Photo: Hywit Dimyadi/Shutterstock

Try Soup Dumplings and Steamed Buns at These Beloved San Francisco Dim Sum Restaurants

San Francisco Restaurants + Bars
by Matador Creators Jan 31, 2023

San Francisco is home to the oldest (and first) community of Chinese immigrants in North America. Though Chinese people faced discrimination and exclusion (and still do) in the United States, resilient and hard working communities have taken root all over the country – only adding more richness and complexity to the culture of our country. San Francisco in particular has benefited greatly from the presence of Chinese families, not least of all because Chinese restaurants serve some of the best food in the city.

San Francisco restaurants are already considered some of the best in the country – and the Chinese restaurants live up to that reputation. From Cantonese cuisine to spicy Sichuan hot pot, there’s so much delicious food to try. However, anyone visiting San Francisco should put dim sum at the top of their list – small plates of buns, dumplings, and other snack sized foods that will satisfy your soul. Here’s where to get dim sum in San Francisco, and here are all the best things to do in San Francisco once you’ve eaten.

1. Yank Sing

Founded in 1958, Yank Sing is home to what some people consider the best dim sum in San Francisco. The menu features around 1-00 different dim sum dishes. In the traditional style, buns, dumplings, and other dim sum treats are served from push carts which circulate the dining room. Look out for turnip cakes, stuffed lotus leaf, and crab claws.

Where: 49 Stevenson Street San Francisco, CA 94105
Price: $$$

2. Dragon Beaux

This dim sum restaurant also serves a wide variety of tea as well as Chinese hot pot. You’ll find more creative takes on dim sum classics at Dragon Beaux – like soup dumplings with squid ink and beet flavored wrappers and boa filled with durian custard. Congee, noodles, and roasted duck are also on the menu.

Where: 5700 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121
Price: $$

3. Harborview Restaurant & Bar

Founded by the owners of the two level icon R&G Lounge, Harborview Restaurant & Bar also serves Cantonese cuisine, as well as a selection of dim sum dishes. Soup dumplings, smoked goose, chicken feet, and buns filled with salted egg yolk are among the offerings. Harborview also serves the famous fried crab fish that R&G Lounge is known for.

Where: 4 Embarcadero Center, Street Level, San Francisco, CA
Price: $$

4. Hong Kong Lounge

THe design of these dim sum dishes are just as eye-catching and memorable as the flavors at Hong Kong Lounge: There are buns filled with custard that are decorated to look like pigs, and yam buns with a purple spiral pattern on the outside. Fans of the restaurant praise the baked pork buns, roast eggplant, and Peking duck.

Where: 5322 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121
Price: $$

5. Mama Ji’s

Dim sum meets spicy Sichuan cuisine at Mama Ji’s. Located in the Castro, it’s often considered one of the neighborhood’s hidden gems. The restaurant’s speciality is lotus leaves stuffed with rice and shrimp sausage, but most people recommend the xiao long bao and crispy potstickers.

Where: 4416 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Price: $$

6. Dumpling Home

This dim sum restaurant enjoys a Bib Gourmand designation from the Michelin Guide. The stand out dim sum dish is soup dumplings. In the kitchen, the team of chefs wraps all the dumplings by hand. Guests might also be tempted to try the spicy Sichuan pork filling, though he forewarned, the flavor has been described as numbing. Located near the Theater District, this is a good place to stop in for a late dinner after a show – though it will likely be crowded.

Where: 298 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Price: $$

7. Palette Tea House

For an upscale take on traditional dim sum, try Palette Tea House. Located in the Ghirardelli Square neighborhood, the menu is creative, though some diners warn that the portions are smaller than at other dim sum restaurants: There are dishes like puff pastries filled with duck and folded into the shape of a swan and squid ink dumplings. Be sure to try the soup dumplings and the lobster har gow as well.

Where: 900 North Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Price: $$$

Where to stay in San Francisco


Photo: SB Freelancer/Shutterstock

Exploring Chinatown is going to leave your feet tired – and your stomach full, if you plan to stop every few blocks for a different treat (which you should). Resting comfortably after a long day of eating is essential. These highly rated hotels will provide a soft bed and the amenities you need to leave you refreshed and ready to do it all again tomorrow. There are plenty of comfortable San Francisco Airbnbs available too, if that’s the type of accommodation you prefer.

We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

Hotel Zetta

Located in the SOMA neighborhood, Hotel Zetta has a cozy hunting lodge vibe. The restaurant’s dining room is decorated with taxidermied animals, there’s a billiards room, and a speakeasy bar called Marianne’s all within the hotel. There’s even a wall of vintage mugshot photos which is the perfect place to get that shot for Instagram. Hotel Zetta is near both Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf.

Where: 55 5th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

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The Phoenix Hotel

With its relaxed, retro vibe, The Phoenix Hotel this Tenderloin hotel is known for its rock and roll personality. The interiors are vibrant and colorful (think bright yellow throw pillows and neon decorations in the rooms). There’s a pool and a firepit, and lots of space to hang out outside. If you want

Where: 601 Eddy St, San Francisco, CA 94109

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The Fairmont

The Fairmount’s luxury design has been a favorite in San Francisco since it opened in 1907. With proximity to both Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square, the hotel also offers stunning views of the Bay from its position atop Nob Hill. Featuring a rooftop terrace, a chandelier and Grecian style columns Lauren Court restaurant, the hotel brings to mind vintage elegance.

Where: 950 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94108

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