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Dim Sum: Yank Sing Alternative

I have read many of the dim sum threads. It seems that for quality and upscale ambience, Yank Sing is the consensus choice. We only have about 4 hours in downtown, on a Sunday, in SF and wanted to stroll Chinatown. I am afraid that a trip to Yank Sing will not afford us the opportunity to walk around much.

We once had unremarkable dim sum during the week in Chinatown, though I cannot recall the restaurant's name. Is there anyplace closer to Chinatown that remotely compares to Yank Sing?

Thanks.

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  1. Short answer: no. Chinatown dim sum tends to cater to the Chinatown clientele, who are either elderly Chinese/Chinese families looking for old school dim sum/value or tourists.

    Places I recommend:

    For old school/cheap in a charmingly divey atmosphere, Dol Ho.
    For a moderately high-end experience, Great Eastern (where President Obama dropped by for take-out dim sum a few months back, which may be a plus or a minus to you, depending...).

    Although I personally don't care for the place, a lot of people like City View.

    1. If you want to eat at Yank Sing, their Stevenson St. location is only 4 1/2 blocks from the Chinatown gates at Grant & Bush (if you take the shortcut between Market and Stevenson). Should be walkable in less than 10 minutes.

      1. Yank Sing is so overrated in my opinion. Why not head over to the Richmond district where you will find much better dim sum options than Yank Sing or any place in Chinatown? Then afterwards, you can stroll the "2nd" Chinatown, aka Clement street.

        13 Replies
        1. re: od_sf

          There are 2 Yank Sings. Which one is the better one or are they both the same?
          We had a terrible time trying to get a taxi in the Rincon area.
          We are taking our grands who have never had Dim Sum and thought it might be a fun experience for them with all the waiters walking by with trays of goodies.

          1. re: arepo

            The food's pretty much the same at both Yank Sings except the takeout window is a few steps down. Rincon is nicer and may have bigger selection on the weekend. If you want a cab ask the restaurant to call you one.

          2. re: od_sf

            It would help to know some specific recommendations. Just saying "head over to the Richmond" isn't terribly helpful.

            1. re: Spenbald

              Hong Kong Lounge on Geary @ 17th blows Yank Sing out of the water in so many ways... You could hop on the 38 bus or catch a cab - either is worth the trip.

              1. re: CarrieWas218

                So you're saying that if people have 4 hours to enjoy a visit to San Francisco, they should spend 1 of those hours riding a Muni bus back and forth between downtown and 17th Ave?

                1. re: nocharge

                  A cab would get you there in 15 minutes and having eaten at both HKL and Yank Sing in the past three weeks, I would take the cab ride, spend the extra money, to eat at HKL.

                  1. re: CarrieWas218

                    I agree 100% with CarrieWas218, it is well worth the extra 20 or 30 minutes.

                    1. re: CarrieWas218

                      Yank Sing takes reservations. I've heard of waits at HKL over an hour.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Not sure if you are still looking for a recommendation but apparently the people from HKL have just opened a branch in the old Lychee Garden space on Powell between Broadway and Vallejo and Green right in Chinatown. I haven't personally eaten there but have been told it's the same quality as either location on Geary.

                        I agree with the comments above that HKL is much better than Yank Sing. YS is not bad though although severely overpriced, and the service is always excellent.

                        1. re: DiggyK

                          Thanks, I wasn't aware that Lichee Garden had closed. The new place is called Lai Hong Lounge. Hope to hear some reports soon.
                          http://www.abc.ca.gov/datport/LQSData...

              2. re: od_sf

                If you only have four hours total in downtown I would go to the Rincon Center Yank Sing. If you go to the Richmond District about 25% of your total time will be spent traveling in and out of downtown.

                Yank Sing is also fairly centrally located - it is only a few blocks from the Ferry Building and is a short walk or cab ride to Chinatown or other areas downtown.

