8 Dumplings You Need to Try in San Francisco

Momos, xiao long bao and potstickers galore
February 12, 2018
by Zagat Staff

From the powerful pork flavor burst of xiao long bao to greaseless, plump potstickers, we're very fortunate in San Francisco to have an abundance of incredible dumplings across the city, many of which are served at our must-try Chinese restaurants. Beyond the traditional dim sum varieties, our dumplings come in too many styles and cuisines to count — Russian pelmeni, Nepalese momos, Japanese gyoza for starters — and can range from creative $1 happy-hour ones at E&O by Union Square to extravagant ones like Benu's lobster coral xiao long bao and Eight Tables' fist-sized "four seas" dumpling with caviar, uni and trout roe. Grab some friends, fill the table with a few baskets and enjoy!

Shanghai Dumpling King
Dumpling · Outer Richmond · $
Food 4.3 · Decor 2.7 · Service 3.5

"What a dump" but "what perfect dumplings" are on offer at this Outer Richmond Chinese, where adventurous eaters "turn a blind eye" to the "no-frills" decor and the "distance" from other parts of town to slurp down Shanghainese delicacies; you may have to "share your table" , but it’s so "super-cheap" that after "one taste" , you’ll be this king’s "advocate for life."
Dumpling Time
Dumpling · Potrero Hill · $$

The Omakase Restaurant Group (Omakase, Okane) expands its empire with this buzzy Cal-Asian bistro serving creative Chinese, Japanese and fusion-style dumplings, traditional hand-rolled noodles and starters, plus sake, beer and wine. The midpriced Design District draw offers bar seats overlooking the dumpling-making room, along with communal tables, contemporary furnishings and playful pops of neon.
China Live
Chinese · North Beach · $$

George and Cindy Wong-Chen (Betelnut, Shanghai 1930) are behind this buzzy Chinatown food emporium that’s a multifaceted destination for modern Chinese fare (including sit-down dining and casual cafe options), with artisan Asian teas, open kitchen areas and culinary retail items, all arranged in market hall style.
The Morris
Bistro · The Mission · $$$

This highly anticipated Potrero bistro from a team of Frances and Coi vets offers charcuterie plates and Californian fare, plus cocktails and regionally focused wines. The interior boasts a sleek bar and a black-and-white Bay Area map, along with modern furnishings and lots of natural light.
Dragon Beaux
Chinese · Outer Richmond · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 4.2 · Service 3.9

As "beautifully decorated" as its dim sum is "gorgeous" , this "large" Outer Richmond sibling to Koi Palace puts an "unusual and tasty" "modern twist on traditional" Chinese fare, from hot pots and dumplings to "lots of daily specials" , all accompanied by tea, wine and sake; though a tad "pricey" , the tabs are "on par" with the quality, according to patrons who also point out that the cart-ordering experience "isn't about service."
Yank Sing (Stevenson Street)
Dim Sum · SoMa · $$
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

There’s always a "rolling cart" coming ’round the corner at these dim sum palaces featuring an "unrivaled" selection of "exceptional" tidbits – including some of the "best damn dumplings around" – in a white-tablecloth setting; despite weekend and lunchtime mobs, service is "wicked fast" , and though prices are rather "upscale" , you "get what you pay for" here.
Kingdom of Dumpling
Dumpling · Parkside · $
Food 4.3 · Decor 2.8 · Service 3.5

This "tiny" Parkside "hole-in-the-wall" rewards fans with "darn-good dumplings" and other "cheap, delicious" Chinese eats; just be prepared for "plain" surroundings and "huge waits" for the "crammed" seating – though "takeout is easy."
Bini's Kitchen
Nepalese · Downtown · $

Kathmandu native and La Cocina entrepreneur Binita Pradhan expands her catering and Off the Grid business with a permanent lunchtime kiosk in the Financial District, where the weekday menu features Nepalese momos (dumplings with tomato cilantro sauce), rice and roti dishes, vegetable combos and other casual dishes served to go.