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dim sum specifically in SF Chinatown

hewn Jun 14, 2007 12:43 PM

Hi there. I am pretty familiar with Oakland & SF dim sum - I usually go to Ton Kiang or a place in Daly City, or else Peony or East Ocean in the east bay ... I like Yank Sing too when I'm with parents or other Fancy People.

However, I need to find a decent place for a big group for Sunday AM dim sum - probably 12-18 people (we can take 2 big tables) specifically in Chinatown, as most people will be staying in union square hotels and won't have cars and I don't want to trek them all out to Ton Kiang.

I know the dim sum situation in this neighborhood is not ideal, but there must be one or two big dim sum palace type joints - like Jing Fong in NYC - around here, right? Any ideas?

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  1. hhc RE: hewn Jun 14, 2007 01:00 PM

    Lichee Garden Restaurant
    1416 Powell St, SF (415) 397-2290

    Gold Mountain, 644 Broadway, SF
    Y Ben House, 835 Pacific Ave, SF

    14 Replies
    1. re: hhc
      hewn RE: hhc Jun 14, 2007 01:24 PM

      Thanks for these, hhc. Any particular favorite among them?

      1. re: hewn
        hhc RE: hewn Jun 14, 2007 01:29 PM

        my post on Lichee Garden w/ pics back in Feb 2007:

        haven't been to Gold Mtn for a long time, Ruth's post:

        I haven't tried Y Ben House, on my list, here's Bryan Harrell's post:

        1. re: hhc
          hewn RE: hhc Jun 14, 2007 01:45 PM

          thank you for doing this legwork for me!

          1. re: hewn
            hhc RE: hewn Jun 14, 2007 01:50 PM

            one more Doh Ho, most recent post:

            Oh, there is an ok Search feature on the top which I used to find those posts, plus I read the board way to much.

            1. re: hhc
              Ruth Lafler RE: hhc Jun 14, 2007 02:18 PM

              I love Dol Ho, but it's really quite small and not suitable for a large group. In addition, its "atmosphere" is about five steps down from Yank Sing, and everyone in the group might not appreciate its funky charm.

          2. re: hhc
            Lightsuprooms RE: hhc Jun 14, 2007 01:49 PM

            Y Ben House is excellent....

            1. re: Lightsuprooms
              Gary Soup RE: Lightsuprooms Jun 15, 2007 12:09 AM

              I've been a Y. Ben House booster since I first went there, and am glad to see that others are "getting it" but it has its own "funky charm" (to steal Ruth Laflers's words) which keeps it off the Ton Kiang - Yank Sing axis. On balance I'd suggest Gold Mountain as being reasonably tidy and having carts a-plenty (and incidentally good dim sum).

              1. re: Gary Soup
                vincentlo RE: Gary Soup Jul 29, 2007 01:25 AM

                I know Gary, that you're a big fan of Y. Ben. I had passed by Y. Ben quite a few times, and the place has that cheap/dirty look inside--usually I would never go in a restaurant like that. But at your urge, and out of curiosity after reading many reviews about Y. Ben, I decided to check it out myself. It was packed on one weekend, and armed with a bag of tupperware (I was eating solo and I wanted to sample a wide variety of dim sum), paper towels, etc.--no I didn't bring my own silverware as someone suggested online--I was put in a two-person table with another guy. That guy left, and a different guy joined my table, and this guy left and an old couple squeezed into the other side of our tiny table. I found it more amusing than annoying. I tried both steamed and fried items, and all of them were average for Chinatown standards, and a significant notch below the top Millbrae and Daly City restaurants. Prices were low for sure, but not outrageously low; I paid almost $20 for myself with leftover to take home from a few items. I definitely won't go back or recommend Y. Ben to anyone, but I understand why a lot of people like and pack this place.


                1. re: vincentlo
                  Gary Soup RE: vincentlo Jul 29, 2007 06:30 AM

                  I'll agree that it's not Koi Palace, but good by Chinatown standards AND has, or had, about the lowest price point for a sit-downer in C'town (haven't been in a while). $20 seems hard to believe. SOMETHING must be filling those 900 seats with budget-minded bodies.

                  I still think about the Seafood Chow Fun at YBH.

