When you consider that San Francisco lays claim to one of the largest and oldest Chinatowns in the country, it should come as little surprise that the city also houses a broad range of top-notch Chinese restaurants. If you’re looking for a full Chinatown experience, you can certainly wander from Bush to Broadway sampling Hong Kong-style baked pork chops, jiggly egg tarts, and incredibly crispy chicken wings. And if dim sum makes your list of must-have San Francisco dining experiences, there’s a slew of restaurants specializing specifically in pristine dumplings. But for those on the hunt for an above-average weeknight takeout spot or a suitable dinner option for the whole crew, here are 15 of the best Chinese restaurants around San Francisco.Read More
15 Scintillating Chinese Restaurants in San Francisco
The best soup dumplings, Cantonese barbecue, and hand-pulled noodles across San Francisco
Hakka Restaurant 客家山莊
Often described as a kind of soulful cousin to Cantonese food, the cuisine of China’s migratory Hakka people abounds with pickled vegetables and slow-cooked meats. This homey Outer Richmond restaurant is a great place to get hooked on these rustic, comforting flavors. Must-order dishes include salt-baked chicken, clams stir-fried with basil, and braised pork belly with shrimp paste.
Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant 老北京
On cold nights prior to the pandemic, many of the regulars who’d crowd the small, scruffy dining room at Old Mandarin Islamic would order one of the spicy Beijing-style hot pots. In general, the restaurant, which specializes in Chinese Muslim cuisine, is a great place to feast on lamb — stir-fried with cumin, braised, or boiled in a clay pot. Chili-heads will want to test their endurance against the side dish/condiment known as la si ni, or “spice you to death.”
Terra Cotta Warrior 老家陕西
Head to this Outer Sunset gem for Shaanxi cuisine, which many Americans became acquainted with thanks to Xian Famous Foods in New York. The menu’s highlights include lots of lamb dishes; stretchy, semi-translucent cold noodles (or mian pi); and the meat-stuffed sandwiches known as rou jia mo, or “Chinese burgers.”
House of Pancakes 餡餅之家
This no-frills northern Chinese spot in Parkside specializes in flaky scallion- and sesame seed-flecked pancakes, often rolled up with thinly sliced beef or scrambled eggs. It’s a carb-fest here: the dumplings and hand-pulled noodles are also pretty great.
Head to this Geary Street restaurant for, as the name indicates, Sichuan cuisine including the red-tinged Chef’s Special Fish Stew that’s heated tableside and lamb chops encrusted in cumin. Those with an affection for offal can try pan-fried pig intestine, tripe in red chile sauce, and spicy pig brain.
Chef Brandon Jew’s most casual and accessible restaurant yet is this counter-service operation in the Inner Richmond that specializes in Chinese-American takeout classics: sweet-and-sour chicken, beef and broccoli, and egg rolls. Every dish is made with well-sourced ingredients, abundant vegetables, and precise Chinese technique — which means that chicken, for instance, isn’t cloyingly sweet and has a satisfying crunch.
Beijing Restaurant 北京小館
How lucky is San Francisco to have a Beijing restaurant whose whole reason for being isn’t its duck? Instead, regulars at this Excelsior mainstay mostly come for the kitchen’s northern Chinese dough-based dishes: chewy hand-made noodles; big, Beijing-style crepes and pancakes; and little stir-fried flour balls.
After closing in July 2022, the longtime Pacific Heights Chinese restaurant Gourmet Carousel reopened in April 2023 under slightly new owners. At the helm: the children of original owners BoHing Ko and his wife Sai Ko who ran the restaurant for nearly four decades. The business is back for both lunch and dinner offering dishes including Hakka chicken soup, honey walnut shrimp, and Singapore-style fried rice noodles for dine-in and takeout.
Trendy Hayes Valley has not previously had a reputation for destination-worthy Chinese food, but this spot is worth a special visit for its freshly handmade, supremely soupy xiao long bao, and crispy-bottomed vegetable dumplings. The xiao long bao, in particular, are available in six different versions, including one filled with numbingly spicy broth.
HK Lounge Bistro
Fans of Hong Kong Lounge II mourned its loss when a fire took out the Geary Boulevard restaurant in 2019, but it returned in 2023 with a new location in SoMa (albeit with a slightly different name). Favorites such as the restaurant’s crispy baked pork buns and steamed har gow are still on the menu but diners should venture into other dishes, such as the glazed coffee baby back ribs or whole roasted duck with plum sauce, for more filling options.
Hing Lung Company 興隆燒臘肉食公司
This Cantonese barbecue shop’s crackly-skinned roast pig and succulent, honey-brushed char siu — served either on its own or as part of a rice plate — make for some of the most luxurious bites in the city. For most of Hing Lung’s existence, delivery was never an option, but during the pandemic, co-owner Eric Cheung signed onto delivery apps under the moniker Go Duck Yourself, though of course customers can still walk up and order takeout.
The casual first-floor market restaurant in George Chen’s massive, multi-venue complex is known for customer favorites like its crisp-bottomed sheng jian bao and its Beijing duck sesame pockets.
The rest of the menu offers everything from fried scallion bread and butter garlic noodles to Dongbei-style long potstickers. While you’re there, might as well stock up on house-made condiments.
Chef Brandon Jew’s ambitious Chinese-American restaurant in the heart of Chinatown continues to shine, retaining its status as the only Michelin-starred Chinatown restaurant in 2021. Though Jew has gone on to introduce a number of new projects, from spinoffs to a cookbook, Mister Jiu’s is the original favorite and now serves a prix fixe menu with the option to add-on banquet-style plates including the roast duck platter with peanut butter hoisin.
Yank Sing (Stevenson St.)
This city is dense with dumpling specialists, and it’s true, the exceptionally thin wrappers on Yank Sing’s shrimp har gow and its juicy XLB are part of what put this spot on the Michelin Guide’s map. But Yank Sing also offers very good Peking-style roasted duck and plates like salt and pepper pork and egg noodles with barbecue pork that can round out your meal with fuller entrees.
Harborview Restaurant & Bar 凱悅匯
Run by members of the R&G Lounge crew, Harborview is more than just a swanky banquet space with views of the water. It’s also serving some of the tastiest dim sum in the city, turning out consistently solid versions of all the standards, from har gow to siu mai to baked barbecue pork buns. The restaurant has an extensive takeout menu that includes dim sum, family-style entrees and prix-fixe meals, and even live Dungeness crab.