11 Best Chinese Food In San Diego

Craving the most delicious and authentic Chinese dishes? Check out our top picks for the best Chinese food in San Diego that will make your taste buds sing with joy!

San Diego has seen a rapid increase in the variety and number of Chinese restaurants as entrepreneurs and restaurateurs from both local and international locations, such as Los Angeles and China, have come to establish their businesses in the city. This growth has contributed to the cultural and culinary richness of San Diego. As May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate by exploring some of the best Chinese restaurants in the city.

San Diego has a long history of Chinese food, dating back to the 1860s when the first Chinatown was established in what is now the Gaslamp Quarter. Since then, exceptional Chinese restaurants have spread across the city, from Kearny Mesa to North County and everywhere in between. These establishments offer a wide range of regional Chinese cuisine and specialty dishes, including popular favorites like Shanghai soup dumplings, Sichuan hot pot, Peking duck, and Uyghur lamb.

To make the most of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we put together a guide featuring the best Chinese restaurants in San Diego. This guide will help you navigate the city’s culinary landscape and discover the diverse flavors and traditions of Chinese cuisine. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in some of the finest Chinese food that San Diego has to offer.

1. Ju Feng Yuan Dumpling Cafe

best chinese food in san diego

Ju Feng Yuan Dumpling Cafe

One of the top contenders for the best Chinese food in San Diego is the popular and reasonably priced JFY Dumpling Cafe, also known as Dumpling Cafe. This charming restaurant features an inviting wooden pagoda inside, with a central table that adds to the ambiance. One of the standout items on their menu is their visually stunning signature xiao long bao basket, which offers a delightful variety of seven flavors, including original pork, salted egg yolk, cheese, and black truffle. Alongside these delectable dumplings, you’ll find other crowd-pleasing dishes such as boiled dumplings (available with pork or chicken filling), flavorful shrimp and pineapple fried rice, and satisfying beef chow mein. Dumpling Cafe is a must-visit for those seeking the best Chinese food experience in San Diego.

2. Taste of Hunan 湘村人家

best chinese food in san diego

Taste of Hunan 湘村人家

Look no further than this Scripps Ranch restaurant for those searching for the best Chinese food in San Diego. This establishment specializes in a wide selection of authentic Hunan dishes, offering a taste of traditional cuisine. In addition to the classic favorites like shrimp fried rice, they also serve delightful comfort food options. Customers rave about the fish fillet with pickled vegetables, enhanced by sliced hot peppers and scallions, creating a flavorful combination. The tender beef and broccoli are another crowd-pleaser, satisfying cravings for a comforting and tasty dish. If you’re feeling adventurous, check out their marinated lamb with cumin, served on a sizzling iron plate to ensure the meat remains piping hot and crispy. With its range of Hunan specialties and beloved comfort dishes, this Scripps Ranch restaurant is a top choice for experiencing the best Chinese food San Diego has to offer.

3. Golden Island

best chinese food in san diego

Golden Island

The best Chinese food in San Diego can be found in a revived establishment in Mira Mesa. They now offer Chinese banquet specialties, dim sum and even host regular jazz performances. They have also expanded with a second Chinese restaurant called Diamond Palace in the College Area. Their all-day dim sum menu includes popular favorites such as pork siu mai and shrimp har gow dumplings. On weekends, there might be long waiting lines for dim sum, but they accept reservations for parties of eight or more.

4. Mr. Holy Gao

best chinese food in san diego

Mr. Holy Gao

When it comes to the best Chinese food in San Diego, this traditional restaurant in Sorrento Valley is a favorite among the lunchtime tech crowd and families who have been loyal patrons for years. One of their must-try dishes is the fish fillet in hot and spicy gravy, which is incredibly delicious and can also be ordered with beef. Another delightful option is the dry sautéed string beans, which offer a delightful combination of crunchiness and tenderness. Chef Gao’s Special Tofu is a popular item on their menu, consisting of firm tofu and jalapenos smothered in a tangy sauce. They also serve a Northern Chinese dim sum menu on weekends featuring soup dumplings and Jingdu pork pancakes.

5. Din Tai Fung

best chinese food in san diego

Din Tai Fung

Regarding the best Chinese food in San Diego, the famous soup dumpling restaurant from Taiwan is a must-visit in the Westfield UTC mall. As diners step inside, they can witness the impressive dumpling-making process happening right in front of them through the kitchen window. The Kurobuta pork soup dumplings, also known as xiao long bao or XLB, are a standout choice and can be perfectly paired with a refreshing pear lychee martini made with whole lychees. The menu now includes chicken xiao long bao for those looking for a different option. To end the meal on a delightful note, the moist chocolate XLB is an unforgettable dessert that should not be missed.

