Take a culinary adventure through San Francisco’s Chinatown

San Francisco’s Chinatown attracts more tourists each year than the Golden Gate Bridge, but that doesn’t mean the neighborhood lacks locally loved haunts. In fact, some of the best restaurants in Chinatown are loved by locals and visitors alike because they are just that.

The restaurant scene in one of San Francisco’s oldest neighborhoods is also experiencing a renaissance as several award-winning, high-end dining destinations have set up shop here in the last few years. These newer establishments might be garnering international media attention, but Chinatown has always been a hub of vibrant cuisine and culture — and it has the long-lasting bars and dining institutions to prove it.

From legacy businesses offering traditional banquet meals and hole-in-the-wall dim sum spots to Michelin-rated fine dining, here’s where to find the best Chinese restaurants where locals and tourists go to capture that only-in-Chinatown feeling.

China Live
More multistory culinary emporium than restaurant, China Live has been described by Eater as “the Eataly for Chinatown.” The majority of the first floor is dedicated to the 120-seat Market Restaurant, which serves up an ever-changing menu of dim sum, barbecue, soups, stir fry, noodles, dessert and more, using both traditional and modern techniques. On the second floor is Cold Drinks Bar, a scotch-centric glimpse into “glitzy old Shanghai.” When it opened in 2017, it was heralded as one of SF’s best new bars by several publications and remains a favorite for its swanky jazz-era glamor and well-balanced cocktails paired with a selection of food from the adjoining fine dining destination, Eight Tables.

Eight Tables takes its inspiration from Si Fang Cai or “Private Chateau Cuisine” to deliver an elaborate tasting menu of Chinese fine dining by celebrated chef and founder George Chen. It’s a special occasion sort of place, heralded as one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Finally, a massive retail section featuring high-end tableware, kitchenware, pantry items, and fresh produce rounds out China Live’s extensive offerings — that is, until the rumored rooftop bar opens in summer 2023. – SFGate (02.08.23)