China Live

4.5
1120 reviews
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$30 and under
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Chinese
"Restaurant of the Year" - EaterSF
Our first floor restaurant features a daily changing seasonal menu cooked from 8 specialized stations that merge traditional Chinese and Western culinary equipment. A main dining area plays centerpiece, appointed with chairs and tables all handcrafted in China from reclaimed Chinese elm. These exhibition kitchens, with plenty of bar seating, will allow you a more close-up view of the deft chefs in action.
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What 1120 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.3
service
4.4
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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L
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had dinner twice during the 5 day stay in San Francisco (because this place was THAT GOOD). We sat at the dim sum bar/service area which I think is the best seats in the house (you can see all the actions).
🥟 Loved the Sechuan Working Hands Dumpling (it wasn’t too spicy) — the broth was to die for. We loved it so much we ordered a second dish (also PSA: order a side of rice 🍚!!)
We stuck with dim sums and smaller plates but dinner plates looked amazing too when we walked by tables.
Excellent service!

f
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Great service and food, but too noisy for meaningful conversations.

LA
Detroit
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

China Live Marketplace restaurant is a great experience. The wait staff was attentive and knowledgable. The space is great for large groups, although I do not recommend this location for intimate conversations (it's quite lively and open so can be a bit loud!) but the food and drinks are great.

l
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

For a consistently good meal with fresh healthy ingredients and unusual presentations, this is a winner. However, it is expensive for what you get. The service is helpful.

H
Boise
36 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great evening for locals and out of town guests. Something for everyone and great service.

SV
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The atmosphere is lively and the food is creative and delicious. We always sit at the dumpling bar and enjoy watching the chefs make the dim sum.

a
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful experience and food.

EB
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food, exceptional service , and restaurant design is well organized and aesthetically appealing! I recommend sitting smack in the middle of restaurant near front kitchen so you may watch chefs prepare the dim sum and entrees firsthand. I suggest you come with an open mind to try new entrees you may not have had before. Everything from
Small Plates, entrees, noodles, meats and desserts, along with drinks are all well prepared with thoughtfulness and presentation.

I always enjoy my experience there w friends and family! Wonderful place to celebrate a special occasion!

Cheers!

JC
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Alejandro and Mustafá (think I got those correct) top knotch bar tenders We came here for one of our honeymoon meals and everybody was very sweet attention to detail good people working for China live michAel the waiter as well ! Thank you very much we look forward to going back and trying new dishes !

K
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I was a Birthday

s
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 2food 5service 1ambience 3

I have never written a negative review. I asked if I could get a cocktail without added sugar as I have diabetes and waiter said no because all cocktails premixed. This is an upscale restaurant and only dive bars serve premixes. The waiter tried to rush the couple next to us and they said they were not finished. The moment they finished their last bite he came over and took away their dishes and asked to take mine too. He could see my meal was less than half finished. Five minutes later he came again and tried to take the dishes away and I had to tell him no. When he brought my bill it was a crumpled register tape. The Female servers were all professional but it seemed the males, including the bartenders I spoke to later were not professional at all. I spoke to the mgr and he acted like the manager in one of those dicey Chinese restaurants where the food is fantastic but they just throw it on the table and that's it. He told me the place is very high turnover and they don't have time to make custom cocktails and he did not apologize for the waiter's behavior and then he walked away from me. I spent over $200 for the worst service ever.

S
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

Too much dough, not enough meat! OK, I admit I prefer Duck in the traditional pancake so the Duck pocket in the pita like thing didn't cut it. Nor did the Pork in a a giant bao and then we had a whole order of duck and it was mostly bone. Cool but very noisy space, I was dissappointed.

z
Chicago
22 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, wonderful cocktails and tea, great service both in the restaurant and bar.

KA
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 2

Placed next to a large group of very young kids who were running all around us and throwing food.

OT
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our second visit was outstanding as was our first visit last year.
Such a wonderful ambiance, such delicious food, and our server was informative and perfectly attentive.
Great suggestions.

JR
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The food is simply superb! Everything we tasted was excellent! Good , fast and attentive service as well. Just keep in mind that it is a shop as well so people will come by and look at stuff while you eat, however this did not bother us. Again though the food was absolutely excelllent!

CO
New England
8 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Food was amazing and a really neat vibe. Server was a bit clueless and went missing for most of the meal, but otherwise loved this place. Would highly recommend.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 4

Service was the worse. I had to get up and ask for service. Again for water and again for the bill. No acknowledgement at all.

