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Dec 16, 2012 08:18 PM

Help? From DC, visiting SD, need a GOOD Chinese Restaurant for X-mas day. Mandarin, not Cantonese, please.

Visiting SD from DC. Looking for the right Chinese Restaurant for X-mas day (a la "A Christmas Story" our traditional meal). Fwiw, Children speak Mandarin, not Cantonese. Point Loma/Coronado/Gaslamp/LaJolla.

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  1. Do you have a car? If so drive to Irvine and go to Tri Villiage or Capital Seafood.

    If you don't want to make the 50 minute drive north I would break with tradition this year. The Chinese food in SD is not worth the waste of calories.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      ah, okay I'd definitely be up for driving 50 min. to shop for the right ingredients, so that is good to know. very much so.

      still, the actual restaurant needs to be closer to Pt. Loma/gaslamp/Coronado.

      1. re: pfish

        If you must waste a meal on Chinese food in SD then go to China Max and ask them to order off their Chinese menu, which is basically an a la minute menu.

    2. The only place I can recommend (and it's north of La Jolla in Del Mar) is Rendezvous. CNN Travel had a list of the 50 best Chinese restaraunts in the US and Rendezvous was up there. Chef Mark Sun is the real deal and creates some amazing dishes. Warning though this is not traditional Mandrin, Sichuan, or Cantonese Chinese, but a little bit of everything, some traditional some with the chefs new twist. I have had a great experience, as have my guests I've brought, every meal there.

      The only other Chinese that I could recommend is Little Sheep Mongolian Hotpot. It is traditional Chinese Hot Pot cooking (think Chinese fondue or Shabu Shabu). Very good for what it is, but probably not what you're looking for. Still I love this place and their Spicy Sichuan Pepper Hot Pot.

      Chef Chin on Convoy is something to get feed back on from other SD Chowhounds as I haven't been since they got their new chef from Shanghai, but one of our best local Chowhounders and food blogger has:


      6 Replies
      1. re: RhonelyInsanediego


        I did enjoy Rendezvous and Chef Chin's but I'm not familiar enough with the regional varieties to give much of an opinion, but it's very much "ABCDE" or American Born Chinese Dining Establishment as my most trusted resource for all things Asian would call it.

        I would ask Kirk of mmmyoso

        1. re: Rodzilla

          Technically Rendezvous is out of the range of the OP, but did anyone check if they are open on Christmas?

          Chef Chin is more of a traditional chinese restaurant that wouldn't close unless the kitchen was on fire, so they'll definitely be open. I would recommend them for the best return on time/driving/taste.

          1. re: karaethon

            Yes Rendezvous is open with special menus available Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Really not too far north of La Jolla. But if they want to stay in Coronado there's always Bistrod'Asia. Again, not traditional Chinese, but not bad for Asian/Chinese fusion.

            1. re: karaethon

              I called Chef Chin and they will be open on Christmas.

              1. re: salustro

                Update - we had a lovely christmas lunch at Chef Chin's. I am no expert on chinese food, but I'd say it was on the high end of what we've eaten in San Diego. We ordered WAY too much food for two people, namely:
                - homemade potstickers
                - spicy green beans with pork
                - soft noodles (no protein)
                - lamb with cumin (very tasty).
                It was enough to cover christmas dinner as well.

                With two soft drinks, the bill was $50. Service was very pleasant. We'll go back again for sure.

                1. re: salustro

                  Glad to hear! I really enjoyed my visit..we had WAY too much food and I remember the bill being very reasonable if not generous.

        2. I'd recommend China Max. It may not knock your soxes off, but it's better than spending 2 hours driving.

          1. While I am not an expert on Chinese food, I did live for 25 years in Taiwan, and my family has enjoyed the many meals we have had at the Dumpling Inn on Convey. The owner of the Dumpling Inn is from Tainan, Taiwan and the staff speaks Mandarin, as well as Taiwanese.

            2 Replies
            1. re: scottg

              I concur. I especially love their xiao long bao, seabass with black bean sauce, beef curry dumplings, and beef with Chinese greens, but lets face it, it's probably not the best place for a sit down dinner with a group, as it's very small and cramped inside. However their sister restaurant is Rendezvous, and this would be a nice place to celebrate X-Mas.

              See number 5 on the list:


              1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                That list has Din Tai Fung on it.

                'Nuff said.

            2. honestly, there is no really good Chinese in SD. Rendevous is very Americanized. If you want da bien lo, Little Sheep is good enough.

              Head north to the San Gabriel Valley (90" w/o traffic) for the best selection in S. CA.

              KirkK's blog, already mentioned, is pretty accurate w/ reviews on anything Asian.

              If you still need something good in the Asian category, there are lots of really good Japanese places around.

              1 Reply
              1. re: daantaat

                Crazy. I was just about to post the same question. I am also from DC and looking for where to eat on Christmas Day. If not Chinese, what can you recommend in Mission Beach area?