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San Francisco's Best - Asian Restaurants

Chinatown

Chinatown Restaurants - San Francisco

This section includes my own recommendations on places for Asian food including Japanese, Thai, Korean and Chinese food. San Francisco has the best Chinese & Thai restaurants in America. But you aren't in Michigan anymore Toto -- these places are more authentic and it shows. You need to try a few new things and not stick to just what you know. This is the food of people's motherland's, and it is authentic. No question, SF has THE BEST Asian food in the country.

Thai:

Khan Toke Thai House - sftodo.com's pick for San Francisco's best Thai food...

Cha Am is a stylish and modern Thai restaurant -- one of the "classiest" I've seen. It's located in the heart of tourista near Third Street @ Folsom near the Museum of Modern Art and Modernistic Mariott tower. Excellent food and service in an unusually pleasant and fashionable atmosphere. But prices are higher than normal at around $25/person. Andy's rating="B+".
300 Third Street 546-9710

Manora's Thai is located right next to the 11th & Folsom nightclub district. The restaurant has a pleasant ambience as compared with other smaller Thai restaurants. Service is excellent and there is a bar to wait at, since it is often very crowded. Dinner for 2 is about $35. 1600 Folsom @ 11th St. 415-861-6224. Also at 3226 Mission 415-550-0856.

Marnee Thai is a small but excellent & well reviewed Thai restaurant in the outer Sunset. Very crowded, and they like to rush people through. Take out is a good alternative for this award winning Thai. Dinner for 2 is about $35. 2225 Irving near 22nd Avenue 415-665-9500.

Bethelnut - Trendy Asian food to the max for the beautiful people in the Marina area.

Thep Phanom is one of SF's best Thai restaurants in a highly competitive category. The food is carefully prepared and the soups are excellent. Don't miss the crispy duck. The atmosphere is pleasant and comfortable which is not always the case in crowded Thai restaurants.
400 Waller @ Fillmore 431-2526

Zao - Great Asian noodle house with Vietnamese styled noodles and soups.

Chinese:

Eric's Chinese

Eric's Chinese Restaurant - Noe Valley

Eric's Chinese Restaurant (photo to left) is a highly acclaimed "Westernized" restaurant in trendy Noe Valley - a very cool San Francisco neighborhood. It has a pleasant and unusually clean atmosphere for dining and take-out. We tried the mango chicken which had a slightly overly heavy sauce, plus the mongolian beef which was very tasty. Dishes are typically $8 - $10. For a more relaxed dining experience outside of Chinatown in other San Francisco neighborhoods -- Eric's is a good choice. We enjoyed Eric's - it was nothing amazing but consistently enjoyable. Parking in this popular neighborhood can be difficult.

1500 Church @ 26th Avenue / 415-282-0919

Gourmet Carousel - Gourmet Carousel is a classic neighborhood Chinese restaurant with exceptional food in Pacific Heights. The Gourmet Carousel is a great restaurant away from tourist hustle and bustle. Prompt and attentive service combined with great food makes this a neighborhood favorite. Entree's run only about $6 so you can afford to get several. The portions are very large. The restaurant is very popular so expect to wait. Family dinners and combinations are of course available, but your best bet is to ask the staff for their own recommendations. Pot stickeers are great, as are crystal prawns with vegetables. Another great way to choose is to check out what other more experienced diners are having. People swear by this place and return again and again. Highly recommended. Parking is very challenging - it is best to take a cab. Some example menu items are: Gourmet Chicken with Honey Sauce $7.50; Szechuan Sauce Chicken - hot $7.50; Black Pepper Baby Beef Ribs $10.95; Chinese Style Beef Steak Cubes $8.95; Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce $8.50; Ground Pork & Salted Egg $8.75
Open Monday - Saturday 11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.; Sunday 4 pm - 9:30 pm. 1559 Franklin @ Pine Street. 771-2044

The House of Nanking is a mixed bag. All the touristo's think they're going to the secret underground excellent Chinese place -- except it's all touristo's eating there. It's crowded as hell and the service sucks. They'll serve you real fast -- because they want you to leave a.s.a.p. They also love to cram diners into about 3 inches of eating space. That said, the food is excellent and cheap. Go at an off time or you'll wish you had. Located between North Beach & Chinatown @ 919 Kearny / 421-1429

J.W. writes, ".I tried the "world famous" House of Nanking restaurant and found the food was produced too quickly and the tastes were all too similar across the dishes. Having eaten regularly at Manchester UK's Chinatown, I know that the actual quality was poor compared to the best UK equivalent."

