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Looking for really good dim sum in the oakland/berkeley area

lucyjeong Nov 7, 2007 10:29 PM

We just moved here from NYC and love dim sum but we're not sure where to go in the east bay. Can anyone recommend some really good authentic places that are also CLEAN?


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  1. l
    liujenny RE: lucyjeong Nov 7, 2007 10:53 PM

    I would recommend Asian Pearl which has an address in Richmond, but is on the border of El Cerrito. The combination of moderate prices and pretty good food (and pretty clean environment, at least from what I could see) make it a nice location for dim sum in the east bay. The place in Emeryville is pretty good as well, forgot the name~

    Asian Pearl
    3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

    3 Replies
    1. re: liujenny
      PeterL RE: liujenny Nov 8, 2007 07:47 AM

      The place in Emeryville is East Ocean. We went there a couple of weeks ago after years of not having gone. They have certainly cleaned up their act. The place is indeed clean. The food is pretty good. Most of it is made to order (not cart). The veiw is good, except for the constant and never ending construction.

      There is another East Ocean (no relations) in Alameda that has better dim sum.

      1. re: liujenny
        Scrapironchef RE: liujenny Nov 8, 2007 10:31 AM

        Asian Pearl has gotten mixed reviews over on Yelp. We've been to East Ocean in Alameda the last couple of times out, quite good and not too pricey. Sit close to the kitchen for the best selection.

        1. re: Scrapironchef
          chefj RE: Scrapironchef Jul 26, 2009 10:56 AM

          Yelp I have to be unreliable at best. You really need to sift through and try to figure out if the post has any idea about what they are reviewing or if they even ate there at all.

      2. DezzerSF RE: lucyjeong Nov 8, 2007 06:23 AM

        Try King of King, it's my favorite in Oakland. It's clean and has a parking lot!

        King of King Restaurant
        1139 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94606

        2 Replies
        1. re: DezzerSF
          durandaisy RE: DezzerSF Jul 25, 2009 04:12 PM

          Went to King of King restaurant today. Lousy food and too expensive. Cost me $25 for 1 person. Regretted going there. Will try the one in Alemeda (East Ocean) the next time.

          1. re: durandaisy
            shanghaikid RE: durandaisy Feb 14, 2010 04:18 PM

            heartell king of king no longer does dim sum.

        2. Ruth Lafler RE: lucyjeong Nov 8, 2007 07:44 AM

          East Ocean in Alameda (not the one in Emeryville, which is too expensive for the quality) -- it's just through the Webster St. tube from Oakland Chinatown. Very clean, friendly, good dim sum, reasonable prices, and not a zoo like some places.

          East Ocean Seafood
          1713 Webster St, Alameda, CA 94501

          1. k
            kc72 RE: lucyjeong Nov 8, 2007 08:05 AM

            East Ocean (alameda), Peony and Legendary Palace in the oakland chinatown/alameda area. for cheaper, good dim sum you can give Joy Luck a try.

            King Tsin on Solano (Berkeley) serves dim sum off a order form now I believe.

            Also, Asian Pearl on the El Cerrito/Richmond/Albany border.

            Legendary Palace
            708 Franklin St, Oakland, CA 94607

            Restaurant Peony
            388 9th St Ste 288, Oakland, CA 94607

            Joy Luck
            327 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

            9 Replies
            1. re: kc72
              Ruth Lafler RE: kc72 Nov 8, 2007 08:17 AM

              Last time I was at Joy Luck I wouldn't have described it as "clean" -- although I'm not too fussy about how clean a place *looks*.

              Forgot to mention that you should avoid Jade Villa, which has been on a downhill slide for several years now.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                kc72 RE: Ruth Lafler Nov 8, 2007 08:39 AM

                yeah.. I don't mind Joy Luck either.. coming from NYC the OP might not might it either.

                fyi.. drove by Jade Villa about a week ago and there was a banner that said 'buffet coming soon' -- their dim sum days might be over.

                1. re: kc72
                  lamlex RE: kc72 Nov 8, 2007 10:46 AM

                  The banner says that Jade Villa will now have sushi and Chinese food.

                  1. re: lamlex
                    kc72 RE: lamlex Nov 8, 2007 10:51 AM

                    was there mention of a buffet? i drove by pretty quickly w/ a AC Transit blocking most of the banner.

