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NOSHING FOR NEXT TO NOTHING The best bargain bites in the Bay Area SAN FRANCISCO

Sunday, December 12, 1999. San Francisco Chronicle

Michael Bauer, Robin Davis, Chronicle Staff Critics

Despite the explosion of high-end restaurants around the bay, bargain bites make up a large part of the restaurant scene.

Much of the best food at the lowest prices can be found in smaller ethnic restaurants -- at least for the time being. With rents soaring and more neighborhoods becoming gentrified, many of our favorite spots could be forced out. Let's hope not. These bargain places add diversity and flavor to the Bay Area.

We've compiled our favorite bargain restaurants where most entrees cost less than $10. We made a few exceptions to the $10 ceiling, such as when entrees come with salad, soup or another extra dish. Prices are usually based on dinner; lunch prices are frequently lower.

SAN FRANCISCO

THE SUPREME CHICKEN

Approach this restaurant from the Folsom side and the sign reads “The Supreme Chicken”; from the 24th Street side, it says “El Pollo Supremo”. Either way, this 20-year-old restaurant looks like a Mexican version of KFC. Diners can order potato salad along with rice and beans to go with marinated and grilled chicken that's succulent and delicious — nothing like fast food. Two pieces with tortilla and salsa costs $2.99, while the Supreme Family Pack, which easily feeds three, is only $11.76.

Cuisine: Mexican

Specialty: Chicken

Prices: $2.99-$11.76

Michael Bauer is The San Francisco Chronicle food editor and Robin Davis is a staff critic. Their reviews can also be read at sfgate.com. E-mail them at bauerm@sfgate.com or davisr@sfgate.com. Tara Duggan, Tilde Herrera, Ben Marks, Miriam Morgan and Lesli Neilson contributed to this report.

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