                Plus I think Yank Sing is the best dim sum in San Francisco. The biggest downside is price relative to other places but it sounds like that's not your main concern.

                1. re: calumin

                  Totally agree -- you'll be spending precious time waiting for and riding the bus, and then waiting for a table while standing for who knows how long on Geary St (no waiting area inside), and Sundays are the worst. I think YS take reservations, and their dim sum is mighty fine.

                  1. re: Sarah

                    I think Yank Sing's dim sum is ok, and insanely overpriced.

              3. I always liked Pearl City (Jackson off Kearny), but it's maybe not for everyone new to DS (as someone posted, it caters to an older/accustomed set). but does fit your geographic parameters better than the Richmond or SOMA.

                3 Replies
                1. re: hill food

                  Pearl City was replaced by Peninsula Seafood last year. When were you last there?

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      When Peninsula Seafood opened I was hoping that maybe, finally, something really good was coming to Chinatown. Not saying it's bad, but my hopes were dashed.

                  1. +1 for Yank Sing Rincon (101 Spear St.) location. As you have already seen, there are many scales used in comparing dim sum experiences.
                    If you have limited time, Yank Sing will take and do a fine job of honoring a reservation. While I've never asked, I am confident that the hostess will call a taxi for you at the conclusion of your meal.
                    I love the attentive service, glamorous surroundings, and quality of dim sum (at a higher price, no argument). You can maximize the variety because, with minimal waiting, anything you request from a server will be relayed to the kitchen and brought to your table hot and delicious.
                    That is my list of points in favor of Yank Sing that you will almost surely not find in combination around Chinatown or the Richmond district.

                    1. I seldom see anyone comment on City View, but I find their dim sum to be on a par with Yank Sing, cheaper than YS and good service. The variety is plentiful and the ambience is quite satisfactory. The restaurant is generally filled with Asians and I give it a four of five star rating.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Hughlipton

                        I'm told City View on weekdays has FiDi prices but weekends are Chinatown pricing. I''ve always been a guest so haven't ever seen a check & don't actually know.

                        1. re: Stephanie Wong

                          Stephanie, what about the quality, variety, taste, and service at City
                          View. I would appreciate and consider your thoughts.

                          1. re: Hughlipton

                            I thought the food and service at City View were good. Atmosphere's downtown / corporate / sterile, none of that funky Chinatown anarchic vibe. Despite the name there's no view.

                            On the other hand, I would never eat there if I had time to get to Yank Sing.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              Thank you Robert Lauriston for your comments and recommendations. I intend to follow them.

                        2. re: Hughlipton

                          I agree with your assessment, but I'm not particularly seeking funky Chinatown ambience; I want good food. I wouldn't call City View sterile or corporate, just softer acoustics than Yank Sing's -- meaning my octagenerian boss can hear me without my having to raise my voice. At YS, I find myself trying to talk under the background buzz and repeating myself a lot. He's Caucasian and enjoys both restaurants for food quality and helpful service.

                          We tend to go early (before noon) so getting into either one is usually reasonable easy. He
                          is known at both places.

                        3. Yank Sing freaking expensive (at least the one in Rincon). If the OP chooses to go, then he better study the menu prices carefully as some dishes are $11.00 each. We decided to eat here on a friend's recommendation (non-Asian), and being from LA/San Gabriel Valley (because most dim sum palaces don't charge over $5.00 an order for most dim sum dishes), I didn't think twice about the prices. For mediocre dim sum , we were floored that the few dishes we got for a table of 5 came out to be about $140, tip not inclusive!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: TripleAxel

                            You can spend a lot if you order Out-of-the-dim-sum-ordinary things like Peking duck. My tips for Yank Sing newbies: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7321...

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              Someone mentioned tipping. Is one supposed to tip every server that comes to the table if you want a particular item on their tray? How and when does one go about tipping? As you go along or at the end?

                              1. re: arepo

                                Tip at the end - on the total of the bill.