                  2. re: kc72
                    Robert Lauriston RE: kc72 Jan 29, 2008 12:10 PM

                    Jade Villa appears to have closed and changed hands. The new restaurant is called Continental Buffet.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      Ruth Lafler RE: Robert Lauriston Jan 29, 2008 12:13 PM

                      Good thing someone put it out of its misery!

                  3. re: Ruth Lafler
                    twocents RE: Ruth Lafler Nov 8, 2007 02:48 PM

                    I also like Joy Luck a lot, but I would not recommend it to anyone who requests "CLEAN" in capital letters in her post. For anyone who can take the hole-in-the-wall, greasy spoon atmosphere/cleanliness/decor, it is an amazing value. Everything is 1.80, large small, medium. The only exception is the special plates.

                    Popular competitor New Yo Ho next door closed down some time back and is now a branch of D&A, with the other D&A still around the corner.

                  4. re: kc72
                    DezzerSF RE: kc72 Nov 8, 2007 09:55 AM

                    The one time I went to Legendary Palace for dim sum, all of our dimsum was lukewarm and most of the cart ladies decided they didn't want to stop at our table. We had to flag someone down for siu mai! Potential problem for non-Chinese speakers.

                    1. re: DezzerSF
                      lexdevil RE: DezzerSF Nov 8, 2007 02:08 PM

                      I'm as non-Chinese as they come, and I haven't had trouble at Legendary Palace. Yes, most of the cart ladies lack English skills, but I can usually get the info I need re: fillings. The key is to not be shy and get over any fear you have of making a fool of yourself.

                  5. c
                    Cheesy Oysters RE: lucyjeong Nov 8, 2007 09:42 AM

                    Well I'd put in a plug for East Ocean in Emeryville. I think they do a really good job with fried dim sum items as well as everything else. It is also rather corporate looking so it is pretty sterile and therefore on the clean side. Also easy to park which isn't the case with Chinatown unless you use one of the parking garages. I went with a friend to East Ocean in Alameda after reading so many great reviews and I didn't care for it as much as I thought I would. I thought the quality was better at the place in Emeryville and the fried items seemed more greasy. Also it was a bit of a haul to get to the Alameda spot whereas I can be in Emeryville pretty quick.

                    When I was way too short of time, I went to Jade Villa for dim sum and it was awful. It used to be fairly decent many moons ago. So if they are putting in a buffet, I'm not going to miss their dim sum.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Cheesy Oysters
                      lucyjeong RE: Cheesy Oysters Nov 8, 2007 10:07 AM

                      great thanks everyone!! will definitely try them!

                      1. re: Cheesy Oysters
                        liujenny RE: Cheesy Oysters Nov 8, 2007 01:36 PM

                        Well, one of the advantages with East Ocean in Emeryville is the view when the weather's good. So, it would be pretty good to go for relaxing dim sum with a view.

                        1. re: liujenny
                          Glencora RE: liujenny Nov 8, 2007 02:17 PM

                          Though as PeterL mentioned, there's now construction and trucks going back and forth between you and the view.

                        2. re: Cheesy Oysters
                          Cheesy Oysters RE: Cheesy Oysters Nov 8, 2007 02:28 PM

                          I'm anxiously waiting for Koi Garden to open up in Pleasanton where I work.

                        3. m
                          Michael Rodriguez RE: lucyjeong Nov 8, 2007 10:14 PM

                          My wife and I had breakfast at Legendary Palace yesterday. We chose four dishes--har gow, su mai, turnip cake, stuffed dofu. We thought each dumpling was large for its type. Each was hot and flavorful. And the oolong tea was surprisingly good. The bill was $9 +. The place is CLEAN, the wait staff helpful.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Michael Rodriguez
                            DezzerSF RE: Michael Rodriguez Nov 9, 2007 08:06 AM

                            I guess breakfast is a better time to go than lunch. We usually order chrysanthemum tea with dim sum and thought LP's tea wasn't very good. We ended up getting some items from the trays since they were the only ladies who were friendly enough to stop at our table. We got the gai lan and roast pork but they were unfortunately cold and expensive. The siu mai we hunted down was the only hot item but not particularly memorable. It was a bit large like you said. We also had har gow, shrimp chives dumpling, and sharkfin dumpling, which were all lukewarm and not the best versions I've had.

