clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Photo by Grace Cheung

19 Restaurants for Juicy Dumplings in San Francisco

Where to feast on the city's best dough

View as Map

Dumplings are one of the world’s most perfect foods, but not all dumplings are created equally. Fortunately, for those who know where to look, San Francisco is home to some of the finest specimens around: dumplings with delicately thin (or satisfyingly toothsome) handmade wrappers, juicy fillings, and, sometimes, crispy pan-fried bottoms. The strength of San Francisco’s dumpling scene lies in its great variety, from Nepalese momos and Mongolian buuz to Shanghainese xiao long bao and any number of other regionally specific Chinese boiled and steamed delicacies.

Follow this guide to 19 of the city’s favorite dumpling spots, and you’ll never be starved for tasty (and often exceptionally affordable) dumplings — and you’ll know exactly what to order if you want to experience the best that each restaurant has to offer.

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.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
If you book a reservation through an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Palette Tea House & Dim Sum 彩籠

Copy Link

Find your way to this upscale dim sum house at Ghirardelli Square and you’ll have your choice of a lengthy list of dumplings, including some items recognizable from sister spot Dragon Beaux. There’s the colourful XLB sampler, of course, as well as some modern takes on classics like abalone siu mai and lobster dumplings with butter sauce. 

China Live

Copy Link

The first-level Market restaurant in George Chen's years-in-the-making Chinese food emporium knows no regional boundaries, which means that, dumpling-wise, the menu ranges from Dongbei-style long potstickers to Sichuan-style “working hands” wontons in chili oil and the exceptionally juicy, not-technically-a-dumpling pan-fried buns known as sheng jian bao.

China Live’s sheng jian bao Lindsey Txakeeyang

Good Mong Kok Bakery

Copy Link

The longest line in Chinatown this side of Golden Gate Bakery, this cash-only bakery-style joint mastered the art of takeout dim sum long before the pandemic. It’s probably best known for its tremendous variety of steamed buns, but the steamed dumplings — starting with the classic har gow and shumai — are also fantastic, not to mention exceedingly inexpensive.

Yank Sing

Copy Link

It's expensive for dim sum, but you mostly get what you pay for at Yank Sing, which means, in part, that the dumplings are fairly exceptional across the board — the scallop dumpling and the various vegetarian dumplings are particular standouts. Yank Sing is also one of the city’s only Cantonese dim sum houses where the (distinctly not Cantonese) xiao long bao is worth ordering — it’s actually one of the best versions in the city.

Good Luck Dim Sum

Copy Link

This classic Clement Street dim sum counter is the ideal spot to load up on siu mai and har gow, for much cheaper than what you’d pay at a sit-down dim sum parlor: Most items are priced at just $2.85 for an order of three, which means $10 will buy you a veritable dumpling feast.

Har gow at Good Luck Dim Sum Becky Duffett

Dumpling Alley

Copy Link

This Outer Richmond restaurant is worth a visit for its wide selection of boiled dumplings (available in both cooked and frozen versions), which run the gamut from standards like pork and napa cabbage to more creative specials, like fish dumplings with squid ink wrappers. Though the restaurant doesn’t employ a Sichuan chef, the slippery wontons in red chili oil are also uncommonly good.

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

Dragon Beaux 俏龍軒

Copy Link

This Koi Palace spinoff is one of the higher-end dim sum houses in the city, but you can always spot the tourists and first-timers by the steamers of Instagram-friendly, five-color xiao long bao that you’ll spy at every other table. No hate: Those are fine enough, but they’re a Shanghainese specialty, and dim sum veterans know to stick to the restaurant’s strengths, which is to say both classic and modern takes on Cantonese dim sum, including plenty of dumplings: har gow, sea bass dumplings, scallop shumai, and more.

Bini's Kitchen

Copy Link

Long a staple at pop-ups, street food festivals, and a lunch-only FiDi takeout window, Binita Pradhan now has a proper restaurant where customers enjoy her fantastic Nepalese momos, with their scratch-made wrappers, delectable fillings, and habit-forming tomato-cilantro dipping sauce.

