Even with the surge in international tourists, business at many San Francisco restaurants this year seems to be flat or down from the year before. People are trying to save money every way they can. So we set out in search of ways you can save money when eating out.
Usually, a lively crowd gathers on the patio at Ducca's in downtown San Francisco. A typical meal ranges from $31 to $51 a person.
But every Wednesday evening, you can get a barbeque plate and a tall bottle of beer for $14.
The price is definitely a selling point.
"I was going to relax with the journal and beer, and the waitress told me the price differential on the BBQ and I signed up for the whole package," said a restaurant patron.
Ducca says a big part of that package is the atmosphere.
"You get some people on the patio to enjoy cocktails and very casual bbq fare, house made sausages, lots of different fish, octopus, cuttlefish, things like that," said Ducca executive chef Richard Corbo.
Pizza is the big attraction at Palio D'Asti in San Francisco's Financial District. Everyone who orders two drinks gets a free pizza.
Some are able to stretch that deal into a complete meal.
"They come in for the drinks, have a pizza, call it a night. Maybe they pay for a salad, get a free pizza and that's dinner," said Palio D'Asti executive chef Dan Scherotter.
Palio D'Asti says its dinner crowd is definitely down, but that's been made up by the popularity of its happy hour.
"The pizza, the happy hour pizza. It's delicious," said a Palio D'Asti customer.
For the serious tequila drinker, one of the best happy hours in the South of Market is at Tres Agaves.
Tres Agaves prides itself in being about tequila education. In fact, it sends its staff down to visit distilleries in Mexico every two months.
Its $4 happy hour margaritas feature a premium tequila.
"It's just two ounces and hundred percent of agave tequila, one ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice. One ounce of our own choice Tres Agaves cocktail ready agave nectar," said Tres Agaves Managing Partner Eric Rubin.
We found all the deals mentioned in this report on the website www.sfcitydish.com. The site features restaurant promotions throughout the city.
"People use my web site, my weekly e-mail newsletter as a way, a resource of filtering out all the different things that are going on in San Francisco," said SF City Dish founder Kevin Blum.
The Web site is organized by days of the week, making it easier to find the deals when you want them. Some of the best deals are found mid-week.
"The economic downturn is turning and getting steeper. So what I hear in the restaurant community is people are looking for that extra table or two of four diners on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday nights," said Keven Westlye from the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.
All the restaurants mentioned on SF City Dish pay to get promoted. SF City Dish also sponsors various social gatherings around the city.