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Jul 23, 2007 12:10 PM

SF dim sum--not too pricy or crowded

Hello: I'm looking for good dim sum in SF.

I'd prefer not too pricey, and since I'll be bringing my 80+-year-old parents, not too crowded--the wait for a table is hard on them.

Any suggestions?


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  1. Are you planning on going on a weekend or weekday. I find that any Dim Sum worth its soy sauce is pretty crowded on weekends. On a week day I would check out "The Dim Sum King" in the Skyline mall in Daly City (not in S.F. proper. I know, but by car it's probably easier to get to and certainly easier to park than in Chinatown).

    3 Replies
    1. re: bdl

      Thanks for the suggestion! Ah, I forgot to mention the day: the plan is indeed for Saturday.

      1. re: Lisa Simpson

        i would recommend Lichee Garden on Powell just north of Broadway. Yummy, very reasonable, and generally w/o the hubub of the Yank Sings and Ton Kiangs of the world.

      2. re: bdl

        I also thought Dim Sum King was very solid. I agree that any good place will be very crowded. Beat this by getting to a restaurant right when they open. Lots of multigenerational families go out for dim sum, hence, lots of elderly people. Most places will have places to sit if you have to wait, and I'm thinking that elderly people will always be given priority for sitting down.

      3. Also dim sum needs to be fresh to be good, so even if you were to find someplace that wasn't crowded (unless it was close to opening time) you probably wouldn't want to go there if the food doesn't turn over very fast. Like the others I would advise you to arrive early to avoid having to wait.

        1. I'll disagree with Lichee Garden. Went there two weeks ago, and six of us waited more than 30 minutes. What's more, the selection was strange -- at first nearly every single dish they offered us had shrimp in it. I like shrimp, but I wanted more variety. It seemed like the Chinese families there were eating regular dishes, not dim sum.

          Instead I'd recommend City View restaurant on Commercial. The food is tasty, it's not as expensive as Yank Sing, and it's large enough that you might not have a wait there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: stonefruit

            I'm putting another vote in for City View. The restaurant is clean and the food is good.

          2. Tian Sing at 138 Cyril Magnin in Union Square good prices and never a wait.

            12 Replies
            1. re: Sharon S.

              The nice thing about Tian Sing, too, is if your parents have a tough time with the clatter, the chatter and the general chaos, this place is quiet, well-appointed, and the dim sum has been pretty good, though I've not gone there since it opened. I know I simply do not talk to my father in dim sum restaurants in general because he cannot hear me, even with his hearing aid, which magnifies the clatter, even in the kitchen. City View would also be good.

              1. re: Hao Chr

                Speaking of quiet -- has anyone had dim sum at Louie's recently? It's also very quiet, mostly because they don't use carts; they have a combination of circulating trays and a check-off menu. Ordering off a check-off menu means you get fresh dishes, even when they aren't crowded.

                Anyway, a while back I heard they had a new dim sum chef, but I haven't been, and I haven't heard any recent reports.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Forgot the place indicator:

                  Louie's California Chinese
                  646 Washington Street, San Francisco, CA 94111-2106

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    I've never found the carts per se to be a significant noise source other than the hawking, which can come from tray-carriers as well.

                    1. re: Gary Soup

                      Not noisy, I guess. Just more people bustling around and taking up both physical and psychic space.

                  2. re: Sharon S.

                    places mentioned..

                    Tian Sing Chinese Restaurant
                    138 Cyril Magnin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

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

                      1. re: rworange

                        cityview is great - but i believe they are closed on weekends?

                        1. re: sfoperalover

                          Nope. Open on the weekend. Check Place record for hours. I verified this by calling after your post.

                    1. re: Sharon S.

                      Has Tian Sing changed drastically this past year? When I went there last year, the dim sum was excellent, but prices were sky-high. It's easily one of the two most expensive dim sum places in the Bay Area. You know the other one--Yank Sing.


                      1. re: vincentlo

                        Maybe Sharon S. was making an implied comparison with YS's prices (or Toronto's Lai Wah Heen's!)

                        When I went to TS last year, you could pick up a colorful menu at the desk as you walked in which spelled out the pricing (including specials) and defined which items fell into which categories (S/M/L etc.), so at least there was no need for sticker shock when you got the bill.

                    2. Just discovered Great Eastern this year, so far I've been happy with their Dim Sum offerings, no carts, you just order from the list.
                      Was less impressed with their head-on prawns, tasted a bit like the tank-very strange. They are prompt,even when it's super busy, try to sit upstairs however.
                      Good shrimp and chive dumplings. It's in Chinatown on Jackson, I believe.