China Live

4.5
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1211 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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Private Dining

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What 1211 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
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
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j
New York Area
14 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Ambiente agradable, alegre, comida china moderna muy buena, las sillas sin espaldar son muy incómodas

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LM
New Zealand
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

We loved the way we could watch our food being cooked, as we were seated around the kitchen. We agree with others that these are the best dumplings ever. The place was quite noisy, so be prepared for this, but don't let it put you off going because you really should - it's a wonderful taste of Chinatown. Suitable for couples, friends, and corporate lunches and dinners too.

JC
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

If you want a different experience, and are on an expense account, try China Live once.

If you want a conversation at dinner, don't go to China Live. If you want good Chinese food, you certainly don't need to go to China Live and pay the prices.

Hats off to George for creating a different experience. But somehow, the ambiance he created is overwhelmingly noisy, and we were told that the communal tables were less noisy than the Market Dining Room tables.

The service was mostly gracious and helpful by our waitress who had just been introduced to Chinese food by taking this job. Kudos to her for trying and being quite accurate in describing our choices. Other servers, who brought our food, mumbled the names of our dishes as they arrived.

At the prices being charged, despite the fact we were at a communal table, the timing of our meal could have followed more of the usual logic for a Chinese meal - soup, entrees, vegetables, starch. But, then again, the place was packed.

Most importantly, was the food. I would call it a notch above P. F. Chang's quality. Yes, I don't compare it to the many excellent regional Chinese restaurants we have in the Bay Area, but rather to a national chain.

So China Love will do well for visitors bragging rights in San Francisco. But it will not do well for return visits by local Chinese.

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

Best Chinese food!! When in the city, it is a must for us.

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

First time in China Live and it was AMAZING!

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

Our group gathered for tea and desserts at Oolong Cafe where the noise level is a bit less overwhelming. Music was too loud for our liking in the beginning. Nice selection of teas and mocktails. Great selection of pastries. Love the fig tart as it was not that sweet. 5 stars on the black sesame cheesecake. Good and friendly service.

MA
New York Area
18 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 2

Amazing Food ! Waiter was great !! A++

Bar service , terrible ...
Scene , not a date or special occasion place in any way.

TO
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

food very good.....a little pricey for Chinatown and AC was a bit high

OT
Jacksonville
3 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was a great find in China Town! A great lunch and a time we will always remember as if we had planned it out! I highly recommend!

T
San Diego
30 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Going to a new restaurant we like to let the server make recommendations and everything that we got was wonderful ! Great ambiance, lots of different seating options and food prep areas, lots going on, fun atmosphere.

JJ
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 4

While I indicated that we where here for a special occasion, it was not mentioned or celebrated by the restaurant team. Our table was small and cramped for the 4 of us. Despite having a lot of service staff around, we had trouble getting our water filled, ordering and asking for the check. Our waiter was attentive, but had a lot of active tables and was seemingly doing a lot on his own despite numerous other staff members moving around the restaurant. The food was fine, but overpriced. Ambiance was nice.

MB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great ambiance and excellent Chinese food. A little pricey for what it is though. There are so many Chinese restaurants in San Francisco that I would probably not go back but try new ones.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 1

No ambiance sitting in the market vs restaurant

CJ
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Excellent, food, great variety, reasonably priced, staff very helpful in recommending and knowledge of menu items. Entire staff seemed to be dedicated to bringing us the best experience. Super fun and delicious experience!

OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 4ambience 3

Unfortunately we saw rats in the floor.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome night and great food! Can’t wait to go back.

U
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The noise level made it impossible to have a conversation.

OT
Sacramento
4 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was delicious and the place was beautiful. The noise level though, was so loud!

EQ
New York Area
22 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food, service, ambiance and drinks. We loved it so much, we went back the next day to try even more shareable plates. My favorites: the fat noodles, the shumei, the vegetable potstickers, and the Seabass. Everything was so good. Literally three of us went on a Monday night and three of us chose to go back on Tuesday night- the next day!

BD
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 26, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Had the $25 set menu for lunch. Food was very good, but it didn't feel like great value. Better to go as a larger group and split a bunch of dishes.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a blast. I always come here when people are visiting San Francisco and it never lets us down.

JB
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 1

I don’t like this place at all. I think it lacked ambiance and felt like a bad concept more than a restaurant. Don’t get what all the excitement is about.

