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What places do you go to because of chowhound?

I read this question on the Boston board. What places do you go to because of chowhound.

I go to many places because of places I read about on chowhound.

A few:
Back-A-Yard, Menlo Park
Thanh Thanh, Newark
New China, Union City

What are yours?

Thanh Thanh Sandwiches Food to Go
6180 Jarvis Ave, Newark, CA 94560

Back A Yard Caribbean American Grill
1189 Willow Rd, Menlo Park, CA 94025

New China
1743 Decoto Rd, Union City, CA 94587

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  1. I was introduced to Everyday Beijing and Shanghai East, both in San Mateo, because of Chowhound.

    1. That's an interesting question, because "causation" can be interpreted a couple of ways. If you mean places I read about on chowhound and then made part of my regular food beat, I'd have trouble coming up with an answer. On the other hand, if you mean places that I was inspired to "discover" because of Chowhound, the number is too many to count. For example, even though I'd patronized taco trucks off and on over the years, I was inspired to go out and do a serious investigation of Oakland taco trucks by Melanie's taco truck reports from Santa Rosa. And then there's the third category, which is places I first tried specifically through Chowhound, i.e. at a chowdown (too many to list) or with dining companions I met through Chowhound (La Ciccia comes to mind).

      A couple of places I never would have tried if it weren't for Chowhound:

      Champa Garden
      Binh Minh Quan

      Champa Garden
      2102 8th Ave, Oakland, CA 94606

      Binh Minh Quan
      338 12th St, Oakland, CA 94607

      3 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Another place I might not have walked into (or even noticed) without Chowhound is Shanghai (original location) in Oakland. At the time, it hadn't been open very long and there had only been a couple of passing comments on Chowhound, but the board was in the middle of the Great XLB Quest of 2002 and I was keeping an eye out for Shanghai restaurants. Now, of course, it's a board favorite.

        Also, I'm adding a link to La Ciccia, which I neglected to provide above.

        La Ciccia
        291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

        Shanghai Restaurant
        930 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Kappa. Though it was eventually "discovered" by the local food critics, I found it through Chowhound about two years before the mainstream press reviewed it. Also Ino Sushi, which is not exactly in a high foot-traffic area, and Bodega Bistro.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Both of these for me too, plus the Lime Tree.

        2. I think Chowhound is great for stretching geography & uncovering places as they open. Given that .... there are several places I likely would never have found w/o Chowhound:

          1. Old Port Lobster Shack .... I mean how tempted are you to try a restaurant in a strip mall in the industrial/commercial part of RWC
          2. Cafe Gibralter HMB ... No way you can "discover" this place by walking in -- it's not visible from the highway
          3. Most of SushiMonster's list .... wow
          4. I don't live in SF, so following that scene is tough .... CH has led me to Oola (great in the early days), Coco500, Incanto .....

          1. The only restaurant that I an think of that's in my regular restaurant rotation because I read about it on this board is Lotus Garden, a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant in the outer Mission. We go there every couple of weeks and the food is always wonderful and Kathy, the owner, treats us well.

            Lotus Garden
            3216 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            1. The two that come to mind are St. Francis Fountain on 24th Street for brunch and Delissio because it's so hidden on Market St. that I would probably have missed it. Another one that I just went to yesterday is Axis Cafe on 8th St. in SF.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Mari

                There's now a second location of Delessio:

                Delessio Market & Bakery
                1695 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                DeLessio Market & Bakery
                302 Broderick St, San Francisco, CA 94117

              2. China Village. I would have never bothered to try it, and now it's my personal crack.

                China Village
                1335 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

                2 Replies
                1. re: SLRossi

                  Oh yeah, China Village! There are so many places on Solano I never would have tried it if not for Chowhound.

                  Speaking of Solano, every time I drive by Montero's I remember the positive remarks about it on this board and remind myself to try it sometime (so far I've always had my dog with me).

                  1106 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

                  1. re: SLRossi

                    China Village is definitely one for me also. as is Champa Garden. and a *whole lot* of places outside the bay area. Usually (though not always) it is the places outside my neighborhood, or places that I try while travelling, that I am led to by Chowhound....Neighborhood places I am more likely to try on my own....I was going to Lotus Garden (in its original location) before I had even heard of CH....ditto Passionfish in Pacific Grove (because I travel enough to Monterey that it is like a second neighborhood to me)..

                    but the other great thing about CH is that even if it doesn't lead me to try a place for the first time, it gives me a sense of what to expect, how to decipher the menu, what I might want to order...etc....

                  2. Arinell's Pizza in SF.

                      1. One place this board turned me on to that I likely would have never found on my own is the Little Lucca Deli (El Camino Real, South SF). GREAT sandwiches and don't forget the garlic sauce!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: DavidT

                          Little Lucca's is one of the main things I miss after moving to the East Bay. I LOVE that hot pepper stuff.

                        2. Also New China (aka China Tofu) was for 3 years while I was in EB.
                          In SF =
                          Oyaji and Shin Toe Bul Yi because they're both rather far out in the avenues and not somewhere within my normal path. A16 because I don't trust non-CH opinions on pizza crusts. And Aziza because it seems to be the board go-to for out of town recommendation.

                          5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121

                          Oyaji Restaurant
                          3123 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                          Shin Toe Bul Yi
                          2001 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA 94116

                          2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

                          1. The House, SF
                            Back a Yard, Menlo Park
                            Speederia, San Carlos
                            New Kapadokia, Redwood City
                            Shalizaar, San Mateo
                            Kabab and Curries, Santa Clara
                            Pie in the Sky, Berkeley
                            El Pollo Supremo, San Mateo
                            Annapoorna, San Mateo
                            Tacubaya, Berkeley
                            Naan N Curry, San Francisco
                            Pastaria, Los Gatos
                            Tamal, San Francisco (closed)

                            Some of these I would have discovered on my own (Tacubaya, Naan N Curry), but my first visit was prompted by a Chowhound post.

