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WHICH CHINESE RESTAURANT TO IMPRESS VISITORS?

We are bringing some first time visitors (Persians) to San Francisco to eat Chinese food. No hard-core chicken feet or holes-in-walls please:) We will be staying in Union Square, so somewhere around Chinatown or financial district would be ideal. Guests would most likely like seafood, Peking duck, and things like kung-pao chicken and broccoli beef(YIKES!!!) Someplace upscale....thanks!

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  1. Here's a current thread on Shanghai 1930, might be a good option.
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/403078

    1. My very first visit to San Francisco was on a business trip, and the locals we were with took us to Empress of China. I haven't been there since, but remember the food was good and the atmosphere and view were great.

      http://empressofchinasf.com/

      4 Replies
      1. re: mojoeater

        Here's my 2005 post on Empress of China with photos to give an idea of the place.
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/34411...

        P.S. Please do NOT take your visitors to House of Nanking. I doubt your visitors will enjoy standing on the sidewalk with a bunch of ill-informed tourists waiting for food that is completely not worth it.
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/17434...
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/39784...

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          The decline and fall of the House of Nanking is really a sad story. Years ago when Peter Fang was in control of the kitchen the food was, I thought, very very good. And he was proud of what he was doing. Then, as W. B. Yeats tells us, things fell apart. So sad.

        2. re: mojoeater

          wow.... if it is the same Empress of China then it is certainly Old San Francisco Chinese. It was an institution when I went on prom night, and I graduated in 1975.

          1. re: KaimukiMan

            Same place. I first went there in the 70s too, my aunt was an investor at the time.

        3. It's no longer a hole-in-the-wall since they've expanded, though the decor is nothing to write home about, but it is the best Chinese food in SF:

          House of Nan King
          919 Kearny St
          San Francisco, CA
          94133-5106

          Phone: (415) 421-1429
          Cross Street:
          Jackson Street

          10 Replies
          1. re: voxbop

            I haven't eaten there (and some of my friends also love this place), but many people on this board do *not* think this is even close to the best chinese food in SF.

            Link to a very recent thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/397843

            Dave MP

            1. re: Dave MP

              Well, most of the complaints are about other things then the food. All I can say is I've eaten at dozens of Chinese Restaurants in SF and have eaten at House of Nan King at least twenty times and have never had anything that wasn't delicious. I think there tends to be a "Zagat effect" where people tend to be reactionary because so much praise has been heaped on the place. You should try it Dave, you might be surprised. It certainly is a good value.

              1. re: voxbop

                If you use the search, you can find lots of scathing complaints here about the food, often from people who were expecting traditional Cantonese or Shanghai cuisine, which it definitely is not.

                Personally I think if you have an open mind and decent luck you can eat well there. If you have bad luck, you might get sweet potatoes in every dish.

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/44162...

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  When I ate there many years ago, it was zucchini in every dish. It's definitely not authentic.

                  1. re: PekoePeony

                    lol. when i went there many years ago, it was tomatoes. maybe they get a deal on vegetables or something. I do remember that dinner was $10.

                    --anyway back on topic, the decor is too grungy for the guests me thinks yes even now. R&G seems more appropriate. Actually Rincon Center Yank Sing would be good too I think.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        let me rephrase

                        rincon center yank sing is open 11-3 on weekdays
                        10-4 on weekends.

                        http://www.yanksing.com/locations/ind...

                2. re: voxbop

                  What do you suggest, voxbop?

                  My long ago experiences there weren't that great, but that was combined with horrible service. What are your favorite dishes?

              2. re: voxbop

                Nooooooooooo. I have eaten there and it's not among the top 100 Chinese restaurants in Chinatown, let again all of San Francisco.

                1. re: voxbop

                  oh god. house of nanking is ONE OF THE WORST "chinese" restaurants in SF. It's simply terrible.

                2. R&G Lounge on Kearny is a popular choice for seafood and stuff. It recently expanded.

                  631 Kearny St
                  San Francisco, CA 94108
                  (415) 982-7877
                  http://www.rnglounge.com/

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: singleguychef

                    Second R&G -- order the seafood basket (bird's nest?) which tends to impress guests.

                    1. re: a_and_w

                      Third R&G, which will allow you to get a little bit of neighborhood flavor if you wanted to walk around before settling into some chow. You didn't mention how many guests were visiting--R&G is good at accomodating groups.

                    2. re: singleguychef

                      How's the expansion/remodel look?

                      Here's my post from a birthday banquet at R&G Lounge last fall with photos.
                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/32680...

                      1. re: singleguychef

                        4th on R&G. Yes, there is better Canto food but for the overall experience, decor, staff and food it's hard to match.

                        The one tip is to get a spot/reservation upstairs (very contemporary by any standards) if at all possible. Also been there with Persians, it met the test of sleekness.

                        I'm also curious about the renovation.

                        1. re: ML8000

                          Thank you all for the recs!!!! I like the test of sleekness:) soooo appropriate!

                        1. re: mpalmer6c

                          Those are some hilarious comments on that referenced thread!

                          1. re: dhoffman1421

                            I'd go with R&G too. Tasty, non-greasy food, great service and nice decor ... I think it'll impress Chinese and non-Chinese customers alike. Just try to get their early coz there's usually quite a wait.