I hate to be away from my office too long fearing a patient or one of my colleagues might need me, so 90% of the time, I call ahead, pick up my lunch, and eat it on campus.
So here is my list of restaurants along Fillmore (between Sutter and Clay) that offer great pick-up options for those on the go – better yet, most of them are under $10 (prices listed are menu prices not including tax.)
1) Bun Mee – Vietnamese - 2015 Fillmore Street between Pine and California
I was so excited when they opened this year. Finally a banh mi spot! Though there are many filling combinations, my favorite is the “Belly Bun.” It’s a perfect sandwich complete with tender pork belly, pickled carrots, cilantro, jalapeno, and cucumber. $6.25 Pssst…on days where I feel like I deserve it, I add a boiled egg on top. If you want a more substantial lunch, try the Citrus Caramel Rice Bowl. It’s a little over $10, but it’s awesome. Delivery in immediate area with $20+ purchase.
2) LaMediteranee – Mediterranean - 2210 Fillmore Street between Sacramento and Clay
If you want a full meal with your starch, veggies, and protein, look no further. Their lunch specials run from 11am – 5pm, which is awesome for those who can’t make it out at Noon. My ideal lunch special from La Med is the chicken kebab – comes with rice pilaf, your choice of soup or salad, pita bread, hummus, and fruit. Can’t beat that when you’re only paying $8.95. The portions are generous. On a day when you feel a little sick, grab their chicken rice soup. It’s comforting to the bone. Better yet, order and pay online, so all you have to do is pick it up!
3) Fresca – Peruvian - 2114 Fillmore Street between Sacramento and California
Peruvian food is a cuisine I absolutely adore. It’s Latin, but there are hints of Asian in there as well. The lunches here are ridiculously delicious – especially the Chicken Pesto on Ciabatta (pictured below) or the “Pan con Lomito” which is a sandwich using Dutch crunch and in it is jack cheese and beef tenderloin that’s been sautéed with soy sauce, tomato, and onion. You also choose either a salad or fries for your side. The price? Only about $9.00!
4) Out the Door – Vietnamese – 2232 Bush Street between Steiner and Fillmore
Okay, you’re probably wondering why OTD is on my list because they are on the pricier end of the spectrum. I can tell you that they are open for breakfast, so coming in to pick up a hot chicken porridge ($9.00) on a cold morning before your shift is ideal. For lunch, their fresh spring rolls with pork, shrimp, mint, and their outstanding peanut sauce are perfect for a light lunch. I swear, I can bathe in that peanut sauce.
5) Osaka – Japanese – 1923 Fillmore Street between Pine and Bush
I totally heart the folks at Osaka. Not only are their “Osaka Combination Lunch” inexpensive and delicious - $8.95 for two entrée items (your choice of teriyakis and tempuras), rice, miso soup, and salad – they DELIVER W-Th-F during lunch hours. Bonus: if you call from a hospital line, they’ll recognize it on their caller ID and give you a neighborhood discount. Win! They have made my days so much better after I’ve eaten their food.
6) Grove Cafe – Eclectic – 2016 Fillmore Street between California and Pine
I finally came into The Grove after 3 years of working in the area. Why I waited so long? I don’t know. It’s a gem. It would be the perfect spot to grab lunch and work on the laptop, if I had the time, of course. I love their chicken pot pie ($10) with its creamy and savory gravy and flaky crust. Plus! It comes with a salad! They also have a wide array of sandwiches and salads and are open for breakfast.
7) Taco Bar – Mexican – 2401 California Street at the Corner of Fillmore
I remember the days when this was a La Salsa location. While sad that the one and only Mexican option was closing, I was glad that a new one was taking its place. The quesadillas are huge and filling, but I come here for taco – doesn’t matter which one (around $3.50) and their “esquites” or corn in a cup ($4.75) – white corn, epazote herb, crema, lime, chile, and cotija cheese. You might even catch me walking up Fillmore eating it straight from the cup.
8) Pizzeria Delfina – Italian – 2406 California Street between Fillmore and Steiner
Do I even need to explain why? Delfina is known throughout the nation for their incredible Cal-Italian fare. I’m cheating a bit here. The pies, depending on the variation, are over $10, BUT! I doubt you’re going to eat a whole pie by yourself, so if you share with your colleagues, you can spend less than $7 for a portion! The Margerita is always good, but try the Salsiccia for some meaty goodness thanks to their housemade fennel sausage.
9) Woodhouse Fish Co. – Seafood - 1914 Fillmore Street between Pine and Bush
Alright, this is cheating again. Everything on the menu is over $10, but the quality of the food is worth paying for. I like to buy lunch here on PAY DAY! There is nothing wrong with splurging, right? You earned it! Even with that said, my favorite item is the Dungeness Crab Melt served on buttery toasted bread and comes with slaw and French fries - at $12.00, the flavor and all that crab with that squeeze of lemon is totally worth it, plus the fries are addicting!
10) SWEETS! I will dedicate my whole #10 to dessert. Cheating? No, not when it comes to dessert.
a. Citizen Cake Ice Cream Parlor and Eats – 2125 Fillmore Street between California and Sacramteo - Recently Chef Elizabeth Falkner revamped her menu to include housemade ice cream; however, I have been coming here since it’s opening in Pac Heights for macarons, cakes, and cupcakes. Last week, I had the Toasted Sourdough Ice Cream with Hot Fudge. Talk about awesome. The ice cream did have a toasted flavor…and was that butter and sugar at the end? I don’t know exactly how they made the ice cream, but it was certainly unique and yummy.
b. La Boulange – two locations: 2325 Pine Street at Fillmore and 2043 Fillmore Street between California and Pine – If I could, I would come here everyday. Everyday. Their chocolate hazelnut croissants are perfect for breakfast, the croissant bread pudding is great for a midday treat, and their absolutely perfect canneles are ideal for anytime! I adore that slightly burnt tasting crust and the custardy interior. If the bakery was any closer to my place of employment, I would be in trouble.
c. Fillmore Bakeshop – 1890 Fillmore Street between Bush and Sutter – their macarons are ginormous. No joke. Blood orange. You’re welcome. Their cake display case is also very impressive – Swedish Princess Cake, cheesecakes, cupcakes with SF Giants logos on them! Come on, how can you not love a place like this?
Have a great lunch!