The first Chinese In the mid-19th century, restaurants in the United States opened in San Francisco to cater to Chinese gold miners and workers. The restaurants were initially mostly Cantonese-influenced restaurants and were designed to meet the growing needs of the Chinese population in the area as they became more affluent and diverse. In addition to old-school chop suey houses, the Bay Area’s Chinese neighborhoods feature farm-to-table restaurants that take advantage of the growing Asian heirloom vegetable market and people-friendly hot pot hotspots. Regionalism has also found its way: The Z&Y Restaurant was a pioneer of fiery and numbing Sichuan cuisine, while the newer Wojia Hunan cuisine presents the region’s smoked meat and spicy pickled chili flavors. At a time when xenophobia and pandemic-era stereotypes have compounded the economic impact of the coronavirus on Chinese communities, it’s important to remember that the Chinese restaurants in the Bay Area are an integral part of what what makes the local food scene so great. Here are some of the places not to be missed. They were updated with more favorites in February.

If you are just looking SF Chinatown restaurants, see my recommendations for this neighborhood.