HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >


Stop the noise!

This is a review of Wang's in North Park. For some reason even though I indicated it in my original post, that was dropped from the post as it originally showed up on CH. Sorry.

The food is Americanized Chinese but there were some pretty good dishes. It was pretty pricey though. We compared it to City Wok in Mission Hills which is not so "fancy" inside. We find the food quality/choice about the same and City Wok is about 30 % less. We found the room to have some very interesting art and nice spacing between tables. It was too dark to actually read the menu with comfort. But, the big huge problem was the noise. No effort at baffling the sound, none at all. To add insult to injury, there was some terrible techno type music which was 95% just the same beat, over and over and over and over. It drove us crazy. We exited as quikcly as we could after eating. We will not go back until there is some sound control and they lose that noise which passes for music.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Were you commenting on City Wok or some place else?

    1 Reply
    1. re: DiningDiva

      About Wang's in North Park. I had indciated that in my original listing but it somehow didn't show up. Sorry.

    2. I think the title of this thread could apply to MANY restaurants in SD these days. Especially the newer ones. It seems that many owner/operators think noise (i.e. crowd level) equals hip, modern success. I am all for the return of a more hushed, intimate, conducive to conversation atmosphere that Fake Name was searching for in an earlier post. I really enjoy the food at Bankers Hill, Cucina Urbana, et al, but the noise level is really getting to be too much to tolerate.

      9 Replies
      1. re: foodiechick

        Noise...the primary reason I go to Terra for breakfast/brunch and only do take-out for dinner.

        1. re: foodiechick

          Agree, for a happy hour I'm OK with lots of energy and everything that goes with it, but for dinner I'd like to be able to share in a conversation, relax a bit, just chill and enjoy the moment without turning up my miracle ear!

          1. re: cstr

            'enjoy the moment without turning up my miracle ear!'
            hee hee

          2. re: foodiechick

            Not just crowd noise, but music, too, is often horrible and dreadful. I do not understand why managers or owners feel they must inflict music on patrons. If you're not going to have something unobtrusive and subtle, why bother?

            1. re: Josh


              Despite the protests of BeachChick, I can only surmise they want you OUT of their establishment as quickly as possible.

              I believe they know you're already there, that you're going to purchase a meal, and it's in their best interest to turn that table ASAP.

              I can't think of another reason they'd make the environment so intolerable.

              1. re: Fake Name

                It's kind of how I feel about places that permit mariachi musicians to pester you into giving them money to go away. Makes me much less inclined to go.

            2. Don't get me started on this. Suffice to say I completely agree, and will unlikely set foot into Wangs.

              1. My brain simply cannot hear "City Wok" without assuming that it is in South Park instead of Mission Hills.


                2 Replies
                1. re: RB Hound

                  Oh No! Not the City Beef! Not the City Chicken!

                  1. re: RB Hound

                    I think I watch City Sushi every couple of weeks since it came out, love it.

                    1. re: stevewag23

                      There is a P F Changs in Mission Valley. I was writing about Wang's in North Park. It is owned by the people who have run a Wangs in Palm Springs for some time.

                    2. Great article in the WSJ..

                      Biggest mistake most restaurants make is not hiring an acoustical engineer.
                      Understanding the dynamics of the room is huge...big box, industrial size space, coupled with hardwood floors with 100+ diners without any absorption to diffuse, is a recipe for noise disaster.
                      Loved that some high end restaurants are playing familiar rock tunes loud, Zep, Who and Pink Floyd seems to relax them...weird..but totally can attest to that!


                      14 Replies
                      1. re: Beach Chick

                        I think there are a lot of places that *want* that noise level, for the excitement, the buzz, and perhaps to encourage a quick turnaround.

                        1. re: RB Hound

                          "I think there are a lot of places that *want* that noise level, "


                          And it only pisses me off more.

                          1. re: Fake Name

                            Makes you really appreciate the Convoy Street white noise at Super Sergio's, doesn't it?

                            1. re: RB Hound

                              It does.

                              Clearly Chef Sergio hired an acoustical engineer when designing his dining environment.

                          2. re: RB Hound

                            Stating 'a lot of places' is probably inaccurate..

