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Best Chinese in the ______________ bay

my favorite chinese restarant has had an unbelieveable fall off, i need some help finding a new place, spend a lot of time in the south bay, live in the east bay, and am frequently up in the city.

looking for a place thats not too american and not way too authentic. Please help everytime I say I want chinese food, they say "lets go to PF CHangs" and it makes me not want to be there friend.

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  1. In Oakland/Rockridge on College a half block from BART is Becky's. Very good, and not Rockridge prices.

    In Concord on Contra Costa BLVD is Chef Choy. It is in strip mall where a big lights store is. It is a couple blocks from SunValley Mall going toward Martinez. Very, very good. Great service. They make a killer East Lake soup. Tell tthem no crab in it. We have eaten there for years ( driving from Rockridge ) and tried most dishes. All are good.

    1. Shen Hua (Berkeley, College Ave.), Kirin (Solano Ave.), and Ching Hua (Alameda Marketplace) are Americanized / yuppified enough that I'd rather eat somewhere else, but the food's pretty good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Yeah, the food at Ching Hua is kinda meh (I had dinner there with my family a couple of weeks ago and can't barely remember what we ate), but the drinks were excellent.

      2. Chu Kong in San Bruno (El Camino Real) - best black bean sauce crab (spicy) and salt/pepper pork.
        Great China in Berkeley (Kittredge) - best peking duck and seafood ravioli
        R&G in SF (Kearny) - Salt/Pepper crab and their signature beef dish

        1. joy in foster city
          little potato in fremont
          lucy's cafe in cupertino

          probably not the best, but these are places i frequent.

          1 Reply
          1. re: wchane

            I love Joy too but you really need a Chinese reader/speaker in your party as the "real" menu isn't printed in English & most of the help is non-English speaking (unless something has changed recently...) That said, IMO they make the absolutely best pot stickers ever.

          2. South San Jose: Ocean Palace and its sister restaurant, Ocean Delight.

            The parking is better at OD and OD offers dim sum.

            1. I don't know if you have this experience, but I tend to find a place that can reliably churn out one or two excellent dishes and keep eating them over and over. This makes it difficult to pick a few winners, but if your tastes are similar, maybe these will work for you.

              Palo Alto
              Hunan Garden for: broccoli prawns (Western broccoli, big shrimp, garlic, ginger); fresh flounder fillets in numerous styles (feel free to have the black bean sauce made spicy, or mix it up with Chinese broccoli in a white sauce with lots of garlic chunks); friendly staff. A lot of the hot dishes here have a slightly harsh pepper edge. The dry sauteed string beans here feature a "sticky" sauce, while I prefer a soy sauce. Convenient to Page Mill Road/Oregon Expressway.

              Su Hong for: triple mushroom chicken (button, oyster and shiitake, they will add chillies to the brown sauce upon request, or change it to a spicy garlic sauce); sauteed snow pea greens with garlic (a bargain here); complimentary fried banana dessert (not sure they still offer this). At the Menlo Park branch, the dry sauteed string beans have pickled cabbage, which I ask them to leave out; can't remember about the Palo Alto location. Between Page Mill and San Antonio, near East Meadow.

              Tsing Tao for: hot and sour soup that's a meal in itself. I take out half a dozen dishes from here maybe once a month, and the only loser has been the steamed salmon (so dried out or freezer burned that even a long soak in the sauce couldn't save it). Solano Ave. 1 block West of the Safeway.

              Hopefully this gives you a few ideas.

              1. Bay Fung Tong on Franklin and 19th in Oakland serves up good, inexpensive Chinese food that's safe enough for the American palate but authentic enough for Chinese people. My family always orders the family meals--the chefs do a great job executing those particular dishes, and they come out of the kitchen really fast. In particular, their clams in black bean sauce and braised pork with mustard greens hit the spot. And don't worry, the waitstaff can speak decent English.

