by Allie Pape - 10 Reviews - 45 List
Innovative. World-class. Ingredient-focused. These words are often used to describe San Francisco's restaurant scene, along with one more: expensive. While we may not be able to offer you a deal at every acclaimed foodie magnet in town, this list offers ways to enjoy a few of the city's dining and drinking hot spots on a dime. From white-napkin burgers to $5 cocktails, we've got your budget covered with our list of San Francisco bar and restaurant deals. (Photo of Heaven's Dog by Liz Hafalia)
Updated: August 31, 2011
Entrees at this swank SOMA restaurant regularly top $35, but the lounge offers a killer dining deal: a delicious handmade burger with Comte cheese and braised onions, a pint of Lagunitas IPA, and a shot of small-batch Buffalo Trace bourbon, all for $25. It's a happy meal for adults.
The Chinese fare and superlative cocktails at Slanted Door chef Charles Phan's SOMA outpost can be pricey, but happy hour is there to intervene. From 5pm to 6:30pm on weekdays, classic cocktails like a martini, daiquiri, and one of San Francisco's best old-fashioneds are just $6. Add on a couple of $6 snacks, such as crispy chicken wings and shumai, and you'll be able to get a couple of fantastic drinks and a light dinner for just $24.
Happy hour goes all evening long in the bar of this swanky French-Japanese fusion spot on the Embarcadero, with $5.25 sushi rolls, $4.50 beers, and $5.50 wine by the glass and cocktails. The deal is even available on weekends (starting at 4pm), a San Francisco rarity.
It's the secret no one wants you to know: The casual Jackson Square sister spot of Quince (generally considered to be the best Italian restaurant in town) not only serves up cheaper versions of the killer pastas and roasts next door--it also has a $24 prix-fixe menu that includes an appetizer, entree and dessert. There's no freedom of choice in the menu, but given the luxe atmosphere and incredible food, it's still quite a deal. If you can spring for drinks, there's more budget-friendliness to come; every bottle of wine on Cotogna's list is $40.
The Thursday Cocktail Clubs at Mission mixology bar Elixir draw big crowds, and for good reason. Each week, the bar brings a representative from a liquor brand to discuss the history behind the booze, explain how it's made, and offer samples. Once the club meeting ends, a variety of handcrafted cocktails made with the featured spirit are just $6. The spotlighted liquors run the gamut, from small-batch gin and rye to peaty Scotch.
If you're craving oysters, this Union Square brasserie has you covered--and on prime weekend nights, no less. On Fridays and Saturdays, the oyster bar dishes up $1 oysters and $2 baked clams, along with $5 glasses of sparkling wine, from 5pm to 7pm. Can't make it by 7pm? For the rest of the night, get a half-dozen oysters, along with a glass of sparkling wine or beer, for just $10.
If $1 oysters are still too rich for your blood, this Outer Mission dive offers Tomales Bay bivalves for free--with happy hour drink prices, to boot. Head over on Fridays at 5:30pm to get first crack, and wash 'em down with a $3 beer, $5 pint of bloody-mary, or $3 well cocktail until 8pm.