As I mention in pretty much every post (which, by the way, I apologize for), I’m currently trying to get into the groove of working full time in the San Francisco Financial District. With such a long day, my hour of freedom at lunch time is extremely precious to me, and something I most definitely want to make the most of. It’s a very welcome time to fit in some extra steps, catch up on my Holistic Nutrition or Yoga Teacher Training reading, do some shopping, or just unwind and soak up vitamin D from the sun!
Although I try to meal prep every Sunday so that I can save money by packing my lunch instead of buying it, sometimes those perfectly packed lunches just don’t materialize by 6 AM and I end up getting to the office empty-handed. On these days, I have to admit that I very much enjoy wandering the city in search of my next favorite lunch spot. With all this along with my limited budget and vegan diet in mind, I have scoured the surrounding area for healthy vegan lunches that are quick to pick up and don’t break the bank. While my search is far from over, here are 6 of my favorites so far:
- Eatsa: With various locations including one at 1 California Street, this place is the fast food restaurant of the future. You can order and pay online through their user-friendly app or at a kiosk on site and your meal will be available within minutes in a small cubby. No human interaction involved whatsoever! The menu features tons of delicious and healthy customizable quinoa and salad bowls for lunch, as well as some great sides. There is also a wonderful breakfast menu that includes quinoa apple “oatmeal” which is delicious as well as chia pudding (not vegan, much to my dismay) and coffee. Right now my favorite lunch bowl is probably the Tres Chiles Bowl (with no cheese or tortilla chips, and added free garnishes). It’s unbelievably tasty, filling, and nutritious, coming in at just under $8.00 in price.
- Blue Hawaii Acai Café: Located at 2 Embarcadero Center. Sometimes I just have to have a smoothie bowl, and on those days I look no further than Blue Hawaii Acai Café. The bowls are so tasty (I like the Kaiser or the Lime Fresh without honey) as well as filling and beautiful! What more could you ask for in a smoothie bowl? They also let you customize the bowls to your liking, sometimes I’ll ask for peanut butter mixed in to change things up. It’s perfect if you’re in a rush because they are unbelievably efficient, and they will even give you a lid and a bag if you need. Finally, the people there are SO kind and welcoming, they remember familiar faces and always greet you with a smile. Most orders will come in between $8.00-$11.00, but it’s well worth the price for such a fresh and nutritious meal that will keep you full through the day.
- San Francisco Soup Company: On a cold and rainy day, or whenever I’m in a hurry and just need a quick vegan lunch in under 5 minutes, I can always count on finding a San Francisco Soup Company near by. There are tons of locations around the Financial District, all with reliably great soups that always make a perfect lunch. My go-to is the Smoky Split Pea Soup with an orange on the side. It has the perfect amount of chunkiness and flavor, plus it’s a heaping serving of veggies! Sometimes they will feature some vegan specials, for example Tuscan White Bean & Kale Soup, or Coconut Dal with Roasted Butternut Squash. Coming in usually just under $10.00, this is one of the most accessible and reliable lunches in San Francisco!
- Onigilly: Located at 4 Embarcadero Center and also at 343 Kearny St, this is one of my very favorite lunches because it allows me to satisfy a sushi craving for under $3.00! The Onigilly menu is nothing short of awesome, offering delicious traditional Japanese street food that can be described as sushi sandwiches (pictured below), as well as rice bowls and salads! If you’re not absolutely starving, you can pick up just one onigilly for under $3.00, or if you’re having a hankering to fill up on some delicious japanese food you can get three of them plus a side of edamame for $10.00. It really is a bang for your buck!
- Sushiritto: Since we’re on the topic of Japanese food, I can’t stop myself from raving about this infamous Sushi Burrito establishment. Though there are multiple locations around the city, I frequent the 388 Market Street take out window. I was beyond excited to discover that they offer a vegan option, called the Buddha Belly. It is absolutely sensational, especially for mushroom lovers like myself, and it will keep you full for hours (sometimes I can even split it into 2 meals). To save time, you can download their app and order and pay ahead of time and avoid waiting in the super long line! My order, the Buddha Belly, is on the more economical end of the spectrum at just $10.00.
- Mixt Greens: Similar to SF Soup Co., there is basically a Mixt Greens on every corner in the FiDi, making it another super convienent and reliable lunch spot. That being said, you can usually find me at the 100 California St. location enjoying one of their vegan options (my favorites right now are the Be Well and the seasonal winter Bodhi Salad). If you’re in the mood for a big, beautiful, fresh, nutrient packed salad, then this place will be your absolute jam. As is the trend for the lunch scene around here, my order usualy comes to $10.00 or so, but expect to pay $1.00-$4.00 more if you’re a meat eater.
While I only mentioned six of the lunch spots that are particularly close to my office and convenient for me based on my diet and budget, the Financial District is something of a healthy food mecca. There is (quite literally) an infinite amount of awesome options. Honorable mentions go out to Tender Greens, Plant Café, Cantina Verde, Urban Remedy, Proper Foods, and that’s just to name a few. If you have any suggestions for me, I am always looking for something fun and new to try so please feel free to share your favorite spots with me! As always, stay tuned, keep it simple, and keep it whole 🙂