R and G Lounge
631 Kearny St (Between Clay and Sacramento)
San Francisco, CA 94108
Best Restaurant in Chinatown. R & G Lounge is a popular Hong Kong style Cantonese Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. Since 1985 they have been serving top notch Chinese food in Chinatown.
They have been mentioned on Anthony Bourdain’s old television show, No Reservations. Beware that it is hard to get a tablet with – No reservations -. This restaurant is especially busy during Chinese New Year, typically in late January or early February. Our last visit was in 2017.
Be sure to read our Best Restaurants of San Francisco Chinatown Page
Decor, Vibe – R & G Lounge has been remodeled over the years to modern, clean decor. Lots of families, tourists, some business folks, and locals were eating at this busy restaurant.
R & G Lounge Menu Pictures
If you are challenged with what to order, stick to the items with pictures. They are all specialties. Almost everyone orders the Salt and Pepper Crab on their first visit.
R & G Lounge Food Picks:
Sea Coconut and Abalone soup is a special dish that is not on the menu. Very robust broth with some interesting guts dished out.
Baked Black Cod ($38) marinated in their special glaze is a signature dish. Massive golden red fish that is tender and flaky. Must get.
Live Crab with Salt & Pepper (AQ) is their signature dish with deep fried battered crab seasoned with salt and pepper. The crab is still tender and juicy inside. We gotten crab Ginger & Scallion style here also.
BBQ Platter ($22 for small) with BBQ Pork, Jellyfish, and Soy Sauce Beef was fairly expensive and had decent but thickly sliced BBQ Pork. The beef was a bit on the salty side.
Peking Duck ($20 for half) was surprisingly good for a Cantonese Chinese restaurant. Classic buns, no crepes here. They were a bit skimpy with the amount of meat provided.
Honey Spareribs ($12.50) were a bit zesty and sweet. Fantastic although low on quantity.
Prawns with Honey Walnuts ($18) Deep fried prawns lightly coated with mayo and served with candied walnuts is a staple at many Chinese restaurants. Their version has less mayo.
Salt & Pepper large Prawns in the shell (AQ) were some huge prawns but surprisingly not very meaty. You could just munch on the entire beast, shell and all.
Sauteed Scallops & steak cubes with macadamia nuts ($17) is a bit peppery and spicy. The meat was a bit uninspired.
Soy Sauce Chicken ($14 for half) is a signature dish here, it proved to be solid but not exceptional. We found that the leftovers, the next day, were far better. This gives the sauce a chance to soak throughout the chicken.
Steamed Chicken is similar to this dish but frankly is better. Cleanly cut meat with good flavor. It comes with a ginger based dipping sauce.
Fresh Black Mushrooms with Mustard Greens ($18) was a solid dish with some huge mushrooms and slightly bitter greens.
Clams with Black Bean Sauce ($15) is a classic dish with lots of clams hot off the wok. Fresh clams and good sauce.
Beef Brisket and turnip claypot ($18) is another signature dish done right. Tender beef and Japanese turnip with a slight bitter touch, in a nice broth. Pour the broth over rice.
Deep Fried Fish ($20) was a whole fish fried to crispiness and topped with a light sauce. Fresh and very good.
Roast Squab ($16) roasted to golden brown crispy skin, served with seasoning salt on the side. Perfect execution of this poultry dish. It can only get better in Hong Kong or China.
Small cold sea cucumber ($18) is for those who like this dish. Pure, simple, cooked well. On another occasion we had a large sea cucumber (AQ $$) in a spicy mustard soy sauce. Also very pristine and well done.
Dried scallop and egg white fried rice ($10.50) hit the spot. Much more interesting than plain rice. The version at China Village in Belmont is actually better, with more flavor.
Banquet Menu B ($468 per table for 10)
In 2017 we had a Chinese New Year banquet with one of their set menus. The meal costs $428 in 2015. High quality Chinese Cantonese food as usual. Even on the craziest day of the year, the food quality was spot on. Some highlights of the meal that are not covered above:
Scallops and Steak Cubes with Black Pepper Sauce – Superb dish with high quality beef as well as large scallops. Perfect cooking. Almost an East meets West fusion dish.
Braised Seafood Combination Soup – A great alternative to non PC: Sharks Fin Soup. Lots of dried scallop, crab, etc.
Bamboo Piths with Pea shoots- Another excellent dish. Some of the best pea shoots we’ve had. Perfectly cooked and not overly sauced. The bamboo piths are interesting thin white sheets that look like fish. On another occasion, it was just Pea Shoots with garlic. Also well done and perfect.
Golden Supreme Fried Rice had an unexpected interesting twice, a bit of heat.
Princess Chicken ($15) specially marinated with ginger and onion sauce. It was pretty average, decent quantities but nothing special to it. Chicken was on the bland side and really needed the dipping.
Soya Sauce Duck Slice ($16) was on the tough side.
Pea shoots ($13) were in good quantity but were pretty standard issue. Healthy! Try it in supreme broth.
R & G Lounge’s service was slightly above average for a Chinese restaurant. Servers were hustling by but needed some prompting. Free Red bean dessert soup to those who ask. This restaurant and Great Eastern on Washington St remain the two best bets for Chinese food in Chinatown. Also consider City View for dim Sum lunch in Chinatown. They have both been around for many years.
Compared to other top notch places like Koi Palace in Daly City, R & G Lounge offers competitive cuisine with Koi Palace, we have to rank Koi Palace slightly higher due to superior food quality and innovation. Koi Palace serves dim sum lunch unlike R & G.