The Best Dim Sum in San Francisco

It’s hard to find dim sum that rivals what you can get in Hong Kong or Shanghai, but San Francisco is definitely doing its best to get to that caliber. But you’re still going to have to trek to get the good stuff—to the Richmond or Sunset. Here are the ones that are worth the long Uber ride.  

  • 01 of 08
    ••• Diane M. via Yelp

    Neighborhood: Richmond

    5322 Geary St.

    Telephone: (415) 668-8836

    This spacious spot is about as close to authentic Chinese dim sum as you can get outside the mainland. They’ve got the traditional taro rolls, sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf, steamed chicken feet, silky shrimp noodle rolls, and pork puns. But they’ve also taken some decidedly American liberties, like deep-frying their spicy pork and chive dumplings. Bring a big group, order a lot, and prepare to roll yourself out the door. 

  • 02 of 08
    ••• Tiffany Y. via Yelp

     Neighborhood: Richmond
    3319 Balboa St.
    Telephone: (415) 387-2088

    Neighborhood: Outer Mission
    696 Monterey Blvd.
    Telephone: (415) 585-1300

    When a place is named after a specific dumpling, you at least know one of the items on your order. The Shanghai soup dumpling here does not disappoint: delicious broth oozes out of a firm but chewy dumpling and the chicken meatball inside is all that is good in the world. Other menu highlights include the spicy pork and chive dumpling, which comes slathered in a hot vinegar, and the pan fried pork dumplings. They also do a mean chow mein if you want a side to go with your dumplings. 

  • 03 of 08
    ••• Aprill B. via Yelp

     Neighborhood: Richmond
    5700 Geary St.
    Telephone: (415) 333-8899

    The San Francisco off shoot of the much beloved Koi Palace in Daly City, this is where you go for fancy dim sum. They’ve got a fully loaded lunch dim sum menu, but it’s the evening’s clay pot affair that’s worthy of a reservation. The whole melon pot set provides you with a whole winter melon with boiling chicken broth and roasted squab that’s meant to be shared with all your relatives, but we digress. Back to the dumplings: their Five Guys Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings) includes pork, beets, turmeric and crab, squid ink and black truffle, and spinach and kale.  The egg yolk lava buns is always a crowd favorite as well. 

  • 04 of 08
    ••• May A. via Yelp

     Neighborhood: Richmond
    3300 Geary Blvd.
    Telephone: (415) 668-8802

    We know what you’re thinking and no, Hong Kong Lounge II has no affiliation with the one listed above. But the dumplings are just as abundant. Steamed pork buns, sesame buns, shu mai, fried tofu and shrimp, pan-fried shrimp and chive dumplings and sticky rice in lotus leaf fill out the dim sum staples—and your belly. Bring a group and get seated at one of the lazy susan tables to maximize your samplings. And remember: eating fast is considered a compliment. 

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08
    ••• Tyler B. via Yelp

     Neighborhood: Sunset
    1713 Taraval St.
    Telephone: (415) 566-6143

    There is a place where you can order xiao long bao thirty strong and that place is Kingdom of Dumpling. But the dumpling fest doesn’t stop there. Try the chicken and napa cabbage dumplings, shanghai fried buns, and pork dumplings. It’s a very casual kind of place with checkered table clothes make it feel like a bit of an all-American diner than a Chinese takeout spot. 

  • 06 of 08

    Yank Sing

    ••• Helen Y. via Yelp

     Neighborhood: Embarcadero
    101 Spear St.
    Telephone: (415) 781-1111

    Neighborhood: SoMa
    49 Stevenson St.
    Telephone: (415) 541-4949

    This downtown power lunch is a favorite amongst the business crowd. It’s the traditional pick-your-dish from the cart scenario, which means that you’re going to overeat…it’s unavoidable. But who doesn’t love snow pea shoot dumplings, shanghai dumplings, stuffed lotus leaf, spring roll crisps, shrimp dumplings, pot stickers—you get the gist. 

  • 07 of 08
    ••• Steph L. via Yelp

     Neighborhood: Castro
    4416 18th St.
    Telephone: (415) 626-4416

    This no reservations neighborhood joint is the go-to for an easy weeknight dinner with the family that’s loaded with flavor. Owner Lily (aka Mama Ji) and Marv serve up home style Sichuan food. Try the pork shumai or cilantro shrimp dumplings or indulge in the handmade pulled rice rolls with barbecue pork or shrimp rice roll. And the owners are longtime neighborhood residents so the whole place feels like home.

  • 08 of 08
    ••• Dion L. via Yelp

     Neighborhood: Outer Sunset
    937 Taraval St.
    Telephone: (415) 681-8388

    This unassuming, no-frills hole-in-the-wall on Taraval does make some excellent dumplings and pot stickers (freshly stuffed and steamed), but it’s the green onion pancakes that take the cake. It’s not just the flat, crispy pancake you’d usually find. Oh no, House of Pancake rolls theirs up with a sliver of tender beef inside to make a little sandwich of sorts. It makes a great companion to any dim sum dish.