                            Qualifying restaurants vs. clubs/bars for that noise level are two different animals, imho.
                            There is a science to it and takes into account: bites per chew when music is loud (decibels over 72), consuming more alcohol, quick turnover but with dense demographics, one can get away with that but not in SD..

                            1. re: Beach Chick

                              "Stating 'a lot of places' is probably inaccurate.."

                              Ok, we can modify the claim. How about "damn near every place I've been in the last several years".


                              1. re: Fake Name

                                IMHO, restauranteurs are deliberately not making their restaurants noisy in SD for economic reasons.
                                I think with the hard surfaces (no carpet), industrial look, no acoustical tiling in designing a restaurant, noise is going to be a major factor...a lot of times, you don't know the noise factor till it fills up and the feedback from the customers come in.
                                It's the huge monkey wrench that gets overlooked...unless, that is the vibe you are going for.

                                As a drummer that loves things really loud, restaurants are not one of them!

                                1. re: Fake Name

                                  Doesn't that (excessive noise) just PYO. I mean, if I want to act like a 18 yr old, I'll slap on some serious wrinkle hider, dye the side burns, sweek into my old jeans and a tee shirt with a pack of camels rolled up in the sleeve and hit the loudest happy hours and kids places I can find. However my preference, especially on a week-end night, would be to find something civil so I can put the miserable week behind me and regain my thoughts and focus on an evening to communicate and nosh. Oh yah totally agree, Super Sergio did it right, perfect al fresco setting with just enough 'white noise' from the traffic on Convoy!

                                  1. re: cstr

                                    One of the many reasons he sports the title of "Super".

                                    1. re: cstr

                                      Do they make a 'Just for Men' pork chop side burns dye kit?

                              2. re: Beach Chick

                                That's an interesting article.

                                I especially enjoyed this:

                                'Tony May ran San Domenico, a formal, high-end Italian restaurant in New York City for 20 years before closing it in 2008. Last year, he opened a new version, SD26 in a new location. He did away with the acoustical tile in the ceiling that he had used at his old place, and left the new 22-foot, gold-leaf adorned ceiling untreated. The restaurant is louder, Mr. May says.

                                "I don't think of it as noise. It's excitement. The new consumer is looking for energy, a good vibe," Mr. May says.'

                                Mr. May is an idiot.

                                1. The noise level has knocked me out a few places. The worst for me being OB Noodle House. Love the food. Sometimes go for lunch by myself. But have gone a couple of times with others for hh or dinner. SO LOUD. You can't even hear people at your own table. Bummer, cause they have a great hh.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Tikitamra

                                    Loudest I've experienced in a long time was Slater 50/50. Were at Con Pane and stopped in next door to check it out. Large craft beer selection on tap and Mr Island wanted one. Holy Crap that place was loud. Maybe because the San Francisco, New Orleans play off game was on and it's wall to wall TVs, but I couldn't stand it. I noticed a couple of waitresses with their fingers in their ears and I couldn't believe some patrons were in that noise with small kids.

                                  2. It's such a shame restauranteurs can't hear the complaints of the customers.

                                    But I suppose it makes sense- all that hearing damage from a loud working environment.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                      I emailed Wang's twice and forward the WSJ article. I have yet to receive a reply. I guess the noise alaos causes problems with reading!!!!!! Really, the background "music" there was an abomination. Worst than anything I have ever experienced at a "nice" restaurant that was connected to a night club or bar. Likewise, I have contacted Chris at Wine Vault & Bistro numerous times over the years about the noise there. To no avail.

                                      1. re: wrldtrvl

                                        You're probably not his target demo.

                                        1. re: wrldtrvl

                                          I've mentioned the noise to the management at Terra. They are aware of it and acknowledged that it was worse than they expected. They're solution (if you can call it that) was to install burlap covered baffles on the ceiling. Not effective.

                                          I like the food at Terra but now only go for bruch because it's simply just too noisy at dinner.

                                      2. We have discovered the best kept secret to the noise factor at Cucina Urbana...make 9:15 reservations on a weeknight following a performance at The Old Globe. Loud parties are wrapping up and going home. ;D

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: foodiechick

                                          Because most of the cast of Old Globe goes to NuNu's...talk about a thing of beauty!