San Francisco Chinese Restaurants

So, any recommendations? Do I have to venture to Chinatown? What about bubble tea?

Also, imagine yourself at Union Square, 8pm, no car. Where would you go … that’s safe? I have two more nights in SF and I want to make the most of it.

Union Square and anything between it and Chinatown is probably safe, as there’s lots of people. Venturing a few blocks west of there, beyond Taylor St. into the Tenderloin district, is not advisable if you’re one or two people at night and you’re unfamiliar with the area (which is a pity, since there are some fantastic ethnic restaurants in the Tenderloin).

If you haven’t visited Chinatown yet, you must go.

There’s good food in Chinatown, and some pretty crappy food there too. Avoid “The Potsticker” in Waverly Place: ugh! I wasn’t impressed with the Hang Ah Tearoom when I tried it, even though it has a long history.

Here are my recommendations:

Best Bubble Tea in Chinatown: Sweet City (小甜甜), at the corner of Powell & Jackson

Dim Sum: Either Dol Ho (多好茶室) or Y Ben (會賓樓), both on Pacific just up from Stockton. Dol Ho is closed on Wednesdays. But as you know, Dim Sum is a lunch thing. They don’t serve it in the evenings.

Clay Pot: Bow Hon (寶漢) on Grant near the corner of Washington St.

Quintessential Chinatown Experience: Sam Wo (三和粥粉麵) on Washington, just up from Grant. It’s a century-old San Francisco institution that should be experienced. The food’s cheap (some choices are great, others not so good), and the atmosphere is, well, special. It’s a cramped hole-in-the-wall, you enter by going into the kitchen and walking up the staircase on the right, and the food is sent up by dumbwaiter. People go there for its famed atmosphere!

Noodle Shops: There are several on Stockton Street, serving cheap Cantonese-style noodles. Look for roasted ducks hanging in the windows.

Drinking: Red’s Place, 672 Jackson St. at Beckett St., is an old bar that has a relaxed atmosphere. For a wilder time, there’s The Bow Bow, 1155 Grant Avenue, run by a Taiwanese woman, Candy, who’s a real character.

In general, the father north you go in Chinatown and the farther away you get from Grant Street, the more authentic the food is.

For more on Chinatown, visit the following site, which includes some of the above info (much of which I contributed myself):

Ditto on Sam Wo’s…ask for a Pepsi or a Coke with your meal.

Also, while you’re in Chinatown, look for Jacksons Chow Mein. If its still in bidness, after about 50 yrs or so, its a classic place. I ate a ‘fish’ in there one time that my buddy swears he saw in a Natinal Geographic magazine as an extinct one. Celeocanth or something…it was good. The cook came out from the kitchen and was amazed I ate it.

Drinks in C-Town…Bow Bow is a classic. There’s another old Chinese bar, crusty as heck, Li Po’s, or something very close, if my memory serves me after all these years. Be careful of te dusty bottles on the bottom shelf. Mao Tai and some other really deathly stuff.

Or you can just wander around till you hear the noise from the mah jong games and look for a place close to that.

If you’re on Union Square, just walk over to Geary St. close on the Tenderloin to EDINBURGH CASTLE PUB at . 950 Geary St.f or a few pints, a good piper and the best fish & chips in the city. The fish & chips are made by a Korean place out the backdoor and just up the alley. The wait staff gets 'em for you.
Have a toast to ‘Winston’ and make the barman smile. (Winston was a parrot who lived there for many many years. He used to walk the bar)

Thanks guys. I think I’ll take a trip to Sam Wo’s then. In my previous trips to SF, I’ve just randomly chosen restaurants in C-town and haven’t been impressed, so it’s good to hear from those that know. I’d love to get some decent dimsum but alas, I’m here for work this time and I only have the evenings to myself. I don’t have a car so that limits my options.

My traveling companion and colleague prefers American fare so thus far, I’ve been to Bubba Gump’s (at the Wharf), The Daily Grill (near Union Sq) and tonight, The Big 4 (attached to Huntington Hotel on Nob Hill). All excellent restaurants but I guess I’m looking for something different after eating American fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the past 4 days.

BTW, how late do restaurants open in Chinatown?

I don’t drink but if there’s a good jazz club within walking distance of Union Sq., let me know!

Went by Powell & Jackson today on the trolley and noticed that Sweet City is no longer there. Instead, there’s a grand opening for Quickly 快可立, “the largest tapioca drink chain in the world”.

I was able to get away for lunch today and took a long walk to Sam Wo, only to find out it’s closed for the next week for Chinese New Year. :fume:

Went by Powell & Jackson today on the trolley and noticed that Sweet City is no longer there. Instead, there’s a grand opening for Quickly 快可立, “the largest tapioca drink chain in the world”.[/quote]

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo! :frowning: