The 30,000-square-foot Eataly of Chinatown has arrived

China Live is one of the biggest openings to hit San Francisco in quite some time. It’s an incredibly ambitious, multi-faceted, massive project that can most easily be described as a Chinese version of Eataly, Mario Batali’s paean to Italian food in NYC.

Many food halls have been compared to Eataly, the wildly successful Italian grocery, retail shop, and multi-restaurant space wrapped into one, which launched its flagship in New York City and has since spread to five locations nationwide (not to mention another 25 worldwide). But China Live is SF’s most apt comparison yet: When it opens on Wednesday, March 1, it will have a retail section with educational components, tea and pastry cafe, flower mart, full bar, and fine-dining restaurant, with more to come on upper floors— all filtered through the lens of China and Taiwan.

It’s the brainchild of veteran restaurateur George Chen (Betelnut) and his partner Cindy Wong-Chen, and it’s been three years in the making. Now — $20 million, 90 employees, and 30,000-square-feet later — it arrives next week, with pantry items and tableware never before seen in the United States, all the Chinese food you could possibly crave, and a stunningly gorgeous interior from design firm AvroKo (Single Thread, Ninebark).

“We need to come out with a bang. I’m relieved to open, but with a project this size pieces can go wrong, so there’s a nervousness of course,” Chen told Eater SF. “But I think we’ll be successful. People will find authenticity and creativity within what we do.”

To prepare yourself for the opening, which has been highly-anticipated amongst Chinatown locals as well as those farther afield, here is exactly what to expect and how to navigate this glossy newcomer…. – Eater San Francisco (02.27.17)