                            We had to ask twice for hot mustard. Total bill was $15 a person.

                            1. re: DezzerSF
                              lexdevil RE: DezzerSF Nov 9, 2007 08:32 AM

                              Another key to LP is to go on a weekday. They still seem to be running that anniversary special, so everything but the special plates is priced at $1.99 during the week. I wouldn't call this the best dim sum, but it is solid quality in a nice room at a good price.

                              On weekends we tend to go quite early, right before the Indian casino tour buses hit.

                              1. re: lexdevil
                                DezzerSF RE: lexdevil Nov 9, 2007 10:18 AM

                                For the record, we went on a weekday.

                                1. re: DezzerSF
                                  skwid RE: DezzerSF May 30, 2009 09:27 PM

                                  I think it kind of depends on when you hit Legendary Palace. I've been there on Christmas day and things were fine (yep, a Jewish Christmas, Chineese and a movie afterwards). The dishes were hot and there were plenty of cart ladies wandering around. I do think you have to get something as if you keepsaying "no, no no" they will stop coming by. My wife is pretty picky about the food she eats and she seems to like LP. Many times when we have gone the upstairs has been open and sometimes pretty packed (Christmas was a 45 minute wait). I think we usually get out for about $15/person.

                          2. l
                            lintygmom RE: lucyjeong Nov 9, 2007 08:11 AM

                            I've had very good dim sum at Old Place Seafood, 391 Grand, just a little away from the lake. Don't expect much in the way of service and it's a long wait for a table on Sat/Sun. It's not dirty but the ambiance isn't over-charming. Filled with Chinese people for dim sum and great reviews on Yelp and here.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: lintygmom
                              shanghaikid RE: lintygmom Feb 14, 2010 04:20 PM

                              put me down for a no no for dim sum here.

                            2. n
                              Nina RE: lucyjeong Feb 2, 2008 02:58 PM

                              Friends and I had dim sum at King Tsin today. They're regulars, one of them a second-generation regular customer, so we may have received slightly better attention than most, but I doubt it, the staff seem pretty attentive to everyone. I think it's a very good option for dim sum, particularly for those occasions when your party includes kids and/or less adventurous palates. Parking is easy and the pretty room was not crowded at lunchtime, so it didn't have the bustle factor of Peony or Legendary Palace -- which I enjoy when I'm in the mood for it, but it sure isn't restful. It is menu-based, not cart-based. There are a few vegetarian selections on the dim sum menu but if you don't eat meat or fish you might have to supplement with something off the non-dim-sum menu to get really full. Most plates are $3.95 or $4.95. We had sizzling rice soup, steamed pork buns (baked are also offered), Chiu Chow-style pork dumplings, tofu skins stuffed with pork and vegetables, crispy salt and pepper shrimp, vegetarian spring rolls, green onion pancakes, and sesame balls, with tea and beverages, for three adults and a three-year-old, about $55 plus tip. Everything tasted fresh and high-quality; the pork buns in particular seemed to be made with good pork, no filler or gristly bits as sometimes occur in cheaper bakeries. The green onion pancakes were the tastiest I've ever had, although I'm glad they did not come with nutritional labels because I'm sure there was a ton of fat. The crispy shrimp were nicely spicy and the tofu and pork roll was very savory. The dumplings were good, the spring roll was very bland (but was the particular favorite of the three-year-old). All in all, while it doesn't have the range of items or the authenticity of the Oakland giants, King Tsin is a good option when you want a more relaxed dim sum experience.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Nina
                                chemchef RE: Nina Feb 2, 2008 05:14 PM

                                I'm glad to hear a positive report for King Tsin. Its been one of our go-to places for awhile. Glad you enjoyed it.

                                1. re: Nina
                                  rworange RE: Nina Feb 3, 2008 07:30 AM


                                  King Tsin
                                  1699 Solano Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94707

                                  1. re: Nina
                                    lintygmom RE: Nina Feb 3, 2008 07:51 AM

                                    I just wish the turnip cake, one of my favorites, wasn't bitter and mushy. I miss the threads of grated turnip. I assume almost all of the restaurants buy at least some of their dim sum from factories but I've never had turnip cake this bad.

