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Jun 8, 2001 03:36 PM

Ana Mandara, Slanted door or?

  • m

I wanted to ask the chowhounds for some experience backing in vietnamese food. Which one is better or is there a better one than these two? I have been to Thanh Long and was very disappointed by the food. The food was only average which makes it not worth the wait. Also, how busy are these two restaurants mentioned above and would reservations be needed a week or month in advance? thanks

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  1. I've only been to Ana Mandara once and the reservation was not too hard to come by, but that was shortly after it opened. Then the food was very good.
    Slanted Door is very difficult for a reservation. I tried about 2 weeks in advance for a 7-7:30 and had to settle for 6:00. I don't think they take reservations for lunch and I think it is easier to get in then. I think their food is very good. Some Vietnamese say that it is like food they cook at home. Not my home, however, so it is always a treat to eat there. I posted our menu there just the other day so you could check it out if you wish.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Kit H.

      There was a previous thread on Ana Mandara. I've linked it here. I'm pretty sure that a search on slanted door will pull up quite a few posts as well.


      1. re: Limster

        For me, the emperor stripped a long time ago. When we first ate at Slanted Door, food was delicious and experience delightful. Each return, food was less well prepared, attention to detail--including on at least one occasion the quality of the star of a veg course--more cavalier.

        Prices rose far too much with the first good reviews and portions became totally a la carte with nary a hint of a starch or vegetable.

        On our early visit, service was warm and friendly and welcoming. Subsequently, it resembled a NYC "aren't you lucky to be here?" attitude.

        I suspect success came too fast and no one was prepared to handle it with grace and humility, never mind keeping up the original vision of market fresh food cooked to perfection.

        I was very sad, having recommended it in person and online to many food lovers.

        1. re: Fine

          Fine, I'm sorry you had an unpleasant experience at Slanted Door. Granted, the prices HAVE increased but so have they at EVERY retaurant. Our waiter was very pleasant, knowledgable and helpful. We still find this restaurant to be one of our favorites.

          1. re: Kit H.

            Funny you should say prices have increased everywhere: Just the other day we ate at Irriwaddy (nice Burmese on Lombard), and the owner remarked that in the seven years he'd been open he'd never changed his prices!

            If the prices had gone up at SD but food remained good and generous and service gracious, I would never have complained. It's the higher prices/lower quality experience that I was criticizing.

          2. re: Fine

            Ana Mandara: Beautiful room, decor and bar, less than gracious service, small and overpriced dishes. Besides, some portion of every dollar you spend there ends up in the pockets of Don Johnson. Enough said.

            Slanted Door: We gave up on dinner because of the parking, noise and crowds. Now it's one of our favorite lunch spots. Skip dessert, except for the sorbets. The parking is also much better and the noise level is much more bearable at lunchtime.

            Le Colonial: Beautiful Room, somewhat gracious service, valet parking, great bar, high priced dishes, but the portions are large and easily shared, great outside patio, food is sometimes uneven, but the desserts are always yummy.

            1. re: Fine

              In the end, I think I prefer Vietnamese at the more down-home places on Clement (and I'm looking to try Golden Turtle on Van Ness). I'm thinking Jasmine House, Mai's and Golden Turtle. Also tons of pho places, my default pick being PPQ on Irving and 19th.

              I've never been able to get into Slanted Door, and based on what I've heard from several sources, decided that the effort was too much. I enjoy spur of the moment dining and getting reservations way ahead of time seemed too much of a killjoy for me.

              Also noticed prices shooting up at Ana Mandara after the good reviews came in. The chef is talented, but the portions are miniscule.

              1. re: Limster

                Being a citizen of Mexico I was visiting San Francisco, and some friends, got me a reservation for Slanted Door, praising it and saying that they had heard it was superb.I.m sorry to say that the place looks and feels like a second rate cafeteria, and that that the food and prices are overrated.The service is not very polite and above all I would rather pick any good vietnamese place on Clement than this.

        2. It is somewhat reassuring to see people flock to the highly publicized and overpriced Vietnamese and Thai restaurants, many of which deteriorate in quality as their popularity grows. We locals prefer the small, striving, holes in the just have to find them, and when you do, keep your mouth shut.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jim H.
            Mary Shaposhnik

            What an odd post for a board that is all about *exchanging* food information. This person obviously cares enough about food to seek out advice. Why not provide some quality advice about the "local" places, and send those places the thing they need--customers? Or if you just want to keep your mouth shut on it, fine--but the coy little "I gotta secret, and I ain't tellin'" is really antithetical to the spirit of this board.

            On to Slanted Door: I used to *love* this place, and because I lived in the neighborhood, I was able to eat there a lot because I could just slip in at odd times, or put my name on the list and go home for an hour or two. But I found that it really did decline as its popularity increased. The menu did not change as frequently as it had, many of the dishes lost their sparkle, the prices were higher for less consistently impressive food in smaller portions, and they tended to rush people out very quickly. It never became bad, but it became a lot less special and not worth the hype. I started spending a lot more time at Le Soleil instead, and didn't feel like I was missing anything. I've since moved away, but unless Slanted Door has really picked up the slack, I'd say it's a good place if it's not a hassle, but not a must-eat.

            1. re: Mary Shaposhnik

              OK, OK. You are right...I was being selfish. If you won't tell your friends and make the place so popular that we can't get in anymore, try Racha on Ellis near Polk. Great Chinese Thai (not Chinese/Thai, but Thai food prepared by ethnic Chinese from Thailand). Quite different from the traditional Thai (which I believe everyone is getting tired of). Great lunch, too. The shrimp and broccoli with rice noodles and thick soy sauce is the best Chow Fun I have ever eaten. Also good Sand Pot dish, Cow Opp, etc. But don't tell anyone.

          2. you thought Thanh Long disappointing? WOW! ilove that place. they make the BEST roasted crab and garlic noodles in the bay area.
            as for upscale vietnamese dining, i like slanted door.