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Great Chinese in South Bay Area!

Help! Looking for a great chinese restaurant in the south bay/cupertino/santa clara/sunnyvale type of area. Dont want some cheap place. Just want really good food! Please help!!! Thanks! Leaving CA and moving to Chicago next week and want a great experience and a memorable meal!!!

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  1. i sometimes eat at cooking papa in santa clara. lots to try at cupertino village. of course, shanghai flavor shop in sunnyvale for sheng jian bao.

    1. Great Chinese plates with good execution are typically stumbled upon in hole in the wall joints :). Current fav: Chef Xiu in Mountain View (heavenly ribs in garlic sauce). Cooking Papa has hard to beat delish pork/shrimp dumplings (水饺) with superb noodles but i find their roast duck lacking and the environ deafening. For more choices, you can probably do better in Milpitas.

      1. Cooking Papa if you're solo dining or in a small group.

        HK Saigon Seafood if you want dim sum or larger group for dinner

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        Hong Kong Saigon Sea Food Harbor Restaurant
        1135 N Lawrence Expy, Sunnyvale, CA

        Cooking Papa
        2830 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95051

        1. Saigon is a good choice within the defined area as suggested by kc72. but if you are moving to chicago, you'll not see any of the high end dining option again over there. chicago just doesn't have a lot of recent immigrants to support great chinese restaurants. i lived there for 4 years and its a big upgrade when i moved to the bay area.

          if money is no object, go to Koi in Daly City. there is no equivalent of that in Chicago.

          1. Add Su Hong Palo Alto (south side of PA right on the border) for Shanghai, hot pot dishes and lions head dumplings are pretty swank.

            I'm not the hugest fan of HK food. Don't really get spaghetti and pork chops.

            I think the fanciest chinese food close to that region is TaiPan in PA, but I'd go further north as ckshen says if this is a one-shot-meal-deal.

            10 Replies
            1. re: bbulkow

              I organized a banquet at Su Hong Palo Alto recently, and I wasn't too impressed. A lot of the Shanghai dishes were a bit lacking in finesse--you know when the sauce in a dish congeals way too quickly? But again they don't really have much competition do they?

              I'm not a big fan of cha chaan teng HK food either (e.g., spaghetti and pork chops). I probably never had cha chaan teng food when I was growing up in Hong Kong. I was probably spoiled by my parents' taste. =)

              I haven't been back to Tai Pan after having been sorely disappointed by their overpriced and bland dishes, around the time when Michael Bauer released his glowing 3-star review of the place. Has anyone been back there lately?

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              Su Hong
              1039 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025

              1. re: vincentlo

                I was at Tai Pan about a year ago, and found --- overpriced and bland.

                We liked the Lion's Head clay pot at Su Hong.

                I am still learning about Shanghai cuisine, but can get what you're saying.

                Friday night we went up to Little Shanghai in San Mateo, which is only a few minutes farther from my house, so we might investigate their menu in more depth.

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                Su Hong
                1039 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025

                Little Shanghai
                17 E 25th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94403

                1. re: vincentlo

                  The, uh, demographics at Tai Pan aren't good.

                  1. re: vincentlo

                    I am far from an expert on regional Chiense dishes but I LOVE Su Hong in Palo Alto. Our favorite dishes are the Shanghai style small won ton soup and Shanghai style crispy noodles. The lions head in clay pot is okay but I didn't love it.

                    1. re: vincentlo

                      I'll speak up for Tai Pan. We go there quite often. In fact, it's now my family's favorite place for dimsum. It doesn't have the range of choices of Koi or Zen Peninsula, but a couple of years ago, the owners (formerly of King's China Bistro in Daly City) brought back their old dimsum chef, and the quality of their offerings is now as good as any of the Millbrae places, often better. You will pay around 30-50% more, and yes, you will have a higher proportion of non-Chinese ordering bland, photogenic food.

                      There are some lackluster dishes (Peking duck, fried calamari, most mixed vegetable dishes), and I've eaten my share. But I've found that asking Jeannie Lee, who is one of the owners really helps. They've been in this business a long time, and are very good at gauging what the people at a table will probably enjoy. Over many visits, I think we've found what they do very well: a lot of their dimsum, simply cooked seasonal vegetables, and the "Shanghai" crab (which is better without the egg yolk).

                      Maybe it's age. While food is the single most important factor in a good meal, it doesn't hurt if the experience is pleasant, too. I'm not always in the mood to be distracted by crowds, noise, or inadequate service. I want to be able to focus on the food and the company, and to savor both.

                      1. re: pilinut

                        I find Tai-Pan overpriced for dim sum. The quality of its dim sum execution is average for most items and slightly above average for a couple but no real standouts. The tea served was below average when we visited (expected better for this class of restaurant). Personally i wouldn't pay a 50-100% premium for an average eat but those who like its cosiness or faux opulence (and prob the downtown convenience) may have a different perspective.

                        1. re: rotiprata

                          Is Tai Pan comparable to Yank Sing in the city? Or do you think Yank Sing has better dishes alongside the impeccable service and pleasant decor?

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                          Yank Sing
                          49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

                          1. re: vincentlo

                            I've only been to Yank Sing once in the past year, and their XLB is the best I've had in the Bay Area--worth a return visit, I think. But the few other items we (two big eaters) had were definitely better at Tai Pan, Tai Wu, or Asian Pearl. There are probably some other items Yank Sing does very well, but we weren't lucky enough to choose them. It may have been a one-off bad day, but everything with shrimp tasted strongly of iodine, especially the hargow.

                            I think Tai Pan does hargow and other shrimp-based dimsum very well, though something I find delicately flavored may be other people's idea of bland. I also like it that dimsum at Tai Pan is cooked to order and doesn't all arrive at one go, forcing me to eat in a rush or eat cold food.

                            Pricewise, Tai Pan and Yank Sing are quite similar at roughly $30 per person. (The "Shanghai" style crab, cooked two ways, at Tai Pan is a very good deal at $34.)

                            -----
                            Yank Sing
                            49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

                            Tai Wu Restaurant
                            1080 Foster City Blvd, Foster City, CA 94404

                            Asian Pearl
                            3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

                            1. re: pilinut

                              Oooops. Sorry if I responded to a question that wasn't addressed to me.

                    2. re: bbulkow

                      You don't find Su Hong Palo Alto to taste like they use quite a bit of MSG? I'm not super-sensitive to it, but I've noticed it both times I went there.

                      Michael

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                      Su Hong
                      1039 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025

                    3. Joy Luck Place in Cupertino. I don't know why the Oakland link showed up, but ignore that.

                      1. Dynasty in Cupertino has some solid dim sum at lunch time.