China Live

4.5
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1462 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 1462 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
84% of people would recommend it to a friend
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LR
1 review
Dined on March 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We went to China Live amid the beginnings of the social quarantine in San Francisco so it was a slower night for the restaurant but we had the best meal and were given excellent recommendations by our waiter! The Hong Kong noodles were phenomenal not to mention the dim sum! Will recommend and will return here for sure!

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on March 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Also great to takeout from! Please call them to do takeout during the Coronavirus shut down!

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on March 11, 2020
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Expensive! Hong Kong noodles with little protein and very very greasy!

CG
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

An outstanding meal, service was exceptional, shared a bottle of Red Car Chardonnay with the table and really enjoyed all the delicious food.

HG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2020
Overall3food2service2ambience5

Numerous complaints- Despite what the website said, Cold Drinks Bar was closed without note or explanation. No one with the staff apologized for that or tried to make it right. Plan B was drinks at ChinaLive bar in main dining room. Bartenders were polite and helpful if not a little too timid. One of them didn't know what gluten-free vodka was and couldn't make a Moscow Mule (used flat tonic water instead of ginger beer). Had I known, I would have ordered something else. My friend's drinks were also unimpressive.

The ambiance is really lovely and the marketing is perfect. Hated looking at the bathrooms all night- it's disgusting how many people don't wash their hands when leaving the bathroom. It became a topic of conversation at our table and certainly didn't help our appetites. Our server was knowledgeable but not warm/friendly. He didn't refill waters or ask about additional drinks. The food was overpriced and unimpressive. I don't mind spending $ for a good meal, this is SF afterall, but for the money I would have had better food almost elsewhere else.

Finally, and worst of all, we saw a mouse run through the gift shop/ tea room area at 8:30 pm. If they feel comfortable being seen at prime dinner time, I can only imagine how many come out when it's quiet. We reported this to the hosts and they were unconcerned. That seemed to confirm our fears. It was clear to us that they were accustomed to seeing them around.

Very very disappointed, had it not been for the beautiful ambiance, I would have given it 1 star.

JF
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2020
Overall4food5service3ambience4

Food was great. As first timers it would have been nice to have a little more direction from our server. She also tended to drop by and just talk over our conversation. Overall great food and a fun environment.

W
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on March 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

China Live was alive. Good cocktails, nicely paired wine list, and of course the food.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was amazing, you order family style. They have a cool little gift shop with tea pots, lose lead tea, bowls, their own sauces... I'll be returning next time I'm in SF.

MJ
1 review
Dined on March 1, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

You must stop here if you are in San Francisco! Great Food, not your typical Chinese food.
Great ambiance!

CL
1 review
Dined on March 1, 2020
Overall2food2service3ambience2

Quality of food has declined. Have eaten here many times. This time food was awful. Noodles were dry and chewy. SJB dumplings were burnt. XLB dumplings came deflated with no soup inside! Suckling pig was mushy inside and sea bass was uncooked. Very disappointed. Will not be back.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 29, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Enjoyed a bit of shopping while waiting for our table. Yummy entrees, especially the eggplant! Going to do all dim sum and appetizers next time to experience more of the menu.

OH
1 review
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall5food5service3ambience5

Food was good !!!
Service .. just ok ... feel like the waiter don’t really care about us !!

h
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our server Amy was awesome!!

P
San Francisco
24 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience4

I had lunch at China Live last week and loved it. The chili shrimp, soup dumplings and lettuce cups were great. The charred Chinese broccoli was a big hit. Am also a big fan of their condiments and purchased say sauce, vinegar and chili be an sauce to be shipped home.

VL
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on February 27, 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience3

Food was quite amazing. Service was just okay. We didn't have any issues with shareable plates but wish the dishes had come with serving spoons and knives to cut things up!

OT
San Diego
5 reviews
Dined on February 26, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Great, but loud. Prepare not to be heard.

