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May 15, 2007 08:06 AM

Dim SUM? First time SF visitor...

I have never been to SF before, I'll be there for Memorial Day Weekend.. I've also never had Dim Sum and I would like to try it. Any suggestions for a first timer? I don't want to travel too far we are staying in Nob Hill, so somewhere in Chinatown would be preferred, since I want to go there anyways. Any other suggestions for breakfast, lunch and dinner in North Beach, Fishermans Wharf, Nob Hill and Chinatown would be much appreciated. I want to get the best of the city while I'm there!

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  1. You might want to be more specific in what you want to naming a cuisine or stating if you're up for anything and everything. I do want to warn you that dim sum could be a shock to some people. I took my Caucasian co-worker who eats nothing but chicken and salad and she thinks dim sum is totally disgusting. Anyway, I don't eat dim sum in Chinatown so I'm no good there but Mama's is a must for breakfast. If you like Asian fusion, I recommend House (I might be biased since I do know the owners...but everyone else that I've taken there love it as well). I would also stay away from eating anything in Fisherman's Wharf...the food just isn't good there.

    1701 Stockton St.
    San Francisco, CA

    1230 Grant Ave
    San Francisco, CA

    1. I think Gold Mountain (644 Broadway) would be ideal. The dim sum is good and affordable, and the venue bright and spiffy enough not to put anyone off (unlike some of my favorites ;-) You get the whole Chinatown Dim Sum experience, including the rolling carts (see before you buy), and the diin of chattering multi-generational families, yet it's quite accessible to newbies, and most of the servers can at least give monosyllabic replied to questions ("What's inside?" "Shrimp.")

      I concur with Mama's for another brunch (no dim sum at dinner time) though you will probably have to stand in line, and as Sylphi suggests you might want to focus your reuest for dinner suggestions as there are so many options available.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Gary Soup

        I agree that Gold Mountain is a good choice. Definitely good to go to a place with carts if it's your first time.

      2. There are literally no restaurants I would strongly reccomend in the Fisherman's Wharf area (unless you count Gary Danko). That said, if you are going to be eating in Fisherman's Wharf, I would reccomend Ana Mondara -- now, before ANYONE gives me grief over that, it is not the best Vietnamese restaurant in the city, not even close. It is way overpriced. It is not authentic. BUT, it is my favorite restaurant IN FISHERMAN'S WHARF. And, to be fair, the room is amazing.

        I LOVE L'Osteria del Forno in North Beach. It is a cheap Northern Italian gourmet pizza restaurant which also makes an unbelievable pork roast. No reservations, you go and hope you don't wait too long. Literally one of the two or three best values in San Francisco, imo.

        Fleur de Lys is my favorite restaurant in the city and it is on Nob Hill. Very expensive but worth it. (Coat requested, tie optional)

        5 Replies
        1. re: whiner

          I wouldn't call L'Osteria del Forno a pizza restaurant. They do make pizza but it's not their strongest dish (though everybody should try a slice of the porcini).

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            EXACTLY! I always order the same thing when I go there. A salad, 1 slice of the porcini, and the pork roast. I leave stuffed. I think their strongest dish is the pork roast, but half of their menu is pizza.

            In any event, it is hard to beat their value. I consider the food there to be seriosuly "chow" -worthy , but the prices are incredibly low for the quality.

            1. re: whiner

              Definitely the best value for Italian food in town.

              The pork roast is a frequent daily special, usually but not always available.

          2. re: whiner

            Hi whiner, I hope the next time you are at Ana Mandana, you will do a separate report. I like Ana Mandara, but it has been a few years and lately there have been a number of downhill reports so I stopped recommending it.

            To the OP, there are quite a few requests similar to yours on the board, so searching either by scrolling down or using the search option will get you lots of ideas.

            Here's some more options for Fisherman's Wharf.

            Here are more ideas for the rest of SF

          3. Consider Yank Sing for dim sum. It is very "new-dim-sum-eater" friendly, but it can get pricey quickly. I had the misfortune of having to eat at Fishermans Wharf a few times at the insistence of visitors. Ghastly experience. If you have to do it, go to Scomas - it is expensive, but other places out there are now pricey and awful food to boot! If you are in that area for lunch, try Boudin's cafe. Do some searches for other spots - I'd take a first-time SF visitor to Aziza, Zuni, Bouleva, Canteen. Enjoy your stay!

            1. Avoid Yank Sing! I went there Saturday, and it was $60 for maybe 6 plates. I had pork buns, shrimp dumplings, BBQ pork, Chinese broccoli, salt and pepper shrimp, and potstickers. Some of the food was cold, and there wasn't very much of it. I don't think it tasted any better than dim sum in the Avenues.

              6 Replies
              1. re: nillabean

                Ditto. Right behind my office is a Yank Sink on Stevenson St. and the dim sum was dry. Have you guys ever had a dry har gow, siu mai, or scallop dumpling??!?!?!? me the chills thinking about it.

                1. re: sylphi

                  Have you guys ever had a dry har gow, siu mai, or scallop dumpling??!?!?!?

                  Never at that location and I worked at what was 444 Market across the street for a decade and ate there frequently ... probably once a month. Also never at the other location where I ate most recently a month ago.

                  While if not careful ordering some of the more expensive dishes, unless Yank Sing raised their prices recently the dishes mentioned .... pork buns, shrimp dumplings, BBQ pork, Chinese broccoli, salt and pepper shrimp, and potstickers would hardly run $60. Even at the exhorbitant Harmony in Marin where each dim sum plate runs $5, the price for those dishes wouldn't exceed $30 ... and Harmony is much more expensive than Yank Sing

                  $10 for a plate of pork buns ... I think not. There's a bit of overstating in that reply.

                  1. re: rworange

                    Yeah, that seems very wrong. I don't think Yank Sing could stay in business if they charged $10 a plate for low-end standards like those.

                    They do charge a lot for some of the fancy specials. Conceivably the tabs got swapped.

                    Anyplace with carts, some of the food gets cold. Yank Sing has the best taro dumplings around, but they're only good when they first come out of the fryer.

                2. re: nillabean

                  Sorry you had a bad experience. I worked right behind the Stevenson St. location for many years and at there several times a month - sometimes take out, sometimes eat in. Never had anything dry, even after it sat on my desk! One reason I suggested it is that it is easy to navigate for a dim sum novice. I know that can cut both ways for those of us who live here. I still enjoy the place, though!

                  1. re: nillabean

                    gosh, i'm not certain that this should turn into a boxing match over who does or does not like yank sing...
                    i'd be willing to try again, even at their exorbitant prices (it was over 5 dollars for 1 serving of the peking duck wrapped with a little bun, and by one serving i mean ONE bun, and maybe two pieces of duck in ranch 99 i could certainly get the same quality duck and actually have more than a bite)...maybe we just failed to order their signature dishes there? what would be their go-to dishes? when my hubby and i went we had our normal faves and not only were we not that impressed with the quality, but i felt it was less than authentic for some of their dishes. i would say that if you have the money (it definitely is on the expensive side of dim sum), don't speak chinese and are a newbie to dim sum (it's a good place to go if you want to ensure that someone there will properly answer your questions and explain what you are eating), than this would be an ok place to go.

                    1. re: lj2899

                      My favorite items at Yank Sing include:

                      chicken-mushroom fun gwor
                      cheung fun (soft rice noodle rolls)
                      mushroom caps stuffed with pork and tarragon
                      roast eggplant
                      steamed Chinese broccoli
                      sticky rice in lotus leaf
                      turnip cake
                      taro dumplings (only if hot from the fryer)