food & drink · arts & culture · music & nightlife · attractions & tours ·
Published July 17, 2023
The Ultimate Guide to San Francisco's Chinatown
The best places to eat, drink, and shop in Chinatown, according to San Francisco locals. ⛩️🍶
by San Francisco Bucket List
Spanning an impressive 30 blocks, San Francisco's Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside Asia. This makes it a world of its own—filled to the brim with 100-year-old Dim Sum spots, string lanterns and pagoda roofs, hidden artisanal shops, and sophisticated speakeasies and cocktail bars with national acclaim.
The neighborhood is essentially a tapestry of Chinese culture, and there is SO MUCH to see and do. In fact, it can be a little overwhelming. While all of Chinatown is worth exploring, we picked out a few of the top spots you don't want to miss, according to locals. Find the best places to eat, drink, and shop in San Francisco's Chinatown below.
13 Can't-Miss Spots in Chinatown
Where to Eat in San Francisco's Chinatown
Hang Ah Tea Room
For anyone seeking an authentic taste of Chinatown history, a visit to Hang Ah Tea Room—the country’s very first Dim Sum house—is a must. Hang Ah has been serving plump, delectable dumplings and renowned BBQ pork buns, along with a full array of other Cantonese delicacies for over 100 years! So yeah, it's pretty legendary.
Where: 1 Pagoda Pl, San Francisco, CA
Z & Y
If you crave fiery, flavorful dishes, look no further than Z & Y. This acclaimed, Michelin-rated "Bib Gourmand” Sichuan and Chinese eatery is led by Chef Han, who artfully combines traditional flavors with a modern twist. Bring your flavor-forward crew and enjoy dishes like Sichuan peppercorns, duck blood, pickled vegetables, and braised fish heads. If there's one thing you don't want to miss, though, it's the signature Honey Walnut Shrimp, a crowd-pleasing favorite.
Where: 655 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA
China Live is a modern, award-winning culinary marketplace offering a variety of Chinese fare, from multi-course dinners to artisan teas to-go. The immersive dining hub’s mission is to demystify Cantonese ingredients and recipes and celebrate its rich history. Check out the Oolong Café and Market Restaurant & Bar, or explore the retail shop on the ground floor.
Where: 644 Broadway, San Francisco, CA
Good Mong Kok Bakery
This beloved Chinese bakery (read: window) serves up an enticing array of Hong Kong-style pastries and dim sum to a clamoring crowd daily. We highly recommend braving the line and ordering a smattering of freshly made gooey goods at least once. With fluffy BBQ pork buns, pillowy pineapple buns, sesame balls, and crispy egg tarts—the experience is sure to warm your belly. Just be ready with cash.
Where: 1039 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA
Where to Grab a Drink in San Francisco's Chinatown
Li Po Lounge
No Chinatown visit is complete without this legendary low-frills cocktail bar, beloved for its signature strong Mai Tais made with Chinese wine. Since its opening in 1937, Li Po has carried the name of the famous Chinese poet who drowned while attempting to embrace the moonlight's rays in the water. And (fittingly) now tourists and locals follow the glowing red neon Li Po sign into the vibrant watering hole, located in a fun basement lounge.
Where: 916 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA
Cold Drinks Bar
Cold Drinks is an upscale speakeasy inspired by the glamorous Shanghai Jazz era. Located on the second floor of China Live, this hidden gem welcomes you behind a bat-adorned door. Step inside to discover an opulent black and gold setting, where tuxedo-clad bartenders craft inventive scotch-forward cocktails, like a duck fat-washed Old Fashioned or Johnny Walker infused with fresh coconut and pineapple.
Where: 644 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133
Mister Jiu's is a renowned fine-dining Cali-Chinese restaurant, but in the space above it, you'll find a swanky cocktail lounge. Moongate Lounge is lined with high-backed, crescent-shaped booths, teal carpets, and traditional Chinese murals. It also serves a rotating menu of seasonal cocktails inspired by the Chinese Lunar Calendar and the fruits, flowers, spices, and spirits of the seasons.
Where: 28 Waverly Pl. (top floor above Mister Jiu’s), San Francisco, CA
Red's Place, formerly a barber shop, cigar store, and saloon, now stands as Chinatown's oldest bar, established in 1937! Affectionately referred to as the “Cheers of Chinatown," this spot is warm, welcoming, and adorned with polaroids of patrons. Come for a generous pour and stay to catch a game with locals.
Where: 672 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA
Where to Shop in San Francisco's Chinatown
Kim + Ono
An airy, industrial oasis lies in the heart of bustling Chinatown at KIM + ONO, a handcrafted kimono company specializing in silk and charmeuse botanical prints. Each buttery kimono features an original pattern, first sketched by hand and then saturated in rich watercolors using a traditional paintbrush, creating a wearable piece of art.
Where: 729 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA
Red Blossom Tea Company
A family-owned establishment since 1985, Red Blossom Tea Company is the premier source for artisanal loose-leaf teas and teaware shopping. The peaceful, modern setting focuses on provenance, variety, season, and craft to bring the cleanest and most naturally flavorful teas available—all while working directly with farmers and craftspeople of China and Taiwan.
Where: 831 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA
The Wok Shop
With its deep, sloping walls designed to retain heat evenly, woks excel at stir-frying, steaming, and pan-frying, allowing for quick and flavorful meals. Discover all types of authentic Asian cookware—including a diverse range of high-quality woks—at The Wok Shop. It’s the go-to place to elevate your cooking with culturally authentic tools, making it the Chinatown souvenir that keeps on giving.
Where: 718 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA
Don’t skip a tour through the massive, colorful emporium of Chinese clothes, gifts, books, and housewares at Canton Bazaar. The three-floor building, adorned with red lanterns and a striking marquee sign, invites visitors to explore a treasure trove of souvenirs. From exquisite silk scarves and robes to Buddha statues, porcelain figurines, folding fans, purses, framed artworks, crystals, shoes, umbrellas, and an extensive range of kitchenware, Canton Bazaar has something for everyone.
Where: 616 Grant Ave. San Francisco, CA
Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
Nestled within a modest alley, you'll discover a cherished SF landmark since 1962: the GG Fortune Cookie Factory! While it may sound large-scale, it actually resembles a cozy, open, industrial bakery. Visitors can witness the mesmerizing process of crafting SF's renowned fortune cookies, take a delightful 10-minute tour, and forage their retail shop for an array of traditional fortune cookies, plus variations like chocolate chip and green tea flavors.
Where: 56 Ross Alley, San Francisco, CA
LIKE WHAT YOU'VE READ?
Never miss out on a new experience!
Create a Bucket Listers account to access exclusive offers and the latest news in your city