After two years downtown, I've left to Financial District for another locale (and will soon post a query about lunch recommendations there). I bought lunch almost every day, and here are my top picks, categorized by expense.
Rice and beans, or… (well under $10)
Golden Flower: Excellent bun and imperial rolls. A short walk to Golden Gate Bakery for an egg custard.
Hon’s Wun Tun
An excellent deal. Simple, tasty broth and freshly made wontons. My Hon’s friend and I usually split a side of Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce.
The deli on Union and Montgomery
I can't remember the name of this place, but I'd stop here with a friend on our way up to Coit Tower. The sandwiches are pretty good (I like the salami) and reasonably priced--mostly it was notable for being located in the exact perfect spot for a last-minute Coit Tower picnic.
Pay day ($10ish and over)
Mixt Greens: Salads with excellent ingredients. I enjoyed the “Cowboy”: grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, black beans and Point Reyes blue cheese dressing with a chipotle honey drizzle. A bit expensive ($9-ish for your salad); the long line moves pretty quickly.
Bocadillos: $7.50 for two bocadillos (little sandwiches) and a lightly dressed side salad. I’m a big fan of the juicy lamb-burger; roast beef with onion jam and goat cheese is nice as well.
Myth Café: The bagged lunch (changes daily) is a nice option when time and budget are short. Usually it’s a sandwich, some type of salad (frequently a pasta or grain salad), and a cookie.
Birley’s: My all-time-favorite FiDi sandwich place, this is a London-based shop with an outlet in the Embarcadero. I love the sandwiches, I like the soups. The soup options change pretty frequently; the soup dispensing agent offers generous samples if you’re undecided. The half a packaged sandwich and small soup deal is pretty good—otherwise, you’re running into $10 lunch territory.
On the company dime ($20+)
Perbacco: We liked this place for new employee and future ex-employee lunches. You’ll need a reservation (unlike the Belden Lane restaurants), but it’s worth it. I liked the agnolotti and frito misto.
B44: Among the Belden Lane choices, I liked this one best. I liked paella Barceloneta, fideua negra, and roasted salt cod. FYI: the fish of the day sandwich is salmon every day.