Where to Drink

SF’s best Asian fare: Li Po, Harborview and more

We’re always craving Asian food, and SF has the restaurants that hit all the right spots.

It’s no secret that San Francisco’s restaurant scene is a foodie’s paradise. We’ve created the perfect restaurant hit-list for when you want to curb your Asian food craving, from Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Cantonese classics. 

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E&O Kitchen and Bar

E&O kitchen and bar San francisco

E&O Kitchen and Bar, source: Facebook

Located in the center of SF’s vibrant Union Square, E&O Kitchen and Bar is a modern Asian oasis serving savory bites and creative cocktails. Spanning over three floors, the restaurant's one-of-a-kind location boasts lofty ceilings, a dramatic bar display, and exquisite decor. The mezzanine level looks down on the main dining room and provides unique eating and private event spaces.

From their selection of beautifully crafted dishes and drinks, try the Chicken Rendang Curry (made from crispy marinated chicken thigh, chilies, ginger, coconut, squash, and pomegranate) or the Shanghai Rice Cake Stir Fry (made from marinated pork loin, gai lan, onion, Thai chili, Thai basil, oyster sauce, and soy sauce). 

Their bar offers an extensive list of beers, cocktails, ciders, Japanese whiskey, and a range of white, red, and rose wines. Try Akashi-Tai “Shiraume” Ginjo Umeshu, the drink has nuances of dried dates and plum nose yield way too sweet with rich prune and almond notes, and it is served neat or on the rocks.

Where - 314 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94108

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Hours - Tue-Sat (11 am - 7 pm)

Harborview Restaurant & Bar

Harborview restaurant and bar san francisco

The patio at Harborview Restaurant and Bar, source: Facebook

Harborview Restaurant & Bar, located at Four Embarcadero Center, features classic yet modern dim sum and banquet meals, as well as impeccable service in an elegant and casual atmosphere. The place features a large dining room that seats over 200 people, as well as a complete bar, patio, private dining, and special event area. 

Their kitchen prepares a fusion of traditional Cantonese classics and their own innovative recipes, all prepared with the highest quality ingredients. Look out for the chef’s special Honey Glazed Barbecued Pork, made from Danish pork slices glazed with honey, sugar, and spices, or the house specialty Harborview Beef, made from Stir-fried top choice sliced beef marinated with chef's special sauce.

The drinks menu comprises draft beer, some classic cocktails, and well drinks. We recommend trying their house's special Roku n’ Ginger cocktail, it is made from Suntory Roku Gin, ginger liqueur, fresh muddled ginger, and lime.

Where - Level, 4 Embarcadero Ctr, San Francisco, CA 94111

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Hours - Tue-Fri (11:30 am - 2 pm and 5 pm - 8:30 pm)
Sat and Sun (10:30 am - 2:30 pm and 5 pm - 8:30 pm)

Read Next: San Francisco's quirkiest bars

House of Nanking

House of nanking San Francisco

House of Nanking, source: Facebook

House of Nanking is the place to go if you want a truly unique Asian eating experience. But be prepared to put your trust in head chef/owner Peter Fang, who has been trying since 1988 to persuade customers to ignore the menu and let him decide what the finest dish of the day is. 

Tsingtao beer and plum wine are available, as well as a few red and white wines. However, you might be better off sticking to tea. The blooming blossom tea is served hot in a large glass cup with a tea bundle within. When it's done steeping, a flower will emerge from the bunch, signaling that it's ripe.

Even if it earns you a look from Fang, the Famous Nanking Sesame Chicken is a must-order. Just tell your server what you want and they'll make the decision for you. You can get garlic noodles, Tsingtao beer-sauce chicken, fried calamari, or fried shrimp packets if you want to try something new.

Where - 919 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94133

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Hours - Mon-Fri (11 am - 9 pm)
Sat and Sun (12 pm - 9 pm)

Li Po Cocktail Lounge

Li po cocktail lounge san francisco

Entrance at Li Po Lounge, source: Facebook

The Li Po Cocktail Lounge on Grant Avenue is named after the great Tang Dynasty poet Li Po and is Chinatown's counterpart to the literary dive bars of the Tenderloin and North Beach. It has a historical vibe, having opened in the 1930s, and has changed very little since then. 

The red-lacquered doors, for example, are still there, along with the wraparound bar, as well as filthy red velvet booths and the omnipresent Chinese lanterns for lighting and decoration. The cocktail lounge features Chinese Mai Tai and it is the most delicious and popular liqueur in town, you must try it.

Where - 916 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108

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Hours - Mon-Sun (2 pm - 2 am)

Nihon Whisky Lounge

Nihon whisky lounge san francisco

Nihon Whisky Lounge, source: Facebook

Nihon is a part of the Dajani Group, which also runs Tsunami Sushi, Bar 821, and Café Abirmodern. The venue is a typical Japanese restaurant that takes a sophisticated approach to the traditional Japanese Izakaya (Japanese version of tapas). 