OT
Dallas
1 review
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Cheryl was great! We let her do the ordering and she chose perfectly! Food comes out pretty fast so be ready to eat!

WP
Cleveland
65 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Dumplings great, atmosphere energetic especially for Chinatown. Solid for fun experience...you can get more authentic Chinese food elsewhere though

OT
Phoenix
4 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

The food here is good but the service leaves a lot to be desired. First off, they have a very difficult time serving an "appetizer" as an appetizer, meaning before the actual meal.

This has happened every time we have gone there. Last night, I even ordered the appetizer before placing the meal and even explained the goal to the server. We for the entrees first which was so irritating. I had also ordered a side of rice which I never got.

No one ever checked in during the meal to see if everything was good.

So in summary, their service sucks, it's really loud and I just don't understand why they would allow marginals servers.

TR
Dallas
11 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place!!!!! Would highly recommend. Energetic atmosphere and tasty food!!!

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent all around ! 5 Stars

DC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything Excellent, Excellent, Excellent, Excellent!!!!

LL
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Food was great, slightly on the pricier side, service was slow since it was prime time.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

The food is great. The service was terrible.

CL
Charlotte
6 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent experience! From the wait staff to the management, I was treated like I was invited guest in their own home. The atmosphere was inviting and the food was top notch. I would absolutely visit this establishment again!

SF
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

The dishes did not work. Was expecting traditional real world Chinese and was disappointed. The best dish was the soup dumplings and they are not as good as many local places in SF that charge much less.

Would not go back again.

FT
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service. I love the char siu bao!

c
San Francisco
151 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Modern take on Chinese food such as assembling the Peking Duck on a sesame pocket bread rather than the usual pancake or steamed bun. Food is hit and miss, enjoyed the charred Chinese broccoli, Peking Duck, dumplings. Taiwanese beef noodle featured on their Taiwanese street food festival had too much soy sauce and salt flavor and not enough beef flavor according to our Taiwanese dining companion when we tasted the broth before ordering so didn't order it. The salt and pepper chicken was good. The first visit the server was excellent and did things like suggest ordering 4 pieces of the Peking Duck (normally comes as 5) when it was just two of us dining. Timely checkins to make sure the food was correct. No mistakes. The second visit was very poor. One dish completely forgotten, one dumpling misordered which was corrected by the manager. No napkin initially at the place setting. Had to repeatedly ask for lemon slices for the iced tea which was requested at the time of ordering yet took 3 reminders to actually happen. The venue was very pretty and we were given a tour of the upper dining rooms (Eight Tables by George Chen) and bar which were very beautiful and elegant, as was the private dining room. Tempted to try the upper floor restaurants for a later black tie evening but not sure it would be worth the high prices given the hit and misses of the downstairs offerings.

GV
San Diego
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Great ambience and food, the staff was friendly and polite, they need to be a bit more polished for the level restaurant that China live is is aiming at (should be easy). Made a reservation and arrived 10 minutes early, was told they would come and get me at the bar, after 25 minutes I went back to the host and they re-suggested that we dine at the counter after some minor (begging) they told me a table just paid and that would be seated in a few minutes, this time they did came for us within 10 minutes. Uoon unveiling of our setting arrangement we encountered that our table (for 2) was extráelos small, we reminded them of our extra elbow space request and advised that we will need more space for a food, unfortunately there were no other tables available, once all our food came, they place a small seating stool to set all the additional food that would not fit in our table. This is not a big deal (for some folks), the staff should be trained to anticipate thee type of instances, and handle the situation more swiftly and seem less for a greater dinner experience.
Our server was great profesional and attentive, the food was great, different and rich with different flavors.

Overall great experience and wish them a bulk of successful and innovating years to come

ME
1 review
Dined on September 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food. Dim sum amazing! Good price point. Service and atmosphere was great! Valet was great! Noise level is a little high. Fantastic place, wish there was one in Denver!

s
Vancouver
5 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

One of the best meals we’ve ever had, but also the loudest restaurant we’ve ever been in. Anywhere in the world.

MG
London
12 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

Above average Dim Sum and Kung Pao Chicken

I don’t mind pricy Cocktails but these were more like carbonated flavored beverages.....clearly skimpy on the alcohol

Service was inattentive at times

Decent overall experience but nothing truly memorable or exceptional

OT
Seattle
1 review
Dined on September 17, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 3

Horrible service. Took 30 minutes to take our order.

DA
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Noodles were amazing as well as the prawns and pork dumplings!

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