Where to Eat Cheap in San Francisco, California

tcho chocolates, where to eat cheap, embarcadero, san francisco, california
Tcho chocolates Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Start Day in San Francisco with Shot of Drinking Chocolate

Why not start your foodie tour of San Francisco with a shot of drinking chocolate? While there are plenty of things to do in San Francisco, dark chocolate lovers will want to begin their San Francisco Food Tour with a stop at TCHO, located on the Embarcadero on Pier 17.

TCHO’s “flavor wheel” helps customers choose their chocolate by flavor profile; fruity, floral, citrus, nutty. The flavor wheel reminded me of  The Wine Aroma Wheel developed back in the 1980’s by Dr. Ann Noble. No matter if you like your chocolate “earthy” or “chocolatey” you’ll find something to make your taste buds happy at TCHO.

TCHO (rhymes with Joe) is a combination of technology blending with new American chocolate. TCHO’s social mission goes the next step beyond Fair Trade – helping farmers by transferring knowledge of how to grow and ferment superior cocoa beans, resulting in premium chocolate producers.

TCHO was my first stop on the  Snacker’s Delight Tour; a custom car tour with the ladies of Carried Away.  If you prefer the hour-long TCHO Chocolate Factory Tour, you’ll need to schedule direct with the company. You may follow TCHO on Twitter.  I hope you’ll follow Nancy D. Brown, too!

Tony’s Coal Fired Pizza – Respect the Craft

Working your way from the Embarcadero to San Francisco’s North Beach, you must stop to eat at Tony’s Pizza in North Beach. Tony Germignani is the World Pizza Cup winner and he brings his own special weapon to the pizza wars – San Francisco’s first 1,000 degree, coal fired pizza oven. Whether you prefer thin crust or a square of Sicilian pizza, Tony’s pizza will teach you to respect the craft of pizza making.

tony's coal fired pizza, north beach, san francisco
Tony’s coal fired pizza in North Beach. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Liguria Bakery Since 1911

If you like home made focaccia bread with garlic,  pesto, or simply with sea salt and olive oil, Liguria Bakery is a next door neighbor to Tony’s Pizza.

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Insider Tip:

Stop at Liguria in the morning or the bakery will be sold out of their bread. San Francisco locals know this is where to eat Italian style bread.


san francisco resident, john campbell irish bakery, inner richmond, geary street, irish pastie, pastry
Denise eating pastie at John Campbell Irish Bakery. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

John Campbell’s Irish Bakery

On a recent visit to John Campbell’s Irish Baker in the Inner Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco, I met the sweetest lady, originally from London. Denise regularly stops to eat here and picks up Irish breads and scones for her San Francisco tea parties.

“This place makes the right size sandwiches. You can have your coffee and eat your bun here,” notes Denise.

Originally from Belfast, Ireland, Bakery Owner John Campbell holds the Order of the Master Baker title and has been baking for over 30 years. While his buns may be tasty, the real stars here are the savory offerings. Sink your teeth in to a hot, flaky sausage roll ($3.00) or the chicken curry pastie ($5.00) and your Irish eyes will surely be smiling!


Chicken curry pastie from John Campbell’s Irish Bakery. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Insider Tip:

Finding parking on the streets of San Francisco is a challenge. Map out your order of places to visit in advance and have a designated driver who is willing to circle the block while you go in and taste or pick up food.

Vietnamese Steet Food – Out the Door

On a cold day in San Francisco, nothing taste better than a hot bowl of pho from Out the Door, or OTD as it’s called by local residents. In additional to the chicken pho with beef broth, the Chicken Porridge with rau ram, crispy shallots and black pepper is a winner, but the hands down favorite for me was the barbeque steamed pork bun. Priced at $3.00 each, I could eat these buns for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Where are your favorite places to eat cheap in San Francisco? What are your favorite things to do in San Francisco?

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pho, vietnamese soup, bush street, san francisco, california
Eating pho at Out the Door photo © Nancy D. Brown

If You Go:

TCHO (415) 981-0189

Pier 17 Embarcadero @ Green

San Francisco, CA 94111

Tony’s Pizza (415) 835-9888

1570 Stockton St.

San Francisco, CA 94133

Liguria Bakery (415) 421-3786

1700 Stockton @ Filbert

San Francisco, CA 94133

John Campbell’s Irish Bakery

5625 Geary Street at 21st

San Francisco, CA

Out the Door (415) 923-9575

2232 Bush Street

San Francisco, CA 94115

Related Posts:

Things to See and Do in San Francisco

Fancy Food Show Trends

Article, YouTube video and photos by Nancy D. Brown


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