Access to wonderful dim sum is one of the great privileges of life in San Francisco. Whether you’re seeking a traditional cart-fueled adventure, a high-end take on the art form, or a way to recreate the experience at home, these places should be your first stops.
Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Establishments also appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference.
1. City View
Despite having no actual city view or windows in the dining room, this popular Financial District stop delivers where it counts — with the food! Though it can be crowded during the day, the pace is swift. Daily cart service offers the standards as well as a few less-seen varieties like jade dumplings and pork and peanut fun guo.
A glitzy international brand that veers into nightclub territory in places like Las Vegas, Hakkasan’s SF location is tamer by comparison, even though a $7 million industrial-meets-Oriental design puts the space squarely over the top. There are perhaps too many dim sum options here to make a stress-free decision, but the restaurant does excel in its brightly-hued vegetarian dumpling selection. Outside of the dim sum and entree fare, look for recently-introduced weekday lunch special items priced at just $5.50. They’re a great way to get a taste of what’s on offer here before taking the plunge into higher ticket items. We suggest the John Dory congee and Szechuan pork and shrimp dumplings.
You’ll be given a large checklist when you sit down at this Richmond go-to spot; make sure and look the whole thing over before you start to mark things down or you’ll surely over-order. It can feel like a cattle call in here when it’s crowded, but the service is still (at least) efficient when it’s packed. Look for the coffee pork ribs, and the almost jelly-like black sesame rolls and custard buns are worth saving room for dessert.
4. Hong Kong Lounge II
You’d be forgiven for not knowing that this isn’t a sequel to nearby Hong Kong Lounge, but the owner did have a stake in that restaurant for close to a decade and the space is similarly short on intimacy. The checklist here is extensive and dizzying, but make sure to find the tofu skin and shrimp dumplings — an unusual and delicately gorgeous item. It’s also a good place to bulk up with items like clay pot rice.
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