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Dec 11, 2008 02:34 PM

Best Chinese Banquet-Style food in SF Area

My parents' 50th wedding anniversary is coming up later this month, and they want to celebrate with a great Chinese dinner. Cost is no object (they want shark's fin soup, etc), and it would be for one table of 8, so it's not a banquet per se, but we'd like banquet type food.

We have a slight preference to stay within the SF city border, but if the food is definitely better, we would definitely be willing to venture to the Millbrae and Daly City areas. We would definitely want to go to a restaurant that takes reservations, as we don't want to wait for a table.

On the "usual suspects" list in SF I have R&G, Great Eastern, and South Sea Seafood Village. South of SF I have Fook Yuen, Koi Palace, The Kitchen, and Mayflower (former HK Flower Lounge?). I haven't been to any of these places for at least a year or more, so I'd like to know what the current opinions area. And if there are some "must have" special dishes, please let me know. I'm not looking for great value, I'm looking for great food! And, hopefully, a decent atmosphere.


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  1. In the city it's definitely R&G. Outside I'd rate Koi Palace as #1 (they'd love you if you order shark fin, etc.). Fook Yuen has gone down hill. The Kitchen is excellent, although I have heard rumblings about service problems. The place can also use a little spiffy up. You may also want to consider Zen in Millbrae.

    1. Here's a recent Koi Palace review with BJOTW and shark fin.

      1. I think Koi is still it if price isn't an issue and it's about the food. OTOH, you might get friendlier service/set-up and a more intimate space somewhere else. I agree, R&G, upstairs, is the nicest place in SF.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ML8000

          It's funny, I think the last time I was at KP was a few years ago for another dinner w/my parents where we had the BJOTW. It was good, but honestly, I don't know what the fuss is all about. It's kind of like they throw in everything that is 1) expensive and 2) has some perceived medicinal/health value, cook it for hours, and voila! My dad did enjoy it though.

          What we didn't enjoy was being seated at a lousy table and sitting on folding chairs. I don't expect great ambiance at a Chinese restaurant, I'll settle for decent and clean, but sitting on folding chairs when you're spending big $$s for Chinese food is plain tacky.

          BTW, I called KP and they said I could reserve a private room for one table, but the minimum is $800. On their website, they don't even have a banquet menu for $800, so I have no idea how they come up with that "minimum". Should I request a table near the bar in the back as Melanie suggests?

          1. re: rcinsf

            $800? Wow...that's a lot. I think R&G is half of that but not sure if you can get BJOTW. Any way, whatever places makes the parents happy is probably the best choice.

            1. re: rcinsf

              It's easy to spend $800 if you order the $88 per person Japanese abalone set for everyone and then add special teas and alcohol on top of that. You might as well take it in food and drink then have to pay the difference as a service charge for use of the room. Has anyone tried a private room at KP? Hopefully it's quieter, as the main dining room is noisy, especially on a weekend.

          2. Koi Palace, hands down.. It's 20 minutes out of the City, but orders of magnitude above anything in the City. One must is roast suckling pig.

            In the City, I prefer Great Eastern over R&G because they are more consistent across the menu and across time. At R&G you may get one great dish and then one clinker. Or a dish that's great one day may be mishandled another day. They've even been known to muff their signature dish (pepper-salt crab). It happened to me once. At Great Eastern you really don't have to "cherry pick" the menu.

            But go to KP. It's not as expensive as some people seem to think. It's cheap enough that I got the cheapskate company I used to work for to hold my retirement banquet there. Koi's banquets run from $278 to $688. With eight, you might as well order a banquet and have more leftovers to take home.


            1. I'll join the crowd and vote for Koi Palace, which I'm sure doesn't add anything for you. My second place vote, though, goes to Zen Peninsula. And definitely Fook Yuen is one of those places that has passed its prime.