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Chinese-ish bride going mad seeking moderately priced Chinese banquet in SF for reception.

  • b

So I live in Brooklyn (am an East Bay dweller originally) and am getting married in SF. We want a traditional Chinese banquet reception for a small wedding of about 60 folks.

I am very, very picky about food, not so picky about decor (we can handle that). But I can't pay Tommy Toy or Harbor Village or Yank Sing prices.

Our tentative solution is upstairs at Ton Kiang, which isn't lavishly decorated, but looks clean.

My Chinese mother believes that this is a travesty. She is pushing Far East Cafe or Golden Mountain on me. I haven't heard of either one. I tried to talk to Koi Palace in Daly City, but they were mean and dismissive, so I banned them.

Any seasoned Chowhounds want to lend a batty bride a hand?

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  1. How about New Aisa on Pacific Ave. The food is decent to good for large gorups. The have a upstairs which is very good for a party of sixty plus. Food is better than Gold Mountain.

    We have our mass extended family New Years dinner there and they did a very good job for 700.

    Also Golden Dragon, Empress of China (higher in price) and South Sea in the Sunset.

    Hope this helps. Just as a side note. We had our banquet at New Aisa more years ago then I like to remember and the cost for table was less two hundred per table. Now I shake when I see my sons with their girlfriends thinking for their banquets

    12 Replies
    1. re: yimster
      b
      BrooklynTBone

      I hadn't even heard of that, but after Googling it, I think it sounds worth looking into. I will send my gastronomic spies (hungry food-obsessed SF sisters) to report. Thanks!

      1. re: yimster

        I was having the price discussion w/my sister in law about two weeks ago. We were married in 1991 and paid $168/table, and I thought THAT was expensive. I'm hearing $400-$500/table nowadays (although they aren't all like that!).

        My other SIL had her banquet at Four Seas, and they were very accommodating. I thought the food was pretty good.

        1. re: boltnut55

          We were married even early so I think we paid less than you all. But my Dad was real old school I never saw the bill. But I think he save a long time for us. But prices are much higher now.

          I have help some family member recently and all the tables for a wedding were over $250.00 and I must say I think I am good at discussing pricing.

          1. re: yimster

            For the benefit of those reading along, it's traditional for the groom's family to pay wedding expenses. Yimster was blessed with sons. (g)

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Although it is traditional for the groom's side to pay for the wedding banquest, we waived that in my case since I married a non-Chinese ;-) I don't think his side of the family would have quite understood that wedding custom, especially as the guest list was going to be divided on the order of 80 of my relatives, 50 of my parents' friends, 60 of our friends, and, uh, 10 of my groom's relatives (including his parents). Luckily, my parents were very generous and picked up the tab!

              1. re: No.19

                You're not alone - I don't know of any non-Chinese groom's family that has picked up the whole wedding tab. Sometimes they split the cost based on the guest list. Then there's the more recent rule of modern times - if the bride and groom are over the age of 30, they pay their own wedding expenses (subsidized by parents to the extent they volunteer).

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  When my cousins have gotten married, the two sets of parents usually split the cost.

                  Both my husband and I are well over the age of 30 (hah!), and we paid for everything _except_ the wedding banquet.

                  1. re: No.19

                    Hehe, I'd have to plan on paying for my wedding too. Although there may not be enough 000's to describe what my parents might shell out for someone to take me off their hands. (vbg)

          2. re: boltnut55

            All this discussion brings back wonderful memories. We had our party at Joe Jung's. It was that place on the corner of Clay & Stockton. My parents paid for the wedding and hubby paid for the banquet. Gosh, this really dates us. All our friends were getting married then and the favorite places were Four Seas and Far East. I won't tell you how much gas was then and if people had cars yet. ;0) Margret

            1. re: Margret

              I will tell you how about much gas was because my new wife would empty her car and then take mine so she would not have to fill up. She hated to smell like gas. It was less then a buck for leaded super.

              We may have something is common old age. :>)))

              1. re: yimster

                We may have something is common old age. :>)))

                Not as long as your appetites remain as good as they seem and you can remember the price of gas "back then"!

            2. re: boltnut55

              $168 a table? You can't even get a family dinner for that.

          3. How about Legendary Palace in Oakland?

            Koi Palace is one of the most expensive ones, and their service does have problems.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Peter
              b
              BrooklynTBone

              I just checked their website. Gorgeous place! A little out of my price range, though. But wow, I'd like to stop by there for lunch one of these days. The regular menu sounds drool-worthy.

            2. You might want to check South Sea Seafood Village, which seems to be a popular choice for moderately priced banquets.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                i might add that the decor is already banquet-ish. i always feel like i'm eating at someone's reception when i'm there.

                i also think the food quality is excellent -- my mother was impressed (and that's not easy!)

                unfortunately, i don't know about banquet pricing. they also have an upstairs area that looks perfect for a private party (although 60 may be tight)

                1. re: vespaloon

                  The mezzanine at SSSV will seat up to 60 people.

                  I haven't had dinner there yet - let's do that some time.

                  Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    sounds like a plan! :)

              2. It's not in San Francisco, but I had my Chinese wedding banquet at Legendary Palace in Oakland Chinatown. No one complained about the food (at least that I heard!) so the restaurant at least passed the "relatives must approve" test.

                If I had the banquet in SF, my mom was pushing Far East. We did just have a red egg & ginger party there, and the food was decent. Upstairs included a dance floor and a stage, if that's important to you.

                3 Replies
                1. re: No.19

                  Forgot to mention that I had about 200 guests, and the room is about right for that. Since you have only 60 guests (how'd you get away with that?!?), then the smaller side room upstairs would work.

                  The upstairs room at Far East is pretty big, and we had about 200 people there for the red egg & ginger party so it might not feel intimate enough.

                  1. re: No.19
                    b
                    BrooklynTBone

                    Thanks, No. 19. Far East sounds a bit too large for my wedding. I'll take a look at Oakland, for sure. When I grew up, we spent every other weekend in Oakland Chinatown, so that's more like home anyway.

                    How did I manage such a small wedding? Many, many extraordinarily loud and passionate telephone battles with my mother. :)

                    1. re: BrooklynTBone

                      Forgot to mention that we went to my second cousin's wedding banquet at Peony, which is also in Oakland Chinatown. First problem was that they tried to circumvent the fire code by cramming in way too many tables (which wouldn't be an issue for your party). But the bigger (more Chinese!) complaint is that the food wasn't that good. The appetizer plate was excellent, and we were all looking forward to the rest of the meal -- but, alas, it was disappointing.

                      >> How did I manage such a small wedding? Many, many extraordinarily loud and passionate telephone battles with my mother. :) <<

                      Wow, I can't even imagine such a small wedding guest list :-) Congrats! OTOH, I didn't mind having everyone there so it all worked out for me.

                2. I would give Empress of China a shot...they will try to work something out with you..Lot depends on date and day of week. When I have had budget limits on dinner, you can avoid the pricey stuff (bird nest, shark fin, etc). Empress is nice ambiance and easy parking in Ports. Square.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Jim H.
                    b
                    BrooklynTBone

                    I thought the food at Empress wasn't up to snuff? My sister had her reception there ages ago and, while the view was fantastic, the food was only so-so. Has this changed?

                    1. re: BrooklynTBone

                      The food is the same. The view, setting and temperature of the food are some of the high points of the menu. Since you have six tables that you can spend more time looking at the food.

                      1. re: BrooklynTBone

                        I went to a wedding at Empress and I really disliked the food...maybe it was just a fluke that time but I would not hold my wedding there. Granted, the wedding guest was 500+ so that might have something to do with the food that night.