$25-and-under steaks that are a cut above

There is no shortage of stellar, classic steakhouses in SF. Inquire among the city’s food-obsessed for top steak recommendations and you will be met with a familiar chorus: “House of Prime Rib!” “Alexander’s, for sure!” “Oh and don’t forget about Harris’!”

And they’re right—those restaurants are institutions, and their steaks are fantastic. Unfortunately, they’re also fantastically expensive, so why not save those spots for a special occasion? If you steer clear of the big-ticket cuts and hunt out lunch and brunch deals, there are plenty of affordable, $25-and-under steak options to be found around town. Here are six of our favorites.

Natural Angus Flat Iron Steak at One Market
Located in the Financial District just steps away from the iconic Ferry Building, this SF classic is a no-brainer for wining-and-dining business types. But if the dinner menu’s $38 12-ounce New York steak with red wine butter and Bearnaise relish is a is a bit high to expense, play it smart and work the deal over lunch instead. On weekdays, you can indulge in their bay leaf–marinated flat iron steak with fried shallot rings, mashed potatoes, spinach, and green peppercorn sauce for a fraction of the price: $22.50.

Bavette a l’Echalote at Le Zinc
For those of us who can’t make it to Paris in the springtime this year, why not fake it for an evening with dinner at this oh-so-charming Noe Valley French bistro. There are plenty of tasty, tres classique menu items to choose from at this cozy, low-key spot, but one of the best among them has to be the Paris café staple bavette a l’echalote—steak in white wine shallot sauce ($24)—served with fries, naturally.

Grilled Beef at State Bird Provisions
This perennially packed hotspot in the Filmore District has garnered quite the following thanks to a rotating menu of inventive farm-to-table small plates and engaging dim sum–style service. At Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski’s “restaurant without any programmed elements,” dishes are divided into multiple menu sections—provisions, pancakes and toasts, and commandables—the latter being dedicated to slightly more substantial options, like the Japanese-influenced grilled beef ($20). In this vibrant iteration, slices of expertly grilled steak are served alongside broccoli and savory, meaty maitake mushrooms, dressed with a sweet-salty umeboshi-rosemary vinaigrette.

Aguja at Lolinda
Given that the theme of this prime Mission-area restaurant is Argentinian steakhouse meets Californian sensibilities, it’s no surprise that meat—and steak in particular—is featured heavily on the menu. At $19, the aguja, an 8-ounce cut of flatiron steak is a great entry-level option that affords you the opportunity to explore a wider variety of items from the grill. And if you’re the brunching sort (let’s be real, who isn’t?), it should also be known that Lolinda’ rooftop offshoot, El Techo de Lolindo, offers a slammin’ steak and eggs with potatoes and chimichurri sauce for the same price.

Backatown “Country Fried” Steak at Picán
Craving a taste of the South? Look no further than this chic, Oakland-based haven for soulful, down-home cooking. The folks behind Picán are all actually either from the South or spent their formative years there, and the proof is all over the menu. Case in point: the Backatown “Country Fried” Steak ($19). Offered exclusively at brunch, this decadent, wear-your-stretchy-pants plate features a black pepper–crusted chicken-fried steak with hot sauce cheesy grits and onion gravy. It’s legit, y’all.

Bavette Steak au Poivre at Sous Beurre Kitchen
Chef Michael Mauschbaugh’s French Provençal menu at this pop-up-turned-brick-and-mortar modern bistro in the Mission includes what is arguably one of the best dinnertime steak deals in town. For $25, including tax and tip, diners are treated to a generous plate of thick, juicy slices of peppercorn-crusted bavette (a cut similar to flank or skirt steak) served over spinach purée with salardaise fingerling potatoes. For the uninitiated, salardaise is a classic French preparation in which potatoes are cooked in garlic and fat—there’s a reason why the restaurant’s name means “in butter,” after all.
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