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best chinese food in the East Bay

s
sethkaufman Nov 15, 2006 05:25 PM

Looking for the best chinese in the East Bay - the closer to berkeley the better. I am NOT looking for great take-out. I am looking for a place to sit down and enjoy. Thanks

  1. Maple Nov 16, 2006 05:18 AM

    Lily's in Lafayette for great Shanghai-ese, and Dragon 2000 in Walnut Creek for fabulous Shanghai and Sichuan dishes (though avoid the xiao long). Dragon 2000 also has nice decor - good enough for in-laws :-). Neither is as far as it sounds.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Maple
      Melanie Wong Nov 16, 2006 05:27 AM

      Yes, Lily's is not far from Berkeley or Oakland. And, if BARTing, it's right across the street from the station. What are your favorite dishes there?

      Lily's chowdown report -
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      1. re: Melanie Wong
        Maple Nov 16, 2006 05:39 AM

        Astonishing smoked fish - surprisingly crunchy texture with a satisfying, complex sweet flavor - best I have had anywhere, and my hometown is Nanjing.
        Also had their tea-leave shrimp, which was good, but I think Dragon 2000's Kung Pao Shrimp (the Chinese version, not the American version) is even better.

        1. re: Maple
          Melanie Wong Nov 16, 2006 06:06 AM

          Oh yeah, the smoked fish! I never liked that dish before I tried it at Lily's.

    2. l
      lintygmom Nov 16, 2006 01:23 AM

      East Ocean Seafood in Alameda. Wow. Worth the drive.

      1. h
        Han Nov 15, 2006 11:04 PM

        TAIWAN is an authentic Taiwanese place in Berkeley that has many delicious dishes. They also cater to a lot of Americans as well as Chinese customers who want authentic delicious Taiwanese specialties. It is not a high end gourmet place but it is one of those places that is capable of delivering awesome food with very reasonable prices. In fact it is kind of a divy kind of place.

        I always enjoy TAIWAN restaurant in the corner of Shattuck and University BUT you have to know the good dishes there and WHEN they have those good dishes. They have at least 3 menus there. One is their formal menu (skip it, many Americanized dishes). Then the bargain dishes (many good dishes there). A 3rd menu is their weekend breakfast menu (up to 2 pm or so) which has many inexpensive and tasty dishes. All menus are in English.

        You can also search previous posts "TAIWAN" keyword.

        Here are some of them with good and bad reviews: Note the "good" dishes that the hounds like and avoid others.

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/19724?query=taiwan&user_name=

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/21781...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Han
          Robert Lauriston Nov 16, 2006 12:26 AM

          I'll have to try Taiwan again with those recommendations in hand. The place has so many terrible Americanized dishes on the menu that I've found it really hit and miss.

        2. s
          sethkaufman Nov 15, 2006 08:21 PM

          Thanks everybody, I have been to Great China...really liked it. I haven't been to Jade Villa in 15 years but don't recall it being very impressive. Perhaps we will go for Great China and see what happens. The Tea-smoked duck sounds great. Too bad my wife is a veggie - more duck for me.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sethkaufman
            coolbean98 Nov 15, 2006 10:47 PM

            I give another vote for China Village on Solano. They Sichuan dishes I've had since the chef change have been fine, and I like it even more than Great China (except for the duck...mmm). China Village isn't a whole lot better veggie-wise, but the soft tofu and cold fun noodles there are among my favorites.

            1. re: sethkaufman
              Kitchen Imp Nov 16, 2006 02:10 AM

              Great China is great about modifying dishes for vegetarians. Just ask. I was with a group once that requested the Double Skin as a veg dish, and they did it without any fuss at all.

            2. Robert Lauriston Nov 15, 2006 07:10 PM

              Daimo in Richmond (feels more like El Cerrito)

              China Village in Albany, if you stick to the Sichuan dishes

              Great China in Berkeley for "double skin" and Peking duck or tea-smoked duck

              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/316351

              1. singleguychef Nov 15, 2006 06:06 PM

                I haven't personally tried it but several of my friends say the best Chinese restaurant in Berkeley is a place called The Great China Restaurant at 2115 Kittredge (north of Shattuck past the theatre). It's like a hole in the wall, very small, but supposedly good food. A lot of Chinese families on the East Bay squeeze their families in for banquets. And they have many specials written in Chinese, so sounds authentic. Any chowhounders tried it first hand?

                3 Replies
                1. re: singleguychef
                  h
                  Hapa Dude Nov 15, 2006 06:43 PM

                  +1 for Great China. Try some of their more out of the ordinary dishes. It's been a while, but I believe they have very good duck dishes.