                            1. LOVED house of Nanking in Chinatown - excellent recommendation...
                              LOVED Tartine Bakery - delicious, fresh and perfectamente'

                              Did NOT enjoy Gold Mountain in Chinatown - dirty and dingy...waitstaff bringing dim sun did not explain WHAT each was fluently. Some dim sum not too tasty... overall Bad recc. from Chowhounders.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Sallieb190

                                If somebody asked for a nice clean dim sum place where they speak English, I don't think anyone would recommend Gold Mountain.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  ha, I've eaten in a bazillion dim sum places.

                                  I can think of plenty of excellent-to-good places, plenty of cheap good-to-decent places, plenty of clean places of varying quality and prices. But I can't think of a single place where EVERY server explains in fluent English EVERY item. But then I've never considered that to be a requirement for me - its a restaurant, not a classroom.

                                  I'd say the closest would be Yank Sing and Hong Kong Flower Lounge - who are pretty good about stating the name of the items and asking basic questions (vegetarian? pork? seafood?) but often enough I've gotten incorrect answers where the server has just said "Yes".

                                  Hong Kong Flower Lounge
                                  51 Millbrae Ave, Millbrae, CA 94030

                                  Yank Sing Banquet & Catering
                                  101 Spear St, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                  1. re: larochelle

                                    Old Port Lobster Shack, Beard Papa , New Kapadokia - all in Redwood City.

                                    1. re: larochelle

                                      At Yank Sing, they'll usually send over someone who speaks English if they can't understand or answer a question.

                                2. I went to all these places on my last visit to SF--thanks to chowhound!

                                  Slanted Door
                                  Bar Crudo
                                  Chez Panisse Cafe

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: fdb

                                    Those are all great places, but not the kind you'd learn about only on Chowhound.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      True. I learned about them from other resources, too, but confirmed with help from Chowhound.

                                  2. Joy Restaurant in Foster City. Best Taiwanese food I've had in SF/Peninsula so far.

                                      1. It's hard to tell which ones were solely because of being on CH, but I do have a few notable examples.
                                        My favorite CH find was the Shrimp Truck Lady in Koloa on Kauai. I was with a carload of hungry snorkelers, and I saw the truck and yelled, "pull over!"
                                        It was wonderful, and everyone was in awe that I knew about the place. I became the hero of the week for that one.

                                        I would also say that my affinity for Tu Lan, The Taco truck on Harrison, and Lotus garden all had seeds on these boards.

                                        1. I plan all my Bay Area trips around Chowhound. Last month it was Chef Wai and Everyday Beijing in San Mateo, Dim Sum King in Daly City and Classic Sichuan in Millbrae. In May it was Shanghai Flavor Shop in Sunnyvale, Golden Mountain in Hayward and Imperial Garden in the Portola district. Working on next month's trip right now.

                                          4 Replies
                                            1. re: Chandavkl

                                              how was Dim Sum King in Daly City? Did u like it?

                                              1. re: hhc

                                                Dim Sum King was quite good. I still can't get over walking into an authentic Chinese restaurant at night and be given a small size dinner menu plus a dim sum order sheet. I mean requests for night time dim sum is something we ridicule on Chowhound. Dim Sum King had some really interesting items on their menu. The two that I can remember were the chopped shrimp ball adorned with kernels of sweet corn (as opposed to grains of sticky rice, which you may have seen elsewhere) and cheung fun (rice noodle roll) filled with fish paste.

                                                1. re: Chandavkl

                                                  thanks for the heads up on the two items. Both sound good to me!

                                            2. Champa Garden & Everyday Beijing have already been mentioned.

                                              I'd add Sancho's Taqueria in Redwood City to the list. Absurdly good carnitas burrito in a residential location far from any major thoroughfare.

                                              1. Although I'd had more than a few taco truck tacos before CH, the level of taco truck
                                                insanity here turned it from an occasional curiosity to a full-on, thrice-weekly staple.
                                                And even though my favorite (the pair at 22nd and Int.) gets booed out every time
                                                I mention it here, I probably wouldn't have noticed it at all without the hound pioneers.

                                                Other places I would have missed:
                                                Indus Village
                                                Lanesplitter on San Pablo
                                                That nondescript chinese place at University and McGee
                                                L'Osteria del Forno (missed that one for *years*)

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                  From Chowhound only, probably Gregoire and Crixa (semi-regular haunts), and Perbacco (one of the bigger Chow disappointments, because expectations were so high). Also, the guy who used to smoke meat in El Cerrito. If I think hard there may be a few more, but nothing memorable one way or another. I think pretty much everything else I'd also heard or seen from other sources.

                                                2. Nice topic!

                                                  I found Koryo BBQ on Telegraph in Oakland because of Chowhound. Korean BBQ with coals on the table, real "burled driftwood" tables, really impatient servers, an enormous amount of special tasty salty sweet fishy cabbagy Korean sides with your meal, and a very interesting Korean "wine" that makes me slur... I take the family there at least once a month.

                                                  The meat has been marinating in a spicy Korean BBQ sauces. You plop the meat on the hot grill on your table. When it's oh-so-carmalized, you place the smoky meat in lettuce leaves, adorn them with some of the 47 different types of sides, wrap it up like a taco, take a sip of your "wine", and have bite after bite of pure heaven.

                                                  This has turned into one of our favorite family places. Just don't go expecting an atmosphere or service. It's all about the food and the.... "wine".

                                                  Koryo Jajang
                                                  4390 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609