San Francisco has been home to the nation’s largest population of Chinese Americans since the first major wave of immigrants arrived from China in the mid-1840s. Today, Chinese Americans account for 21.4% of the City’s total population.
With a prosperous Asian population, San Francisco is known to have some of the best Chinese food in the United States. Here are 6 Chinese restaurants you absolutely must try in San Francisco:
$$ | 631 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
Since opening in 1985, R&G Lounge has held its spot as the best place to eat authentic Cantonese cuisine in San Francisco. Popular items on the menu include Salt-and-Pepper Crab, Honey Glazed Short Ribs, Clam with Steamed Egg, and “Three Treasures”. With a formal upstairs dining room and a casual, relaxed atmosphere downstairs, R&G Lounge is the perfect spot for a low-key dinner or a special celebration. This famous restaurant — featured on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations — is known to draw in large crowds, so be sure to make a reservation!
Order: Salt-and-Pepper Crab and Clam with Steamed Egg
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 11:00AM–9:30PM, Friday & Saturday: 11:00AM–10:00PM
$$$ | 4 Embarcadero Center, Suite 1, San Francisco, CA 94111
Crystal Jade is possibly the most expensively decorated restaurant in San Francisco. Having spent $14 million on the interior, Crystal Jade is an opulent restaurant serving traditional Cantonese fare and dim sum. With several locations across Asia, Crystal Jade’s only American outpost is in San Francisco. This downtown spot enjoys iconic Bay Bridge and Ferry Building views, making it the perfect spot for group brunch or a special night out.
Order: Peking Duck, Xiao Long Bao
Brunch/Lunch: Monday-Friday: 11:00AM–2:30PM, Saturday & Sunday: 10:30AM–3:00PM
Dinner: Monday-Sunday: 5:00PM–10:00PM
$$ | 1031 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA 94122
San Tung is a hidden gem in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset boasting a menu that locals constantly rave about. The owner, a Korean-born-Chinese, has perfectly married Northern Chinese and Korean cuisines, serving up inventive dishes like Dry-Fried Chicken Wings (arguably the best chicken dish you’ll ever eat in San Francisco), along with dim sum and standard fare. San Tung offers a delicious alternative to the traditional Cantonese and Shanghainese restaurants found across the City.
Order: Dry-Fried Chicken Wings
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday-Sunday: 11:00AM–3:00PM; 5:00PM–9:30PM. Closed on Wednesdays.
Reservations: Walk-in only
$$ | 365 Gellert Boulevard, Daly City, CA 94015
Located just outside San Francisco in Daly City, Koi Palace is considered to have the best dim sum in the entire Bay Area. The restaurant features an extravagant teahouse atmosphere with a moon gate entrance, glass waterfalls, koi pond and rows of fish tanks. While known for its incredible dim sum, Koi Palace focuses on specialty seafood dishes, including whole fried Dungeness Crab with Steamed Dumplings and Fried Legs. For those of you who are “too cool” for Daly City: the owners of Koi Palace have opened a spin-off in San Francisco’s Richmond District called Dragon Beaux where you can enjoy dim sum and hot pot in the comfort of your own city.
Order: Geoduck Sashimi, Salty Egg Yolk Fried Crab, Shrimp Har Gow, and XLB
Brunch/Lunch: Monday-Friday: 11:00AM–2:30PM, Saturday: 10:00AM–3:00PM, Sunday: 9:00AM–3:00PM
Dinner: Sunday-Thursday: 5:00–9:30PM, Friday & Saturday: 5:00–10:00PM
$$$ | 101 Spear Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
Having opened in 1958, Yank Sing is possibly the most iconic dim sum institution in San Francisco. Located in the Rincon Center, this bustling spot draws in crowds for classic and modern Hong Kong-style dim sum served by an endless parade of dim sum carts. While prices are on the higher side at Yank Sing, you definitely get what you pay for. If the Rincon Center location is too difficult to get into, head a few blocks southwest to the Stevenson Street outpost.
Order: Shanghai Dumplings, Peking Duck, and Xiao Long Bao
Hours: Monday-Friday: 11:00AM–3:00PM, Saturday & Sunday: 10:00AM–4:00PM
$$ | 1500 Church Street, San Francisco, CA 94131
In quiet Upper Noe Valley lies Eric’s Restaurant, a low-key cafe serving delicious Chinese-American cuisine. Eric’s prepares Americanized versions of classic Hunan, Mandarin and Szechuan dishes in a warm and inviting atmosphere. With large portions and reasonable prices, Eric’s is a go-to spot for neighbors and a local destination for foodies.
Order: Sesame Beef, Hunan Fish, Walnut Prawns, and General Tso’s Chicken
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 11:00AM–9:30PM, Friday: 11:00AM–10:00PM, Saturday: 12:00–10:00PM, Sunday: 12:30–9:30PM
Reservations: Walk-in only