Best-of Guides San Francisco

Best Chinese Restaurants in San Francisco

6 Restaurants
San Francisco boasts the country's oldest Chinatown area and unsurprisingly hosts a wide array of Chinese food and restaurants. Chefs deliver on everything from daring dim sum to more refined takes on Peking duck (with a view). And while there may be crowds at times, below we share some highlights from the Golden Gate city.
Updated on 18 January 2023
Yank Sing
101 Spear St., 94105 San Francisco
$$ · Chinese

It can get hectic in here with the zigzagging carts and long waits at peak hours but dim sum here is worth the light chaos. The signature Peking duck with its crispy lacquered skin and fluffy buns makes for a memorable treat, not unlike the deliciously sweet and salty char siu bao. Dumplings are a true highlight and range from fragrant pork xiao long bao to paper-thin har gow concealing chunks of shrimp. 

4 Embarcadero Center, 94111 San Francisco
$$ · Chinese

The dining room of this restaurant in the Embarcadero Center has impressive views of the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge from its sunny upper deck patio. For lunch, you can order from the extensive dim sum selection, a separate kitchen menu or simply pick whatever strikes your fancy from the passing carts. From sesame balls to fried daikon and shrimp rolls, one really can’t go wrong. For dinner though, go for the crispy, golden-brown Peking duck, served with crunchy cucumber and scallions, steamed buns and a decadent house-made sauce.

Empress by Boon
838 Grant Ave., 94108 San Francisco
$$$$ · Cantonese

For decades, this iconic location housed one of Chinatown’s most storied banquet halls. After sitting idle for years, the stylish space was renovated and revitalized—ready for a new chapter under Chef Ho Chee Boon. His talent for dishing out refined, modern Cantonese fare is apparent, along with an extra pinch of personality and a touch of California seasonality. The prix fixe menu, well-suited to groups, features a flurry of tempting dishes. These might include skillfully made shrimp dumplings with truffle and summer squash; or crispy, juicy fried chicken in a Malaysian curry sauce (a nod to the chef’s birthplace) served alongside fragrant lotus rice with dried scallop and shrimp.

Mister Jiu’s
28 Waverly Pl., 94108 San Francisco
$$$ · Chinese

Food at Mister Jiu's is served family style, making it ideal for groups, but solo diners can rest easy as they will certainly enjoy the sleek bar up front, pouring a litany of enticing cocktails with such virtuous names as "Tranquility" and "Happiness." Chef Brandon Jew's cooking focuses on Cantonese cuisine spiced by the occasional Sichuan specialty bearing hyper-seasonal local produce and a liberating dash of creativity. Organic smoked tofu is tossed with summer-sweet cherry tomatoes and plump shelling beans; while fluffy fried rice is studded with yellow summer squash, lap cheong, and topped with Petrale sole treated in the style of salted cod. Medallions of rabbit loin wrapped in ramps and paired with crisped legs all dressed with a spiced peanut- and chili oil-sauce is mouthwatering.

Palette Tea House
900 N. Point St., 94109 San Francisco
$$ · Chinese

This buzzy dim sum restaurant may call the heart of Ghirardelli Square home, but it is hardly a spot just for tourists. The gorgeous space is fitted out with colorful light fixtures splashed with Chinese characters, delicate tiled murals and flickering candle tea warmers. The attentive staff will make you feel like you’re at a local neighborhood spot. The dim sum comes a few pieces per order, but this is a great excuse to sample more food from the creative, ambitious menu. Pork and duck puffs crafted into cute little black swans are Instagram-ready and may be tailed by durian bao, tender squid ink dumplings with crunchy jicama and pork, or slippery rice crêpes filled with crispy soft-shell crab.

Sichuan Home
5037 Geary Blvd., 94118 San Francisco
$$ · Chinese

Sichuan Home's spotless dining room is a vision of varnished wood panels and mirrors, with plexiglass-topped tables for easy chili oil clean-up and menus that feature tempting photos of each item. A sampling of the wide-ranging Sichuan cuisine should include the tender lamb chops with a crunchy cumin crust or the pot of Chef's special fish stew heated table-side and served simmering with flavor. For dessert, velvety mango pudding, topped with grapefruit sorbet and fresh pineapple, is a tropical treat.