself rubbing elbows, literally, with the person next to you, there’s no doubt you’ll be well fed. Whether you’re sharing a dish or picking food up to go, get cozy, bring a small bag, and arrive hungry. The tiny bar stool area will force you to be nice to your neighborhood but it sure is like grandma’s place. There’s no room to be shy and there always seems to be room at the table.

YAMO
3406 18th Street San Francisco, CA 94110
In the past, it’s been hard to find anything but fast food, street carts, or greasy bar fare near San Francisco’s AT&T ballpark. That, thankfully, is no longer the case since 144 King Art Café opened in May of this year. The formerly more industrial neighborhood of SoMa often receives a bad rap in the city, notably divided for its food venues that don’t offer up much for foodies to consider worth the trip across town. However, this café (along with many other new restaurants) is among the group of taste-making pioneers hoping to change that reputation. Chef Michelle Matthews uses the café’s motto—“Fresh, local, inventive”—to its fullest definition as she fuses her culinary background in French cuisine with the laid-back fair of California to create wholesome dishes that truly satisfy.

144 King Cafe
144 King Street San Francisco, CA 94107

Muracci’s is one of those well known secret lunch spots that explode with activity around lunchtime in the Financial District. The line is typically out the door around 12, and the staff not only accept credit cards but often take orders before you reach the register. Muracci’s serves a number of popular Japanese lunch items, ranging from udon noodle soups to teriyaki chicken rice plates, but the stars of this cozy eatery are their curry dishes. Muracci’s Japanese curry, like its Indian and Pakistani cousins, is bursting with flavor, gravy-like in consistency, and served hot and spicy with your choice of extras (like another helping of meat or veggies). Be sure to try the Chicken Katsu Curry (with spinach added), a crispy chicken cutlet sliced and served over rice with an ample helping of delicious curry.

MURACCIS
307 Kearny Street San Francisco, CA 94108

Just recently was I turned onto Rhea’s DELIcious sandwiches on the corner of Valencia and 19th Street. With a variety of choices named after SF locations, the “17th Ave” with herb chicken, pepperoni, melted mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce, tomatoes, red onions, baby “spinich”, garlic aioli, and added bacon & avocado is my top choice so far. It melts in your mouth like a scrumptious pizza and is the perfect take away food for one of these beautiful SF (Indian) Summer days in Dolores Park. And all that from a corner store, with a refreshing beverage to keep yourself hydrated. They also have some benches out front, if you prefer to sit down there to people watch or pet strangers’ dogs. Lunch, simplified. Nom Nom Nom.

RHEAS DELI & MARKET
800 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
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This article was published:
Food Issue - Released October 2012
Issue 6 / Version 2 | Buy print copy here
Issue 11
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