Shirley Fong-Torres’ Favorite Asian Restaurants

Posted July 2006

  • Bow Hon
    850 Grant Ave., 415-362-0601
    This tiny 2-floor restaurant boasts claypot specialties and is a popular place for the Lunar New Year specialty, yu soon, raw fish filet salad. A great place for a quick lunch or dinner in the heart of Chinatown.
  • Four Seas
    731 Grant Ave., 415-989-8188
    The Wok Wiz tours frequently end at this restaurant for lunch - good steamed dumplings, steamed buns, and noodle dishes, dinners and banquets.
  • Great Eastern 
    649 Jackson St., 415-986-2500
    Attractive "Hong Kong-style" atmosphere, medium size restaurant with fresh fish and crab pulled fresh out of tanks.
  • Henry’s Hunan
    4 Locations:
    674 Sacramento St., 415-788-2234
    924 Sansome St., 415-956-7727
    1016 Bryant St., 415-861-5808
    110 Natoma St., 415-546-4999

    Owner/chef Henry Chung is the pioneer of introducing spicy ’n hot Hunan food to San Francisco. Try Diane’s Meat Pies and Pancakes as starters, then fire up your palate!
  • Hons Wun Tun
    648 Kearny St., 532 Jessie St., 415-552-4933
    Just as the name implies, this café serves up hundreds of bowls of noodles and won ton a day, and for the right price.
  • Hunan Home
    622 Jackson St. 415-982-2844
    Come “home” to wonderful Hunan plate lunches, great northern- style dim sum on weekends, and fabulous banquet dishes. Excellent Honey Walnut Prawns.
  • Imperial Palace
    816 Washington St, off of Waverly
    New (as of June, 2006) restaurant with very good dim sum and stir-fry dishes, but customer service needs spiffing up. I will return because the kitchen listened to me to NOT INCLUDE MSG which is a problem for many diners these days.  The steamed dumplings and baked pork buns are delicious and tastes very fresh.  There is an “open kitchen” where you can watch the chefs prepare dumpings.
  • Kyo-Ya
    2 New Montgomery, (in the Palace Hotel), 415-546-5090
    Located on the corner of this historic and gorgeous hotel, this is one of my favorite downtown Japanese restaurants. A great place to enjoy bento boxes or full-menu selections. Attractive and neat, and close to Market St., shopping, and other hotels.
  • Le Colonial
    20 Cosmo Place, 415-931-3600
    In the former site of Trader Vic’s, where my father once was the head chef. A beautiful, upscale Vietnamese restaurant, in a tropical and elegant setting, with an upstairs lounge and dining area.
  • Nagano Sushi
    3727 Geary Blvd., 415-221-9811
    You can take the Geary bus from downtown and cross the street to this fabulous Japanese restaurant. Sit at the bar and feast on fresh hamachi, toro, and dozens of Japanese rolls. If you prefer sit-down, their Tempura is well executed, as well as hot noodle bowls.
  • Potsticker
    150 Waverly Place
    Located along one of the most picturesque streets of Chinatown, Potsticker is known for their steamed dumplings and noodles.
  • PPQ Dungeness Island
    2332 Clement St., 415-386-8266
    I love the under-$6 bowl of piping hot “pho” noodles, the wondrous roast crab and garlic noodles, not as pricey as Crustacean, also excellent!
  • R & G Lounge
    631 Kearny St., 415-982-7877
    Newly remodeled, street level bar/lounge; upstairs to the dining room, excellent seafood, known for their steamed or salt and pepper crab. Very attractive, bustling.
  • Roy's
    101 2nd St.,  415-777-0277  
    Namesake Roy Yamaguchi has yet another popular dining spot for us, serving up Euro-Asian cuisine. Atmosphere is upscale, beautiful bar, very good food selections.
  • Sam Wo
    813 Washington St., 415-982-0596
    My “I Can’t Relieve I Ate My Way Through Chinatown!” tour begins here, as we share piping hot bowls of “jook” — rice congee, along with Chinese bread and stuffed rice noodles. You have to visit Sam Wo’s at least once!
  • Tampopo Ramen House
    1740 Buchanan St., 415-346-7132
    This is a very small restaurant, go early if you can for delicious and price-friendly gyoza, wonderful ramen soup with roast pork.
  • Yank Sing
    101 Spear. 415-957-9300
    My favorite Dim Sum restaurant to impress family, friends, and foodies. Creative, innovative, and fresh, delicious dumplings and special dim sum accompaniments; Maggie’s favorites: sticky rice, mango pudding. Worth every cent.
  • Yee’s Restaurant
    1131 Grant Ave., 415-576-1818
    I bring my “I Can’t Believe I Ate My  Way Through Chinatown!” groups here for heavenly Roast Duck, Salt ‘n Pepper  Eggplant, Fresh Ginger/Scallion Dungeness Crab, and other authentic Cantonese dishes. Menus are in Chinese, on the wall, or typical tourist/casual menu. $2-3 specials, “Happy  Hour,” at 3 p.m.
  • You’s Dim Sum
    675 Broadway
    What a find! I bring my ‘eating’ (see above) group here to nibble “dim sum on the street,” as we bite into the best Baked Roast Pork Buns and steamed shrimp and pork dumplings.
  • Yuet Lee
    1300 Stockton St., 415-982-6020
    Easy to find — look for the Coca-Cola sign — it's bigger than the Yuet Lee sign. A favorite among SF chefs, foodies. Brightly lit, but just keep your eyes on your bowls and plates of fresh fish, seafood, rice plates!


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