M
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on February 25, 2020
Overall1food4service1ambience4

They don’t respect reservations and order of arrival so even with a reservations you will wait 20/30 min. The receptionists are also very disrespectful and rude

G
1 review
Dined on February 25, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience3

I like the ambience at the restaurant and our waiter was amazing. The only thing I can't stand was how loud the restaurant was. Me and my friend almost needed to shout to each other in order to have a conversation. The echo is the restaurant was so bad that by the time we were done with our dinner, we almost lost our voice from talking. I would not recommend going to the restaurant with 2-4 people, as the seating for a smaller group was horrible and prevent you from having any conversation

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2020
Overall3food5service1ambience3

Amazing food. Great spot, fun. Our waiter was terrible. Condescending and not helpful in the least. Very disappointing as I have had other great experiences there.

AN
San Antonio
3 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great! Amazing dumplings, firecracker chicken...perfection.

DP
10 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great place for newbies to Chinatown. I grew up going to hole-in-the-wall and banquet places there and always enjoyed trying to find them, but this place is next level. Large, branded and shiny . . . sure to entice new generations and less adventurous food crowd.

BG
1 review
Dined on February 21, 2020
Overall3food5service4ambience3

Very good food and nice place, but a bit noisy and we were sitting at the bar even though we had booked in advance

P
Palm Springs
51 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2020
Overall4food5service2ambience3

Food was fabulous, waiter was horrible.

E
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2020
Overall3food2service3ambience3

Our table was relatively close to the open kitchen and the workers were talking very loudly to each other. It was very disruptive. We asked for the check and had to wait 15 minutes for it to come.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 19, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, service and atmosphere!
To me a unique restaurant! 🥳

S
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Thank you for a great experience! Our server was lovely!

OT
Guanajuato
2 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Buenísimo la comida, el lugar y el servicio.

Report
D
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on February 17, 2020
Overall5food4service4ambience4

Overall we had a great night because it was mostly due to the company we kept. Still 5 Stars! Loved the wine, bar staff, wait staff and food #leftovers
Would recommend again

PC
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

China Live was great, stuck to the sea food which is what I’ve found to be their best items. Awesome wait staff very authentic and warm. Great food and presentation, and we timed it right with no drunken loudmouthed tech yuppies fouling the atmosphere at this hour.

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic!

OT
Minneapolis
2 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall5food5service3ambience5

We had such a great experience, the food and atmosphere was amazing! We sat at the counter and got to watch the staff make dumplings. The service wasn’t anything to write home about, but I still highly recommend.

TH
Central Coast
2 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Date night! Nothing fancy or special

TS
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on February 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love this place so much. Every time I go, I order way too much food because every item is more spectacular than the last. It provides me with an amazing meal the next day!

LR
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

best quality food - however, the restaurant is too noisy

DE
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a great experience at China Live. Our waiter made excellent suggestions, and adjusted quantities to accommodate our group of 6 people. The food was delicious and full of flavor. it is a loud and lively restaurant, which makes it a little hard to hear anybody who isn't sitting right next to you.

QM
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Very nice place and the food is very good. A bit overpriced however.

SF
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall3food3service5ambience5

Food over salted and there were not a great variation in flavors. We did enjoy the Impossible meat dumplings in a broth. Vegetarian pot stickers were flavorless and dough was tough

DL
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My wife and I loved our dinner there! Great service, exceptional food, vibrant atmosphere (not too noisy). Great seats at the kitchen counter - watching the chefs creating masterpieces! Fully recommend this place. And the store at the front is a must for purchases of wonderful oils and sauces!

S
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great place for groups. Ingredients are fresh and dishes are well-prepared. Fun, high-energy atmosphere.

KC
1 review
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall2food2service3ambience3

This was a disappointment. Despite glowing reviews, I put China Live on par with PF Chang’s at best. It’s huge and they pack people in there. It is incredibly noisy and I had to speak loudly and lean in to hear my boyfriend talk. The Marco Polo noodles with minced pork was not good. It has bucatini noodles which are tubes. They are obviously prepared well in advance and plopped into the bowl so the texture and temp reflect this. The meat mixture was far too salty. The shrimp and scallop siu mai was also very salty. The xlb wrappers were chewy, not delicate, and the meat filling lacked flavor. I had to say something to the server and we were comped the noodles, which I am thankful for, it wasn’t his fault. With so many great places to eat in the city, as a visitor I’m bummed out that I came here.

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