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China Live

4.7
1574 Reviews
$30 and under
Chinese
China Live, Eater's "Restaurant of the Year," features fresh, seasonal Chinese cuisine cooked from specialized stations that merge traditional Chinese and Western culinary equipment. Our main dining area, with views of our exhibition kitchens, plays centerpiece, appointed with chairs and tables all handcrafted in China from reclaimed Chinese elm. We also offer outside dining.

Support China Live during COVID-19

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
  • Contactless payment available
  • Sealed or wrapped utensils used
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace

Offers

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Sun - Thu 4:30PM - 5:30PM

What 1574 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall3food2service3ambience3

Food was way too salty

TT
vipTheTruthIs
New Orleans
9 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Excellent food. Took to long to be served our bottle of wine. Simple task. Very few diners were their in late afternoon. So didn't understand that. After that everything was fine.

They charge an automatic 20 percent service charge which is distributed to all staff. I don't mind, in fact, I agree with an automatic tip for the wait person, who is in a tipped position and in most cases does not earn the federally mandated hourly minimum wage.

All the other workers are assured minimum wage or higher and should not be given a mandatory division of the Waiters' tip. Most tipped employees, in most restaurants are required or suggested to give bus persons, bar tenders and sometimes hostesses a percentage of their tips. Many kick back to the kitchen too. They should not be forced to.

Beware of dishonest restaurant owners who use this process to collect tips without an employee audit of their daily receipts. Many well known restaurateurs have been caught stealing from their employees. Don't buy into this "Let's share your tips with everyone." Why don't all employees share the employers profits, equally? That sounds even fairer!

A
Anna
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service3ambience5

Ordered the soup dumplings, my favorite! The fried rice was also amazing.

T
Tinaluvs2dine
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great experience dining at China Live for lunch on Mother’s Day! Love the open kitchen and in market dining feel. Everyone was very kind and provided great service. The food was delicious and came out promptly. We will definitely return. Parking was easy too in the recommended garage around the corner!

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We came to China Live today and were blown away. First we stopped in an hour before our reservation just to see if they had any openings as the teens were hungry, when aren’t they? And they absolutely accomodated us. We were sat right next to one of the prep kitchens so we got to drool over the Peking duck and the kurobuta pork char siu being made. We ordered both of those! Outstanding! We also ordered the sichuan working hands dumplings, the sjb pork dumplings, the butter garlic noodles and the pork buns, the crispy Brussels sprouts and the shrimp and scallop shumai. Every dish was beyond delicious! The owners both came over to our table and gave me complimentary champagne for Mother’s Day. Our server was super friendly and knowledgeable! Cannot wait to go back!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall4food5service4ambience4

It is always a pleasure to dine with Chinalive! I’ve been coming since 2019 and still love the food! I can’t wait for the next time I dine here again! Definitely I have brought my family and friends here! I can’t wait for the next time I dine again’

GG
vipGraceG
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

So good coming back after the pandemic! Fantastic food fantastic staff great experience

AN
vipAmandaN
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Incredible food every time :) The dutch crunch pork buns and the duck sesame pcokets are out of this world.

TB
vipTheBeguine
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall4food4service2ambience4

Excellent food, nice outdoor seating. I highly recommend it.

I'm reluctant to say anything negative because I know restaurants are working so hard during the pandemic, but our server wasn't that great. For the price I like a little more personal help with the menu, rather than just recommendations of standard favorites, more specific and complete answers to my questions (I wouldn't have ordered something I got if my question had been accurately answered - but it turns out the dish was amazing so it worked out!) and sensitivity to the online menu being difficult to navigate.

The back up staff was excellent and attentive and I would eat here again.

CB
ChristineB
Phoenix
8 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Great outdoor ambiance! We’ve eaten here once before a year ago and the inside is beautiful as well. Duck and Kung Pao chicken were good. Shrimp fried rice was surprisingly bland.

d
vipdotdotdot
San Francisco
128 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2021
Overall3food3service2ambience3

There were 3 in our party. We shared 5 different dishes. The best was the crispy-skin
roasted pork belly cubes, "siu yuk" The Sichuan blistered green beans w/Yunnan olive, pickled radish, salted plum, mushroom & Toon paste was not as expected - a bit sour and mixture of flavors unknown. Sea scallops seemed old & fishy.
I really think all dishes are overpriced. I don't think I'll return...

C
Chuckster
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Immersive Van Gough

PC
PatrickC
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The space having reopened after pandemic shut down is nice.

JC
vipJayC
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was excellent, food & service ALL stars!

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience3

Amazing food and service! Sitting outside on Broadway devalued the experience, but it’s Covid so not much anyone can do about that. Excited to go back when we can do indoor dining.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Phoenix
2 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was fresh and really good ! We will be back

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on April 29, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was outstanding, service was attentive and fast but not overbearing, heat lamps were had enough oomph to overcome a chilly SF evening outside.

A
vipAndy
New York Area
92 reviews
Dined on April 29, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience2

Service was great. Food was out quickly and tasted great. Just make sure that you look at the prices before you order. I had 2 beers, fried dumpling appetizer and the lobster. total bill including the 20% gratuity they added automatically (it said so on the menu) was $150 but it was at least a 2lb lobster.
worth the money overall as a treat to myself since I was dining alone.

v
vipvictorianol
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and wonderful service!!

