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Mar 29, 2001 05:32 PM

SF Dim Sum

  • p

Will be coming to San Franciso, from N.Y.C. where I live, for the first time the first week of June and would like to sample what you S.F. Chowhounds consider the best dim sum your lovely city has to offer. I was also told of an asian fusion restaurant called, I think, Beatlejuice. Any thoughts about this place?

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  1. That would be Betelnut on Union St. in Cow Hollow. My last lunch there was a couple years ago. It's not fusion, but pan-Asian. Very striking interior, good food then but too pricey for what you really get.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Haven't been to Bettlenut for a year or so but think their fried calamari and spicy green beans are outstanding. If you go, try to sit in back area room as it is less noisy.

      1. re: Kit H.

        Interestingly, there's a Betelnut ripoff in Sunny Isles, Florida, just outside of Miami Beach. It's called Beatlenut and it has the same type of Asian fusion menu. I asked the waiter if they were related to the SF restaurant and he cheerfully admitted that they were not.

        1. re: Chandavkl
          aaron noveshen

          I've eaten at Ton Kiang no less than 100 times in the last 10 years. I even used to eat lunch at their now closed location on Geary at Spruce all the time. I used to love this place. My nickname at e restaurant i worked at was DIM-SUM Over the past two years, after 5 +mediocre expiences at ton kiang, i have stopped going. I'ts not bad, but nothing like it used to be. KOI Palace is really a much better place all around now.. Check it out and see for yourselves. Its in the serramonte area south of the city.
          eat well

      2. re: Melanie Wong

        Although I have not been everywhere listed in the Dim Sum universe, my favorite is and continues to be the Koi Palace in Daly City. The setting is grand, the fish tanks teeming with aquatic life so exotic some species, I am sure, have yet to be named and if you arrrive early enough (and I suggest weekday visits only because you will wait hours to get in on the weekends) the suckling pig although pricey at $15 bucks a pop, is mindblowingly succulent, crispy and tender in on joyous mouthful. Top quality, military efficiency and carnival esthetics.

        1. re: Ken Hoffman
          Melanie Wong

          You've described the place to a T. I know the GM Willy Wong from his previous restaurants in SF - he knows how to run an efficient operation.

          This is one of the places that serves a true suckling pig. IIRC, these are no more than 13 lbs. They get the extra crisp skin by using an instrument like a blowdryer. Now I no longer have to wait for trips to Asia for this dish. I'll note that the price you mention is for a serving, not the whole pig.

      3. I've been told over and over again that Ton Kiang on Geary and 23rd or 24th has the best dim sum in the area. I haven't been myself but the recommendations are from trusted gourmets/gourmands. Good luck.

        1. Dim Sum: Go to Ton Kiang if you want to stay within SF

          Regarding Betelnut, I'd go to House. Betelnut has a pan-asian theme but though there food is good (not chowhound, unbelievable good, but passable good), the prices are way too high for what you get. They price for their neighborhood, Cow Hollow.

          Also, I don't think they don't take reservations and as the restaurant is busy and there are not that many tables, prepare for a wait. Please check whether they take reservations or not- wouldn't want to lead you astray.

          But back to House. There's one in North Beach and one in the Sunset. I've never had a bad meal there and for fusion food, I think they do some of the best. The prices for what you get too are very reasonable. What's good there? For an appetizer, their version of tuna tartare is excellent but I wouldn't miss their salmon roll. This is a lightly fried appetizer that is a wonderful melding of textures due to the crackly rice paper shell quickly deep fried and the luscious practically melt in your mouth salmon. The salmon is seared so that you still have a buttery interior.

          Well known entree of theirs is the marinated sea bass. Their pork and lamb is good but their fish/seafood really stands out. The seared tuna is a must if you like that fish. I'd avoid the beef and wasabi noodles. It's not bad but doesn't shine compared to the seafood.

          One of my favorite drinks there is the lychee iced tea. It's got a wonderful perfume and taste if you like this fruit. Very refreshing, very light, and a nice complement to the complex tastes of the kitchen.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Tida

            I walked by House on 9th Ave in the Sunset the other day and noticed that they now have a raw bar. I haven't been to House in a while, but I impressions from eating there several times in the last few years is that they do a great job wth grilled fish, whatever variety.

          2. You do not want to go to Betelnut unless you want to in the Marina (district) and pay over priced food for what you get. However, if you do go, their drinks are made well there but don't order the desserts. They're not great and not very good. The food is OK but there are far better places to venture.

            1. on my way to SF for the weekend...made some notes on dim sum posts over the last 3 years...some are attributed...highly chaotic...thought i'd share for what it's post was not dim sum but general chinese, in link below


              on Commercial St between Montgomery and Kearney there is a nice place called City View that has reasonable prices and good food. (anne h)

              Yank Sing is pretty good, but a bit pricey………. . . "Yank Sing " is truely one of the best dim sum houses in SF bay and surely the most expensive. . . They have the best selections of tea and some very nice specials and very large changing variety.

              Yank Sing is somewhat more expensive than the other
              Chinese dim sum places, and not as good. And I think
              it is fast heading downhill (as with Harbour
              Village). Ton Kiang is still the best bet.
              (gary cheong)

              For a true Chinatown Dimsum experience with affordable yet good Dimsum, go to Gold Mountain on Broadway bewteen Stockton and Grant. For something a litte bit more upscale. I recommend City View Restaurant in the Commercial St. alley way between Kearney and Montgomery.

              If you are looking for authentic, as in authentic Hong Kong style Cantonese dim sum, then Harbor Village in Four Embarcardero is the only place. I'm originally from Hong Kong and am an extremely picky eater… There is a substantial problem at the Harbor Village in Embarcadero Center, and has been for years

              My favorite place for dim sum in SF is Seafood Harbor
              Restaurant (279 El Camino Real, Millbrae, 415-692-

              We like Fook Yuen very much. We also like Ton Kiang -- great dim sum -- check out their Hakka dishes at night

              Two words for you all: Ton Kiang. Simple, Honest, Easy. 5821 Geary Blvd., San Fran. (lisa antinore)

              The two hands-down best places for dim sum in L.A. are Empress Pavilion in Chinatown and Harbor Village in Monterey Park, each of which is a grand, massive, marble-encrusted HK-affiliated banquet palace that moves a thousand people through on weekend mornings.
              (Jonathan gold


              2 Replies
              1. re: keith k

                ooops, the link I meant to add was this one

                Holy Cow, Melanie Wong is a MONSTER of the SF board, thanks Melanie!


                1. re: keith k

                  Gee, you're welcome, Paul.

                  FYI, Yank Sing has vacated its Battery St. location.

                  Some really great dim sum just south of the City at Koi Palace in Daly City, the "holy trinity" in Millbrae of Seafood Harbor, Fook Yuen and HK Flower Lounge, and while I haven't been for a while, Empress Court in Burlingame had some good dishes. I find myself at Seafood Harbor the most among these restaurants. This place is not on anyone's radar. But maybe we should keep it our secret. (g)