China Live

4.5
1027 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 1027 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
4.6
food
4.3
service
4.4
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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SD
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Another fabulous meal at the best Chinese restaurant in SF. The freshest ingredients in a Hip place that still has a classic vibe. The suckling pig is amazing as is the Peking duck and the XLB. We’ll definitely be back soon.

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

Great ambience; good food; impossibly noisy. Cannot have a decent conversation.

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

The food was excellent but the suckling pig dish was overpriced. I expected more for $32! I was very disappointed when the waitress brought the dish out to the table. I expected something spectacular for $32. It was only a plate of 12 pieces of roasted pig and nothing special about the presentation of the dish. I would not never order this particular dish again!

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

Our server was amazing! Had spot on recommendations, listened to us, and was super friendly! Place was loud but overall a fabulous experience!

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OT
Cancun
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Overrated, typical americanized Chinese food
Nothing special.

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J
Munich
2 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Amazing, authentic Chinese food, great atmosphere, would strongly recommend it!

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c
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 2

We had no idea we would be seated in a store area with bright lights. The flood and service was great. Next time if there is a next time I will request seating in the dining room.

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B
Edmonton
19 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, great ambiance, great location. We will come back!

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JP
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The menu is diverse with many different regional cuisines plus fusion options. However, none of the dishes we had was an outstanding representation of that dish. The sheng jian bao was really sweet. The xiao long bao was wrapped with mediocre skill (thicker at the top than at the bottom). The Taiwan-style beef noodle soup was also on the sweet side, and the beef tendon was oddly cut and took a lot of tooth power to chew (not cooked long enough?). That said, none of the dishes were bad and it seemed like good quality ingredients had been used. Service was very nice.

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MH
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Reasonable priced, great place to order different plates to share. The waiter was very friendly and helped us get different foods ordered as we needed some gluten-free dishes. The tea is very good too! One order served us multiple cups!

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MC
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Classic Flavors in Contemporary styling. You cant go wrong. Great cocktails and food. Make a reservation. They have many tables, but it fills up fast.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

Took us 30 minutes to even put our drink order in. They were busy but not a good look.

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AB
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Food was great. We were 2 people and ordered dim sums & side of pecking duck. Duck was amazing! Highly recommend it.
For dessert we ordered Black Sesame Cheesecake with Ginger Shortbread - this was a disappointment. Dessert didn't seem fresh.
Service was so-so, nothing extraordinary.
This is an extremely busy restaurant so make sure to get a reservation!

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OT
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

Table was too small
Too noisy

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ZL
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic meal and service. We had a 5 yr old with us as on vacation - staff were attentive to this and made us feel welcome. Food outstanding and enjoyed by all.

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Indiana
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 2

The food is outstanding, the service was also good.

However, we were there for a Business Dinner and the noise level was off the charts. No way for a good discussion.

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OT
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent restaurant, I love the food and service. Always a must for me everytime I go to San Francisco.

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 5

Food ok. Sevice ok. Nothing more than that

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c
Cincinnati
3 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

This was my third dining experience at China Live. I love the food. I would highly recommend going. The only thing that disappointed me is that I made a reservation yet was seated at the counter and not at a table. I feel as though the counter seats should be for walk-ins.

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had SUCH an amazing time here! The host was really nice and asked what our preferred seating would be as soon as we got checked in, we checked in early so our table wasn’t quite ready but we had fun looking around the store before she kindly came to get us for the table. I had an intense craving for dim sum and China Live cured my craving and more!!!! Every single item we ordered was perfection. From the drinks to the very end of our meal. We were too full to order dessert but next time I’ll make sure to save room! Our server Chrystal was so sweet and attentive also the server aid Vito was so nice!!! ILL DEFINITELY BE BACK THANK YOU CHINA LIVE!!!

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OT
1 review
Dined on July 8, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

China Live is overrated. The indifferent service would be overlooked if the food had been outstanding. The SJB dumplings were the best item we tried. The ribs were disappointing, nothing special about them. The waiter was inattentive throughout the meal until the hail mary at the end to preserve his tip. I bet he assumes the mediocre tip was stinginess on our part rather than a reflection of his service.

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AB
1 review
Dined on July 8, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 3

Really did not enjoy- it was cold, noisy, and the wine was reallly bad for being an expensive bottle. We tried, but the cold + the air + not decanting left a lot of residue at the bottom. The deserts were not good, nor was the cucumber and what we thought were the red peppers were eggs.

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BC
Richmond
25 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food! Great experience while visiting California.

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p
Hawaii
4 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Very expensive not worth it.

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OT
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Fun, good for groups and socializing. Would definitely go back. I recommend the upstairs bar!!!

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BB
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 5ambience 5

Filet was tough and too spicy, duck dumplings had very little duck. Mostly cucumber. Doughy pork dumplings.

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Definitely isn't worth the price. Service was still slow even though restaurant not full. Quality is decent in Chinatown SF, but still pretty bad relative to HK or Toronto. Suckling pig is $4/bite. Shumai is 4.5 each. Etc.

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LC
Miami
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Extremely noisy, great decor and trendy place but so so food

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DD
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place is awesome try it! Great atmosphere and great food...the dim sum was really good. It’s really cool to watch your dumplings being made before u eat them as well! :)

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Very good upscale Chinese food, with a new take on some classics like Peking duck.

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GF
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the experience
With the store and tastings
With the China live food and dim sum
With the bar and private party experience in upper floor
Can’t wait to try 8 Tables p

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RS
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Great place to share food. The beef noodle soup was memorable. The menu is a bit overwhelming. Would have appreciated more help from our server. When this place is busy it's NOISEY.

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OT
Central Coast
2 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 5

Food was great, service as good as could be. It was a busy evening but clearly the service team was overwhelmed. Drinks where ordered before food, they didn’t arrive after we finished the first 2 appetizers. Our server did a fantastic job of up selling a second round, unfortunately it never came so we ended taking it out. Some serious though into stations, staffing levels or staff functions need to take place. The restaurant is great and the food is great but the excessive wait and inconsistency yesterday was not a good representation.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The server was amazing! She gave us great suggestions and was not disappointed. The food was delicious! I will definitely be going back

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OT
1 review
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful experience.

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BW
1 review
Dined on July 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food. Pricey for Chinese food, but definitely better than your regular hole-in-the-wall cash-only place. Good for dates or meetings.

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C
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Teen age Grandchildren birthday.

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s
Denver
1 review
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service. WE would have liked to try the entire menu but we only had one day to allocate to Chinatown. We will definitely return on our next visit to San Francisco.

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MG
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

The Peking duck is fantastic and the scallion bread rolls are heavenly. There are a few ho hum dishes on the menu but for the most part it's delicious. Dessert is decidedly less so but you'll be around the corner from Napoleons in North Beach. The only downside to China Live is the deafening noise level. Gagh. You will hear nothing but noise. It's a good place to eat alone because you'll never hear your fellow diners.

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TJ
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I go to China Live quite frequently and still have yet to order anything that isn’t good. I always love the food. The noisy atmosphere is a slight disturbance to what is always a perfect experience otherwise. Will definitely be going back soon!

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