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24 Splendid Chinese Restaurants in San Francisco

The best soup dumplings, Cantonese barbecue, and hand-pulled noodles across San Francisco

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The history of Chinese food in San Francisco goes back about as far as the history of Chinese food in the United States — back to the days of the gold rush, the intercontinental railroad, and, of course, the start of the country’s oldest (and still vibrant) Chinatown. These days, San Francisco is still home to the kind of robust dim sum scene that befits its Cantonese roots, but over the years the city has also seen a burgeoning of other regional Chinese cuisines, especially out west in the Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods.

The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the Chinese restaurant community, but the 24 restaurants in this collection of greatest hits — spanning soup dumplings, hand-pulled noodles, red-cooked pork belly, and more — are all still open for business, at least for takeout or delivery. Eat your way through the list for a taste of why San Francisco is still one of America’s preeminent Chinese food cities.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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1. Hakka Restaurant 客家山莊

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4401 Cabrillo St
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 876-6898

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 the salt-baked chicken, clams stir-fried with basil, and braised pork belly with preserved mustard greens.

2. Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant 老北京

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3132 Vicente St
San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 564-3481
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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 claypot. Chili-heads will want to test their endurance against the side dish/condiment known as la si ni, or “spice you to death.”

3. Shanghai House Restaurant 家家福

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3641 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 831-9288

San Francisco is gifted with an abundance of solid Shanghainese restaurants, and Shanghai House is one of the most consistently enjoyable, known for its steamers of thin-skinned, appropriately broth-laden soup dumplings. It also serves a classic Shanghainese breakfast on weekends, including one of the city’s best renditions of salty soy milk, or xian dou jiang — perhaps the only version in the city that incorporates the pungent dried baby shrimp that Chinese and Taiwanese expats crave.

4. Terra Cotta Warrior 老家陕西

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2555 Judah St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 681-3288

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); Shaanxi-style pita bread; and the meat-stuffed sandwiches known as rou jia mo, or “Chinese burgers.”

5. Dumpling Alley 小巷餃子坊

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2512 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 753-9617

A strong contender for the title of San Francisco’s xiao long bao king, this Outer Richmond newcomer is worth a visit for its wide selection of boiled dumplings (available in both cooked and frozen versions), ranging from standards like pork and cabbage to fish dumplings with squid ink wrappers; its noodle dishes; and its sesame seed-studded pan-fried pork buns.

Xiao long bao at Dumpling Alley in the Outer Richmond Luke Tsai

6. Ken Kee Cafe

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2109 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 702-6602
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A relative newcomer to the Richmond, Ken Kee has emerged as one of the city’s most reliable for the mix of Western and Chinese dishes that are characteristic of a traditional cha chaan teng (Hong Kong-style coffee shop) — braised beef tendons in a noodle soup; Hainanese chicken rice; and gigantic baked pork chops served in a oozy pool of tomato sauce and melted cheese, over either spaghetti or white rice.

7. Yuanbao Jiaozi 元寶餃子

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2110 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 702-6506
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Yuanbao Jiaozi is all about the dumplings, freshly made by hand, boiled, and served straight-up or in soup. The wonderfully textured wrappers hold a variety of delicate fillings, like fish with green pepper or shrimp with zucchini. The restaurant is now offering bags of frozen dumplings as well.

8. Dragon Beaux 俏龍軒

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5700 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 333-8899
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San Francisco’s reigning queen of fancy, innovative dim sum is a favorite for steamers of Instagram-friendly, five-color xiao long bao, but Dragon Beaux has many strengths to explore — classic and modern takes on Cantonese dim sum, including plenty of dumplings: har gow, sea bass dumplings, and scallop shumai; as well as inventive dishes like sugar-crust-topped baked pork buns, bright-red rice crepe rolls stuffed with fried fish, and a mushroom-and-chicken bao made to look like an actual mushroom.

Dragon Beaux/Abraham&Paulin Photography

9. Dumpling Specialist 嵐翔生煎饅頭

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1123 Taraval St
San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 640-1403

Run by Paul Yu, the chef who used to operate Dumpling Kitchen a few blocks down on Taraval, this pint-sized restaurant’s most popular dish is actually its juicy, pan-fried sheng jian bao. Otherwise, the real finds here are the northern Chinese breakfast specialties, including the city’s richest, creamiest version of salty soy milk (xian dou jiang).

