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Wonderland -- lower haight, SF

Glencora Aug 25, 2013 05:36 PM

My son and his friends love this place. I thought it was fine, similar to China Village in Albany, but not as quite as good. Lots of chiles -- in fact when the waitress wasn't serving, she was at a table cutting dried chillies with scissors (?). My husband and I had the onion pancakes and the cumin lamb. The guys had fried rice, Mongolian beef and a couple of gloopy looking chicken dishes. The vegetables seemed fresh, at least. The atmosphere is fairly upscale and the service is okay. I got the sense that our ticket was being ignored while they focused on takeout until a couple of regulars joined us and then suddenly our food was there. Since I'll probably be back, are there any specials I should look for?

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    Scarlet347 RE: Glencora Dec 26, 2013 10:27 AM

    I am also wondering about this restaurant. Planning a family dinner there during the holidays and hoping it is acceptable to the finicky eaters amongst us. It's either that or Burma Superstar in the Richmond. Which one is better?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Scarlet347
      hyperbowler RE: Scarlet347 Dec 26, 2013 10:43 AM

      In what way are they finicky?

      Burma superstar is gonna have a huge wait and doesn't take reservations--- I wouldn't go there with a family. Mandalay is close by and has, in many people on this boards opinion, better Burmese dishes and the wait is never too bad.

      I had one meal at Wonderland, and found the lemon chicken to taste like lemon pudding mix. None of the other dishes stood out but nothing was too greasy.

      1. re: hyperbowler
        Scarlet347 RE: hyperbowler Dec 26, 2013 03:56 PM

        Turns out 1 of the family refuses to go to Mandalay, some personality conflict with the owner. What are thoughts about Wonderland?

        1. re: hyperbowler
          Scarlet347 RE: hyperbowler Dec 26, 2013 04:01 PM

          Sorry On rereading your post see the comment on Wonderful. Just as I feared, when trying to appease all we end up with a mediocre meal. Any other Asian suggestions for the inner Richmond?

          1. re: Scarlet347
            Melanie Wong RE: Scarlet347 Dec 26, 2013 04:52 PM

            In the Inner Richmond, I'd go to Five Happiness (Geary @ 5th).

          2. re: hyperbowler
            Dave MP RE: hyperbowler Dec 27, 2013 02:39 AM

            I really like Mandalay, though I think it's getting more and more popular. On my last visit a few months ago we waited about 40 mins to be seated. I think it was Sunday night.

            1. re: Dave MP
              grayelf RE: Dave MP Dec 27, 2013 05:21 AM

              We've had pretty good luck at Mandalay with reservations.

          3. re: Scarlet347
            Glencora RE: Scarlet347 Dec 26, 2013 04:37 PM

            I ended up going there 4 times over the summer and I think it is actually pretty good for finicky eaters (like my son) and not bad for more adventurous diners. I'm sure I'll never go back on my own, but it was fine and the room is fairly nice.

          4. ChowFun_derek RE: Glencora Dec 27, 2013 11:47 AM

            I do not like Wonderland AT ALL!!! and it is the closest "Chinese" restaurant to me...I have hoped too many times and been disappointed too many times!

            Mandalay is exactly the opposite...every meal is consistent and very good!!!

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              Scarlet347 RE: Glencora Dec 27, 2013 12:52 PM

              We ended up eating dinner at Wonderland. As usual Chowhounders had it right.
              Service was fine and friendly and pretty quick. Was not very busy but we ate early.
              The finicky eaters liked it fine. By finicky I mean those people who are looking for the same experience every time. Food was tasty and a tad greasy.
              For me the best dishes were the Mango Shrimp salad, Lots of fresh greens, with marinated, not cooked shrimp and underripe mango shreds. Dressing a little too generous but manageable. The lamb was also very good. We couldn't get the Cumin Lamb because of the spiciness factor (honestly families!) but the Lamb with Green onion was quite good. They were serving one of my favorite dishes, Baby Bok Choy with 2 mushrooms. If the Bok Choy hadn't been seriously undercooked it would have worked better, though I managed my share. The shitakes were good and the other mushroom I did not recognize. Medium brown large, thin slices. Might have been canned but I didn't ask.
              Prices were reasonable and we have lots of leftovers.
              They served very well prepared brown rice which we didn't ask for but ate and were charged extra. I really think it's fine if Asian restaurants want to charge for rice. But it should be made clear.
              Well, that's my report. Next time I will take Melanie's advice and go to Five Happiness.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Scarlet347
                Melanie Wong RE: Scarlet347 Dec 28, 2013 11:49 PM

                Thanks for the report. Sounds like it wasn't a total wash. Hope you've found some chow that suits you more in our fair city.

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