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Nov 11, 2013 09:33 AM

Affordable chinese pre-set menu for large group in SF

I'm looking for a good Chinese restaurant to host our rehearsal dinner (about 30 people), but we would like to keep it under $25 pp if at all possible, so places like R&G are out. I'm hoping to find somewhere with reasonably priced pre-set group meals, or somewhere where I can at least negotiate a reasonable price per table. It will be a mix of adventurous and non-adventurous, kids and adults, so it would be good if it's not too boring/Americanized, but also not comprised entirely of exotic ingredients that will be scary/unfamiliar for our less adventurous family members. Style/region of Chinese cuisine doesn't matter. Doesn't need to be fancy decor, but probably not super bare-bones or run-down looking. And would like to keep it within SF, but open to any neighborhood. Any suggestions?

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  1. If everyone can climb stairs, Hakka has an upstairs room with three round tables. You can arrange a menu that fits your budget.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      My recollection of the upstairs room at Hakka was that it's pretty bare bones.

      According to menupages (may be out of date) Kirin has a $198/table banquet menu that looks good, although you might want to swap out the dried oyster dish for something a little less unfamiliar.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Returning to Hakka this summer, I noticed that the main dining room had a facelift since my previous visit. But I didn't go upstairs to see if anything had changed there. Now that I think about it, the two parties that I had upstairs were for two tables, and we used the third table for wine, dessert and gift bar. So, it might feel cramped for 30.

        I also wanted to add that I attended a large luncheon banquet at House of Banquets on Clement last month. The food was not good, every dish but the cold plate was off. A dinner there for Chinese NY was better. Given this more recent experience, I wouldn't consider it.

    2. Hong Kong Lounge ii - I usually go with 4 people for the $70 pre set dinner. They are clean, very friendly and probably can work with you to figure out menu.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bobabear

        Hong Kong Lounge II is a good suggestion. Here's my photo of the menu card for the $79.99 Peking duck dinner that serves 4-5 people. I haven't had it, but gives an idea of the prices here.

        Also, our recent dim sum lunch chowdown was housed in the new dining room addition. It has space for three or four large tables, has a separate entrance, and its own rest room.

      2. Does it need to be a private room? If not, then Five Happiness might work. We had 22 people there at two tables in 2009:

        2 Replies
        1. re: Dave MP

          I'll second Five Happiness. It has banquet options well within your budget and the food is consistently good. It looks a little weathered on the outside, but certainly decent inside. The banquets are seafood-oriented and i think most include sea cucumber, but they are flexible on substitutions. if you think that will gross people out. I've been going there for more that 20 years and had my 70th birthday dinner there.

          1. re: Dave MP

            I also recommend Five Happiness for banquets, especially if you like Peking Duck. Have had a couple of 9-10 person dinners here this year and our guests have thoroughly enjoyed them. As mentioned by soupcon, they have a bunch of set menus with different price ranges, and are always willing to substitute dishes (I used to eat sea cucumber until I found out what they subsist on). Long time family owned business.

          2. Kirin in SF on Geary is good, might work.

            If it were me, I'd check out Hong Kong Lounge II, Kirin, Dragon River (all on Geary) and any place else near by, all on the same day/time. Look at the set menus/prices, ask questions, check out the location. This will get the best info in the shortest time and allow you to see if it's okay. A hassle, sure but only you know what will work.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ML8000

              We had a delicious family dinner for Christmas at Kirin a few years ago.

              I've been meaning to try Sea Garden on Ocean for their family dinners. They do have a private room with three big tables in it. I've had dim sum there a few times and liked it a lot but not dinner.

              Imperial Garden on San Bruno Avenue is another option. They have a parking lot. I'm more familiar with their dim sum but the dinner options including lobster noodles are quite good too.

            2. There was a set-menu chowdown at Great Eastern in Chinatown several years ago. Authentic cuisine (primarily Cantonese if I recall correctly), good quality ingredients, excellent value, and I think they were open to negotiating some substitutions/additions with commensurate adjustments in price. Obama stopped there for take-out dim during a campaign stop in San Francisco in 2012--what could be bad?

              2 Replies
              1. re: dordogne

                I've had family dinners there for Chinese new year, and they were decent to good, but I thought they were more expensive than this budget.

                1. re: Windy

                  Great Eastern has the whole downstairs dining area for larger parties. Bear in mind that there's no elevator, so again, might not work if there are any mobility issues. Prices for the set dinners there might start a little higher than $20 per person (plus $5 tax & tip), but could probably be adjusted to fit the budget. It would also be important to make sure that validated parking is included in the price negotiations.