Momos at Bini’s Kitchen Patricia Chang

Cinderella Bakery & Cafe

Copy Link

Cinderella has long been a Richmond District staple for San Francisco’s Russian community, and its hand-made pelmeni are probably as good a version of the traditional Russian meat-filled dumpling as you can find in the city. Order your pelmeni in a bowl of chicken broth or plain with a side of sour cream, or get a bag of the frozen variety to boil at home at your leisure.

A bowl of pelmeni in broth from Cinderella Russian Bakery in the Richmond Cinderella Russian Bakery & Cafe

Dumpling Time

Copy Link

The Michelin-pedigreed Omakase restaurant group’s highly Instagram-friendly concept spans the whole spectrum of photogenic dumplings, from dim sum standards to potstickers and assorted XLB. There are plenty of places around town where you can snag better, and less expensive, har gow or xiao long bao, but Dumpling Time is notable for being one of the only restaurants to routinely offer the lacy, lattice-bottomed, “winged” style of gyoza — available in both chicken and wagyu-beef-and-black-truffle versions.

Photo by Grace Cheung

Dancing Yak Restaurant & Bar

Copy Link

Nepal-born restaurateur Suraksha Basnet opened this Valencia Street destination in 2018 bringing vegan, pork, and chicken momo to a colorful space decked out with vibrant art and slick blue banquettes. It’s an especially gluten-free friendly menu with plenty of options for vegans and vegetarians, too.

San Tung

Copy Link

Everyone knows San Tung for its dry-fried chicken wings, but if this classic Inner Sunset spot has a number two fan favorite, that designation would have to go to the restaurant’s potstickers, which are big, juicy, and properly crispy-bottomed. The restaurant is open for takeout so place your by phone.

Yuanbao Jiaozi 元寶餃子

Copy Link

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

There are lots of great eats in the Mission but there was no dedicated place to drown yourself in dumplings of all shapes and sizes until Bao debuted in mid-2021. Embedded near the corner of 17th and Valencia, this spot specializes in sweet and savory steamed dumplings — but what really sets it apart are the extremely Instagramable selections filled with egg custard and mango and shaped like bunnies, pandas, elegant swans. 

Mama Ji's

Copy Link

This cozy spot in the Castro serves a full menu of home-style Sichuan dishes, which owner Lily Ji grew up eating in China, but the dim sum also draws a sizeable crowd. Choose from seafood, pork, or chicken shumai or opt for the XLB, listed as Shanghai dumplings. There’s also the Mama Ji speciality: sweet rice with shrimp sausage and egg that’s tucked into a packet of lotus leaves.   

Dumpling Specialist

Copy Link

Run by Paul Yu, the chef who used to operate Dumpling Kitchen a few blocks down on Taraval, this pint-sized restaurant has a tight menu focused on an array of very classic boiled dumplings and xiao long bao — all tasty, affordable, and conveniently portioned out for one person, which makes it easy to sample a couple of different items. Dumpling Specialist’s most popular dish is actually its juicy, pan-fried sheng jian bao, which are technically buns rather than dumplings — but a must-order nonetheless.

Dumpling Specialist Luke Tsai

Kingdom of Dumpling

Copy Link

Don’t confuse this Noriega dumpling shop with its regally named rival, Shanghai Dumpling King, famous for its xiao long bao. Kingdom of Dumpling serves fine XLB, but it's really known for its wide array of Northern-style shui jiao dumplings, or boiled dumplings, with their thick hand-made wrappers, and fillings like pork and napa cabbage or shrimp with chives. Pro tip: Score bags of frozen dumplings to take home and steam up at your leisure.

United Dumplings

Copy Link

Beijing Restaurant chef Sandy Zheng’s dumpling-centric restaurant in Bernal Heights is a double threat: Not only does it boast traditional Chinese favorites like a version of xiao long bao she traveled Shanghai to master and an array of classic northern Chinese-style boiled jiaozi, it also doesn’t shy away from hybridized, distinctly San Francisco creations — a cheesey, Mission-inspired chicken potsticker with a sour cream-based dipping sauce, for instance.

Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant 老北京

Copy Link

Pork is out, naturally, as a dumpling filling at this classic halal Chinese spot. But you won't miss it at all when faced with Old Mandarin Islamic's outstanding hand-made lamb dumplings, whose insides are juicy enough to squirt out, and its fantastically crispy beef potstickers, which are just as good.

Loading comments...

Palette Tea House & Dim Sum 彩籠

Find your way to this upscale dim sum house at Ghirardelli Square and you’ll have your choice of a lengthy list of dumplings, including some items recognizable from sister spot Dragon Beaux. There’s the colourful XLB sampler, of course, as well as some modern takes on classics like abalone siu mai and lobster dumplings with butter sauce. 

China Live

China Live’s sheng jian bao Lindsey Txakeeyang

The first-level Market restaurant in George Chen's years-in-the-making Chinese food emporium knows no regional boundaries, which means that, dumpling-wise, the menu ranges from Dongbei-style long potstickers to Sichuan-style “working hands” wontons in chili oil and the exceptionally juicy, not-technically-a-dumpling pan-fried buns known as sheng jian bao.

China Live’s sheng jian bao Lindsey Txakeeyang

Good Mong Kok Bakery

The longest line in Chinatown this side of Golden Gate Bakery, this cash-only bakery-style joint mastered the art of takeout dim sum long before the pandemic. It’s probably best known for its tremendous variety of steamed buns, but the steamed dumplings — starting with the classic har gow and shumai — are also fantastic, not to mention exceedingly inexpensive.

Yank Sing

It's expensive for dim sum, but you mostly get what you pay for at Yank Sing, which means, in part, that the dumplings are fairly exceptional across the board — the scallop dumpling and the various vegetarian dumplings are particular standouts. Yank Sing is also one of the city’s only Cantonese dim sum houses where the (distinctly not Cantonese) xiao long bao is worth ordering — it’s actually one of the best versions in the city.

Good Luck Dim Sum

Har gow at Good Luck Dim Sum Becky Duffett

This classic Clement Street dim sum counter is the ideal spot to load up on siu mai and har gow, for much cheaper than what you’d pay at a sit-down dim sum parlor: Most items are priced at just $2.85 for an order of three, which means $10 will buy you a veritable dumpling feast.

Har gow at Good Luck Dim Sum Becky Duffett

Dumpling Alley

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

This Outer Richmond restaurant is worth a visit for its wide selection of boiled dumplings (available in both cooked and frozen versions), which run the gamut from standards like pork and napa cabbage to more creative specials, like fish dumplings with squid ink wrappers. Though the restaurant doesn’t employ a Sichuan chef, the slippery wontons in red chili oil are also uncommonly good.

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

Dragon Beaux 俏龍軒

This Koi Palace spinoff is one of the higher-end dim sum houses in the city, but you can always spot the tourists and first-timers by the steamers of Instagram-friendly, five-color xiao long bao that you’ll spy at every other table. No hate: Those are fine enough, but they’re a Shanghainese specialty, and dim sum veterans know to stick to the restaurant’s strengths, which is to say both classic and modern takes on Cantonese dim sum, including plenty of dumplings: har gow, sea bass dumplings, scallop shumai, and more.

Bini's Kitchen

Momos at Bini’s Kitchen Patricia Chang

Long a staple at pop-ups, street food festivals, and a lunch-only FiDi takeout window, Binita Pradhan now has a proper restaurant where customers enjoy her fantastic Nepalese momos, with their scratch-made wrappers, delectable fillings, and habit-forming tomato-cilantro dipping sauce.

Momos at Bini’s Kitchen Patricia Chang

Cinderella Bakery & Cafe

A bowl of pelmeni in broth from Cinderella Russian Bakery in the Richmond Cinderella Russian Bakery & Cafe

Cinderella has long been a Richmond District staple for San Francisco’s Russian community, and its hand-made pelmeni are probably as good a version of the traditional Russian meat-filled dumpling as you can find in the city. Order your pelmeni in a bowl of chicken broth or plain with a side of sour cream, or get a bag of the frozen variety to boil at home at your leisure.