Salty soy milk with Chinese doughnuts at Dumpling Specialist Luke Tsai

10. House of Pancakes 餡餅之家

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937 Taraval
San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 681-8388

This no-frills northern Chinese spot in Parkside specializes in flaky scallion- and sesame seed–flecked pancakes, often rolled with up with thinly sliced beef or scrambled eggs. It’s a carb-fest here: The dumplings and hand-pulled noodles are also pretty great.

11. Mamahuhu 馬馬虎虎

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517 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118

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, egg rolls, and the ubiquitous stir-fry medley known as “happy family.” Everything 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.

12. Beijing Restaurant 北京小館

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1801 Alemany Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 333-8182
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How lucky San Francisco is to have a Beijing restaurant whose whole reason for being isn’t its Peking 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.

13. Dumpling Home

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298 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 503-1666
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Trendy Hayes Valley has not previously had a reputation for destination-worthy Chinese food, but this relative newcomer is worth a special visit for its freshly handmade, supremely soupy xiao long bao, and crispy-bottomed sheng jian bao. The xiao long bao, in particular, are available in six different versions, including one filled with numbingly spicy broth.

14. Bao

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590 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 658-7453
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The Mission now has a dedicated dumpling house in Bao, a modern space with a chic interior. The neighborhood newcomer offers a vast menu of Cantonese classics like baked-to-order charsiu bao and dan tat; a stunning array of xiao long bao and non-traditional dumplings; gorgeous swan puffs and sweet bao; and coconut bunnies, mango corn (mango pudding in the shape of a corn cob), and souffle for dessert.

Bao

15. United Dumplings

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525 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 658-7363
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This dumpling-focused spinoff of the Excelsior’s Beijing Restaurant serves stellar, by-the-books renditions of staples like xiao long bao and shengjian bao. Beyond that, however, chef and co-owner Sandy Zheng’s stretches the boundaries of what’s considered “proper” to put in a Chinese dumpling. Her Mission chicken potsticker, filled with ground chicken, sweet corn, and cheese, is a true SF original.

16. Hing Lung Company 興隆燒臘肉食公司

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1261 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 397-5521

This Cantonese barbecue shop’s crackly-skinned roast pig and succulent, honey-brushed char siu — served either on their own or as part of a rice plate — make for some of 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.

17. China Live

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644 Broadway
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 788-8188
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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 Peking 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 the housemade condiments.  

18. Mister Jiu's

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28 Waverly Pl
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 857-9688
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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 cookbooks, Mister Jiu’s is the original favorite for a roast duck platter with peanut butter hoisin, sea urchin cheong fun, and squid ink wontons.

19. Bund Shanghai Restaurant 上海飯店

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640 Jackson St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 982-0618

Everyone orders the xiao long bao, as you do in a Shanghainese restaurant, and few diners will feel sorry about devouring a steamer’s worth of Bund Shanghai’s very respectable version. The tender lion’s head meatball is another favorite here, as is the jiggly red-braised Dongpo pork belly (available in a small, one-person portion).

20. Sam Wo Restaurant 三和粥粉麺

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713 Clay Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 989-8898
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The iconic, century-old restaurant — the self-proclaimed “oldest restaurant in Chinatown” — is still open and serving bowls of fish jook, tomato beef chow mein, barbecue pork noodle rolls, and raw fish salad with preserved vegetables to its loyal customers.

21. R&G Lounge 嶺南小館

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631 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 982-7877
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Perhaps best known for its salt-and-pepper Dungeness crab, an aggressively seasoned, deep-fried version of the local delicacy, this bustling, three-story restaurant serves plenty of other great Cantonese fare.

Crab at R & G Lounge R & G Lounge

22. Hon's Wun-Tun House

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648 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 433-3966
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This decades-old legacy business serves the same style of wonton noodles you’ll find at the bustling little shops located on countless Hong Kong street corners, and at a similarly affordable price point. Toppings run the gamut from stewed beef brisket and tendon to fish balls and pig’s feet. You can get other Hong Kong specialties like curry fish balls, and the housemade chile oil is a must.

23. Harborview Restaurant & Bar 凱悅匯

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4 Embarcadero Center, Street Level
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 399-1200
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Run by members of the R&G Lounge crew, Harborview is more than just a swanky banquet space with nice 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 a whole or half roasted suckling pig.

