Oakland Chinatown Recs
I live in Oakland & Chinatown is not that far. I really don't know any of the restaurants. Went to one place a couple years ago, can't remember the name, that was probably recommended in the Chronicle. Real hole in the wall with very good noodles and dumplings. Are there are restaurants that are consistently good and family friendly (i.e. have at least a couple highchairs).
Chef Lau, Gold Medal, Shan Dong, Shanghai, Saigon Grill, Gum Wah, Cafe 88, Chopstick on 14th(3 for $18 menu plus easy parking)
Peony and East Ocean (Alameda)
New Gold Medal
389 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607
East Ocean Seafood
1713 Webster St, Alameda, CA 94501
Shan Dong Mandarin Restaurant
328 10th St, Oakland, CA 94607
301 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607
388 9th St Ste 288, Oakland, CA 94607
345 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607
417 7th St, Oakland, CA 94607
The staff at Shan Dong are real sweeties. I love to go there with my kids. The dry-fried green beans are not spicy, just salty and flavorsome, and the kids gobble them up. We also like the cubes of crunchy-on-the-outside fried tofu that come eight on a small plate with a little ginger and scallion and soy on top.
Another item not to miss at Shan Dong is the pork and vegetable buns -- at only $1 apiece and huge (not to mention delicious), these are one of the best deals in town. In a pinch, I'll order two of them to go and -- voila! -- that's dinner.
I would imagine that kids would love these. You eat them with your hands!
I second the Cafe 88 recommendation, nice fresh noodles and items from the roastery and decent, clean environment.
I'm not a fan of Shan Dong. I think it's overrated. Quality level to me is average. If you're a big fan of starch, then you'll love the overly thick noodles and buns.
Another reliable spot is Battambang for Cambodian food.
Ah, you got me! I am, in fact, a fiend for starches and carbs.
That said, and as much as I love those buns, I would agree that Shan Dong's knife-cut noodle dishes are just OK, with my main criticism being that some of the sauces (like for the "spicy meat sauce" noodles) are a bit on the sweet side.
Their dumplings, on the other hand, are quite excellent. Again, the sauce they give you to dip them in is too sweet, so we prefer to just mix our own.
But those buns! As long as those buns exist, I will never starve to death in Oakland! (Though if I eat like six of them and then drink a bunch of water, will I meet an untimely demise, like the character in that old Gong Li movie?)
Also worth mentioning, since you specified family/kid friendly, is The Sweet Booth, inside that little courtyard where the Asian branch of the library is. Not a restaurant per se, but definitely the best bubble tea drinks I've had in the East Bay. Good smoothies and such too. Lately I've been especially enamored with their taro pearl drink.
388 9th St, Oakland, CA 94607
re: Munching Mark
Original Poster asked for Chinatown recs, and who leaves Chinatown on a *segway* to Piedmont for Chinese food anyway? 12.5 mile top speed on a flat surface... it's over 20 minutes away.
The the little gem Fortune Restaurant on Webster. Always busy, and open real late too. Lots of great seafood dishes that a cheaper than its neighbors. Had a great fresh shrimp dish there, where each shrimp is cut if half with a little sauce poured on top. They also have a consistent frog leg dish too!
Look around and you'll see families and a lot of chinese contractors. Chinese contractors are a sign of simple good value, food and fast service in a restaurant.
I like their chinese broccoli with preserved pork (chinese sausage), although for some reason, it often comes to me at different prices. Princess chicken is deep fried sweet spicy goodness.
940 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607
re: Munching Mark
King Yen is 4 miles from Chinatown according to google maps - not even in oakland. Both have rather generic, Americanized menus and food - decently executed, but surely round-eye fare.
For example, King Yen's banquet meal is Broccoli Beef and General's Chicken.
King Yen Restaurant
2995 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705
Thanks for all the recs. I did a cross check on Yelp and I'll definitely be checking out a few of these w/ the kids in tow. Chinatown may never be the same.