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Aug 24, 2007 10:45 AM

Which Spices is best and what to order?

Gary Soup reminded me in another thread that Spices has stinky tofu and I wanted to try it. Also wanted to stop by Spices.

So which is the best spices to go to?

What to order. It does or doesn't need to go with stinky tofu as I might chicken out.

Is Spices at Filmore a fourth Spices or a different restaurant

Spices II
291 6th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

294 8th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

Spices 3
369 12th St, Oakland, CA 94607

Spices on Fillmore (CLOSED)
1325 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA

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    I have only eaten at Spices II and I highly recommend the black mushrooms and bok choi. The link is my report, which also includes brief discussion of the new one on Fillmore....although I don't think I've read any actual reports on meals there yet.

    Dave MP

    1. I liked Spices II better than Spices 3 the couple of times that I have been there. That said, I live in Oakland, so I go to Spices 3 all the time. They serve stinky tofu there and at Spices (1), but last time I was there not at Spices II. I haven't been to the Fillmore location, but table notices at Spices 3 indicates that yes, it is part of the Spices family.

      I have seen photographs of food at Spices (1) which lead me to believe that it might be better than the food at Spices 3, but I say go ahead and go to Oakland sometime since it is closer to you. They are open till 11 Sun-Th, 12 Fri-Sat. If you want to try the stinky tofu, the appetizer sized fried stinky tofu is only $4 or $4.5. Eating the whole thing could be a meal (I've done that). It's stinkier than it was, but not as stinky as it started out with. I haven't had much experience with stinky tofu outside of the Spices restaurants (except Richmond Ay Chung, which was not stinky at all), but many of my friends are revolted by the Spices 3 version. I like it myself, in the fried stinky tofu simple prep, or the prep with chilis and basil.

      Their other food is pretty decent too, if rather oily. I like the spicy beef noodle soup and pork chop noodle or rice, many other dishes.

      1. I would recommend Spices II over the others. I have only been to Spices once so I am probably not a good judge on the original location, but I found the Oakland location(which I live near) to be a step below Spices II in overall quality. That being said Oakland location is still solid and continues the Spices tradition of not being unwelcoming to non-chinese spearkers.

        But then again what do I know...I like Tu Lan...:)

        2 Replies
        1. re: IanW

          Well, heavens, I'll just have to ignore you completely ... you Tu Lan lover you.

          Seriously, thanks to all. I suspected that going through all the Spices threads would be daunting. Chowhounds REALLY like Spices.

          SPICE 3

          May 30, 2006
          Spices 3 (SPiCES!3) last night

          Apr 11, 2006
          SPiCES!3 in Oakland

          Mar 31, 2006
          Spices! 3 in downtown Oakland report

          SPICES II

          Jul 14, 2007
          SPiCES! II Report

          Oct 11, 2006
          Z & Y and Spices II: report

          Jul 20, 2006
          Spices II (in SF) Report

          Oct 04, 2005
          Spices II (Damn I love this place!

          Apr 02, 2005
          Spices Restaurant

          Oct 20, 2004
          Spices II Report --As Promised

          Jan 20, 2004
          Farallon DAT, Spices! II review


          Feb 26, 2006
          Spices on 8th -- Atrocious service!

          Jan 03, 2006

          Oct 10, 2005
          A month at Spices I

          Jul 05, 2005
          An ode to Spices I! (LONG

          Jun 24, 2005
          opinions on Spices (Szechuan Trenz), Inner Richmond, SF?

          Feb 10, 2005
          stinky tofu at Spices!

          Feb 10, 2005
          Spices Restaurant (s) in SF

          Jan 13, 2005
          Beef Noodle Soup at Spices! I and need somewhere in SF

          Aug 17, 2004
          non-cantonese food: comments on Spices! and Joy

          May 19, 2004
          Lunch @ Spices!

          Feb 04, 2004
          What of Spices I and II?

          Jan 06, 2004
          We’ve Been Ma-La’d: Chowdown #1 of 2004 at Spices! II

          Dec 19, 2003

          Mar 26, 2003
          Spices, interesting, but needs some work.(long and boring

          Spices II
          291 6th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

          294 8th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

          Spices 3
          369 12th St, Oakland, CA 94607

          Spices on Fillmore (CLOSED
          )1325 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA

          1. re: rworange

            Spices I or III in Oakland both have the Twice Cooked Fish Fillet which is a MUST HAVE. Light crispy fish coated in hot spicy sauce served with black beans and fried leeks and cripsy fried tofu. *drools Homer Simpson style*
            I never go to Spices without ordering it. For some reason, it is not on the menu at Spice II and to tell you the truth they've been on something of a downswing for the last year or so. I had mushy fried tofu with explosive chili pepper, sent it back, and got slightly less mushy fried tofu with explosive chili pepper. As anyone who had the original dish knows, it used to be wonderfully light, crisp pillows with a silken tofu interior. I also ordered the spices Special chow Mein there once and it arrived at the table with no shrimp ( a big no-no). I suspect that when they opened III they shifted the original chef from II there. It hasn't been the same since. By contrast, that delicious tofu is still delicious at Spices III.

        2. Amazing coincidence (or great minds think alike...) but I was just about to ask if Spices III had stinky tofu (thanks, twocents). I am headed for the Mysterious East Bay because a friend's band is playing for the returning students' bash at lower Sproul in Berserkeley, and prefer to stay upwind of the Berkeley food snobs as long as possible, so I'll be hanging out in Oakland Chinatown. It's either Spices 3 or a bed check of the xiaolong bao at Shanghai on Webster, or both. If you run across me, I'll be the guy with the "Impeach the Three Elders" T-shirt.

          But don't worry, if the fried chou doufu at Spices III is anything like Spices I's version, it's suitable for a lady of your refinement.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Gary Soup

            Doesn't Shanghai also do stinky tofu? Maybe you can do a direct comparison.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              They do, but only serve it after 6:00 PM (something to do with the neighboring business' wishes, which leads me to believe it's a more robust version). I'm seldom there after 6:00 PM and probably won't be this time.