1. Lao Table
Lao Table takes Laotian food to the next level. It’s on the expensive side, but a meal there excites all the senses. The presentation and plating is beautiful, the food is bright and colorful, and everything tastes amazing. Save room for dessert and get that Mark Mango (right) which is a huge mango shaved ice AND mango coconut sticky rice in one dessert.
2. Chili House / Z & Y Restaurant
I grouped Chili House and Z & Y Restaurant together because they are owned by the same people and have a very similar menu. Chili House is my absolute favorite of the two because of their Peking duck, which, in my opinion, is the best in San Francisco, but Z & Y is more famous and has even served both Chinese and US presidents over the years.
3. Farmhouse Kitchen Thai
Similar to Lao Table, Farmhouse Kitchen Thai excites all the senses. Everything from the trendy ambiance to the colorful and modern Thai dishes (and that awesome Thai iced tea!) make this some of the best Asian food in San Francisco.
I’m typically a bigger fan of hot pot than I am of shabu shabu, but Mokuku caught my eye because of their wagyu beef! They also have 6 different broths to choose from, which is awesome, but the wagyu is really the star of show. It’s buttery smooth, and better than any other meat I’ve had at other similar spots.
5. Dragon Beaux
While it’s a bit expensive, the dim sum from Dragon Beaux is flavorful and delicious. If you’re out in the Richmond District, this should definitely be a go-to!
6. The Lucky Pig
Walking through the Tenderloin isn’t always the best experience, but The Lucky Pig’s modern take on Korean cuisine is always worth it. I love their Korean fried chicken, which is served with sauce on the side so the chicken stays extra crispy. You should also try their cheesy tteokbokki, Army Stew, and Dosirak Lunchbox (left), which is filled with kimchi fried rice and topped with everything you see below.
7. Burma Superstar
This is one of the classic restaurants in the Richmond District. Burma Superstar typically has a line out the door to taste their bold flavors. Crowd favorites tend to be their tea leaf salad (left) and garlic noodles (middle). They have a sister restaurant closeby, B-Star, that’s equally as delicious.
Daeho is another modern Korean restaurant with tons of drool- and instagram-worthy dishes. The most famous is probably their braised beef ribs, which are totally covered in melted mozzarella cheese, but you really can’t go wrong here!
Definitely one of the best Asian restaurants in SF, PPQ is famous for their Vietnamese garlic crabs and garlic noodles. When it comes to eating, crab is often too much work for me to truly enjoy if it involves cracking it and scooping out the meat, but PPQ is one spot that is worth it every single time.
10. Y & Y
Originally recommended to me back in high school by a Vietnamese friend, Y & Y quickly became my neighborhood go-to, and I still think it’s a fantastic spot for both pho and rice/noodle plates. It’s super tiny, so get there early since the locals fill it up quickly.
Believe it or not, downtown San Francisco used to be a bustling, busy place during the work week prior to COVID, but you’d never believe it today. Muracci’s is another hole-in-the-wall that would have people lined up down the block just to get some of their Japanese katsu curry or curry udon. I used to order from them at least once a week back when I was working in the area a few years ago, and I honestly wish I was able to order it more often these days, if nothing else, to support them. Try them sometime and I promise you’ll be hooked!
12. Tang Bar
You normally wouldn’t expect amazing food from inside a mall, especially Stonestown, which, back when I was growing up was the place to go if you wanted Chevy’s or Sbarro Pizza. That’s why it’s been so cool to see legitimately awesome food and dessert spots opening up there including Tang Bar! They specialize in malatang (left), which is similar to hot pot, but they cook everything for you in their kitchen after you choose what you want. They have a long self serve counter and you put the raw ingredients into a bowl, then they weigh it to determine the price. They also have some incredible appetizers like their Green Onion Pancake Roll (middle) and their Szechuan Cold Noodles (right)!
I feel like ramen is a very sensitive subject and people get super opinionated about what’s “authentic” and “good.” But despite all of that, I’m going to give my controversial opinion – Ramenwell’s Signature Pork Ramen (left) is one of the best bowls in town. Is it the most authentic? Probably not. But it has the thickest, richest tonkotsu broth I’ve ever had, so if you’re just looking for a filling, totally satisfying experience, I can’t recommend this place enough. If, on the other hand, you’re more of a lighter, shoyu ramen kind of person, this probably isn’t for you. I’d still give it a shot, though!
If you want a more elevated Asian food experience in San Francisco, but still want to keep it modern and trendy, Kaiyō is a must! They blend Peruvian and Asian influences together to create dishes that are truly one of a kind. They’re also opening a rooftop bar down near the Giants ballpark, so be sure to check that out as well!
This is not your traditional udon joint! Sure, they have niku udon, beef or vegetable curry udon, and a couple other traditional bowls, but what really makes them shine is their creative specials. In the past, they’ve done things like creamy kabocha broth and clam chowder udon, both of which were super tasty and they continue to innovate year over year. Plus the owners are some of the nicest people around.
16. San Tung
This is another SF classic and needs to be recognized on a list of the best Asian food in San Francisco. Everything I’ve had here has been delicious, but most people come here for one thing – their dry fried chicken wings! The price has gone up fairly significantly over the last several years, but the crowds haven’t thinned at all, which says all you need to know about how good these wings are.
Garlic noodles are the name of the game here! Their pho is also tasty, as are their Imperial Rolls, but my order literally every time I go is for their Five Spice Chicken Garlic Noodles. The chicken is always moist, skin on, with tons of flavor, and the garlic noodles are to die for.
Whereas Ramenwell is my favorite bowl of ramen in the city, Marufuku is the best (in my opinion) spot for more traditional ramen. I’m talking katamen (hard noodles) and the usual thickness and flavor for each type of broth. They also have awesome chicken karaage.
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