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Dec 12, 2012 09:43 PM

Suggestions for cheapish, ethnic NYE/birthday dinner in SF?

There'll probably be 10 in our group, but we'll be eating early, so hopefully we'll find a place that can seat us. Everyone in our party is an adventurous eater, some of us have lived or traveled extensively in Asia. I was thinking about Hakka, Z and Y, Yuet Lee, Old Mandarin Islamic, Dong Bei Mama, and R & G Lounge. It doesn't have to be Chinese, or even Asian, just good. The ability to make a reservation is an obvious plus. We have been to Jai Yun and Lers Ros many times, so we aren't considering those restaurants for this meal. Thanks for your suggestions.

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  1. Hot pot at Old Mandarin is fun for a group.

    1. Old Mandarin is quite small and difficult for a group your size (we had a chowdown there once, had to wait a long time for a table even with a reservation, and it was a squeeze). Oddly, they seem to have another room, but they weren't using it.

      I'll just point out that there's a big difference in atmosphere in the places you've listed. Hakka, Yuet Lee and Old Mandarin are on the bare-bones side. Z&Y is a bit nicer, and R&G is another step above that. R&G has cocktails -- I'm not sure which of the others serve (or allow) alcohol, and to what extent. There's also a big difference in location, with Old Mandarin being in the middle of nowhere, Hakka being in the Outer Richmond (not quite the middle of nowhere) and three being in Chinatown.

      It would help if you gave us an idea what criteria you're using to make your decision. You obviously are familiar with the places you've named, what would you need to know to make your choice?

      It just seems to me you've asked us to give you opinions on apples, oranges and pears without any guide as to why one might be preferable to the others.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Old Mandarin has a second dining room where they can handle large parties.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Yes, but as I noted, apparently they don't always use it, even when they have a reservation for a large party.

        2. re: Ruth Lafler

          My first 2 ( ! ) replies got munched, so I'll try again. I'm not too concerned with bare-bones atmosphere, or whether the restaurant is well-located. Alcohol is only a small plus. Believe me, nothing could be less-festive than Jai Yun last NYE. Most important is the ability to seat a large-ish group, and that the food is good. Do any of the restaurants I've mentioned have the potential for that, or is there someplace else you would recommend?

          If it helps, something comparable to the Larkin St. Lers Ros of 3 years ago would be fine. I haven't been to Hakka or Yuet Lee before. Thanks.

          1. re: TerriL

            I'm not sure Yuet Lee can seat ten.

            Angkor-Borei, if they're open.

            1. re: TerriL

              I think the food is good at all the places you mentioned, with the caveat that you have to know what the restaurant's specialties are and what to order. Hakka has a small upstairs room with a couple of big tables. Z&Y is plenty big enough, as is R&G.

              Have you considered Bodega Bistro? Good food, good for groups.

              1. re: TerriL

                Yuet Lee is considerably less festive than Jai Yun. I would not choose it for a group though it does have large table seating.

                Last night I was at Great Eastern for dinner for the first time in a long time. I'd add it to your list.