E. writes, "I take exception the JW's post re: House of Nanking restaurant. I think the review above JW's comments better characterize the restaurant. While H of N is not my favorite, it is better than any Chinese I've had in the UK at a comparable price."

rg2

One of my favorite Chinese lunch places is the R&G Lounge. A very authentic place which hosts Chinese businessmen by day and food seekers by night. The restaurant has a no-nonesense basement with wonderful Chinese delicacies at very reasonable prices ($5 lunch specials with rice) and quick (sometimes rushed...) service. The tiled basement atmosphere is not the most romantic, but the food is pretty good for lunch. Upstairs is more upscale for large family banquets that typically feature seafood delicacies. Not some crappo tourist place in Chinatown, R&G is on the boder of the Financial District and Chinatown and comes critically acclaimed by some. R&G will set you back only $6 for lunch and around $12 for dinner.

There have been some complaints (10/98) from our readers on: prices of specials, rushed service, and fatty / oiliness of food. My recommendation is to stick to the lunch specials which makes it easy to order quickly -- there are only ten lunch specials...

631 Kearny Street 982-7877 & TWO HOURS validated parking! There is a cheapo but busy city garage right next door to R&G on Kearny.

Hong Kong Flower Lounge is an excellent higher end Chinese Restaurant out in the western part of San Francisco's Richmond District. So, you'll need a car or more cab fare for this wonderful restaurant known for prawns with walnuts and crispy chicken. Far nicer than most Chinese restaurants, but priced around $18 per person.
5322 Geary @ 18th Avenue 668-8998

Korean:

Hahn's Hibachi - Excellent and well-priced Korean Barbecue, Udon noodle soups, and sautes...

Vietnamese:

The Slanted Door - Trendy, delicious, and highly recommended.

The Golden Turtle is an excellent and romantic Vietnamese restaurant with a great atmosphere. Located on busy Van Ness near Pacific Heights, Golden Turtle dishes out awesome Vietnamese -- perhaps the best in SF. With a meal running around $25 per person, it's well worth it. Andy's rating=B+.
2211 Van Ness Avenue near Union Street 441-4419

Sushi!

Trendy sushi in the Marina. Not touristy, but too many beautiful people to be wholly authentic in such a "white bread" neighborhood. A pleasant place to eat in a cool neighborhood with great food. Thankfully, their website provides a webcam so you can see the sushi making as it happens in your very own home... But a reader says, "While Steiner Street has the best collection of restaurant in the Marina, Ace Wasabi's is not one of them. It is trendy with "beautiful people", but it is also LOUD and the sushi is average at best. If you want good food on Steiner, try Three Season for Vietnamese, Ristorante Parma for Italian, Bistro Aux for California Cuisine or Izzy's for a big steak. If you want good Sushi the go to Isobune Sushi (I love those boats) in Japantown or Ebisu on 9th and Irving."
3339 Steiner @ Chestnut 567-4903

Dim Sum:

The Golden Dragon is one example of San Francisco's "dim sum." If you want to find out the secrets of dim sum -- keep reading (it's not someone whose bad at math!). Note that The Golden Dragon has MUCH lower prices than Yank Sing (see below).

Yank Sing has dim sum also at much higher prices at Embarcadero Center. F.F. notes in June 1997, "Great food, but the cost really adds up. It was only lunch but it ended up costing more than any other meal we had while we were in SF." More for the tourist crowd and a little more user friendly than the Golden Dragon. 427 Battery @ Clay 781-1111 - Lunch ONLY for around $15 per person.

Gold Mountain has long lines constantly -- in SF that means it's pretty good. Food is served promptly on traditional Dim Sum carts. Spring rolls are particularly excellent, as are steamed shrimp pastries. Don't miss the sticky-sweet sesame balls. Chinatown location means crummy parking.
644 Broadway @ Stockton 296-7733

Indian:

Naan and Curry - Inexpensive and delicious Pakastani food at multiple San Francisco locations.

Maharani Restaurant - Romantic, upscale Indian restaurant.

Cambodian:

Angkor Wat has some of SF's best Cambodian food. Cambodian food is similar to Thai but a little fruitier. Some of Angkor Wat's best dishes include papaya salad, curried salmon, and sweet & sour soup. It's an interesting place to try out in SF's Richmond District.
4217 Geary @ 6th Avenue 221-7887

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