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5 Best Local Option-Rich San Francisco Lunch Escapes

Updated on October 21, 2010

I have tons of favorite restaurants that I go to when I'm looking for a lunch escape. For example, I love The Grove (which has multiple locations in the city) because it has awesome salads and a great relaxing escapist atmosphere. I also adore Loving Hut for its yummy vegetarian specials. However, I think that the best lunch escapes in San Francisco are the ones that provide tons of options in a single location. This is great because it's time-saving and convenient for people on the go. It's also great because it allows groups of people (like co-workers) to all dine together in the same spot without being confined to eating the same food as everyone else. San Francisco's Financial District has five of these option-rich lunch spots that I know of: The Westfield, The Ferry Building, Embarcadero Center, The Crocker Galleria and Rincon Center. Notably, two of these options have farmers' markets in addition to restaurants. Let's take a closer look at each of these!

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A markerWestfield -
865 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
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This mall has a food court with better food than you've ever had at a mall before!

B markerFerry Building Marketplace -
Ferry Bldg, 1 Ferry Bldg # 35, San Francisco, CA 94111-4230, USA
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Eat inside at one of the many cafes and restaurants or take advantage of the Farmers' Market held outside several times per week.

C markerEmbarcadero Center -
1 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
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Enjoy fast food and fine dining or escape for a lunchtime movie!

D markerCrocker Galleria -
50 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94104, USA
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The fast food type lunch options here are great but the once-weekly farmers' market is even better.

E markerRincon Center -
121 Spear St, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
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Tasty food options are made more enjoyable with this spot's cool indoor water fountain.

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WestfieldFerry BuildingEmbarcadero CenterCrocker GalleriaRincon Center
Ferry Building
Ferry Building
Embarcadero Center
Embarcadero Center
Crocker Galleria
Crocker Galleria
Rincon Center
Rincon Center

1. Westfield. I am not typically someone who would recommend eating at "the mall". However, the fancy food court in The Westfield has options that are far, far tastier than normal mall food. There are several Asian meal options here (and we're not talking about cheap mall Chinese although that's actually available on the other end of The Westfield if that's your thing). There are burger places, soup and salad spots, Mexican food and vegetarian options (including a branch of Loving Hut, the spot I mentioned earlier). People who are looking for something quick and easy can venture over to the second food court which has more traditional mall food like Rubio's and Wetzel's Pretzels. People who want a fancier lunch (for a business lunch perhaps) can venture upstairs to the much nicer "restaurants under the dome" which include LarkCreekSteak and Zazil (coastal Mexican cuisine). Another option is to go to the mall's fancy grocery store and choose from pre-made warm meals, packaged foods or fresh produce.

2. Ferry Building. Another great San Francisco spot that presents a lot of dining options under one roof is the Ferry Building. This is a top choice on nice days since it's located next to the bay. Of course, you can eat inside on not-as-nice days but it's great to enjoy outdoor dining here overlooking the water when you can. There are three major restaurants at the Ferry Building: Slanted Door which has Vietnamese food, Gott's Roadside (think burgers and fish n chips) and MarketBar (which is Mediterranean). There are also a number of cafes and coffee shops where you can enjoy lunch. Plus there are several grocery specialty stores where you can get breads, cheeses, produce, etc. for making your own little impromptu lunch. Finally, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays there is a huge farmers' market here during the daytime hours so you also have the option of purchasing lunch directly from the farm. Do note that the weekday farmers' market is a seasonal market.

3. Embarcadero Center. Directly to the west of the Ferry Building is yet another option for finding lots of food in one place. It's the Embarcadero Center which consists of four different tall buildings (1 Embarcadero, 2 Embarcadero, etc.) The dining options here are abundant and range from fast food to nice restaurants. One of my favorite places is the always-busy Osha thai restaurant. Other top picks include Fuzio, Saigon Deli Express, Gaylord Indian Restaurant, Pizza Orgasmica and Buckhorn Grill. There's a terrific small movie theater at one end of this center so if you're taking a long lunch then you might also escape there. (Incidentally, the Westfield also has a movie theater.)

4. Crocker Galleria. The Crocker Galleria is the most convenient all-in-one option for many Financial District workers who are located on the north end of the neighborhood. The food court here is more like "mall food" then a lot of the other choices but it's also very good. Some delicious choices include 360 Gourmet Burritos, Leila Mediterranean Cuisine and San Francisco Soup Company. Getting food here is quicker than in some of the other spots which is always convenient at lunch time. The coolest thing about this place is the fact that there's a gorgeous, serene rooftop garden where you can enjoy your food. Another cool thing is the farmers' market that is held here on Thursdays.

5. Rincon Center. My favorite thing about Rincon Center is that it has the coolest indoor waterfall in the center of its food court. That said, there's also good food here. People who enjoy dim sum can take a seat at Yank Sing. Other choices include wraps, sandwiches and Indian food. The architecture of the building is super cool. And if you have the time, you can wander over to the front room where dozens of murals provide a colorful history of San Francisco.


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  • viking305 profile image

    L M Reid 7 years ago from Ireland

    What a great selection of places to have lunch in San Francisco. If I am ever in the area I will already know what is available thanks