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Quaint Romantic and Authentic in Chinatown? (Please Help!)

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I've recently moved back to the bay area, and my east coast boyfriend is flying out for valentines day weekend. He's craving good Chinese food after having to endure so much mediocrity in DC. Does anyone have recs for some quasi-romantic, tasty (but NOT upscale/$$$) Chinese sit-down restaurants in Chinatown? He's never been to the neighborhood and we're staying the night in a hotel nearby.

I really appreciate any recommendations you may have! Thanks!

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  1. The romantic (or quasi-romantic) part really throws me for a loop as Chinatown and romantic really aren't used in the same sentence very often. For many Chinese, eating out is a public, family event, hence the tendency towards brightly lit and boisterously noisy authentic restaurants. I'm guessing your best bets could be R&G Lounge, Great Eastern and Louie's California Cuisine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chandavkl

      You took the words out of my mouth. Louie's came first to my mind as there are nooks and crannies to its eccentric layout that could be construed as cozy.

    2. I used to take my future wife to Sam Woh. Definitely not up scale but we could talk quietly on the upper floor. Caveat, dive alert.

      2 Replies
      1. In addition to R&G (ask for upstairs) and Great Eastern (ditto), I might consider Penang Garden. It is smallish, kind of funky looking, and the waitresses are dressed in singapore girl air outfits. My uncle from Singapore gets a kick out of the whole look.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sfbing

          Penang Garden definitely has its charm and decent food...the curries are good but it's a Malaysian/Thai place. There's some cross-over with Chinese cuisine and my guess is the owners are ethnically Chinese. A 3rd or 4th on R&G and Great Eastern.