Whether you're decking the halls in full Christmas spirit on Sunday, spinning a dreidel, or none of the above, a Chinese feast out is a fitting way to celebrate, well, anything. Here are our top four spots to do so, at restaurants known for their spice, fresh noodles, and deft presentation of regional Chinese cuisines.
Z&Y. This stalwart Chinatown destination for Schezuan fare is likely packed come Christmas dinner... their firey ma po tofu and fried chicken with exploding chili peppers are well worth the wait.
Sam Wo. The Chinatown staple is known for their late-night hours (3 a.m. on weekends) but their comforting, flavorful fare and storied history is worth the trip, too. Don't miss the pork rice noodle rolls, the jook and, if they have it, the raw fish salad.
Terra Cotta Warrior. The fantastic food of Shaanxi gets its due at this Outer Sunset must-try. Don't skip the Shaanxi mian-pi with sesame sauce, lamb dumplings with chili oil, or the braised chicken with potato, pepper, and handemade noodles.
Old Mandarin Islamic. This halal Mandarin restaurant in Parkside first drew attention for its hot pot — that's worht trying, but our favorites include the stir-fried shredded pancake, cumin lamb, and the extremely spicy pepper, which, as advertised, sinus-clearingly hot.
[Photo: Sam Wo]
Check out all of our great San Francisco venues here.