perks for your palate.
SF’s hottest restaurants for $35 and under
By Maryse Chevriere
For many seasoned diners, the words “prix fixe” trigger a vision of dollar signs lining up like at a Vegas slot machine—except you’re giving away the cash instead of taking it home. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. As it turns out, the city is ripe with affordable prix fixe options, from special lunch and brunch deals at some of the biggest-name restaurants to affordable dinners at trendy hotspots. Check out seven of our favorite tasting menu options around SF for $35 or less.
At most of the top restaurants around the city, a $35 three-course prix fixe would be presented as a special deal—a less expensive way to skim the surface of dining at said spot. But at Trestle, this format is simply what they call nightly dinner. And at that price, it is a great deal, of course, but the dishes on the daily changing menu (two options are offered for each course, as well as a $10 pasta supplement course if desired) never feel like an afterthought. Expect market-driven dishes with a comfort food bent, like an appetizer of fresh stone fruit with creamy burrata and a main of king salmon with pork belly and cannellini beans.
One thing’s for sure: You won’t have to go broke to feast family style at this popular Mission-area Peruvian rotisserie. While the restaurant offers three different prix fixe options, the cheapest ($29) certainly won’t leave you hungry. The only catch is that your whole table must take part; the comes-as-it’s-ready meal features a variety of cold and hot plates, including their famous ceviche mixto and chicken chicharrones, plus a main of roasted chicken with chimichurri, accompanied by a chef’s selection of sides.
This tiny Mission hole-in-the-wall may put up an unassuming, casual front—reservations are made via text—but the food coming out of the open, two man–run kitchen is anything but. For a mere $30, guests are treated to a four-course dinner of eclectic, creative dishes. The menu is constantly changing, though the much-loved signature Colombian chicken arepa is a course staple.
Chef Michael Mina is a fine-dining restaurant legend, with dozens of lauded restaurants that extend way beyond the Bay Area. Of course, with lofty acclaim comes menu pricing to match, which is why his “Out to Lunch” summer deal at RN74 is so attractive. For a comparatively inexpensive $35 for three courses, diners get to experience the chef’s French-inflected market-driven fare for a fraction of the price you might have expected.
Bang-for-your-buck prix fixe options abound at this charming French spot in Noe Valley, which offers special menus at lunch, dinner, and brunch. The $19 three-course lunch menu is a great value, with classic specialties like moules marinières and the French omelette, but if you want a really indulgent laissez-faire dining experience, snag a spot on the patio for their prix fixe brunch, complete with coffee, fruit, pastries, and your choice of egg dish for $28.
A staple among the power business set, this Financial District institution offers you the opportunity to get a deal while making deals with its two-course market lunch special. The $25 set-price menu lets you choose between two options for the starter and entrée courses—think little gem salad with market beans, house-made terrine, and pan-seared sole. Add on a small, “singular sensation” dessert for just $5 extra.
At this beloved seafood destination, known for its stunning views of the Embarcadero waterfront, lunchtime is the right time for getting a top deal. For $24, the kitchen offers a rotating three-course menu that includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Availability is limited, so if you want to catch this special offer, be sure to, ahem, reel it in quickly.