The prospect of jury duty at the Criminal Courts building downtown can depress even the most civic-minded, especially at lunch time. Begin's Café, a.k.a. the Cal Trans Cafeteria, is a good choice, because it's close, it's fast, and depending on the daily specials, starving jurors can get a heap of food for under $10. Located on the street level of the Thom Mayne–designed 7th District CalTrans headquarters building, Begin's is a tad reminiscent of a college dining hall, complete with food stations. But the natural light, spacious tables, and outdoor dining area are solace to the sequestered. The kebab plates are the best deal, but there's a big selection of sandwiches, salads, burgers, vegetarian and daily specials. Begin's is a good choice for a group, including school tours, families on outings and the budget-conscious college crowd.  It also offers catering, in case you feel like throwing a wing-ding after your case is closed.

—Kate Coe

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