6. Haidilao Hotpot San Diego

best chinese food in san diego

Haidilao Hotpot San Diego

For the best Chinese food in San Diego, look no further than the UTC location of this trendy chain. What sets this place apart is its personalized and entertaining customer experience. As you begin your meal, the server prepares a bowl of soup for each diner to sample. Regarding the main course, you can choose up to four different bases for your table, ranging from Sichuan spicy to tomato soup. However, the highlight of the experience is the Dancing Noodle dish. An expert Dancing Noodle Master, dressed in a traditional Chinese costume with a fascinating face-changing mask, will come to your table and hand-pull the noodles right before you. Trained in Taiwan, this skilled performer adds an element of entertainment as he moves throughout the restaurant. He allows you to try on his headdress and play with the fan to make it even more memorable.

7. Qin West Noodle

best chinese food in san diego

Qin West Noodle

Regarding the best Chinese food in San Diego, this noodle joint, originating from Los Angeles, stands out by offering provincial dishes not commonly found in many other Chinese restaurants. Their menu showcases house-made noodles in various dishes, such as the refreshing cold liangpi noodles and the satisfyingly spicy hot wonton noodle soups. One of their specialties is the Guilin noodle soup, named after a picturesque Chinese city known for its beautiful mountains and pristine lakes. This soup is a customer favorite, featuring generous portions of tender beef shank, pickled vegetables, and lily flowers.

8. Village Kitchen家湘味

best chinese food in san diego

Village Kitchen家湘味

For some of the best Chinese food in San Diego, look no further than this cozy establishment adorned with delightful Chinese lanterns, bird cages, and captivating murals that depict life in historic rural China. As part of the Dong Ting Chun chain, which also has locations in L.A. and Las Vegas, this restaurant offers a beautiful selection of traditional favorites. Some must-try dishes include the renowned stinky tofu, the steamed medicinal chicken soup served in a clay vessel with hog maw, and the delicious Grandma’s braised pork accompanied by steamed buns. The ambiance and the authentic flavors make it a memorable dining experience.

9. Sam Woo BBQ Restaurant

best chinese food in san diego

Sam Woo BBQ Restaurant

Regarding the best Chinese food in San Diego, this fast-casual restaurant in the 99 Ranch shopping plaza is a hidden gem. They provide a convenient buffet-style selection of quick dishes, but the real highlight lies in their homestyle Hong Kong specialties cooked to order in their kitchen. Their roast duck and barbeque spare ribs are highly recommended, and they are known for their Cantonese specialty of shrimp with scrambled eggs, a dish that will leave you wanting more. Whether you choose the buffet or the cooked-to-order options, this place offers a delightful culinary experience.

10. Golden City Restaurant

best chinese food in san diego

Golden City Restaurant

This well-established restaurant in Kearny Villa is a go-to spot for the best Chinese food in San Diego. They offer an extensive menu featuring a variety of dishes, ranging from delectable seafood options to sizzling beef with black pepper sauce. Among their popular favorites are the flavorful Peking duck and the shrimp with honey-glazed walnuts, sure to satisfy your taste buds. Their steamed fish and lettuce wraps filled with minced chicken are highly recommended. With such a diverse array of dishes, this restaurant is a fantastic choice for a memorable Chinese dining experience.

11. YinTang Spicy Hot Pot

best chinese food in san diego

YinTang Spicy Hot Pot

When it comes to the best Chinese food in San Diego, Yin Tang Spicy Hot Pot is a must-visit. This Taiwanese hot pot chain debuted on Convoy Street and has quickly gained a loyal following. They offer a full menu that includes a variety of mouth-numbing “mala” spicy soup options and curry and tomato soup bases for those who prefer alternatives. One of the dining experience highlights is the do-it-yourself meat and vegetable buffet stations, where customers can customize their bowls. The bowls are then weighed by the cashier and taken to the kitchen, where the ingredients are cooked separately in saucepans to bring out the unique flavors of each component. With its interactive and flavorful approach, Yin Tang Spicy Hot Pot is a must-try for hot pot enthusiasts and those seeking an enjoyable dining experience.

San Diego is fortunate to have a wide selection of Chinese restaurants offering diverse and delicious cuisine. Whether one seeks traditional flavors, modern interpretations, or adventurous hot pot experiences, plenty of establishments provide the best Chinese food in San Diego. From renowned classics such as Village Kitchen家湘味 to fast-casual spots like Sam Woo BBQ Restaurant and YinTang Spicy Hot Pot, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So if you are craving Chinese food in San Diego, visit one of these establishments for a memorable dining experience.