Many pan-Asian and fusion restaurants offer vast choices of small plates, making dinner with a small group a fun way to experiment with new flavors and try more dishes. For groups of four or more, you may want to include some larger plates too. Price listings for these restaurants are based on what an average diner might spend for a small-plates dinner; sizes vary, so ask your server for guidance. Some of these restaurants serve small plates only at dinner; check when you call for reservations.
Betelnut Pejiu Wu Styled after pejiu wu (beer houses), this favorite serves street food from across Asia. $$; lunch and dinner daily. 2030 Union St., San Francisco; (415) 929-8855.
Butterfly Mission Lounge Vietnamese small plates. $$$; dinner only Tue–Sat. 1710 Mission St., San Francisco; (415) 864-5575. Also try its upscale sister, Butterfly Restaurant; don't miss the Kalua pig. $$$; lunch and dinner daily. Pier 33, San Francisco; (415) 864-8999.
E & O Trading Company Satay, flatbreads, and Southeast Asian dishes. $$; lunch Mon?Sat, dinner daily. 314 Sutter St., San Francisco; (415) 693-0303. In San Jose: $$; lunch Mon–Fri, dinner daily. 96 S. First St., San Jose; (408) 938-4100.
Grasshopper Pan-Asian choices in a Zen-like room. $$$; lunch Tue–Fri, dinner Tue?Sun. 6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA; (510) 595-3557.
Ponzu Bright Asian flavors in a hip setting. Mr. Chin's "yummy" baby-back ribs live up to their name. $$; dinner daily. 401 Taylor St., San Francisco; (415) 775-7979.
Soi 4 Bangkok Eatery Small plates and skewers, plus other Thai dishes in a cool, sleek space. $$; lunch Mon–Fri, dinner Mon?Sat. 5421 College, Oakland, CA; (510) 655-0889.
Three Seasons Restaurant Vibrant Vietnamese flavors, including many fresh spring rolls. $$$; lunch Mon–Fri, dinner daily. 518 Bryant St., Palo Alto, CA; (650) 838-0353.
Asanebo Japanese specialties in a mini-mall setting. $$$; lunch Tue–Fri, dinner Tue–Sun. 11941 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; (818) 760-3348.
Mako Asian and Mediterranean flavors blend in delicious little dishes; sleek scene. $$$$; lunch Wed–Fri, dinner Mon?Sat. 225 S. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills; (310) 288-8338.
Musha Interesting Japanese bar food; great marinated mackerel, torched at your table. $$$; dinner daily. 424 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 576-6330. In Torrance: 1725 W. Carson St., Torrance; (310) 787-7344.
Sea Saw Avant-garde Japanese tapas; great wine list. $$$$; dinner daily. 7133 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale; (480) 481-9463.
Asia Generous pan-Asian small plates served in a small, red room. $$; dinner daily. 3763 West 10th Ave., Vancouver, B.C.; (604) 224-5558.
Dragonfish Asian Café Offers up fusion dishes in a noisy, colorful scene. $$; lunch and dinner daily. The Paramount Hotel, 722 Pine St., Seattle; (206) 467-7777.
Hapa Izakaya Exciting, cutting-edge Japanese bar food; very popular. $$; dinner daily. 1479 Robson St., Vancouver, B.C.; (604) 689-4272.
Japone Sixty Japanese and fusion plates change daily. $$; lunch Tue?Sat, dinner Tue–Sun. 8269 Oak St., Vancouver, B.C.; (604) 263-6708.
Kitanoya Guu with Garlic Nouveau Japanese; friendly but hectic atmosphere. $$; dinner daily. 1698 Robson St., Vancouver, B.C.; (604) 685-8678. Kitanoya Guu (original location): $$; lunch Mon–Sat, dinner daily. 838 Thurlow St.; (604) 685-8817.
Saucebox Cafe + Bar Pan-Asian plates and exotic cocktails. $$$; dinner Tue–Sat. 214 S.W. Broadway Ave., Portland; (503) 241-3393.
Typhoon Thai nibbles and more; the miang kum is a winner. $$; lunch Mon–Fri, dinner daily. 1400 Western Ave., Seattle; (206) 262-9797. In Portland: $$; lunch and dinner daily. In Hotel Lucia, 410 S.W. Broadway Ave., Portland; (503) 224-8285.
Wild Ginger Excellent pan-Asian food, including many satay. $$; lunch Mon–Sat, dinner daily. 1401 Third Ave., Seattle; (206) 623-4450.
Imanas Tei Traditional and nouveau Japanese plates; contemporary ambience. $$$; dinner Mon–Sat. 2626 S. King St., Honolulu; (808) 941-2626.
Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar Japanese-influenced Pacific Rim appetizers, plus creative sushi. $$; dinner daily. 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu; (808) 536-6286. In Kapalua and Kihei: 115 Bay Dr., Kapalua, (808) 669-6286; and 1881 S. Kihei Rd., #KT-116, Kihei, (808) 879-0004.
Tokkuri Tei Feels like an old Japanese country inn; multipage tasty tidbit menu. $$; lunch Mon–Fri, dinner Mon?Sat. 611 Kapahulu Ave., Honolulu; (808) 739-2800.