This Bay Area Foodie Revealed 7 Affordable Meals In California That Are Less Than $20

These mouthwatering hidden gems won't break the bank.

Georgia Contributing Writer
​A man dipping a lobster tail in butter. Right: Japanese souffle pancakes.

A man dipping a lobster tail in butter. Right: Japanese souffle pancakes.

The culinary scene in California, especially San Francisco, is known for being home to some of the tastiest, yet most expensive, cuisines. It's mainly due to the cost of living, but there are inexpensive meals that can be found if you know where to look.

A content creator and local foodie named Tim (@bayareafoodies) accumulated a large fanbase of over 374.3K followers by revealing the hidden gems around town where you can find great food for an even greater price.

Here are seven restaurants in the Bay Area where you can enjoy a satisfying meal for less than $20.

Beef Short Rib Pho at Pho Ha Noi


From Pho Ha Noi, San Jose #beefshortrib #pho #sanjose #tiktokfood #bayareafoodies #beef #noodles #vietnamesefood

Price: $16

Address: 969 Story Rd. #6048, San Jose, CA

Why You Need To Go: Pho Ha Noi is a traditional Vietnamese restaurant in San Jose that specializes in savory and flavorful Pho noodle soups.

Their Beef Short Rib Pho comes with a huge portion of tender meat served on top of a fragrant broth, fresh vegetables and noodles. It only costs $16 making it a satisfying and affordable meal.

Accessibility: Wheelchair/stroller accessible


Lobster Lover Mondays at New England Lobster Market & Eatery


#lobster #bayareafoodies #burlingame #seafood #gooddeals #bayarea

Price: $17 on Mondays

Address: 824 Cowan Rd., Burlingame, CA

Why You Need To Go: New England Lobster Market & Eatery is a great destination to visit on "Lobster Lover Mondays."

This seafood market and restaurant will serve you a 1 lb. Lobster Platter with chips, slaw and a roll for only $17.

Accessibility: Wheelchair/stroller accessible


Crispy Roasted Pork at Kam Po Kitchen


#cheapeats #sanfrancisco #chinatown #chinesefood #viral #fyp #foryou #bayareafoodies #bayarea #chashu #roastedpork

Price: $10

Address: 801 Broadway, San Francisco, CA

Why You Need To Go: This comfortable and low-key spot in Chinatown sells authentic Chinese cuisine at an unbeatable price.

You can get a plate of their tender and crispy roasted pork and rice for just $10. Tim describes the meal as "moist and succulent."


Japanese Souffle Pancakes at Hanabusa Cafe


#japanesesoufflepancake #pancakes #dessert #soufflepancake #bayarea #sunnyvale #bayareafoodies

Price: $16.99

Address: 201 S. Mary Ave., Sunnyvale, CA

Why You Need To Go: This quaint and colorful cafe serves fluffy Japanese Souffle Pancakes.

Their Matcha Pancakes are topped with a vibrant green tea sauce and fresh fruit. It's a playful brunch option for just a little over $15.

Accessibility: Wheelchair/stroller accessible


Sampler Plate and Injera at LeYou Ethiopian


Ethiopian food is super fun! #ethiopianfood #injera #sanjose #tiktokfood #tiktokfoodie #viral #fyp #foryou #bayarea #ethiopian

Price: $16.95

Address: 1100 N. First St., Suite C, San Jose, CA

Why You Need To Go: LeYou Ethiopian serves healthy and flavorful Ethiopian food that won't upset your wallet.

You can select your toppings and optional meats or curries, which are served on a soft Teff Injera flatbread. It is great for sharing because you can sample each different provision as you work your way through the platter.

Accessibility: Wheelchair/stroller accessible


Cheese Katsu Sando at Katsu-ya


And it’s only $14 #katsu #cheesekatsu #cheese #katsusando #sando #tiktokfood #tiktokfoodie #sanfrancisco #bayarea #bayareafoodies

Price: $17.50

Address: 380 Bush St., San Francisco, CA

Why You Need To Go: Tucked away in an underground food court, Katsu-ya serves gooey and delicious cheese Katsu sandwiches.

This savory comfort food consists of crispy pork cutlet and mozzarella cheese nestled between two buns. It is satisfyingly delicious.

Accessibility: Wheelchair/stroller accessible


Spicy Salmon Poke at Basa Seafood Express


And it’s only $7! #seafood #poke #hawaiianpoke #salmon #salmonpoke #sanfrancisco #bayarea #cheapeats

Price: $7.50

Address: 3064 24th St., San Francisco, CA

Why You Need To Go: Basa Seafood Express serves freshly caught Hawaiian-style Poke dishes for only $7.50.

The salmon is served with a spicy sauce and topped with colorful roe. You can grab a healthy meal with a kick while on a tight budget.

Accessibility: Wheelchair/stroller accessible


Maeve Browne
Georgia Contributing Writer
Maeve Browne is a Contributing Writer for Narcity’s USA Desk focused on food and Internet trends and is based in Savannah, Georgia.