City View: Off The Beaten Path San Francisco Dim Sim

Dim Sum San Francisco


Flip open any San Francisco guidebook and you’re almost guaranteed to find two dim sum recommendations: Yank Sing and Ton Kiang. The two restaurants pretty much dominate the city’s dim sum scene, with lines that routinely snake out the door on weekends. However, guidebooks rarely tell the whole story. It was ground level from longtime San Franciscan Aaron Tell (Savory Hunter) who led me to City View, a decade-old dim sum specialist on a side street that can more than hold its own with the better known big boys.

Decor at the sprawling dim sum palace is highlighted by a panoramic painting of the jutting limestone formations that frame the Li River in Guilin, northern China.

Dim Sum San Francisco
We arrived hungry, just after the doors opened, and waited impatiently for the carts to round the corner with their mysterious shrouded metal-shrouded offerings. We quickly accumulated stamps on our check, devouring a dozen different dishes. We started with loosely packed, cilantro-flecked beef meatballs plated on thin tofu “coasters.”

Dim Sum San Francisco
Golden baked pork buns were sticky to the touch, filled with chunks of lean pork and a red sauce that wasn’t as sickly sweet as at other dim sum places.

Dim Sum San Francisco
Crispy fried shrimp rolls were also herb flecked, and not too greasy. They sported scissor cuts and came with a dish of sweet chile dipping sauce. City View uses sweet, high quality shrimp across the board, but this was one of the better preparations.

Dim Sum San Francisco
The least interesting dish of the day turned out to be the mound of fried rice topped with dried shrimp, peanuts, and scallions.

Dim Sum San Francisco
We proceeded to order a parade of dumpling dishes, beginning with thin-skinned dumplings filled with plump shrimp and a minced water chestnut binder, which added crunch.

Dim Sum San Francisco
The most outstanding dumpling was probably the seafood version with scallop, shrimp and hardly any filler. The cleverly constructed dumpling hosted three chambers, each holding a tiny vegetable: two peas and a carrot.

Dim Sum San Francisco
Basic steamed pork dumplings featured crimped edges and more fresh herbs.

Dim Sum San Francisco
Individual tins each held a Shanghai soup dumpling. Unfortunately, the dumpling skins stuck to the aluminum, so the soup burst never quite made it to my mouth. The dumplings arrived with dish of tangy red vinegar sauce and shaved ginger.

Dim Sum San Francisco
Pan fried shrimp and chive dumpling featured juicy cores and crispy glutinous skins.

Dim Sum San Francisco
Siu mai sported plump shrimp up top, with pork and glass noodles at the base.

Dim Sum San Francisco
Scallop siu mai were even more interesting, topped with tobiko, tiny orange flying fish roe. In this case, the tobiko probably didn’t benefit from the heat, since they clumped into clusters, but the scallop meat was plump and sweet, and the dumpling skins were delicate.

Dim Sum San Francisco
We finished strong by ordering Peking duck with shaved scallions, steamed clam shell buns and plum sauce. The duck was gamy, with plenty of moisture, and good flavor, but the skin could have been crispier, and it would have been more impactful if the duck was shaved to order instead of pre-portioned.

City View was very satisfying, with very few missteps. Was it better than Yank Sing or Ton Kiang? When you factor in the shorter line and lower cost, it’s at least in the discussion.

City View: Off The Beaten Path San Francisco Dim Sim

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

man o man I want to go right NOW, looks so tasty and all my faves. I’m already making plans with friends, but sadly they’re gone until mid Sept. I might have to go before then…looks too good.

Jackie, there’s no need to wait until September to try City View. Just go tomorrow and order fewer dishes.

i prefer cityview to both yank-sing and ton-kiang. great pics!

Alex, Glad to hear there’s another believer in City View.

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

This is the best looking food I have seen all day. I would love to visit. I would like to thank you for sharing your meal with me. Yum! Yum!

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