If you’re in San Francisco and haven’t tried Z & Y Restaurant, you’re seriously missing out! With a large Chinatown and Chinese population, there isn’t a lack of quality Chinese food around, but a select few stand above all the rest. From the same amazing people who brought you Chili House in the Richmond District, Z & Y Restaurant was their first location and has been a mainstay in SF for years.
They’ve accumulated all kinds of accolades from Michelin, Yelp, Zagat, San Francisco Chronicle, and more – they were even chosen as a Michelin 2020 Bib Gourmand Restaurant, so you know their food game is on point. It should be pretty obvious that you should look into this place, but let’s dive into some of our favorite dishes so you can see some of the deliciousness for yourself!
Tan Tan Noodle
The Tan Tan Noodles from Z & Y Restaurant were the perfect carb dish to go along with the other protein and vegetable dishes we tried. When you order them, there is a chili sauce that mostly sinks to the bottom, but once you mix it all together, there’s just enough flavor to keep the noodles interesting while not overpowering the more intense flavors of the other plates.
Pancake w/ Beef
The Pancakes with Beef were one of our favorites from the whole meal. They’re basically crispy Chinese-style pancakes wrapped around sliced beef, cucumber, green onions, and magic (we’re pretty sure it’s magic). These are great as an appetizer, but we could honestly order 2 or 3 of these and just eat them straight up. This was also one of the only dishes we tried that wasn’t spicy, so it’s a great option if you like your food mild, but still flavorful and delicious. Don’t miss them!
Tender Fresh Fish Fillet Boiled in Szechuan Pickled Mustard Broth w/ Tofu
If spicy happens to be your thing, this noodle soup is a must-try! It’s, by far, our favorite soupy dish from Z & Y Restaurant and it’s full of melt-in-your-mouth fish fillets, tofu, mushrooms, and noodles in an incredible pickled mustard broth. The awesome thing about almost everything on the menu is that they can be easily shared, or you can order one or two things all for yourself. This one is the perfect example!
Tea Smoked Duck
We’ve tried the Peking Duck from Chili House and it’s seriously one of our favorite dishes ever. The Tea Smoked Duck from Z & Y Restaurant is not quite on that level in our opinion, but it’s still really tasty and worth a try. Duck tends to be on the saltier side, especially if you leave the skin on, so that’s something to consider. This duck was also a little dryer towards the edges than the Peking Duck, but if you eat it in combination with some rice I think it would be pretty darn fantastic.
Szechuan Chili Lamb
This is another spicy one, but totally worth it even if you’re not a huge fan of spicy foods. I wish I knew what all they used to get the flavor, but it might be cumin and a bit of their chili oil. The celery adds some texture to the dish, which is actually something that a lot of these dishes don’t have. The strong flavors usually make up for it and I never felt like the texture of the other dishes was an issue, but when it’s there it noticeably elevates the experience a bit.
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