A lot has changed this year, and many of us are now working from home - and spending our days on virtual calls in our pajamas. But whether you only recently set up a home office in your childhood bedroom, or you’ve been about the WFH life for years, one thing is the same - you still need to make time for lunch. Dropbox wants to help fuel you up for inspired work, which is why we’ve put together this guide, with 13 great spots for when you need to take a break from your computer and make the most of your lunch break.
For a Socially-Distanced Park Picnic
No offense to your WFH companions, but you miss spending time with coworkers who don’t bark at construction workers outside or require assistance to urinate. After you read this guide, log off your computer, give your dog a pat on her fluffy head, and b-line to the nearest park to meet someone you haven’t seen in months.
Tip: When you’re done eating, walk around the neighborhood. Then you can say you exercised today, and you’ll feel more alert for the rest of the workday.
Lucinda’s is easily one of the best new sandwich spots in the city. Your choices range from soppressata to mortadella to turkey and avocado, all on bread that’s ridiculously soft on the inside and lightly toasted on the outside. There’s also a tuna melt that’s great, too. But the best part about Lucinda’s is it’s right around the corner from Alamo Square Park, which has stellar views of the city. Place an order online.
Nopalito’s new takeout window in the Mission has some items you can’t get at their Lower Haight location - like a rice bowl, and totopos with their excellent carnitas. And if you’re in desperate need of a midday sugar rush, they also have soft serve from Bi-Rite with toppings like palanquetas and polvorones. The takeout window is steps from Dolores Park, where you can eat it all in a socially-distanced chalk circle and dogwatch until your next call.
We talk about this new wine shop in the Sunset at least once a week as they’re serving one of our favorite sandwiches: the Italian-American hoagie. It’s an arm-length sesame roll with mortadella, salami, mozzarella, onions, arugula, shaved parmesan, and spicy ’Nduja aioli - and it’s absolutely delicious. If you need fresh air, or a break from a morning of long meetings that could have been emails, head here - it’s a block from Golden Gate Park. So pick up a hoagie and a tub of their spicy garlic cheese spread, and eat it all on some grass. You can order ahead here.
When You Want a Quick Lunch
Maybe it’s Friday. Maybe your boss is, in a shocking turn of events, out of office once again. Instead of looking at the coniferous trees in your boss’ Instagram story, take advantage of the fact that you can slip away from your desk for over an hour.
Tip: Combine your lunch hour with a walk or something that gets you out of the house. Walk to a neighborhood spot to pick up food, listen to a podcast, or just stand outside for five minutes after lunch to remember what fresh air is like
There are a lot of great taquerias in San Francisco. But if you don’t have much time for lunch between virtual meetings, and need a quick reminder of what fresh air feels like, one great option is El Metate. This Mexican restaurant in the Mission has a colorful sidewalk patio that gets plenty of sun, where you can enjoy tacos, quesadillas, or tortas. But the real all-star order is their super burrito with carnitas or carne asada, which is one of the best in the city.
If you’re looking for someplace you can stare out at the Bay while having lunch, order from Gott’s Roadside. The burger joint is located in the Ferry Building, which currently has over 76 socially-distanced tables with umbrellas out back for you to post up at with Gott’s California or kimchi burger and fries. And before you head back to your home office, give yourself a sweet boost in the form of Gott’s soft-serve.
Cafe Okawari makes one of the best katsu sandwiches in the city. Their chicken is juicy on the inside and fried to golden-brown perfection, and a trip to Cafe Okawari for one is worth letting a few emails pile up in your inbox. They also have outdoor seating, if you’d like to eat your sandwich somewhere that’s not your desk (read: your lap). Order ahead here.
Where to Get a Cup of Coffee With Lunch
Long days of incessant Slack messages and distractions require fuel - like lunch paired with a ton of coffee.
Tip: Call a friend on your way to the coffee shop. Talk about anything other than work (like the dog for adoption you’ve been looking at seven times a day) and you’ll feel refreshed by the time you’re back at your desk.
This Outer Sunset cafe is located only a few steps from Ocean Beach, which is only one reason we love coming here. Java Beach Cafe serves a range of great lunch options, from salads and bagel sandwiches to subs and wraps - plus an extensive coffee menu. They’re open for takeout, and also have outdoor seating.
Réveille Coffee Co.
Of the few locations around the city, the North Beach Reveille is our favorite. The triangular corner spot is pretty and bright. They also serve good coffee, croissants, avocado toast, and a breakfast sandwich we love.
In addition to having some of the best bread in SF, The Mill is where we go when we need coffee and a snack, stat. On top of serving their incredible avocado toast, they also have Four Barrel Coffee drinks, all of which you can take home or enjoy in their sidewalk seating area. Don’t forget to pick up one of The Mill’s fresh black pepper parmesan buns to snack on later.
Le Marais Bistro + Bakery
Le Marais makes phenomenal croissants and French pastries, which you should absolutely get with one of their salads, sandwiches, or croques. But you’re also here for a caffeine kick, which you can absolutely get by ordering an espresso or latte made with Wrecking Ball Coffee. Le Marais is open every day, and also has outdoor seating.
When You Want to Go All-Out
Maybe you just had a great performance review and want to celebrate, or you don’t need an excuse to go over-the-to[ with your takeout. Here are the best places to go all out for lunch.
Tip: Have small rituals to help you take a real break. Close your laptop and have a screenless lunch in another room. Maybe do a sudoku puzzle. Remember sudoku?.
Hina Yakitori used to serve an incredible $110 omakase-style yakitori menu of meticulously grilled chicken skewers. Nowadays, they’ve transitioned to bento boxes, which are still a great way to experience this NoPa restaurant. For $18, you get an impressive box filled with five binchotan-grilled skewers (tsukune, momo, teba, negima, and mini tomato), plus chicken soboro, nori, pickles, and rice. You can place an order here.
Eating at this Mission restaurant always feels like a celebration, thanks in part to their beautifully plated Thai dishes. But the bright papaya salads, crispy noodles, and fried chicken at Farmhouse Thai aren’t just pretty - they’re really damn good. If you get one thing for lunch, make sure it’s the hat yai fried chicken, which comes with blue rice, roti bread, and potato yellow curry for dipping.
Yubu by The Shota
The Shota has pivoted from their 15-course kaiseki/omakase-style dinners, and focused their attention on takeout-friendly inari sets and chirashi bowls. Their lunch menu includes four Japanese sandwiches, including chicken katsu, tamago, and ichigo. But if you want to go all out, order the wagyu sandwich - it’s $18, and comes with a thick cut of tender, buttery beef and caramelized onions, neatly placed between two slices of crustless white bread.