                  1. re: singleguychef
                    PeterL Nov 15, 2006 08:27 PM

                    One of our favorites in this area. They serve IMO the best Peking duck in the bay area. Northern cuisine.

                    1. re: singleguychef
                      Kitchen Imp Nov 16, 2006 02:03 AM

                      It's not as small as it looks. There's a whole upstairs room, recently expanded for large groups (you have to go up a staircase behind the kitchen, which leads you to the second floor, not just the upper level that's visible from the door when you walk in). I eat there at least once a month. It's excellent. A couple weeks ago the fried oysters and giant clams were marvelous. If you tell the waiter how much you want to spend per person and let him or her design the menu, you'll get some fantastic things that you'd never have thought to order...

                    2. n
                      nja Nov 15, 2006 05:51 PM

                      My personal favorite is Saigon Seafood Harbor, which is my one of my favorites in the entire bay area.
                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/31304

                      The place that gets probably the most praise on this board is China Village.
                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/338796

                      However, I think each may be problematic at the moment, as I recall reading about Saigon closed for a while due to a fire and China Village replacing its head chef. Perhaps somebody can fill us in on the current status.

                      -Nick

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: nja
                        Ruth Lafler Nov 15, 2006 06:16 PM

                        Has Saigon reopened after the fire there a few months back?

                        Whatever people may have thought of it in the past, Jade Villa is dismal these days. Avoid.

                        In Berkeley, Great China is probably the best, especially if you order off the Chef's Specials page. They make some of the best Peking duck in the Bay Area; they make a dish called "double skin" that's great; there's also a dish made with crab meat served with steamed buns that's awesome.

                        China Village on Solano is good for Sichuan food. It's not quite the same since the original chef went back to China, but it's still among the best around.

                        Shanghai in Oakland Chinatown is a hole-in-the-wall with good home-style Shanghai food.

                        Daimo and Asian Pearl in the Pacific East Mall in Richmond (just off 80 at Central Ave.) are also good for Hong Kong/Cantonese cuisine.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                          Melanie Wong Nov 15, 2006 07:05 PM

                          When I inquired at the Sunnyvale location last month, the manager said that they hoped the Richmond location of Saigon would open in March.

                          Also, don't forget that Shanghai has a branch in Berkeley on Durant, opposite side of the street from Top Dog. Larger and comfier quarters than Oakland.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong
                            Ruth Lafler Nov 15, 2006 07:09 PM

                            I'm going to have to remember that next time I have a theater/concert date on campus.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                              Melanie Wong Nov 15, 2006 07:12 PM

                              Here's an early thread on the Berkeley location of Shanghai -
                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/45324

                              and the report from last week's chow dinner at the San Mateo location to give a sense of the range of cooking -
                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/341265

                            2. re: Melanie Wong
                              Scrapironchef Nov 15, 2006 10:14 PM

                              I drive by the Richmond location everyday, there is no activity visible. Still boarded up.

                        2. s
                          Seldomsated Nov 15, 2006 05:33 PM

                          Jade Villa, 800 Broadway downtown Oakland for dim sum. Haven't been there in years, but it was the best value for dim sum at the time. It's noisy and can be packed at certain times, but it's pretty good.

                          You might want to try some of the restaurants noted here, in the East Bay Express "Best of" issue -

                          http://bestof.eastbayexpress.com/best...

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Seldomsated
                            s
                            S U Nov 15, 2006 05:42 PM

                            Jade Villa has gone seriously downhill in the past several years. Sethkaufman, what kind of food are you looking for? If you do a search on the board for the type of food, you'll be sure to come up with many hits: dim sum, noodle plates, banquet style, etc.

                            1. re: S U
                              h
                              Hunicsz Nov 15, 2006 06:48 PM

                              Sorry, but I've got to agree. Skip Jade Villa.

                              1. re: Hunicsz
                                Robert Lauriston Nov 15, 2006 07:07 PM

                                Worst dim sum of my life. I've had better in Philadelphia.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                  oakjoan Nov 15, 2006 07:41 PM

                                  Jade Villa = greasy and cold dim sum with bad service

                                  We had some really good dim sum at Happy Family restaurant at the corner of Harrison and 10th in Oakland. This, however, was a couple of years ago so it may have slid down the slope since then.

                                  Dim sum aren't my faves, so I don't know many places. I had very good dim sum (albeit pricy) at Peony in the past year.

                                  1. re: oakjoan
                                    s
                                    S U Nov 15, 2006 08:15 PM

                                    Happy Family is no more... a new restaurant moved in about a week ago (rumor has it that the new owners used to operate a resto in Alameda)... haven't had the chance to try it yet.

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