The 10 Best Dim Sum Restaurants in San Francisco

Group of friends eating dim sum meal with chopsticks

 hai Yuan Lim / EyeEm / Getty 

You don't have to go to Chinatown to find delicious dim sum in San Francisco (though there's some there, too). Dim sum, which is traditionally eaten for breakfast or lunch, involves picking out several different small plates to share and enjoy with friends and family. It's most associated with Cantonese cuisine, and since San Francisco has the highest percentage of Chinese Americans in the U.S., it's no surprise that the city has some of the country's best dim sum restaurants.

From traditional cart service to table Lazy Susans and even take out, dim sum is not just a meal but an experience, and San Francisco's eateries offer everything from modern interiors to mouthwatering soup dumplings. Here are some of the city's best dim sum restaurants—get ready to indulge!  

01 of 10

Hong Kong Lounge

Hong Kong Lounge entrance

Christopher Ulrich / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

5322 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA
Phone +1 415-668-8836

Loyal customers flock to this massive spot (located within the city's Outer Richmond neighborhood, north of Golden Gate Park) that's about as close to authentic Chinese dim sum as you can get outside of Guangzhou. Offerings include traditional taro cakes, sticky rice in lotus leaf, and baked pork buns, as well as a range of colorful innovations, such as purple yam dumplings and fried green tea sesame balls. Come with a big group, order a lot of different dishes, and get ready to roll yourself out the door once you're through.  

02 of 10

Shanghai Dumpling King

Shanghai Dumpling King entrance sign

rick / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

696 Monterey Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94127, USA
Phone +1 415-585-1300

Dumplings are undoubtedly a specialty at this Sunnyside District dim sum eatery, most notably xiao long bao: a pork-filled soup dumpling oozing delicious broth from a firm exterior, though there are a ton of other varietals (think dumplings filled with spicy pork and chives, and vegetarian steamed dumplings) to choose from. They're also known for their chow mein, which makes the perfect dumpling pairing. Parking in the neighborhood can be difficult, but the Dumpling King's dim sum is also available to go. 

03 of 10

Dragon Beaux

Dragon Beaux's Five Guys Xiao Long Bao
 Dragon Beaux 
5700 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA
Phone +1 415-333-8899

The more modern off-shoot of Daly City's much-beloved Koi Palace, San Francisco's Richmond neighborhood Dragon Beaux elevates the dim sum experience with an extensive menu of creative fare—items like squid ink dumplings and roasted duck burritos—and a hot pot menu that has customers returning in droves. Favorite dishes at this contemporary space include the "Five Guys Xiao Long Bao," a selection of color-coordinated soup dumplings that range from spinach-skin dumplings filled with kale to dumplings filled with black truffle and wrapped in a skin of squid ink. The restaurant's egg yolk lava bun is a crowd favorite as well. 

04 of 10

Kingdom of Dumpling

Dumplings on plate from King of Dumplings

Frank Farm / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

1713 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA 94116, USA
Phone +1 415-566-6143

A tiny hole-in-the-wall that doles out handmade dumplings by the dozen, the Sunset neighborhood's Kingdom of Dumpling whips up a vast selection of dough-wrapped dim sum from across China. The restaurant's xiao long bao are good, but its Northern-style shuijiao dumplings are even better. Also on hand: bean paste crispy cakes, onion pancakes, and multilayer beef pancakes. 

Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10

Yank Sing

Dim sum plates on table at Yank Sing

Frank Farm / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

49 Stevenson St, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
Phone +1 415-541-4949

With two downtown locations, Yank Sing is a favorite stop among business workers. Each of its lively restaurants serves a mix of traditional and contemporary dim sum offerings straight from mobile carts, which makes the possibility of ordering to your heart's content all but guaranteed. Still, it's hard to pass up such delicacies as phoenix-tailed shrimp, lightly battered and deep-fried, savory chicken turnovers, and lettuce cups filled with sautéed minced chicken and Chinese lap cheong sausage. It's even more so when they're carted directly by your table.

06 of 10

Mama Ji's

Steamed buns from Mama Ji's

 Adam Dachis / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

4416 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA
Phone +1 415-626-4416

Walk-ins are standard at this brightly-lit Castro spot, where the food is prepared home-style and delivered with flavor. Marv and Lily (“Mama Ji”) work together to recreate the kinds of Sichuan cuisine Lily grew up eating. Opt for the pork shrimp shumai and Shanghai dumplings, or indulge in a hand-pulled rice roll filled with barbecue pork. A selection of Belgian beers are also on the menu. Both Marv and Lily are longtime Castro residents, giving the place a community feel. 

07 of 10

Dumpling Time

Chefs making dumplings by hand.
Michael Ogata 
11 Division St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
Phone +1 415-525-4797

A modern, lively space opened by San Francisco's Omakase Restaurant Group, SOMA's Dumpling Time puts a fresh spin on traditional dim sum with its Asian-California fare. The focus here is on (you guessed it!) dumplings, and guests can watch as they're being continuously handmade in a glass-enclosed dumpling room. Along with various types of har gow (steamed dumplings), bao (steamed or seared buns), and gyoza (pan-crisped Japanese dumplings), Dumpling Time serves up a selection of small-plate quick bites, meats, seafood, and noodles. The restaurant's also known for its craft beers.  

08 of 10

China Live

Xiao Long Bao at China Live
China Live  
644 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Phone +1 415-788-8188

Customers pour into this contemporary food emporium in the heart of Chinatown for its stunning interior design and incredible selection of eats, with dim sum being one of this 30,0000-square-foot space's most popular offerings. From "water dumplings" to Dongbei vegetarian long potstickers, there's plenty here to please your palette and create more than just a meal, but also an experience.  

Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10

Great Eastern Restaurant

Entrance to Great Eastern Restaurant

 vhines200 / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

649 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Phone +1 415-986-2500

Located in the city's Financial District, Great Eastern features an extensive array of dim sum offerings—even President Obama came here for his dim sum fix in 2012! Though its two-story interior is basic, menus provide colorful dim sum pictures so guests can order accordingly. There are nearly 100 dim sum items to choose from—items like steamed fish balls with vegetables, spicy salt-baked octopus, and water chestnut cake—in addition to a more expansive menu later in the day.  

10 of 10

Good Luck Dim Sum

Good Luck Dim Sum entrance

 Michael Portuesi / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

736 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118-2217, USA
Phone +1 415-386-3388

If you're worried about the line snaking out of Good Luck Dim Sum, it just means the food is that good. Plus, the line moves quickly at this no-frills takeout restaurant (just make sure to have your order thought out before you get to the register, because dawdling isn't appreciated). Most sets come with three items and cost just $2, so you can easily order a feast to-go and then walk it over to the nearby Presidio or Golden Gate Park for a picnic. Make sure the pork siu mai and shrimp chive dumplings—two of the house specialties—are on your list.

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The 10 Best Dim Sum Restaurants in San Francisco