The Best Dim Sum Restaurants In SF

This guide is full of har gow, fried sesame balls, and siu mai.
interior of restaurant with patrons at every table

photo credit: Erin Ng

San Francisco is lucky to be home to some of the best dim sum in the country. They generally fall into three categories: takeout-friendly bakeries that are good for filling up on freshly steamed pork buns, high-end places churning out creative xiao long bao and taro puffs shaped like swans, and old-school institutions with classic carts. We love them all, but these are the 11 best. If you're looking for great dumplings, we have a guide for that, too.


photo credit: Melissa Zink

Dim Sum


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The orange awning outside of Good Mong Kok acts like a lighthouse beacon, signaling to the neighborhood that it’s a dim sum destination. The sign is clearly working—people line up outside of this shoebox-sized Chinatown bakery daily for their generously stuffed char siu bao and pillowy pineapple buns. The big steamers by the window and the pastry cases are refilled constantly since items get snatched up just as fast. They're takeout-only, so grab one of everything, and, likely, devour your treats on the sidewalk in record time. 

photo credit: Stephanie Court



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This place has been around since 1958, and is arguably the most famous Cantonese dim sum restaurant in the city. They’re still going strong, signature cart service included. Yank Sing makes consistently great xiao long bao, steamed barbecue pork buns, and scallop siu mai, so it’s easy to leave satisfied. Yank Sing has two locations, but the more spacious Spear Street outpost inside the Rincon Center is the best—the sky-high atrium with funky geometric walls lets in tons of natural light. 

Dragon Beaux is for an over-the-top feast in a space that makes you feel like you’re sitting atop a gilded throne. Plush purple booths flanked by golden pillars and carved wood panels split the dining room up into a maze of sections. The dim sum coming out of here has a luxurious flair, too—like the truffle-filled soup dumplings tinted black by squid ink, and charcoal sponge rolls with hypnotic custard swirls. We never leave this Richmond spot without at least one order of their jumbo scallop siu mai, meaty two-biters steamed to perfection. 

Traditional banquet-style dim sum is at Hong Kong Lounge in the Richmond. The pink-walled restaurant is always packed with groups of families and friends spinning lazy susans full of xiao long bao steamers and plates of glistening char siu. It’s busy most days, but this spot runs as efficiently as a halftime show setup—food arrives within minutes, and staff keep your teapot full at all times. And since Hong Kong Lounge is group and walk-in friendly, it’s perfect for last-minute brunches, or when your party of four suddenly turns into eight.

photo credit: Melissa Zink

On average, the dim sum specialties coming out of this Richmond bakery are about the size of a mini bowling ball. Especially the baked barbecue pork bun, which has a nice jammy filling that we would gladly eat by the spoonful. Walk in with $10 cash, and you’ll be on your way in under five minutes, weighed down with a bag full of still-warm steamed things that’ll keep you full well into the day. Service is efficient, so don’t let the line deter you. 

Palette Tea House in Ghirardelli Square (from the Dragon Beaux people) commits to the art theme with full force—ceramic palette-shaped sauce dishes, anyone? While the theme feels somewhat kitschy, it does make this dim sum spot a lot of fun. Lobster har gow are injected with butter via tiny pipettes. Airy taro puffs are shaped like swans. And xiao long bao wrappers are bright red and green from beets and kale, respectively. Each dish would look right at home as a display at the deYoung. 

The dim sum classics at this homey Cantonese spot in SoMa (it was formerly in the Richmond) are worth crossing town for. That’s because this spot excels at making hearty entrées as much as smaller dishes—order at random and you’ll end up with a meal you’ll dream about for days. Just make sure the lunch or dinner involves their standout fried sticky rice and lightly fried sesame balls (they’re the ideal crispy finisher). And since the space is the size of a nail salon, be sure to snag a reservation before going to town on a full-blown feast.

Osmanthus feels random. It’s smack dab in the middle of a touristy section of North Beach, has a full bar decorated with miniature dragons and pagodas, and sometimes streams horse racing on the big TVs. The crowd is a mix of locals and visiting families, and they’re all filling up the quirky space for one reason: the surprisingly excellent dim sum. The menu covers dim sum standards like siu mai, shrimp cheong fun, and XO noodle rolls that get the job done with ease. But the runaway hit, however, are the chewy, fragrant garlic noodles, which are some of the city’s best. 

The size of the dim sum at this Richmond bakery will make you do a double take. Get bug-eyed staring at their frisbee-sized barbecue pork buns, extra meaty siu mai, and fried sesame balls that could also function as a door stopper. Everything is huge and delicious. Order one of everything you’ve laid your eyes on, because that’s just the right thing to do. Another perk to coming here: there’s usually less of a line than at Good Luck Dim Sum down the street. 

photo credit: Melissa Zink



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This Embarcadero restaurant is the white-tablecloths-and-chandeliers dim sum option. Basically, it’s where you should make a reservation if you’ve got relatives in town, or need a place downtown to take your most high-maintenance client for lunch (they also have a full bar). Plus, this spot has unbeatable waterfront views. Go all in on multiple rounds of their iconic baked barbecue pork buns, which have a crunchy sugar coating on top that melts in your mouth. If you’ve got a hankering to crack into some crab legs, it’s the fried salt-and-pepper crab all the way. 

Hang Ah Tea Room in Chinatown is America’s first-ever dim sum spot, making it an institution. But tourist trap, this is not. While it's undergone various owner changes since opening in 1920, we can still rely on them for quick, satisfying dim sum in a low-key space. The ceilings are low, the walls are orange-tinted, and there’s even a random Captain America poster by the bathroom. Pop down an alley across from the playground to get here, and be rewarded with plump shrimp dumplings, chili wontons that activate the spice receptors in your tongue to just the right levels, and xiao long bao with flavorful broth.

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