24. Yank Sing 羊城茶室

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101 Spear St
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 957-9300
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Sure, it's expensive for dim sum, but you mostly get what you pay for at Yank Sing, whether you’re talking about the egg tarts, the scallop dumplings, or the notably excellent vegetarian dumpling options.

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1. Hakka Restaurant 客家山莊

4401 Cabrillo St, San Francisco, CA 94121

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 the salt-baked chicken, clams stir-fried with basil, and braised pork belly with preserved mustard greens.

4401 Cabrillo St
San Francisco, CA 94121

2. Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant 老北京

3132 Vicente St, San Francisco, CA 94116

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 claypot. Chili-heads will want to test their endurance against the side dish/condiment known as la si ni, or “spice you to death.”

3132 Vicente St
San Francisco, CA 94116

3. Shanghai House Restaurant 家家福

3641 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

San Francisco is gifted with an abundance of solid Shanghainese restaurants, and Shanghai House is one of the most consistently enjoyable, known for its steamers of thin-skinned, appropriately broth-laden soup dumplings. It also serves a classic Shanghainese breakfast on weekends, including one of the city’s best renditions of salty soy milk, or xian dou jiang — perhaps the only version in the city that incorporates the pungent dried baby shrimp that Chinese and Taiwanese expats crave.

3641 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121

4. Terra Cotta Warrior 老家陕西

2555 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122

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); Shaanxi-style pita bread; and the meat-stuffed sandwiches known as rou jia mo, or “Chinese burgers.”

2555 Judah St
San Francisco, CA 94122

5. Dumpling Alley 小巷餃子坊

2512 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121
Xiao long bao at Dumpling Alley in the Outer Richmond Luke Tsai

A strong contender for the title of San Francisco’s xiao long bao king, this Outer Richmond newcomer is worth a visit for its wide selection of boiled dumplings (available in both cooked and frozen versions), ranging from standards like pork and cabbage to fish dumplings with squid ink wrappers; its noodle dishes; and its sesame seed-studded pan-fried pork buns.

2512 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121

6. Ken Kee Cafe

2109 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

A relative newcomer to the Richmond, Ken Kee has emerged as one of the city’s most reliable for the mix of Western and Chinese dishes that are characteristic of a traditional cha chaan teng (Hong Kong-style coffee shop) — braised beef tendons in a noodle soup; Hainanese chicken rice; and gigantic baked pork chops served in a oozy pool of tomato sauce and melted cheese, over either spaghetti or white rice.

2109 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121

7. Yuanbao Jiaozi 元寶餃子

2110 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

Yuanbao Jiaozi is all about the dumplings, freshly made by hand, boiled, and served straight-up or in soup. The wonderfully textured wrappers hold a variety of delicate fillings, like fish with green pepper or shrimp with zucchini. The restaurant is now offering bags of frozen dumplings as well.

2110 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

8. Dragon Beaux 俏龍軒

5700 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121
Dragon Beaux/Abraham&Paulin Photography

San Francisco’s reigning queen of fancy, innovative dim sum is a favorite for steamers of Instagram-friendly, five-color xiao long bao, but Dragon Beaux has many strengths to explore — classic and modern takes on Cantonese dim sum, including plenty of dumplings: har gow, sea bass dumplings, and scallop shumai; as well as inventive dishes like sugar-crust-topped baked pork buns, bright-red rice crepe rolls stuffed with fried fish, and a mushroom-and-chicken bao made to look like an actual mushroom.

5700 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121

9. Dumpling Specialist 嵐翔生煎饅頭

1123 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA 94116
Salty soy milk with Chinese doughnuts at Dumpling Specialist Luke Tsai

Run by Paul Yu, the chef who used to operate Dumpling Kitchen a few blocks down on Taraval, this pint-sized restaurant’s most popular dish is actually its juicy, pan-fried sheng jian bao. Otherwise, the real finds here are the northern Chinese breakfast specialties, including the city’s richest, creamiest version of salty soy milk (xian dou jiang).

1123 Taraval St
San Francisco, CA 94116

10. House of Pancakes 餡餅之家

937 Taraval, San Francisco, CA 94116

This no-frills northern Chinese spot in Parkside specializes in flaky scallion- and sesame seed–flecked pancakes, often rolled with up with thinly sliced beef or scrambled eggs. It’s a carb-fest here: The dumplings and hand-pulled noodles are also pretty great.

