Our favorite Chinese restaurants open on Christmas
Z & Y Restaurant in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of SF Chronicle.
Editor's note: BART will run its Sunday schedule on Christmas Day.
Since 1972, hungry families have been riding BART on Christmas Day in search of the best Chinese food. Thankfully, we now have BARTable to make this quest a little bit easier. We polled the BARTable team to see what Chinese restaurants they’d head to on Christmas. Read on for the results.
It’s not often that a great restaurant name matches with great food, but King Dong delivers on both fronts. You’ll find all the classics here from Mongolian beef, to hot and sour soup, salt and pepper green beans and Kung Pao chicken, as well as plenty of vegetarian options. Add in affordable pricing and a cozy atmosphere, and you have a spot that students, friends and families enjoy together.
It can be difficult to satiate fans of traditional Chinese food as well as the meatless-minded seeking modern, alternate versions of the classics. Head to Oakland’s Chinatown and take in this full menu of faux meats, tofu and all-vegetarian plates that are known to be large in both flavor and serving size. Some places can make cooking seem like magic, and frying up prawn-less honey walnut prawns is just one example of Nature Vegetarian Restaurant’s impeccable bag of tricks.
Daimo Chinese Restaurant
Over the years, Daimo Chinese Restaurant in the Pacific East Shopping Mall has racked up numerous accolades, including features in Gourmet and San Francisco Magazines, and has been voted “Best Chinese Restaurant” by The East Bay Express for 2001-2003. Loyal customers love the salt and pepper sea bass, won ton soup, and barbecue pork.
What’s in a name? A lot of spicy recipes from China’s Sichuan Province. Szechuan Pork with Explosive Chili, Kiss of Fire Orange Chicken, Spicy Fried Rice. The menu at this casual Oakland Chinatown restaurant makes it clear it celebrates plenty of full flavors not meant for the fearful. Red walls and hanging red lanterns further reflect the powerful tastes that keep patrons coming back to Spices 3 for plates that boldly brim with red chilis.
Yank Sing specializes in traditional and contemporary Dim Sum in the heart of San Francisco. This location in the Rincon Center is massive and can seat up to 250 people, but despite this expect service to be swift. Must tries include dumplings with scallops, snow pea tendrils and mushrooms, and the “Shanghai Kurobuta Pork Dumplings”. Beyond dumplings there is the baked cha siu bao (smooth discs with sweet-and-sour-pork barbecue filling) and freshly fried sesame balls with a creamy interior.
Shangrila Chinese Cuisine
In Dublin, Shangrila Chinese Cuisine always comes up when the conversation focuses on great Chinese restaurants in the area. You’ll find the classics done well here. Try the chow mein, salt and pepper chicken wings, Mongolian beef and fried rice. Shangrila also offers an alternative menu that features dishes without salt, sugar, cornstarch or oil.
For the finest Northern Chinese cuisine, head to China Palace in Walnut Creek. The chefs pride themselves in using only the freshest ingredients from their native provinces. Locals love the Szechuan prawns, Mongolian beef and Hunan chicken.
Z & Y Restaurant
Z & Y is a celebrity of Chinese restaurants in San Francisco, having been visited by President Barack Obama and chosen as a 2018 Bib Gourmand pick by the Michelin Guide. If you go, expect a wait and if you dare, try the chicken with explosive chile pepper – nuggets of golden fried meat buried like treasures in hundreds of dried red chiles.