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House of Nanking?

I loved this place when I lived in SF ages ago. Is it still there and good? If not other recs with that same dive/great potstickers feel near downtown.

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  1. Good way to start a food fight on this board. Many of us strongly dislike the place because the size of the crowds is not commensurate with the quality of the food. However based on the large numbers of people that still pack the place I would guess it's the same as it always was.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chandavkl

      Thanks for the heads up. I had no idea. So where do you suggest instead?

    2. If you liked it before, go back. The food is unique and one can eat well there:


      For a taste of real Shanghai food, try Shanghai in Oakland.

      1. Hate this place!!! Average food at best, long waits, surly service and no atmosphere. Not to mention the absolutely filthy bathrooms. I think you can do much better and I second the Shanghai (Oakland) rec.

        1. I personally don't like Nanking, but if you liked it before you should just go. It will either surprise you that it's the same or it might be the same but your tastes/palette will have evolved. If you're unsure, just go for lunch, always a safer bet since you always have dinner to have a nice meal. .

          1. Here's my Yelp review:

            I'm not sure what the chef's boner for yams is all about but those bastard orange tubers seem to show up in every dish. I'm saying that and I like yams. But there's just so much yam a girl can take.

            They say to come House of Nanking and let your server order for you. That 's actually code for "Let your server be surly to you and bring you more yams." Whether or not you blindly let your server make the decisions for you, be sure to order their fantastic veggie dumps (vegetable dumplings).

            6 Replies
            1. re: katya

              It's wise to tell the server that you don't want more than one dish with sweet potatoes.

              You can trust the owner, Peter Fang, to recommend a good selection of dishes. The servers, don't bet on it.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Recommend is one thing...letting someone order for you is another.

                I was trying to be polite about Nanking but I guess since the cat is out of the bag I'll just say it -- the place is for masochists.

                Seriously, there's something really odd about the interaction at Nanking. I call it the Edsel Ford Fong effect -- some people like to be abused by someone they would normally never talk to (or in fact look down at) and being taken down a notch, i.e., S/M. Add in class and race and it's kinky and very weird.

                Anyway, I can deal with terse if there's a reason - super busy, super cheap or super good. But for sub-par food and ill-mannered service, nada.

                1. re: ML8000

                  I've said it before in another thread--I kind of like the place and I've never had anything but very courteous service there.

                  1. re: Atomica

                    I don't doubt what you're saying, but then the inconsistent service only makes Nanking weirder.

                    I've been twice, both not my choice. The last time, I asked the owner about something on the menu and he went nuts, gave me major stink eye...over a question. I thought he was going to flip or bust an O-ring he was so pissed.

                    If the food was good or above average I'd consider tolerating things, but it wasn't. Perhaps he just didn't want me to come back, in which case he did a great job.

                    1. re: ML8000

                      We had the same experience with the owner. A member of our party asked for a menu and he went nuts. I mean it is a restaurant right?

              2. re: katya

                "I'm not sure what the chef's boner for yams is all about but those bastard orange tubers seem to show up in every dish."

                Hear hear! And he's got another b*n*r (I'm too demured to spell it out) for that brown glop of a sauce.

              3. They've remodeled and taken over the old Chef Jia space next door. But I think that they have managed to maintain the same noisy dirty dive atmosphere, although in the bigger space it is slightly harder to knock into total strangers while trying to get to your table. The food is the same. The service is still surly and bossy and you can still drink a beer in line.

                I'm a fan of the yams. When I've let the owner order, the dishes have always been good and assorted, with only 1 yam dish -- including the time I showed up with seafood, no mushroom vegetarians.

                9 Replies
                1. re: favabean

                  They killed Chef Jia??!? Oh no.

                  I like Nanking. I particularly like it for lunch when there's hardly anyone in there.
                  The fried sweet potatoes are real tasty and the uniform sweet sauce that seems
                  to be on everything is also nice. I wouldn't want to eat there very often, but
                  once in a while it's still a treat. I'm fully aware that it's not chinese.

                  That said, I'm totally down with the haters. Somehow, I think the world would be a
                  better place if each of those hundreds of people in line on a Saturday evening
                  would take a half-block hike up the hill and be daring and try something they
                  haven't read about in whatever "best-of" list they read about Nanking in.

                  But in answer to your actual question: still the same. If you're thinking of a visit,
                  consider a time other than Friday or Saturday night.

                  1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                    They killed Chef Jia??!? Oh no.

                    IIRC, he opened another place, but I didn't realize the place next to Nanking was over-take. I'd have to do some fancy searching to find the name of the other restaurant, but I hope someone else will remember.

                      1. re: Sarah

                        Nope. Flying Pan was opened by Chef Nei' Chia Ji of Jai Yun (923 Pacific, near Powell).

                        1. re: larochelle

                          Oh ... maybe I mixed up names, because I think I was thinking of Flying Pan ... so is Chef Jia still cooking ... and where?

                          1. re: rworange

                            Chef Jia's Restaurant, 925 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94133
                            Phone: (415) 398-1626

                            I called. The person that answered the phone says they're open.

                            1. re: larochelle

                              I may have been mistaken about which space Nanking expanded in to.

                      2. re: rworange

                        If anything kills Chef Jia, it will be their crappy hours. Citysearch says they're open every day, but I've gone there about 4 times in the last year for lunch and found them to be closed. No hours posted. Did finally eat here and don't know what all the fuss is about.

                        1. re: Atomica

                          It's nothing special. Just a decent-quality, cheap, broad-spectrum "chinese"
                          close to northbeach and relatively tourist-free. And like the late Cafe Europa,
                          the late US Restaurant, the late Gold Spike, and Specs it plays a key role in
                          keeping old Beats alive.

                  2. I'll never go back to Nanking - the prawn dishes have very small, flavorless prawns, only good dish was the veg. dumplings. The cheapest possible plastic water glasses, cheap utensils and cheap, uncomfortable chairs, but not exactly cheap prices. I still see people waiting in line to get in, even when it's raining!!