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Chinese Restaurants in San Francisco: My 10 Favorites

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: June 17, 2022

You will find a large number of wonderful Chinese restaurants in San Francisco. My 10 favorites serve dishes from all over China, including dim sum (small plates of different types of dumplings), Cantonese, and Szechuan (or Sichuan) cuisines.

You will find top spots near Union Square, Chinatown, the Financial District, and North Beach.

The famed Sesame Chicken at SF's House of Nanking.

One great trait of most Chinese restaurants in San Francisco is that they are inexpensive. Continue reading to uncover a list of my 10 favorites.

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

1. Delicious Dim Sum

If you love dim sum, then head over to Delicious Dim Sum in SF's Chinatown District. It's the perfect place for those interested in sampling a few dim sum dishes and not making a big fuss over lunch.

The food is very yummy, and they have a large selection. Some of my favorites are the har gao (shrimp dumplings), siu mai (pork dumplings), and the sesame balls.

If you don't speak Chinese and are not sure what a menu item includes, just ask. The wait staff is friendly and helpful, and the food is both tasty and inexpensive.

Average Price: $2 to $3 for each dish, total per person is usually under $10

Address: 752 Jackson Street

District: Chinatown

2. R & G Restaurant

R & G Restaurant is a quaint Chinese restaurant on the border of Chinatown and the Financial District. They are open seven days a week and offer many popular Cantonese dishes.

They are known for their crab, but some of my favorites include the R & G Special Beef, prawns with honey walnuts, and the fried chicken with lemon sauce.

Vegetarians will also be thrilled with the large selection of vegetarian options.

Average Price: Full meals range from $10 to $25 per person

Address: 631 Kearny Street

District: Chinatown/Financial District

3. House of Nanking

One of the best Chinese restaurants in San Francisco is the House of Nanking. The food is great and very reasonably priced.

Don't be surprised to find a line outside waiting to get in. It's a small establishment and they also frequently sit more than one party at a table to fit in as many people as possible.

You'll see the brightly colored sign at 919 Kearny Street, between Columbus Avenue and Jackson Street. They are open every day for lunch and dinner.

Average Price: $6 to $14 per dish

Address: 919 Kearny Street

District: Chinatown

4. Mama Ji's

Mama Ji's is run by Lily, who came to SF's Castro district from Sichuan Province in China. She serves up traditional home-style Sichuan cuisine, which is known for having a bit more spice than Cantonese cuisine. 

They open daily for lunch and for dinner, and offer a great dim sum menu full of fresh, scrumptious, homemade dumplings.

At this friendly Chinese restaurant in San Francisco, you'll also find a nice selection of beer and wine to accompany your meal.

Average Price: $8 - $10 for dim sum small plates; $15 - $20 for main plates

Address: 4416 18th Street

District: The Castro

5. New Lun Ting Cafe

Another no-frills, inexpensive Chinese restaurant in Chinatown is New Lun Ting Cafe. This delightful place offers standard Cantonese food with incredibly large portions.

By far, my favorite item on the menu is the roast pork with gravy over rice. Other great options are the prime rib and the BBQ pork with scrambled eggs.

Average Price: $7 to $8 for most of their main dishes

Address: 670 Jackson Street

District: Chinatown

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6. Sam Wo Chinese Restaurant

Another favorite Chinatown spot for lunch, dinner, or a late-night meal is Sam Wo Restaurant, a long-running family establishment serving classic Cantonese dishes since San Francisco rebuilt itself after the earthquake and fire of 1906.

There are two levels of seating and the service is quick. They are known for their BBQ pork rice noodle roll.

Sam Wo is located in the heart of Chinatown, right across from Portsmouth Square Plaza. Clay Street runs along the southern edge of the park, and you'll find the restaurant here between Kearny and Walter U Lum Place.

Average Price: Under $10

Address: 713 Clay Street

District: Chinatown

7. Yan's Kitchen

Unlike most of the Chinese restaurants in San Francisco that serve Cantonese favorites, Yan's Kitchen specializes in Hunan cuisine, known for its balance of sweet and spicy flavors.

The fried dumplings and General Tso's chicken are popular here. The food is tasty and very affordable.

Average Price: Rice plate specials and most main dishes to share are $10 each

Address: 57 Columbus Avenue

District: Financial District

8. Chong Qing Xiao Mian

This restaurant's name might be a little harder to pronounce because it comes from the Sichuan Province of China, which is Mandarin-speaking and where the food tends to be much spicier.

The food here is really tasty and totally distinct. This place is known for its traditional noodle soups and spicy dishes made from a special peppercorn that produces a numbing sensation.

You'll find this little gem at Kearny and Jackson Streets, in Chinatown near North Beach.

Average Price: $10 - $13 for their signature dishes

Address: 915 Kearny Street

District: Chinatown

9. Yank Sing

Established in 1958 and run by the same family to this day, Yank Sing is one of oldest dim sum restaurants and now has two locations.

They offer all the usual small plates of dumplings you find on other dim sum menus, but they are also famous for their original creations, such as Grandma Alice's chicken and mushroom dumpling dotted with garlic, water chestnut, and cilantro.

This place caters to the business crowd and is a bit more upscale, so be prepared to pay a little more than other Chinese restaurants in San Francisco. 

Average Price: $7 to $16 per small order

Locations:

  • Rincon Center at 101 Spear Street (Financial District/SOMA)
  • 49 Stevenson Street (SOMA)

10. YH-Beijing

A great local place in the Lower Haight, YH-Beijing boasts a wide selection of Chinese dishes from Southern to Northern China, including lots of vegetarian options.

For a nice contrast of flavors, try out their seafood version of the classic hot and sour soup, followed by the wide-noodled chow fun and a saucy order of the orange chicken or Mongolian beef.

This is one of the pricier Chinese restaurants in San Francisco, but still relatively inexpensive and worth it for the quality of the food.

Average Price: $18 - $22 a plate

Address: 500 Haight Street

District: Lower Haight

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