937 Taraval
San Francisco, CA 94116

11. Mamahuhu 馬馬虎虎

517 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

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, egg rolls, and the ubiquitous stir-fry medley known as “happy family.” Everything 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.

517 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118

12. Beijing Restaurant 北京小館

1801 Alemany Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94112

How lucky San Francisco is to have a Beijing restaurant whose whole reason for being isn’t its Peking 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.

1801 Alemany Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94112

13. Dumpling Home

298 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Trendy Hayes Valley has not previously had a reputation for destination-worthy Chinese food, but this relative newcomer is worth a special visit for its freshly handmade, supremely soupy xiao long bao, and crispy-bottomed sheng jian bao. The xiao long bao, in particular, are available in six different versions, including one filled with numbingly spicy broth.

298 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94102

14. Bao

590 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Bao

The Mission now has a dedicated dumpling house in Bao, a modern space with a chic interior. The neighborhood newcomer offers a vast menu of Cantonese classics like baked-to-order charsiu bao and dan tat; a stunning array of xiao long bao and non-traditional dumplings; gorgeous swan puffs and sweet bao; and coconut bunnies, mango corn (mango pudding in the shape of a corn cob), and souffle for dessert.

590 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

15. United Dumplings

525 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

This dumpling-focused spinoff of the Excelsior’s Beijing Restaurant serves stellar, by-the-books renditions of staples like xiao long bao and shengjian bao. Beyond that, however, chef and co-owner Sandy Zheng’s stretches the boundaries of what’s considered “proper” to put in a Chinese dumpling. Her Mission chicken potsticker, filled with ground chicken, sweet corn, and cheese, is a true SF original.

525 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110

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16. Hing Lung Company 興隆燒臘肉食公司

1261 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

This Cantonese barbecue shop’s crackly-skinned roast pig and succulent, honey-brushed char siu — served either on their own or as part of a rice plate — make for some of 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.

1261 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94133

17. China Live

644 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

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 Peking 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 the housemade condiments.  

644 Broadway
San Francisco, CA 94133

18. Mister Jiu's

28 Waverly Pl, San Francisco, CA 94108

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 cookbooks, Mister Jiu’s is the original favorite for a roast duck platter with peanut butter hoisin, sea urchin cheong fun, and squid ink wontons.

28 Waverly Pl
San Francisco, CA 94108

19. Bund Shanghai Restaurant 上海飯店

640 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

Everyone orders the xiao long bao, as you do in a Shanghainese restaurant, and few diners will feel sorry about devouring a steamer’s worth of Bund Shanghai’s very respectable version. The tender lion’s head meatball is another favorite here, as is the jiggly red-braised Dongpo pork belly (available in a small, one-person portion).

640 Jackson St
San Francisco, CA 94133

20. Sam Wo Restaurant 三和粥粉麺

713 Clay Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

The iconic, century-old restaurant — the self-proclaimed “oldest restaurant in Chinatown” — is still open and serving bowls of fish jook, tomato beef chow mein, barbecue pork noodle rolls, and raw fish salad with preserved vegetables to its loyal customers.

713 Clay Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

21. R&G Lounge 嶺南小館

631 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Crab at R & G Lounge R & G Lounge

Perhaps best known for its salt-and-pepper Dungeness crab, an aggressively seasoned, deep-fried version of the local delicacy, this bustling, three-story restaurant serves plenty of other great Cantonese fare.

631 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA 94108

22. Hon's Wun-Tun House

648 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94108

This decades-old legacy business serves the same style of wonton noodles you’ll find at the bustling little shops located on countless Hong Kong street corners, and at a similarly affordable price point. Toppings run the gamut from stewed beef brisket and tendon to fish balls and pig’s feet. You can get other Hong Kong specialties like curry fish balls, and the housemade chile oil is a must.

648 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA 94108

23. Harborview Restaurant & Bar 凱悅匯

4 Embarcadero Center, Street Level, San Francisco, CA 94111

Run by members of the R&G Lounge crew, Harborview is more than just a swanky banquet space with nice 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 a whole or half roasted suckling pig.

4 Embarcadero Center, Street Level
San Francisco, CA 94111

24. Yank Sing 羊城茶室

101 Spear St, San Francisco, CA 94105

Sure, it's expensive for dim sum, but you mostly get what you pay for at Yank Sing, whether you’re talking about the egg tarts, the scallop dumplings, or the notably excellent vegetarian dumpling options.

101 Spear St
San Francisco, CA 94105

Related Maps