The Best Dumpling Spots In SF

Where to go when you really want dumplings.
A plate of mushroom and fish dumplings at Yuanbao Jiaozi

photo credit: Erin Ng

Every hour on the hour, our stomach sends a signal to our brain requesting a dumpling (we're no doctors, but it's a thing). Lucky for us, San Francisco has fantastic spots to get some. So whether you’re in the mood for momos, pelmeni, or really just feel like popping seven xiao long bao into your mouth in one sitting, this guide has you covered.

If you're looking for dim sum, Chinese spots, or our very serious power ranking of Every Two-Word SF Restaurant That Starts With "Dumpling," we have guides for those, too.


photo credit: Erin Ng


Hayes Valley

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If there’s one thing we look for in a dumpling spot, it’s incredible xiao long bao—and this Chinese restaurant in Hayes Valley delivers. Theirs are juicy and pork-filled, with chewy skins that are borderline translucent. We also love the pan-fried shengjianbao, which are soup-filled yet still crispy, and the green vegetable dumplings. Don’t overlook the rest of the menu, and load up on cucumber salad and the sweet-and-spicy dry-fried chicken wings.

photo credit: Brit Finnegan

The Dumpling Home team pretty much hit copy-paste on their menu when they opened up this sister outpost in Pacific Heights (there's now one in the Mission, too). That’s great news for cult followers of their phenomenal boiled, pan-fried, and steamed dumplings. The shengjianbao are a deep golden crisp on the bottoms and loaded with soup, and the hand-folded xiao long bao are pulled off with Olympic-level precision. The sleek place is great for filling up after a big haul of athleisure and fancy sweaters from a nearby boutique. 

Ordering the khinkali from this Georgian restaurant in North Beach will transport you to a higher plane of existence. The jumbo, sack-like pockets with the thick knotted tops are brothy and perfect. Get the lamb or beef version for maximum juiciness. But you can’t go wrong with the velvety potato-filled ones, either. Order at the self-service kiosk and feel free to get tap happy—some Georgian wine and a bread boat filled with tangy melted cheese, butter, and egg should accompany your dumplings.

The titular mini potstickers at this lowkey Chinese spot in the Sunset are the size of a dollar coin and adorable as hell. But the tiny size of these pan-fried pork buns, served by the dozen, aren’t just a novelty—they’re fantastic, packed with a surprising amount of soup, and showing off bottoms that audibly crunch when you bite into them. The regular-sized dumplings are also deserving of attention like the well-executed xiao long bao and the pork and cabbage boiled dumplings with thick skins. 

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, har gow, and siu mai. 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. 

If you want to make sure to do one thing right today, grab lunch at Bini’s Kitchen. This Nepali restaurant in SoMa makes some of our favorite momos in the city. We love everything about them—from the well-spiced turkey, lamb, or veggie fillings inside silky flour wrappers to the tasty roasted tomato and cilantro sauce that comes on the side. Get the combo meal if you’re really craving momos but still want to enjoy Bini’s other great dishes, like their sautéed cauliflower with peas, green onions, and spices.

Dumpling Specialist in Parkside is a small dumpling shop that serves impressive potstickers, pork buns, wontons in chili oil, and steamed dumplings with pork and cabbage. But it’s one of our favorite xiao long bao spots thanks to the well-seasoned pork filling. There are a few tables inside, but there’s no shame if you want to have private time at home with your dumplings—theirs hold up pretty well.

You’re coming to Yuanbao Jiaozi to break your personal record for the number of dumplings with pudgy creases eaten in one sitting. They make up most of the menu at this casual Sunset restaurant, and are folded up and dropped in bubbling vats of water for you after you order. The fabulous dumplings come in sets of fourteen, with fillings like pork and napa cabbage, chicken and corn, or mushroom and fish. You’re going to want more later, so stop by the fridge in the corner to grab pre-made dumplings for home.  

There are many reasons we love this Parkside dim sum spot: the siu mai overflowing with pork and shrimp, and the meaty xiao long bao, which is one of the best versions in the city. But the very big reason is Dumpling Kitchen’s pan-fried pork buns. They’re wrapped in a thick dough before being steamed, pan-fried, and then sprinkled with sesame seeds and scallions—simple perfection.

Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and the line at Dumpling Home. So when you’d rather not wait (or brave the Friday night Hayes Valley chaos), go to Dumpling Zone instead. The Forest Hill restaurant has a near-identical menu of steamed, boiled, and pan-fried dumplings (even down to the green, hedgehog-like vegetable dumplings), and is much easier to walk into. Go for the pan-fried pork bao, which are like puffy balloons full of savory soup and tender pork, or the crab and pork xiao long bao highlighting delicate, chewy wrappers.

Yummy Dumpling isn’t a sit-down restaurant, but a shop in the Sunset that’s been selling frozen dumplings for years. They have everything from wontons to pork dumplings to xiao long bao, all of which you can boil, steam, or pan fry at home. Each pack comes with 12-20 dumplings, and prices range from $7-$14. You really can’t go wrong with anything here, but whatever you do, grab more than one bag of the pork and cabbage dumplings—they’re incredible, and you’ll probably finish them all in less than 24 hours. You've been warned.

Dumpling House in the Castro serves dumplings, buns, turnip cakes, potstickers, wontons, and Hong Kong-style wonton soup. If your dinner brain tends to want everything when dumplings are involved, you’ll probably welcome their shorter menu. The xiao long bao are extra soupy, the shrimp and pork dumplings are flavorful and meaty, and the wrinkly wontons are delicately wrapped and bathed in slightly spicy chili oil.

Whenever we want a plate of homemade pelmeni, we book it straight to this all-day Russian cafe and bakery in the Richmond. Their beef-and-pork-filled dumplings are meaty, doughy, and taste even better when dipped in that side of thick sour cream. On those all-too-frequent, foggy-misty days in the city, the move is to order the pelmeni in broth. Since this place is a one-stop shop for all the warm, sweet, savory, and comforting pastries that'll make you feel like an overused cable knit sweater, pair your dumplings with a honey cake.

photo credit: Kresent Carasso



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It’s been scientifically proven that eating Dancing Yak’s momos will raise your serotonin levels—at least for the next hour, or however long you spend at this colorful Nepali restaurant in the Mission. The momos are juicy and packed with flavor, but they’re even better dipped in their spicy tomato and roasted soybean sauce. Order some immediately if you need a guaranteed pick-me-up in edible form.

This spot in the Outer Sunset has 19 different kinds of dumplings, from chives with pork to zucchini with lamb (they’re boiled, but you can also ask for them pan-fried). You should absolutely order one of each, if you want to familiarize yourself with the full range of China North’s extensive menu—or if you woke up with an extremely urgent craving for dumplings today. If not, don’t leave without at least one order of their xiao long bao—they’re on the bigger side, and plenty juicy.

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