The Best Quick and Affordable Eats: How San Francisco Does Fast Food

Eat well on the run at these local fast casual chains throughout the city.

San Francisco has no shortage of fine dining establishments with Michelin stars and James Beard awards and other international accolades. But at some point you'll likely find yourself in need of a fast, budget-friendly meal while out and about. We suggest you join the locals at one of the city's excellent fast-casual chains where you can grab a quality bite in a pleasant setting.

Spread at Souvla
(©Kassie Borreson)

Hayes Valley, NoPa and Mission

Souvla: This is the buzziest casual restaurant in San Francisco these days, with three locations (and growing) in Hayes Valley, NoPa and the Mission. The founder of the sophisticated Greek souvlaki-inspired eatery worked with Bay Area chefs Thomas Keller and Michael Mina before launching the first restaurant. Locals line up for the streamlined menu of gyros, salads (the most popular item is the Mary’s free-range chicken salad with “Granch” dressing, navel orange and pickled red onion) and Greek frozen yogurt topped with imported sour cherry syrup or baklava crumbles and honey. The stylish restaurants also serve wine and beer and weekend brunch. 517 Hayes St.; 531 Divisidero St.; 758 Valencia St.


Proposition Chicken
(Courtesy Proposition Chicken)

Proposition Chicken: This stylish, industrial spot serves a simple menu of juicy, free-range chicken that’s either fried, flipped (rotisserie) or “fake” (tofu) and served as a sandwich, salad or meal. The buttermilk biscuit with honey butter is as tasty as it sounds. 1750 Market St.

Pacific Heights and Tenderloin

(©Aubrie Pick)

Jane: These hip joints (known as Jane on Fillmore, Jane The Bakery and Jane on Larkin) pack in locals who come for the craveable, Instagram-worthy eats like avocado toast on house sourdough topped with a soft boiled egg, pickled jalapeño and shallot as well as trendy, health conscious options like sprouted black rice porridge, iced matcha and chia parfaits. 2123 Fillmore St.; 1881 Geary Blvd.; 925 Larkin St.

Marina and Pacific Heights

Roam Artisan Burgers: At this local eco-conscious chain, you can order 100 percent grass-fed beef, free-range turkey, bison, elk or organic veggie burgers that are topped with creative combinations. Wash down your meal with artisan sodas, kombucha on tap, wine or local beer and finish it with a tasty Straus Family Creamery milkshake made with local Blue Bottle coffee. 1785 Union St.; 1923 Fillmore St. 

Glaze Teriyaki Grill: This NYC import specializes in Seattle-style teriyaki. Choose from salmon, chicken, steak and tofu plates and salads that are made in front of you in the open kitchen. Adult beverage options include Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin IPA and Ozeki sake. Tip: There’s a late night takeout menu to satisfy any cravings for cold soba noodle salad, shishito peppers and spicy-yaki chicken wings. 1946 Fillmore St.; 2095 Chestnut St.

Financial District, SoMa, Marina and Castro

Super Duper Burgers
(©Aubrie Pick)

Super Duper: Spreading like wildfire, this Bay Area chain serves burgers sourced from family-owned local ranches, fried-to-order fries and soft serve cones (there's chocolate-dipped) and shakes (ask for it spiked!) made from organic Straus Family Creamery cream. The juicy chicken sandwich is also excellent. 721 Market St.; 98 Mission St.; 2304 Market St.; 346 Kearny St.; 783 Mission St.; 2201 Chestnut St.

Financial District

(Courtesy Onigilly)

Onigilly: Get a cultural experience and a wholesome bite at this casual downtown outfit serving onigiri, a traditional fast food that’s popular in Japan. Pure brown rice is pressed and filled with a savory gourmet filling such as snow crab, ginger-honey braised beef or sour pickled plum and then wrapped in seaweed. Two or three of these rice balls make for a quick and tasty hand-held meal, no soy sauce required. 343 Kearny St.; 4 Embarcadero Center; 455 Market St.; 545 Sansome St.

Pacific Heights and Financial District

Bun Mee: This bright and modern spot serves Vietnamese banh mi style sandwiches as well as rice and noodle bowls. Its newer Financial District location is conveniently located near Westfield San Francisco Centre mall and Union Square. 2015 Fillmore St.; 650 Market St.

Mission and Hayes Valley

Project Juice
(©Project Juice)

Project Juice: Two of this local chain’s locations go beyond cold-pressed juice and super food smoothies and serve meals and snacks to go. Everything here is organic, gluten-free and (mostly) vegan. The smoothies are made with homemade almond milk, raw coconut water and juices from local produce. Grab one of the outside seats and nosh on kelp noodle pad Thai or a filling Southwestern burrito. 790 Valencia St.; 364 Hayes St.; 506 Castro St.