                                  2. Lori SF RE: lucyjeong Feb 3, 2008 07:55 AM

                                    Anyone been to Great China in Berkeley? I have not been in such a long time. This is a no frills, fast table turn over kind of place. I remember having some good dishes there, but the bathrooms were not clean, which grosses me out. Just wondering if there have been any recent visits or comments.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Lori SF
                                      Robert Lauriston RE: Lori SF Feb 3, 2008 08:11 AM

                                      I've never heard of Great China serving dim sum. They're not open for lunch on Sunday.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                        Lori SF RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 3, 2008 08:31 AM

                                        I thought they did, like I said its been a long time.

                                        I remember they had a great peking duck and the crab with steamed buns were also excellent.

                                        1. re: Lori SF
                                          Robert Lauriston RE: Lori SF Feb 3, 2008 08:41 AM

                                          Great China's peking duck and tea-smoked duck are great, as is the "double-skin" dish.


                                    2. Robert Lauriston RE: lucyjeong May 30, 2009 07:45 PM

                                      East Ocean Seafood in Alameda is my new favorite dim sum place. Eight small dishes, seven medium, three specials, and one beer came to $65 before tax and tip, and that was plenty of food for five people.

                                      The food seems almost identical to Yank Sing's to me. They even have the same unusual things like stuffed mushrooms and Peking duck. I asked if the chef used to work there, and the server said yes, but I'm not sure if she really understood the question.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                        Ruth Lafler RE: Robert Lauriston May 30, 2009 10:21 PM

                                        I wonder if they brought in a new chef when they expanded last year. Although I've always liked East Ocean, I don't remember seeing fancy dishes like Peking duck before.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                          Robert Lauriston RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 7, 2009 07:03 PM

                                          Went to East Ocean again today.

                                          I've never liked taro dumplings anywhere except at Yank Sing, and these seemed identical. The turnip cake and stuffed braised eggplant also seemed the same. Didn't see any Peking duck today but we didn't get there until 1:30.

                                          Simple chive dumplings were great. A small wheat-dough bun, steamed and fried brown on one side, filled with a gingery pork mixture, would have great if it had been hot rather than lukewarm. The best dish was a new-to-me item, a sort of solid, soft, translucent rice dumpling, browned on one side, stuffed with shrimp, chives, and I'm not sure what else.

                                          One "small" item, five "medium," four specials (fried squid, Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, stuffed eggplant, roast spareribs with candied beans), and black tea came to $40 before tip. Excellent value.

                                          East Ocean Seafood
                                          1713 Webster St, Alameda, CA 94501

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                            Robert Lauriston RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 7, 2009 07:10 PM

                                            Another item on the specials cart was blood cubes. I said, in a hopeful tone, "Oh, is that blood?" The server, whose English wasn't too good, replied, "Oh, no, that's blood."

                                            They had some really nice-looking cold tripe as well. I'll have to go back sometime with the offal club.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                              shanghaikid RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 14, 2010 04:26 PM

                                              east ocean has the same crew, kitchen and staff, as the old happy seasons in oak's chitown. they use way too much msg.
                                              my fav is mayflower in union city, next to marina market. the shrimp crepes are the best anywheres. the chicken claws and spareribs are a miss. the prices (2.30, 2.80, 3.30) are unbeatable.

                                          2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                            Robert Lauriston RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 14, 2010 09:59 AM

                                            Went again yesterday. This time the stuffed mushrooms were not like Yank Sing's--no tarragon, not as tasty (maybe a seasonal thing). They had a special sort of coconut and egg pudding for new year, kind of like turnip cake but chewier and slightly sweet, reminded me a bit of the little coconut chive cakes at Wat Mongkolratanaram. We also had a clay pot with pork, hard-boiled eggs, and big chunks of ginger (for seasoning, not edible) in a sweet broth with spices--really interesting and good, never had anything similar to it before. Stuffed ourselves and had leftovers, came to a little over $20 each.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                              Melanie Wong RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 14, 2010 03:28 PM

                                              The ginger and black vinegar sweet-sour sauced chopped up pig feet should aid your lactation. :-{} Traditionally it's made for new mothers.

                                              1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                Ruth Lafler RE: Melanie Wong Feb 14, 2010 04:23 PM

                                                Maybe it will help Robert give birth to and nurture his new restaurant. :-)

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