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This article lists some of the Chinese restaurants mentioned by TA regulars, DEs and visitors to San Francisco. As one may notice, while there are many "Chinese" restaurants in San Francisco, one has to be more specific as most locals will choose the type of Chinese cuisine they want to eat from the various regions or food perhaps based on a cooking style or the spicyness of the food.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many great restaurants in SF and to say that one should only choose a restaurant from this list would be unfair. Looking for a late night meal, there are some late late night Chinatown restaurants.
Please use a food website such as www.chowhound.com or www.yelp.com or www.urbanspoon.com or the SF Chronicle Food site www.sfgate.com/food to read reviews before you go. www.opentable.com has reviews and one can reserve a table at some of these restaurants.
Dimsum is usually served during lunch. Here is a primer on Dimsum Cannot decide which Dimsum restaurant ? Just pick one from the list at lunch time.
Too many choices? Pick any of the resturants from the Chinatown list and you will have a great meal.
Cantonese, Seafood (R&G Lounge -- consistently rated to be among the better seafood restaurants in SF as of May 2014)
Cantonese, Dimsum with no carts (Great Eastern) - You order off a menu As did President Obama in 2013
Szechuan (Z & Y Restaurant, Sichuan Home) - Spicy Food and the distinctive taste with Szechuan Pepper Corns
Hunan (Hunan Homes Restaurant) - (Henry's Hunan Restaurant) Spicy Food Hunan cuisine has spicy/sweet sauces
Specialty (Hong Kong Clay Pot Restaurant)
Takeout Dimsum (Good Mong Kok Bakery, Golden Gate Bakery known for its Egg Custard Tarts) - Eat it soon after as Dimsum should be eaten HOT
Nanking Style (House of Nanking) - Popular with visitors
Mister Jiu's High End Cantonese food with California touches -- Family Style Pre-fix menu
Downtown/ Financial District
Upscale Cantonese, Dimsum with Carts (Yank Sing Two locations) - Most would recommend the Rincon Center . Very Popular with locals and visitors. Among the most expensive Dimsum restaurants
Cantonese, Dimsum with Carts (City View)
Upscale Chinese (MY China) - Owned by Chef Martin Yan of "Yan can cook' fame
Upscale Chinese (Hakkasan) -- International Chain with locations around the world including London
Expensive Chinese pre-fixe (Jai Yun)
Nanking (Fangs) A more upscale version from Peter Fang of House of Nanking
Hot pot - Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
A lot of the best Chinese food in SF can be found in the Richmond (Inner & Outer) and Sunset (inner & Outer) neighborhoods, close to Golden Gate Park.
Hip Chinese (Mission Chinese) A second restaurant was opened in NYC to rave reviews. SF reviews as of May 2014 show a decline in quality. Perhaps the focus is on the NYC restaurant
Hakka (Hakka Restaurant )
Chinese with Korean Influences and famous dry chicken wings (San Tung), close to the Golden Gate Park Museums
Cantonese, Dimsum (Hong Kong Lounge, Hong Kong Lounge II, Ton Kiang, Dragon Beaux)
Takeout Dim Sum (Good Luck)
Beijing (Beijing Restaurant)
Islamic Chinese (Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant)
Late Night Cantonese Food - Hong Kong Style Cafe (D&A Cafe)
No frills affordable Cantonse food - fresh seafood (China First)
Hunan (Made in China)
Hot pot - The Pot's, Shabu Club, Shabu House, Dragon Beaux (dinner only as they do dim sum daytime)