Work. We all do it, at least most of us, and then we take a break around noon to nourish ourselves before we go back to developing carpal tunnel. The Financial District is home to many, many offices - and many, many mediocre lunch spots.
But there’s still hope for a lunch in FiDi you’ll actually enjoy - whether you want to eat on the street, in a swanky Japanese izakaya spot, at a healthy place with a few coworkers, or just chill by yourself and crush a sandwich. The lunch hour is your oyster. Find your pearl (or just eat lots of oysters at Leo's).
Mazarine is a bit of a walk from the heart of FiDi, but it's worth the stroll. Bring a friend for a good work venting session, or come solo if you’ve had a rough day and need some you time. The coffee is excellent, and all the salads and sandwiches are good as well. If you hit it for breakfast, it’s a toast party. Yay San Francisco.
Time to get fancy. Or pull a DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street and start throwing money around in a yacht-like venue. You will be doing both at Leo’s, as it’s not cheap, but you will also be consuming some crazy good seafood in a fun, fancy space. The lunch menu has the same lobster roll and oysters we love from dinner here, as well as some excellent salad and sandwich options.
Some days call for a whole lot of Jewish comfort food - when they do, Shorty Goldstein’s is there. You'll be greeted by an out-the-door but fast-moving line. Do not be deterred, we’re all in on this place. The chicken soup is almost as good as our own Jewish grandmother’s (don’t worry Nana, we said almost), the egg salad on rye is one of the best we’ve had, and the two together makes for the perfect lunch. We haven’t tried the pastrami yet, but judging by the rapturous sounds coming from the guy sitting next to us, we’d say it’s pretty great.
The walls of The Plant shout HEALTH at you as you enter the shop. It’s pretty impressive that they learned to talk, must be all the brainfoods they’re consuming. This place is one of the most wholesome and probably best lunch options in the area, with very good salads, sandwiches, and grain bowls. You can order online to go, or order at the counter and sit for a more leisurely lunch. The Dino Kale or Full Belly salads are good choices, as is the chicken and avocado sandwich.
Need to impress a client or have a serious talk with your boss or stuff your face with carbs after a particularly painful meeting? Time for a sit-down, professional, and kick-ass lunch at Cotogna. The pasta and pizzas are superb, as are the starters. Definitely not an all-the-time spot to hit, but a place to keep on your radar when you have time for a fancy lunch that also happens to be one of the best in the city.
We’re not going to lie, about 70% of the reason Eatsa is on this list is pure novelty factor. The process of picking up one of their $6.95 quinoa bowls requires no interaction with an actual person. You roll up to the iPads, swipe a credit card, and choose a bowl (or build your own). Then head over to a little alcove of locker-type things and wait for your name to appear on the screens above. When your bowl’s ready, you’ll see a number and head into the appropriate locker. Tap twice on the glass and like magic, your lunch is sitting waiting for you. And after all that, it tastes pretty good too. Welcome to the (kind of creepy) future.
Despite the long line coming out of this counter-style sandwich shop, The Sentinel is a great grab-and-go option. The guys in the open kitchen make sandwiches seemingly at the speed of light, and unlike that bad prepackaged one you made the mistake of getting yesterday, these are really tasty too. There’s a range of hot and cold options, and a couple of specials happening every day. Guaranteed to brighten up your desk lunch.
Very much in the “on the corporate card” category, Pabu is in the bottom of an office building (maybe yours) and brings serious small plates to the table. The sushi is whatever, so stick to the other stuff. The spinach is excellent, as is the seafood pancake, black cod, and fried chicken. You’ll be happy, your boss will be happy, and your accounting department will continue to be grumpy. All in a day’s work.
Senor Sisig’s truck is waiting to sate your crippling hunger with their tacos, burritos, and - if you want to see how many napkins you can use in one meal - nachos. We usually stick with the pork tacos, but if you’re feeling really aggressive, Senor has a burrito that involves french fries inside. It’s a wonderful thing to behold. And consume. Maybe don't go here before a very important meeting.
In most parts of the country, or the planet, an $11 lunch “special” is more of a rip-off than a deal. But lucky us, we live in San Francisco and we have to pay all the money in exchange for the ability to see Alcatraz and 90 pairs of All-Birds on a daily basis. Heyday’s lunch deal is one of the best there is - mostly because you get a lot of very good food that’s also pretty healthy. The menu changes often, and there’s always several things to choose from. Don’t pass on the kale salad.
Some days you just want to eat like a four-year-old who finally realized that crusts are ok and vegetables aren’t going to kill you. Trot yourself over to American Grilled Cheese and get involved. The spot is a little chain-feeling, but it’s efficient and tasty. We’re into the mushroom and reuben options.
This place has kind of a hokey premise - each month they pay homage (see what they did there?) to a Bay Area farm, bringing in most of their produce from that one grower. High-concept restaurants aren't usually our style, but Homage doesn’t scream theirs at you, so we’ll allow it. The food is interesting but still lunch-y - think: smoked trout tartine, Vietnamese cold noodle salad, and a very tasty duck bibimbap. There's free wifi, it's kind of quiet, and the space is big - it's a nice break from the office when you need it.
Want food truck shwarma, but don't want to deal with a food truck? Hello, literal Oasis. Well-done, basic Mediterranean takes on chicken, beef and lamb are a step up from what you'd find in a truck, and there's way more options too - try wrap, plate or bowl format. We’re pretty into the falafel, and all the meats are good too. There will probably be a line, but it’ll go quick. Not cute or charming, but very delicious.
If you have time for a leisurely lunch and want to catch up with your coworkers, or an old boss, or a friend who works in the area, Delarosa is the move. It’s modern and bright, and feels worlds away from the rest of FiDi and the craziness on Market Street. All the food is good to share - so get some pizzas, meatballs, salads, and most importantly, the burrata bruschetta and call it a day.
If you’re having a tough day and you just need a break, roll over to Schroeder’s. You can sit, zone out, eat a fantastic and massive turkey sandwich, and know that everything will be ok. Sports will be on TV and you could even have a beer if you really want to live on the edge. Or take a nap.