                  1. re: vincentlo
                    Melanie Wong RE: vincentlo Jul 29, 2007 12:02 PM

                    I tasted them, but I refused to eat the dumplings at Y Ben House. Yes, it's sit-down and inexpensive, but the food was worse than the cheap take-out places nearby. My plate was rimmed with dumplings with a small bite taken out of them and left for garbage. Actually the best things we tried were the shanghai rice cakes, others have reported favorably on the noodles, and Gary is a fan of the chow fun. That may be the key to satisfaction here, stick to the noodle-y things and avoid the dim sum.

                    Chowdown, (4/2004)

                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                      Gary Soup RE: Melanie Wong Jul 29, 2007 05:52 PM

                      Yes, the rice cakes. The stuffed tofu skin (both braised and fried versions) was also exceptional, and I liked the spare ribs there more than I usually do. I've only been there with the Shanghai clan, and we usually follow a different ordering pattern then when I'm with Cantonese or other guilaos, generally ignoring most of the dumpling-y standards except for har gao, which my SIL likes, and wu gok,which I can never pass up. I have no recollection of the har gao, and recall being disappointed in the wu gok (largely because it was cold, I thought).

                      1. re: Gary Soup
                        Gary Soup RE: Gary Soup Jul 29, 2007 07:09 PM

                        I guess even my food recollections are not immune to my "senior moments." In a thread that just bubbled up, I wasn't disappointed at all in the wu gok at Y Ben House ;-)


                        1. re: Gary Soup
                          rworange RE: Gary Soup Jul 9, 2008 05:22 PM


                          Y Ben House Restaurant
                          835 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

          3. re: hhc
            Robert Lauriston RE: hhc Jul 9, 2008 01:10 PM

            Lichee Garden no longer serves dim sum:


          4. Moshi Moshi RE: hewn Jun 14, 2007 02:39 PM

            City View - 662 Commercial Place (cross street Kearny). Clean, attentive service, and consistently good. I have not been for a few years since I moved to Chicago in 2003...so could have changed, but doubtful.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Moshi Moshi
              hewn RE: Moshi Moshi Jun 14, 2007 03:21 PM

              Cart service there too? Good to know. Sounds like I'll have to flip a 5-sided coin!

              1. re: hewn
                Moshi Moshi RE: hewn Jun 14, 2007 03:39 PM

                Yes - cart service at City View.

                1. re: hewn
                  Ruth Lafler RE: hewn Jun 14, 2007 04:00 PM

                  I have to dissent on City View -- I've never been impressed by the food there, and got the worst "gringo" treatment I've ever had at a dim sum place.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                    OldTimer RE: Ruth Lafler Jun 14, 2007 04:18 PM

                    Just curious...how does a dim sum place give "gringo treatment"? (More properly, "lo fon" treatment). Especially with cart service. Someone has to be last and get the cold stuff.

                    1. re: OldTimer
                      Ruth Lafler RE: OldTimer Jun 14, 2007 04:44 PM

                      Well, to begin with, when they seated us they automatically removed the chopsticks from our place settings and brought us forks. The carts that had anything that could be considered remotely "exotic" bypassed us and had to be chased down. Etc.

                    2. re: Ruth Lafler
                      Melanie Wong RE: Ruth Lafler Jun 14, 2007 11:38 PM

                      I heard from my cousin who had attended a birthday lunch last week at City View. She's never been much of a fan of the place, and she said the food has gone downhill even more.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                        Philip RE: Melanie Wong Jul 29, 2007 09:20 AM

                        I ate at City View last week. It's also gotten more expensive, too. $46 for 3 people without tip.

                        1. re: Philip
                          Melanie Wong RE: Philip Jul 29, 2007 11:51 AM

                          Thanks, Philip. How'd you feel about the food at City View?

                          Here's a link to my post last year on dim sum at Great Eastern in Chintatown.

                          Great Eastern Restaurant
                          649 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                          City View Restaurant
                          662 Commercial St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                          1. re: Melanie Wong
                            Philip RE: Melanie Wong Jul 30, 2007 08:53 AM

                            Food seemed greasier than I'd remembered, but my ordering is different when I go with my Chinese friends (my most recent meal there) than with my gaijin ones (meal there several months ago).

                2. Jel212 RE: hewn Jul 8, 2007 05:23 PM

                  Any recommends for cheap dim sum? Dishes between <$1-$4? I don't mind the hole-in-the-walls, but I'll have company, so something a step up from that. Thanks!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Jel212
                    eglbc RE: Jel212 Aug 21, 2008 04:05 PM


                    So if not yank sing, whats the next best in the city, close to china town, that uses carts?

                    been to YS many times, but want some thing new and lest costly.

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