The space is divided, with a dining room on the upper level and the main bar on the lower level. With its beige brick walls and lit-up panels, the interior is attractive, and the high ceilings make the space feel light and spacious. The downstairs bar glints invitingly with hundreds of back-lit bottles, and there are plenty of comfy banquettes and exquisite low tables.

Fresh sashimi and sushi rolls are also available on the menu. If you're a whisky connoisseur, Nihon also has one of the largest single malt selections on the west coast, with over 400 choices available by the bottle. For future trips, any bottles purchased can be stored in a private locker on the premises. Nihon is also known for its amazing house-made whiskey and champagne drinks.

Where - 1779 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

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Hours - Wed-Sat (5:30 pm - 1:30 am)

New Delhi Restaurant

New delhi restaurant san francisco

New Delhi Restaurant, source: Facebook

Since 1988, the famed New Delhi Restaurant has been a historic San Francisco Legacy Business. The restaurant is one of the greatest in San Francisco's Union Square, serving plant-based, vegetarian, and vegan Indian cuisine.

Celebrity chef Ranjan Dey's unique plant-based, vegetarian, and vegan meals are served in a brick-lined setting decorated in the style of a royal banquet hall. Over 2000 Indian weddings and business occasions have been hosted by New Delhi Restaurant. The restaurant morphs into a place for meetings, corporate presentations, team building, private parties, and social non-profit fundraisers during breakfast and lunch.

Try their house specialty Kofta Shah Jahani or the Chicken Kofta Kebab with a choice of wine. Other than this they also serve house cocktails with an Indian twist and Indian beers with their traditional menu. 

Where - 160 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA 94102

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Hours - Tue-Sun (5 pm - 2 am)

China Live

China live san francisco

China Live Restaurant, source: Website

China Live is more of a shopping mall than a restaurant. Fresh, seasonal Chinese cuisine is served from specialized stations that combine traditional Chinese and Western cooking techniques. Their main eating space serves as the focal point, with views of their open kitchens and chairs and tables made in China from reclaimed Chinese elm.

The wine and drinks list is more extensive and premium than that of a typical Chinese eatery. Try the Singapore Sling, mixed with gin, green-tea vodka, pineapple, orange nectar, and all-spice, and is served in a novelty tiki cup. Also, don't overlook the larger-than-life tea menu.

Some of the dishes are a cross between Chinese and California cuisine, which might be shocking, especially since the menu doesn't specify all of the components. If you ask your server for a description of what you're ordering, he or she will gladly assist you.

Where - 644 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

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Hours - Mon-Thu (5 pm - 9 pm)
Fri-Sun (5 pm - 9:30 pm)

Wako Japanese Restaurant

Wako japanese restaurant san francisco

Wako Japanese Restaurant, source: Facebook

Built-in the Richmond district of San Francisco, Wako is a traditional Japanese restaurant offering a mix of Japanese and California cuisines. Once inside, you'll find a calm and sparse dining area with gorgeous, multi-hued wood surfaces and a courteous serving team.

Although the omakase (which comes in two lengths) may be the only option, rest assured that it is accessible throughout the restaurant. A seat at the ubiquitous counter, on the other hand, is likely to result in a happier outcome. Poached monkfish liver, a creamy potato croquette dolloped with salmon roe, or a salad of sliced apple and mizuna are among the non-sushi options.

Squid with a hint of shiso and Meyer lemon zest, smooth salmon with house-made yuzu kosho, custardy uni imported from Japan, wrapped in toasted seaweed, and, lastly a melt-in-your-mouth slice of delicately grilled A5 Wagyu beef will complete your meal.

Where - 211 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

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Hours - Tue-Sun (5:30 pm - 10 pm)

Roka Akor

Roka Akor san francisco

The bar at Roka Akor, source: Instagram

Roka Akor, located in the center of San Francisco's Jackson Square (on the north side of the Financial District), is contemporary in style and Japanese in spirit, with a chef-driven menu designed to be shared. Exquisite slices of excellent steak, rare Wagyu from various parts of Japan, grilled seafood, and sushi are among the menu's highlights.

The menu also includes Prime Rib Eye with Wafu Dressing and Prime New York Strip Loin with Truffle Aioli, as well as the highest-quality domestic and Australian Wagyu Beef. Roka's famous robata grill delivers a unique dining experience that you won't find anywhere else. Signature cocktails, wine, sake, and a large and award-winning collection of premium whiskies complement the meal.

Where - 801 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94133

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Hours - Mon-Thu (4:30 pm - 9 pm)
Fri and Sat (4:30 pm - 10 pm)

Header image, source: E&O Kitchen and Bar Facebook

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