I’ve never really been to a “fancy” Chinese restaurant and I’ve been curious about Hakkasan ever since I read a few years ago that they spent millions remodeling/redecorating the space.
Hakkasan is a high end Chinese restaurant with various locations around the world including London, New York, Dubai, Shanghai, and many more. The restaurant is located in downtown San Francisco and definitely has that swanky feel with its large wrap around bar and gorgeous interior. Like most Chinese restaurants, the menu is extensive with lots of options making it difficult to decide what to order. Since it was my first time there, I decided to try some of their signature dishes that the restaurant is known for. Also sorry for the low quality pictures as I forgot to bring my camera.
We started off with a few of their signature dishes. The crispy duck salad was amazing, a must try! The duck was cut into small chunks (soft meat with crunchy skin) with juicy tart grapefruit segments, sweet pomegranate jewels, earthy pine nuts, various refreshing microgreens (cress, daikon, pea shoots, etc.), all tossed in a sweet dressing. Soo good. Their other signature dish, the dim sum platter, was also delicious. It came with four types of dumplings: scallop shumai topped with fish roe, classic shrimp har gau, Chinese chive dumpling, and black pepper duck dumpling. There’s also a vegetarian dim sum platter if that’s more your style. Next we had our vegetable dish, probably the weakest out of everything. The stir fry lotus root with asparagus was good but needed a little more seasoning besides the black pepper.
Another signature dish we ordered was the beef rib eye. Small tender pieces of marinated beef with black pepper and merlot. Small portion but oh so good. The last savory course is a childhood favorite of mine, mabo tofu. I used to eat this all the time growing up and it’s still one of my favorite dishes even though I rarely eat it now. Silky smooth tofu chunks in a rich beefy sauce eaten with steamed jasmine rice is perfection! I would have liked the mabo tofu to be a tad bit spicier but that’s just my preference.
We ended the meal with their most unique dessert, the chocolate dumplings. The outside of the dumpling is made from mochi (pounded rice) and the inside had a creamy warm black sesame chocolate filling. The dumplings were topped with finger lime and ginger yuzu tea was poured around the dumplings. Definitely an inventive dessert.
The portions at Hakkasan are slightly smaller than your typical Chinese joint and of course the price is higher but you could have guessed that. With that being said, overall I enjoyed the dishes we tried so my rating is a 7.5-8/10.