A
vipAlobar
San Francisco
56 reviews
Dined on April 24, 2021
Overall4food5service3ambience4

Food was excellent when it finally arrived.
There was a long lag time between when we were seated & our waiter presented themselves. The hostess was curt & not friendly during this time. If not for this point, I would rate our experience 5 stars

DS
DougS
San Joaquin
1 review
Dined on April 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Been here a few times. This was the first time I have eaten inside. We were sat at a beautiful, large table for six. It was the only table in the room - lots of space throughout the restaurant. Great service: friendly and professional. The waiters are helpful with the menu and figuring out appropriate amounts to order. Food was varied but universally good.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As always food and service were amazing

p
patriciag
London
3 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Overall, very good. Although it was expensive. A small bowl of noodles $20.
Nice for an special occasion.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Miami
1 review
Dined on April 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Both amazing ambiance and food!

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Delicious food and top-quality service.

OT
vipOpenTableVIP2014
21 reviews
Dined on April 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was so great to come back. They are doing a great job with safety precautions, and the social distancing was nicely done.

MW
vipMWKM
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on April 18, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food is even better than ever!!!
We dined inside and tables were amply spaced apart. Service was attentive.

LY
LY14
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on April 17, 2021
Overall1food3service1ambience3

An overall negative dining experience. The food is fine - does a good job of fusing Americanized Chinese food and authentic Chinese food, but nothing you can’t get elsewhere. The interior design is great. However, service is really poor, especially considering the importance of good customer service for upscale restaurants. We placed our order, and two minutes later the pan fried buns come out. We were amazed by the speed, until we tried the buns. The flavor and quality were fine, but they were lukewarm at best. When they are supposed be the signature dish of the restaurant, you would hope that the restaurant would have the decency of warming up the buns for you, even if they did not bother to fry them fresh. Nope. When we decided to send them back to the kitchen and brought up the issue with the waiter, there was no apology or concern for the customers. Our second drink order took more than 15 mins to fulfill, after we had to flag down the waiter a second time to remind him. We also overheard a couple next to us complain to the waiter about customer service and forgotten orders, which seems like this is an issue across the board. One has to wonder if the 20% included service fee serves as a disincentive for reasonable customer service. Pick up your game, China Live! I had such high hopes for you.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on April 17, 2021
Overall4food4service2ambience3

I realize coming out of Covid is challenging. The wine list stated the Sandhi Chardonnay was the 2018 when after it was poured I realized it was 2013. That’s a big difference in white wine.
The vegetable dishes didn’t arrive until our dinner was finished.
What we did have was wonderful and in time I feel these bumps will be worked out.

TZ
TamaraZ
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on April 17, 2021
Overall4food3service5ambience5

Nice place, friendly service, great dumplings, and atmosphere!

YS
vipYosemiteSam
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on April 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We ate there for SF Restaurant week. 2nd time we have eaten at a restaurant since the easing of restrictions. I forgot what a lovely space China Live is. The food was delicious, staff from the hosts, Managers, wait staff and bus staff were glad to see us and we were glad to see them. It was a wonderful dinner because of the ambiance and the food.

AK
AnnK
San Francisco
37 reviews
Dined on April 16, 2021
Overall3food2service3ambience3

Meh! Granted it’s a covid effected menu but it was lackluster. I’ll be back when the vigorous pre-covid menu is back. I’m happy u are surviving and look forward to your old self.

PR
PeterR
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on April 16, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Went to China Live during restaurant week. Very pleased with selection, quantity and taste. Went with a friend and he was just as happy.

S
vipSteffan
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on April 16, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Great food.

l
laurelj
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 14, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

we celebrated 2 birthdays within our party and the staff was so attentive and helpful!

t
viptonyt
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on April 14, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Incredible food..always a great dining experience..its often very cold so bring a jacket..they are adding fees to the bill of 25% so be aware

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 13, 2021
Overall5food4service4ambience4

China live had a pretty nice outdoor dining situation. Road noise was not their fault. The servers were helpful in making suggestions. Food was pricey, but it is SF.

M
Marcellag
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was spectacular and the wait staff was helpful in making recommendations for us.
We ate inside, and they have the space set up so we felt safe and distant enough from other diners.

TH
TaylorH
Dallas
2 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was the best meal we had in San Francisco. The ambiance and service were superior, the covid precautions were perfect, and the food was INCREDIBLE. We were there during restaurant week and got cucumbers, Kung pao chicken, dumplings and lo mein with shrimp, chicken and pork. Topped up with the best chocolate lava cake I’ve ever had. If you are in San Francisco, this place is a MUST!

J
Julie
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2021
Overall3food3service2ambience3

The service was quite slow, probably because they were understaffed. The food was tasty, but a little too salty.

FAQs

You can order delivery directly from China Live using the Order Online button. China Live also offers delivery in partnership with Uber Eats. China Live also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (415) 788-8188.

China Live is rated 4.7 stars by 1574 OpenTable diners.

China Live does offer gift cards which you can purchase here https://china-live.myshopify.com/collections/pantry/products/copy-of-100-china-live-gift-card.