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More than Dim Sum: Top Chinese Restaurants to Try in San Diego

Shannon Biszantz

Shannon Biszantz is a San Diego native from elementary school through university Shannon graduated with a Business Administration Degree from USD and ...

Shannon Biszantz is a San Diego native from elementary school through university Shannon graduated with a Business Administration Degree from USD and ...

Feb 8 9 minutes read

In TV series and movies, Chinese food always epitomizes the ultimate takeout next to pizza. Who isn't familiar with that white box with a red pagoda, or the distinctive look of fried noodles being lifted by chopsticks?

More than just takeout though, Chinese cuisine has a unique appeal that is sure to satisfy a variety of tastes. From hearty soups to savory fried rice and those little bites of heaven called dim sum, it is a feast for the senses. Here in San Diego, we have lots of places to go to for your oriental thrill. Feeling hungry yet? Read on for our recommendations!

Image Source: Pixabay

1. Spicy City 

Address: 4690 Convoy St  Ste 107, San Diego CA 92111

Phone Number: +1 858-278-1818


Rating: 4 stars (21 reviews via TripAdvisor)

This Szechuan (or Sichuan) restaurant best exemplifies San Diego’s Chinese food renaissance. Focused on the flavor combination called mala, which translates to “numbing and spicy", the combination of fiery, earthy chili peppers and tingly, flowery Sichuan peppercorns is a dance in your mouth. Their ma po tofu  -- a signature Sichuan dish -- is a truly exquisite experience. Try the boiled fish: the numbing effect of the Sichuan peppercorns opens the palate, and the way that mala combines with the flavor of the fish is a huge part of what Sichuan cuisine is all about.

Image Source: Pixabay

2. Village North

Address: 4438 Convoy St #330, San Diego CA 92111

Phone Number: +1 858-277-1888


Rating: 4 stars (69 reviews via Yelp)

If you're looking for something heavy and filling, Village North is your best bet. Specializing in stews and hearty dishes from Northern China, serving portions are large and more than enough for 2 persons. With their cozy dining setup and the availability of private rooms for those little gatherings, this restaurant is a great place to hang out with family and friends.


Image Source:  Pixabay

3. Emerald Chinese Cuisine

Address: 3709 Convoy St #101, San Diego CA 92111

Phone Number: +1 858-565-6888


Rating: 3.5 stars (70 reviews via TripAdvisor)

A culinary tradition borne from the historic Great Silk Road, dim sum is typified by a series of small, bite-sized portions of food served in steamer baskets or plates. These dishes range from steamed or fried dumplings and buns stuffed with a variety of savories and sweets, to noodle dishes, vegetables, and desserts. Emerald Chinese Cuisine serves unbelievably fresh dumplings, buns, and other “pieces of the heart” (one of various translations of the term “dim sum”) with their ala carte style menu. The siu mai, steamed dumplings of pork and shrimp, are plump and savory, and is a must-try for any guest.

Image Source: Pixabay

4. Hui An Garden

Address: 4768 Convoy St, San Diego CA 92111

Phone Number: +1 858-650-6999


Rating: 4 stars (40 reviews via Yelp)

Known for its modern interpretation of classic dishes and its insistence on only using high quality fresh ingredients, Hui An Garden is a cornerstone in the San Diego community and has been recognized for its outstanding Chinese cuisine, excellent service and friendly staff. Try their Roast Duck: the crispy skin is worth the trip on its own and the savory meat is deeply flavored. With their lunch special at $6.99, enjoying authentic Chinese cuisine is a steal.

Image Source: Pixabay

5. P.F. Chang's China Bistro

Address: 4540 La Jolla Village Dr, San Diego CA 92122

Phone Number: +1 858-458-9007


Rating: 4 stars (205 reviews via TripAdvisor)

If you're just starting out in exploring Chinese food, P.F. Chang's menu would fit your bill. Specializing in "American-style" Chinese cuisine, dishes are made to fit the American palate with servings fit for even the most generous appetite. Their "farm to wok" philosophy is also what makes this restaurant great with food made from scratch daily from ingredients fresh from the farm. Weekday nights also feature Happy Hour with food and drinks for $6 or less, a perfect time to explore with friends! 

Image Source: Pixabay 

6. Mandarin House 

Address: 6765 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla CA 92037

Phone Number: +1 858-454-2555


Rating: 4 stars (53 reviews via TripAdvisor)

A family-owned business, Mandarin House has been part of the La Jolla dining scene since 1977 and is one of the local favorites for authentic Chinese food. Dishes are made in the Szechuan style with a unique flair perfected by the two chefs who started the restaurant. Appetizers like dumplings and egg rolls are still made by hand and considered the best in town, and their famous Peking Duck is freshly roasted, hand-carved and served at the table. With their classic decor and warm ambience, its a beautiful place for a simple romantic dinner or a lively family occasion.

Image Source: Pixabay

7. Del Mar Rendezvous

Address: 1555 Camino Del Mar Suite 102, Del Mar CA 92014

Phone Number: +1 858-755-2669


Rating: 4.5 stars (226 reviews via TripAdvisor)

With its wide array of Chinese fare complimented by a modern mix of Asian flavors, Del Mar Rendezvous has over 100 different dishes on its menu which also caters to both gluten-free and vegetarian guests. Aside from the enticing dishes, diners can can also enjoy a wide variety of drinks, from craft, local, and high-end import beer on draft, Japanese sakes, to a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence wine list with over 100 wines. The ambiance of the interior and patio, with glimpses of the Pacific Ocean, also offers a perfect venue for date nights, business lunches or family dinners.

Image Source: Pixabay

8. Double Happiness

Address: 1011 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar CA 92014

Phone Number: +1 858-481-8584

Website: (no website available)

Rating: 4 stars (51 reviews via TripAdvisor)

This quaint restaurant may be small but their food packs a wallop. Having two different menus to choose from, options are expansive and definitely twice the fun. Diners can choose from the American-style menu for a low-key Chinese dish or the Shanghai menu for a more authentic experience.  With their large serving portions and feel-at-home service, you will certainly feel double the satisfaction.

Image Source: Pixabay

9. Panda Express

Address: 5630 Paseo del Norte, Carlsbad CA 92008

Phone Number: +1 760-603-8830


Rating: 4 stars (55 reviews via TripAdvisor)

Family-owned and operated, Panda Express was first opened in 1983 in Glendale. The restaurant boasts of and delivers fast, friendly service without sacrificing quality. With food freshly prepared and brimming with bold flavors, it's no wonder that this is the go-to place for the lunch crowd. Try their famous Orange Chicken and you'll surely keep coming back for more!

Image Source: Pixabay

10. Little Sheep Mongolian Hotpot

Address: 4718 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego CA 92114

Phone Number: +1 858-274-2040


Rating: 4.5 stars (18 reviews via TripAdvisor)

If you want to relish the experience of "cooking" your own food, then a hotpot adventure is for you. With the variety of soup flavors to choose from, and the ingredients ranging from a selection of meats, vegetables, seafood and noodles, each dining experience will truly be unique.  Servings are hearty and filling and laced with truly authentic Chinese flavors. And with their attentive staff and cozy atmosphere, enjoying a broth of hotpot with friends can be a great way to relax and catch up with each other.

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