At Chef's Experience China Bistro, patrons scan a formidable menu of Chinese fare in a dining room expansive enough to house a waterfall and a fig tree. Visitors converse between warmly lit walls of orange and mustard as they prime palates with starters such as chicken lettuce wraps, a trio of delicate fried pancakes enveloping smoked salmon and avocado. In the seafood chow mein, fried noodles do their best to mimic eddies swirling fish, shrimp, and scallops together with seasoned vegetables. A curried blend of hot Singapore-style noodles fresh off the wok cushions shrimp, chicken, vegetables, and egg, and the mango chicken situates simmered mango and vegetables beside morsels of poultry sautéed in mango sauce. Like a really lazy Susan, the restaurant's list of California wines rotates monthly, filling glasses with evolving selections of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and chardonnay.
Since 1989, the chefs at Great Wall Chinese Restaurant have prepared an unexpected menu of authentic Chinese cuisine. The surprise lies along the pages of the menu, where the vast majority of dishes are strictly vegetarian?even those listed as "chicken" contain a faux-meat version. Dotted with little chiles to indicate a fiery level of spiciness, the menu lists favorites such as vegetarian "pork" with spicy garlic sauce, and Szechuan-style mapo tofu.
Inside an environmentally friendly dining room outfitted with fast-growing bamboo floors and eco-safe paint, patrons sup on sustainable, authentic Chinese dishes made from organically grown ingredients. Intricate lighting fixtures cast patterned shadows over diners as they tuck into aromatic platters of stir-fried smoked pork belly, wok-tossed seafood, or braised tofu prepared from recipes brought over from China 20 years ago and furnished with organic meats and produce from local farms and markets.
Behind the kitchen doors, flaming pans roast orders of meats, seafood, and seasonal vegetables to reflect the culinary traditions of Chinese culture. In addition to the sweet, sour, and savory sauces that coat the dishes' steamed white or brown rice, the cooks can create entrees with enough fiery spice to bring tears to the eyes of a potato. To accompany each meal, the restaurant's bar slides over domestic and imported beers, and glasses of wine from a California-centric list that features fruit-forward reds alongside palate-cooling whites.
A Time Out San Francisco Critics' choice, Imperial Tea Court provides leaf lovers with access to some of the world's most desirable teas as well as unrivaled expertise in the ways of steepery. Park your carcass in one of its highly regarded teahouses for a 45- to 60-minute primer on the world's most popular beverage and its steamy history, including its medicinal roots in ancient times as an alternative to Tommy John surgery. Pouring hot cups of tea and tepid earfuls of facts, the teahouses' resident sip savants will help guests understand tea's various categories and acquaint them with the traditional Chinese gaiwan, a covered teacup developed for use on turbulent dragon flights and birthday party bounce houses. The tasting includes two samples of your choice of teas, leaving you with a pleasant aftertaste as well as a fully brewed headpot of knowledge with which to douse tea-loving coworkers at the dream factory.
Drawing inspiration and flavors from Chinese cuisine, Uncle Chen Restaurant's chefs dedicate themselves to crafting a menu accessible to virtually any palate or diet. Crispy duck, shredded pork, and tender beef highlight a fair portion of the menu, but the pages also include more than 28 vegetarian-friendly entrees with tofu, vegetables, or housemade rice noodles in the same selection of aromatic sauces. Many of the meals incorporate onion, ginger, or mushrooms for their distinctive and savory flavors, but the chefs can also forge entrees with fiery doses of chili peppers.
The dining room embraces a calm, understated atmosphere with its neutral tones and framed pieces of parchment with Chinese characters. Wall stencils of budding tree branches add a naturalistic touch to the serene ambiance, and a handful of verdant plants provides the restaurant with a hyper-local supply of homemade oxygen.