                1. I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned China Village on Solano in Berkeley. It's one of the favorites of this board and was listed a number of times in the Chowhound book. Maybe it's going to be "too authentic" for you, but you might want to give it a try. If you want something less adventurous, I second Kirin on Solano. Also, you might enjoy Renee's Place, just down the street on Solano.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Marat

                    China Village is one of my favorite places precisely because it's not very Americanized, so I figured it was not what vipdiddy's looking for.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      No, It is exactly what the poster is looking for. I have little Chinese food experience and when I visit China Village many of the people around me fall into the 'beef and broccoli' category.

                      However these types of dishes are done well, the staff speaks good English and the staff is very helpful and accomodating.

                      It is a nice looking restaurant and not a barebones place.

                      While people with more knowledge can also be pleased at China Village is does an excellent job of serving customers at any level of taste.

                      1. re: rworange

                        Oh yeah, right you are. I forgot that China Village had that whole other menu.

                        When we eat there, most of the other customers are Chinese, maybe because we go late.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Yeah, the secret American menu ... to the OP I'm just kidding ... often a Chinese restaurant will have menus in Chinese with dishes you won't find on the American side of the menu.

                          BTW, I second the recommendation on Renee's place ... also they are ALWAYS open in terms of days of the week. Seven days and 365. If nothing else is open on a holiday, Renee's is. Pretty restaurant too. Get the smoked salmon, no really, it is a Chinese presentation, but just excellent.

                  2. I second the Great China recommendation. The secret is to ask the waiter what they have that's *not* on the menu -- it will probably be something you've never heard of, but not in a scary way. Just ask for a description. If you like greens, make sure you ask for the garlic-sauce pea sprouts (or is it shoots? I don't think they're on the menu, but they always have them). I've never had anything mediocre there, and I'm pretty picky about my Chinese food.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Kitchen Imp

                      If you ask for "what's not on the menu," you should feel grateful you get more than a quizzical look. A decent Chinese restaurant might have hundreds of things not on the menu which they will prepare on request. But what's up with having pea shoots "not on the menu?" Is that considered scary in Berkeley?

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          They may be seasonal from the designer label Farmers Market producers, but I think they are available the greater part of the year in Chinatown markets, and I know "doumiao" is permanently printed on many Chinese restaurant menus.

                          1. re: Gary Soup

                            Good tender pea shoots are definitely a seasonal item - however you are able to get variations of it through out the year. At certain time of the year, they can be smaller, larger, tougher or more tender.
                            Are we Berkeley bashing a bit? Great China also has "garlic greens" sauteed with dried beancurd - excellent.
                            Went the Capitol last night for their salt/pepper fried chicken wings and we had Vietnamese Lettuce aka "Mung choy" or "A choy"- looked like "yau choy" but tasted like lettuce - they cooked it with fermented beancurd sauce - it was really good!

                            1. re: Gary Soup

                              dMary, being an Old Blue myself, bashing Berkeley is the furthest thing from my mind. I was thinking more of the Great Satan of Farmers Markets, on my current side of the Bay.

                      1. In Palo Alto there is a place that fits this requirement precisely. Windy's on University. I have been with my Chinese colleagues and they think it is pretty good. The pea shoots are on the menu - the chalk menu up front:). You can get Shanghai wonton dumplings in hot oil. You can get some good noodle soups with preserved vegetables and pork. But you can also get the usual chicken and fish fried in batter and covered with some tasty sweet and hottish sauce. So my friend's kids - she has five - who are picky, also liked the food. In their case, it was the salt and pepper prawns they liked, with, of course, the lao jiu(sp?) on the side.

                        My friend liked the chan sha chicken, chicken served in foil, white meat, tangy sauce and green onions.

                        It is actually the best Americanized Chinese food I have ever had. If they would start serving lion's head soup....

                        1. Grand Palace on Grand in South San Francisco is great if your commute goes through the city to the east bay.
                          And in the east bay, where I live, there is China Village on Solano in Albany/Berkeley.
                          Go there for their wonderful and spicy szechuan food. They probably do szechuan better than any other place in the bay area.

                          1. If U R in the city...Chinatown, try R&G Lounge @ 631 Kearny Street. Then there is the House of Nanking a few storefront down - go with the traffic, same side of the street.