The East Bay has a plethora of Chinese restaurants to try, including everything from dumpling houses to spicy Sichuan fare. Want dim sum? There are plenty of places worthy of your time. Keep in mind this (very non-exhaustive) list is just a sampling of restaurants serving Chinese regional food and the selections range from casual fare to fancier options. The East Bay encompasses a huge swath, and we’ve included places up and down the 80 and all the way to Dublin in the east.Read More
15 Outstanding Chinese Restaurants in the East Bay
From handmade dumplings to Sichuan classics
The East Bay has been in need of a high-quality jiaozi, or boiled dumpling, spot, so it’s no surprise that this El Cerrito restaurant has been a hit since day one. Cold appetizers like sliced pig ears are great, and scallion pancakes are crisp and wonderfully oily. But the only move here is to order as many of the restaurant’s compact, two-bite dumplings as you might reasonably expect to eat. Fillings are varied and include delightful combinations you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere — zucchini, egg, and shrimp, for example. Most of the dumplings are also available frozen, which is a boon for those who want to bring home more of these delectable dumplings.
As its name suggests, Noodles Fresh specializes in Chinese noodles. The restaurant’s main point of distinction is that it doesn’t have any one regional focus, but instead seeks to introduce diners to a wide array of highly specific noodle dishes: Guilin rice noodles, Taiwanese beef noodle soup, and Yunnan “over the bridge” noodles. In particular, it’s one of the only Bay Area restaurants where you’ll find Jiangxi-style rice noodles — toothsome and delicious, especially when served stir-fried with flank steak, peppers, and a fiery chile sauce. The restaurant has a second location in downtown Berkeley.
Dumpling Hours is the sister restaurant of San Francisco’s Dumpling Home, which earned a place in Michelin’s Bib Gourmand list back in September 2021. The pork xiao long bao is a popular item, as is the pan-fried pork buns, but it’s worth branching out to the shop’s non-dumpling dishes, such as the beef brisket soup noodles or the dry fried chicken wings.
Sichuan Style Restaurant
With a staff and kitchen crew largely made up of defectors from China Village down the street (and a very similar menu), Sichuan Style has arguably surpassed its more well-known neighbor when it comes to classic, tongue-numbingly spicy Sichuan fare like water-boiled fish. Standard orders include the fragrant fish fillet soup, surprisingly mild and soothing despite arriving at the table topped with dozens of chili peppers; the wok-charred cabbage; and the big, puffy round of sesame bread.
Wojia Hunan Cuisine
It’s tough to find dishes from the Hunan region in the East Bay, but this Albany restaurant has filled that void beautifully with its menu full of regional specialties like Chairman Mao stewed pork hock. In addition to the characteristically fiery dishes that Hunan is known for, Wojia also delves into the region’s smoky flavors — try the “special fried rice” with smoked pork or the smoky grilled pork chop dusted with cumin and crispy garlic. The savory fried glutinous rice balls are also an immediate showstopper.
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Good To Eat Dumplings
After many years operating as a pop-up, this Taiwanese-inspired restaurant has put down roots in Emeryville. The vibe is always good, plus there’s draft beer and a rotating menu featuring an elongated potsticker, and other Taiwanese dishes like street-style grilled tofu. The restaurant incorporates many seasonal, locally grown Asian vegetables and herbs. A recently-added multicourse tasting menu, which tends to sell out quickly, shows off chef Tony Tung’s cooking chops and Taiwanese cuisine.
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Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant
Still a gold standard for dim sum in the East Bay, this spacious Emeryville waterfront restaurant serves traditional and well-executed yum cha fare. You can bring your own tea to brew while trying small plates of chicken feet, shrimp dumplings, and seasonal side dishes like bitter melon pickles. Or, go fancier with a Peking-style duck or whole fresh fish. Plus, the views can’t be beaten.
The menu is unreasonably long at this Chinatown classic for Cantonese comfort food, so stick to the best stuff: congee (with doughnuts, of course), wonton noodle soup, rice noodle rolls, roast pork, and roast duck.
Classic Guilin Rice Noodles
More than 20 herbs go into the namesake dish at the Bay Area’s first Guilin-style restaurant, which serves variations on the same staple: slippery rice noodles, peanuts, scallions, garlic, pickled long beans, egg, a soy-herb sauce, and your choice of meat.
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This scrappy, no-frills neighborhood lunch spot is the very definition of “better than it needs to be,” with a short menu of inexpensive rice plates made with fresh ingredients and a whole lot of skill with the wok. It’s probably best known for its Wednesday-only fried chicken special, which routinely draws a crowd and requires a little bit of advance planning to order. Another standout is the shrimp over egg (or its variant, the “David Special” — if you know, you know), which — like everything on the menu — goes great with the absurdly delicious house-made black bean hot sauce.
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Located in a strip mall, this popular spot serves some of the juiciest, most delicate xiao long bao in the East Bay. Buns, dumplings, and other snack-y items are the way to go. Other favorites include the equally juicy, crisp-bottomed sheng jian bao and the beef rolls — like meaty, rolled-up scallion pancakes.
Koi Palace - Dublin
The sister location to the much-acclaimed Daly City dim sum house, Koi Palace is the closest thing the East Bay has to the kind of upscale, modernized, destination dim sum more typically associated with the Peninsula. There’s also an option to take home frozen dumplings if you choose. Standards like rice rolls and har gow are done with style and more precise execution here, and, when available, the crispy-skinned roast pig is worth a special trip.
Veggie Lee Restaurant
This vegetarian Chinese spot is helmed by a former Daimo chef with serious Cantonese cooking chops, so all the usual mock-meat preparations are a cut above. Dishes like the eggplant with vegan fish steak, the salt-and-pepper pumpkin, and the pan-fried tofu skin are as good as anything you’ll find at any of the area’s omnivore-oriented Chinese restaurants.
Din Ding Dumpling House
Bay Area diners have gotten so xiao long bao–obsessed that you’ll now find the soup dumplings at dim sum parlors and all kinds of other Chinese restaurants that have no affiliation with the Shanghai region from which they originate. Din Ding isn’t strictly a Shanghainese restaurant either, but it qualifies as a specialist: The handmade XLB here have delicate wrappers that bulge and jiggle from the juices contained within. It’s no wonder, then, that dumpling lovers from miles away make the pilgrimage, especially on the weekend.
This is one of the only places to get a customizable bowl of “mala” soup with noodles, a Sichuan street-style of hotpot — but the food is on point. The malatang comes in a dry bowl with no soup with housemade broths. The a la carte menu is also not to be missed, with an Instagram-worthy presentation.