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Travel to San Francisco: Chosing the Right San Francisco Chinese Restaurant

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The Mandarin
900 North Point St., San Francisco CA 94109 (Fisherman's Wharf)

Try the pot stickers, the appetizer sampler plate and the spare ribs at this San Francisco Chinese restaurant. The atmosphere is worthy of a mandarin, even if the food is lesser.

Shanghai 1930
133 Steuart St., San Francisco CA 94105 (South of Market)

Shanghai was once the " Paris of the East," and this glamorous and sultry SOMA supper club is an ode to the jazzy glitz of bygone times. The doorman is in period gear, the cocktails are more nostalgic here than elsewhere and the Chinese cuisine gets a chic twist.

Golden Pagoda
960 Grant Ave. above Washington in Chinatown. Tel. 415.397.1411

$$. Dishes of Chiu chow (aka Chao Chow), a small area not far from Canton. Try the oyster omelet or the pan-fried pomfret.

The House of Nanking
919 Kearny St. above Jackson in Chinatown. Tel. 415.421.1429

$. All the tourists think they're going to the secret underground excellent Chinese place -- except it's all tourists eating there. It's crowded as hell and the service isn't the best. 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. Come early or come late, or join the crowd at this San Francisco Chinese restaurant for a notoriously worthwhile wait on the sidewalk.

King Tin
826 Washington at Waverly in Chinatown. Tel. 415.982.7855

$$. A Hong Kong-style barbecue house. The barbecued chicken and pork loin are good at this San Francisco Chinese restaurant, as are the prawns in spicy salt. Vegetarian is available.

909 Grant Ave. above Washington in Chinatown. Tel. 415.362.9888

$$. Specialties here are dim sum and dishes like soup with mushrooms, cloud-ears and bamboo pith; rice porridge with vegetarian ham, mushrooms, water chestnuts, carrots, snow peas and sea moss.

Lotus Garden
532 Grant in Chinatown. Tel. 415.397.0707

$$. A one hundred percent vegetarian San Francisco Chinese restaurant, in the Buddhist tradition (read: excellent ersatz meats), and at least that delicious. The portions are quite large, as is the menu.

Lucky Creation Vegetarian Restaurant
854 Washington St., above Waverly in Chinatown. Tel. 415.989.0818

$. Lucky indeed are the fans of gluten. Dim sum is available, and try the fat choi noodles with black mushrooms and bean curd rolls; spicy shrimp balls in hot sauce; and braised eggplant with carrots in clay pot.

Pearl City
641 Jackson above Kearny in Chinatown. Tel. 415.398.8383

$$. A good selection of dim sum (try any of the dumplings or rolls), followed by an excellent dinner menu with prawns and scallops in garlic with sizzling platter and baked crab with spicy salt and pepper.

631B Kearny at Commercial in Chinatown. Tel. 415.982-7877

$$. A very authentic San Francisco Chinese restaurant 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. travel upstairs where it's more upscale for large family banquets that typically feature seafood delicacies. R&G will set you back only $6 for lunch and around $12 for dinner.
There is a cheapo but busy city garage right next door to R&G on Kearny. Expect a choice of dishes with eyes, fins, spines, tentacles and feelers. Worth a try here are dishes like stir-fried sea whelk/geoduck clam with chives, braised two squabs in clay pot and braised live crab with spicy salt.

Sam Wo
813 Washington St. above Grant (through the kitchen and upstairs) in Chinatown. Tel. 415.982.0596

$. Everyone has to go to Sam Wo once in this life to share the San Francisco experience, to eat late or to save a bundle. No alcohol (but get beer across street).

Yuen's Garden
1131 Grant, above Pacific in Chinatown. Tel. 415.391.1131

$$. Roast chicken, roast pork, and noodles, noodles, noodles... and you're expected to slurp.

Yuet Lee
Broadway at Stockton in Chinatown. Tel. 415.982.6020

$$. Your fish will probably still be breathing as it's carried to the pan at this San Francisco Chinese restaurant. This is a top spot for late dining. Bring your own wine. Try the salt and pepper squid.

San Francisco hotels

The Argent Hotel San Francisco Argonaut Hotel Chancellor Hotel on Union Square Comfort Suites San Francisco Airport Commodore Hotel, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel Hotel Cosmo, A Kimpton Boutique Hotel Courtyard by Marriott Fishermans Wharf Dakota Hotel Hotel Diva Embassy Hotel