U Lee is a mom and pop owned Chinese restaurant in Nob Hill that has been in business for over 20 years. Mom and pop aren’t in the kitchen as they once were when they opened. But, this tiny little place is still serving their family favorites.

I crack up at the Yelp reviews about this place. I consider myself a big foodie – but when it comes to Chinese food I always feel like I don’t know what real Chinese food is. I have never been to China. I have never been invited over to a Chinese friends house for dinner. And, I generally feel cheated by what American Chinatowns have to offer. Thus being said I like U Lee. I like U Lee because I’ve watched mom and pop’s kids grow up here. I saw them working after school – waiting tables and learning their parents trade. The eldest son now man’s the kitchen nightly. And does it with a big smile on his face.

Everyone talks about how huge the pot stickers are here. And, they are. And, you should order them before you even sit down. But, there are other things on the menu that are definitely worth trying. During springtime I love to order the Chicken with Asparagus & Black Bean Sauce. It’s a seasonal dish. Though there is a chance you will see it on the menu later in the year. And, during the winter I don’t pass up the chance to have the Beef Stew with Tender Green. They use organic beef here and it’s a nice fatty cut with lots of tender pieces of baby bok choy. Recently I ordered the Mongolian Beef – and its now my new favorite. Order it spicy.

I don’t know – you may not like the food here. You may not like the décor. You may not even like the humongous pot stickers. If that’s the case – please tell me of your favorite place to go or better yet – invite me over – if you are Chinese and your mother is cooking dinner.

I think U Lee is truly a special place.

U Lee, 1468 Hyde Street (between Washington St & Jackson St)
Nob Hill / San Francisco, CA 94109 Open Tuesday thru Sunday