A bowl of pelmeni in broth from Cinderella Russian Bakery in the Richmond Cinderella Russian Bakery & Cafe

Dumpling Time

Photo by Grace Cheung

The Michelin-pedigreed Omakase restaurant group’s highly Instagram-friendly concept spans the whole spectrum of photogenic dumplings, from dim sum standards to potstickers and assorted XLB. There are plenty of places around town where you can snag better, and less expensive, har gow or xiao long bao, but Dumpling Time is notable for being one of the only restaurants to routinely offer the lacy, lattice-bottomed, “winged” style of gyoza — available in both chicken and wagyu-beef-and-black-truffle versions.

Photo by Grace Cheung

Dancing Yak Restaurant & Bar

Nepal-born restaurateur Suraksha Basnet opened this Valencia Street destination in 2018 bringing vegan, pork, and chicken momo to a colorful space decked out with vibrant art and slick blue banquettes. It’s an especially gluten-free friendly menu with plenty of options for vegans and vegetarians, too.

San Tung

Everyone knows San Tung for its dry-fried chicken wings, but if this classic Inner Sunset spot has a number two fan favorite, that designation would have to go to the restaurant’s potstickers, which are big, juicy, and properly crispy-bottomed. The restaurant is open for takeout so place your by phone.

Yuanbao Jiaozi 元寶餃子

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

bao

There are lots of great eats in the Mission but there was no dedicated place to drown yourself in dumplings of all shapes and sizes until Bao debuted in mid-2021. Embedded near the corner of 17th and Valencia, this spot specializes in sweet and savory steamed dumplings — but what really sets it apart are the extremely Instagramable selections filled with egg custard and mango and shaped like bunnies, pandas, elegant swans. 

Mama Ji's

This cozy spot in the Castro serves a full menu of home-style Sichuan dishes, which owner Lily Ji grew up eating in China, but the dim sum also draws a sizeable crowd. Choose from seafood, pork, or chicken shumai or opt for the XLB, listed as Shanghai dumplings. There’s also the Mama Ji speciality: sweet rice with shrimp sausage and egg that’s tucked into a packet of lotus leaves.   

Related Maps

Dumpling Specialist

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 has a tight menu focused on an array of very classic boiled dumplings and xiao long bao — all tasty, affordable, and conveniently portioned out for one person, which makes it easy to sample a couple of different items. Dumpling Specialist’s most popular dish is actually its juicy, pan-fried sheng jian bao, which are technically buns rather than dumplings — but a must-order nonetheless.

Dumpling Specialist Luke Tsai

Kingdom of Dumpling

Don’t confuse this Noriega dumpling shop with its regally named rival, Shanghai Dumpling King, famous for its xiao long bao. Kingdom of Dumpling serves fine XLB, but it's really known for its wide array of Northern-style shui jiao dumplings, or boiled dumplings, with their thick hand-made wrappers, and fillings like pork and napa cabbage or shrimp with chives. Pro tip: Score bags of frozen dumplings to take home and steam up at your leisure.

United Dumplings

Beijing Restaurant chef Sandy Zheng’s dumpling-centric restaurant in Bernal Heights is a double threat: Not only does it boast traditional Chinese favorites like a version of xiao long bao she traveled Shanghai to master and an array of classic northern Chinese-style boiled jiaozi, it also doesn’t shy away from hybridized, distinctly San Francisco creations — a cheesey, Mission-inspired chicken potsticker with a sour cream-based dipping sauce, for instance.

Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant 老北京

Pork is out, naturally, as a dumpling filling at this classic halal Chinese spot. But you won't miss it at all when faced with Old Mandarin Islamic's outstanding hand-made lamb dumplings, whose insides are juicy enough to squirt out, and its fantastically crispy beef potstickers, which are just as good.

Related Maps