In 2011 Bon Appétit named Mission Chinese Food the second-best new restaurant in America, and in 2012 the New York Times hailed the Lower East Side outpost as the Best New Restaurant in New York City.
Danny Bowien, the founder of the Mission Chinese Food restaurants, opened the first Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco. It is not exactly a Chinese restaurant. It began its life as a pop-up: a restaurant nested within a divey Americanized Chinese joint in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Bowien took that audacious attitude with him when he opened the first Mission Chinese in New York City in a tiny space in the Lower East Side. It, too, earned accolades — one reviewer said Bowien did to Chinese food what Led Zeppelin had done to the blues.
But it broke too many rules: In 2013, the New York restaurant was shut down for various violations. Bowien describes it as a devastating blow. But he recovered. Indeed, later that same year, the James Beard Foundation bestowed Bowien with its prestigious Rising Star Chef award. And last year, Bowien reopened Mission Chinese Food in a new New York location.
Now, hungry diners line up outside both the San Francisco and New York City locations, waiting hours for platters of Sizzling Cumin Lamb, Thrice-Cooked Bacon, Fiery Kung Pao Pastrami, and pungent Salt-Cod Fried Rice.
Inside the Restaurant
The first thing that stood out at Mission Chinese Food was the super eclectic décor. Think gold dragons with glowing red eyes, hanging chandeliers, gold and silver paper fan decorations and a pretty sweet glowing blue aquarium in the middle of the tables. Playing throughout the restaurant was Raeggaton-esk Sublime rock. The atmosphere is fun, chill and easy going. In the downstairs bar the menu is neon lit, and comes with user-friendly photos. Fun cocktails, a young crowd and disco music make this place a party.
Mission Chinese Food accepts reservations for up to 7 people, 14 days (two weeks)
in advance of the reservation date.
PARTIES OF 8 TO 17 GUESTS
Mission Chinese REQUIRES all parties of 8 to 17 guests to request a reservation through Reserve and to pre-select from a special menu (click “View Menu” below to see options). For parties larger than 17 guests, a Private Dining Room Buyout or Full Buyout would be required, please email [email protected] for more information and pricing.
Reservations for large parties cancelled within 24 hours will result in a $10 per person fee. Reservations for smaller parties canceled before 4:30pm on the day of the reservation will result in a $10 per person fee.