SC
Sacramento
4 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 3

Fabulous, creative dishes that take traditional delicacies to a gourmet level. Brilliant chef! Creative restaurant and menu design! Delicious.

AN
Surrey
2 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Daily menu to accommodate seasonal changes. Delicious food cooked to order from the different areas of the kitchens around the dining hall. Noise levels quite high so not suitable for all types of meals.
Being British and not used to “forced” to tip, I was a bit taken back by 3 percentages of tip being pre calculated on the bill and ringed in pen to bring it to my attention.

RT
Dallas
1 review
Dined on August 14, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

Good for one time dinner to have the experience, but extremely overpriced for the food and service.

MS
1 review
Dined on August 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place for a casual dinner with friends and family.
Food always tastes good, and service is excellent.
Only thing to take under consideration is the high level of noise

DT
New York Area
29 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our second time here on vacation. We liked it better the second time around. It was not very busy in the afternoon which was wonderful. Our service was much better than the first time which was a Wednesday evening. Our food and drinks came out quickly and hot. We loved everything we ate. The buns and dumplings are so good! Wine is very good as well. Decent draft beer too.

EG
Philadelphia
13 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent spot for Asian cuisine. Wil definitely return when we're back in SF. Our sever server recommended the house blond beer and our entire set of share plates. We could not be happier with the overall experience.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 3

It was great until I learned that the restaurant reported us as a no show to Open Table.

AR
Cleveland
2 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Our first time having Dim Sum- great experience. Delicious!

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

Hostess was a bit rude, there were too many people she need it help.
Waitress was courteous and friendly
I was disappointed with the food. Very bland

A
Miami
12 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Phenomenal food in a hip while at the same time, zen location. Excellent service. You will enjoy China Live's authentic interpretation of Chinese cuisine in a beautiful downtown location. Make reservations as getting a table here without them is very, very difficult.

DL
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food, service, timeliness of entrees arriving were excellent. Large platters served 7 of us, as we ordered 7 items. The only problem was the reservation via Open Table. I called the restaurant to make sure we were "on" and the woman who answered the phone said she didn't see an Open Table reservation for us. I told her to make sure we have a table when we arrived on the set date. Then, Open Table sends me a reminder the day before, so I don't think this woman knew how to pull up the information. We drove from out of town, so we didn't want any hassles.

CK
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 3

Check in which area of the restaurant you will dine. We sat in the shop area where the air condition was working like in the North or East Pole. This is really not necesarry! Dishes were delightful, good young atmosphere, we would come again

RF
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Really enjoyed the food, vibe, and ambiance at this place. Lots of choices , if not quite super-authentic still everything was well-prepared and we enjoyed our food and the energy, as well as the helpful service.

d
San Francisco
92 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Our family of 7 celebrated several birthdays at China Live. All of the food was outstanding. The noise level was intense.

DS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 4

Everything was great! Except for the service. It was really slow and server was inattentive and didn’t even seem to notice things were taking a long time. (E.g. 20 mins before she even took our drink order. Hot plates were placed in front of us with no warning - “burned” my fingers loving the plate, not literally .... but it was hot. Not just warm.)

CB
New Mexico
11 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

China Live! is a discovery. Get over there now. I’ve made two trips there ... once with a friend and 2 teens, and once with a group of three seniors. We chose a variety of dishes to share among all of us, so we widely sampled the menu. Everything we had was delicious. The bill was quite reasonable for scrumptious, well-prepared, nicely presented food. I will go back again and again.

DB
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our wait staff was thorough and attentive. Food was delicious and filling. This was my second time here and I will definitely return.

S
Baltimore
12 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Super loud, food came out at unpredictable and wildly varying intervals, waiter had an attitude. They need more staff for sure. Also need to investigate how to reduce the noise.

OT
1 review
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was amazing.

E
1 review
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Overpriced, noisy, limited menu selections. Unfortunately the restaurant is focused on the tourists not the average Chinese who live in Chinatown. Quality of the food is just average. Disappointed ☹️

CJ
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

We liked the food and vibe here. This is definitely one of those places where you want to splurge on company money instead of your pocket.

CC
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

we enjoyed the food and our server was very good. the only issue we had was after making a reservation, we still waited about 40 minutes for a table. the hostess was unapologetic. i thought the least they could do was buy us a drink while we waited.

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