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best dimsum in oakland?

New to the area, any suggestions? Heard Peony was closed. TIA!

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  1. They reopened about 3wks ago.

    Most people will tell you to head thru the Webster tunnel and go to East Ocean in Alameda

    9 Replies
    1. re: kc72

      We prefer Saigon Harbor Seafood in Richmond (just outside the Pacific East/99 Ranch Mall) to East Ocean.

      Even better are Lee Garden/Pleasanton and Koi Palace/Dublin.

      1. re: kc72

        East Ocean Seafood in Alameda had gone downhill the last two times I was there. I'd try some random place in Oakland rather than go back there again soon.

        Hong Kong East Ocean in Emeryville is decent.

        1. re: kc72

          Yes East Ocean in Alameda is the spot if you're in the east bay. Oakland Chinatown places aren't that great.

          1. re: PrepCook415

            East Ocean Seafood isn't what it used to be, I'd go to Happy Valley if I needed somewhere in that area.


            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Thanks for the suggestion, I'll give that place a try. I just recently moved to Oakland so I'm still learning the spots.

              I don't know what East Ocean used to be like, but my picky Chinese auntie said it was pretty good! And if you know Chinese people, they tell the truth haha. It's comparable to City View in SF, not THE best, but above average and good value.

              1. re: PrepCook415

                You're sure your aunt went to East Ocean Seafood in Alameda and not to Hong Kong East Ocean in Emeryville?

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Considering I was with her at the time, yes I'm sure.

                  But perhaps we have different tastes. I didn't like Shan Dong and when I asked my friend Greg who is also Chinese if he had been there, he said he took his parents and they said "Why did you take us to this place?"

                  1. re: PrepCook415

                    What did you order?

                    Maybe the kitchen at East Ocean Seafood has become inconsistent. I had good meals there from 2009 until last year. The last two visits the execution was way off, really disappointing.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      We've eaten there several times in the last year.

                      Definitely inconsistent.

                      We've had better luck than you with more highs than lows, but definitely a few disappointments.

        2. if you're seeking truly excellent renditions, don't rely on Oakland. there's probably a much bigger volume of fresh dim sum being prepared and consumed, with a higher competitive standard, in the Richmond/El Cerrito area than in Oakland.

          1 Reply
          1. re: moto

            How times do change. (Not so very long ago, I remember people from El Cerrito would travel to Oakland for dim sum, and me sometimes with them. The densest concentration in the East Bay was in Oakland, while around EC or Richmond few people seemed to've heard of the stuff.)

          2. Gourmet Delight is not bad. Doesn't seem to come up in these discussions.

            3 Replies
            1. re: essvee

              Tried Gourmet Delight tonight - not the dim sum - but the food was pretty good and the price was right! I gotta try the dim sum now.

              1. re: PrepCook415

                I liked Gourmet Delight's dim sum about 3 months ago on my one visit. It seemed to fit the role that Happy Valley used to for me. It's the spot that has solid, if unremarkable, food at an extremely reasonable price. Gourmet Delight had a good number of tables with four inhabitants all with their elderly noses in Chinese language newspapers. The staff was personable, the food was quite good and the bill was pretty small. Happy Valley changed owners in the last year and the food definitely went downhill.

              2. re: essvee

                GD is very good for the price and smaller size, i.e., if it's not crowded it very easy to do. Solid dim sum if not exceptional.

              3. Peony has gotten better since its reopening. I've gone twice in the past three weeks. Not only has the food improved and the dining room been renovated, service was quite attentive. The teapots, though, need to be better engineered (or maybe we just got one that gave a bad pour).

                13 Replies
                  1. re: ilovetomatoes2

                    Not certain if it's related to the re-opening, but I have dim sum at Peony at least every other month and I think some of the items are quite good. Shrimp har gow are especially good with plenty of shrimp and a not-too-thick wrapper. Have been to the place in Emeryville but not El Cerrito. The Emeryville place wasn't better than Peony, and certainly Peony beats out most of the places in SF (except for Yank Sing).

                    1. re: ilovetomatoes2

                      I wasn't impressed by the dim sum from Peony, Legendary Palace, or Gourmet Delight, but I haven't visited these places for a long time. Should I revisit any of these, or should I head to Happy Valley or East Ocean?

                      1. re: vincentlo

                        I think based on everyone's responses thus far, Peony might be worth a revisit, but not East Ocean. I haven't been to Happy Valley. Was just at Peony yesterday for lunch and their steamed dumplings were very good. My only complaint is that they could space the dumplings a little farther apart so they are easier to separate.

                        1. re: felice

                          Is their dim sum by order form now?

                          Also, do you know if they still have those daily discounted specials they had before?

                          1. re: kc72

                            No, they have carts. The only items you need to order are the larger rice/noodle dishes. Their discounted daily specials were still going strong the last time I ordered one about 2-3 months ago.

                            1. re: felice

                              Oh, I thought I saw something online where people mentioned order forms - which allows everyone equal opportunity at getting items.

                              Yeah, their daily specials were a draw before, wonder if it's still going on under the new partner/management

                            2. re: kc72

                              They have an extensive order form but also roaming carts. The order form is particularly useful if the wait is long (last Sunday around noon the wait was 45 minutes)--you can check off your selections while you distract yourself from growing hunger, then hand them to the server as soon as you're seated. The shrimp and chive dumplings, fried taro root balls and rice noodle rolls all very good; chicken feet and tofu skin rolls over sauced and messy. To my taste, the flavors are more pure and the execution more refined at Asian Pearl in the Ranch 99 mall in Richmond.

                              1. re: dordogne

                                Went to Asian Pearl yesterday, and we liked it better than our last dim sum attempts at Saigon Seafood (heavy msg) or Peony (simplistic) all within the last year. Pros: pork fillings light and flavorful, generous portions, light msg. Cons: wrappers fall-apart soft, seafood flavors dull. We waited about 20 mins for our table at 11a and spent about $20pp. Order forms, no carts, some passed dim sum.

                              2. re: kc72

                                Since the last time I went, the food has improved a little more, eg golden chives in the shrimp rice rolls, larger shrimp in the har gow, etc. There are still carts but they also have order forms, which I prefer because you get exactly what you want and it's fresh/hot. Unfortunately, no more daily discounted specials.

                                Teapot was very drippy, as tomatoes had already reported above.

                                Our bill was $15 per person, the tables were full on a weekday, but there was no line out the door like on weekends. I noticed a few new and very clean seafood tanks with crab, lobster, and spot prawns. Prawns were $32 per pound last week, the seafood prices were all posted.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    Yes, I am talking about Peony. Wrappers on har gow and other steamed items are thin, and I can walk there from the office, as opposed to going across the lake.

                          2. re: ilovetomatoes2

                            I've also gone to Peony a few times in the last two months. The service has been really attentive, which is a nice bonus. The food is fine to great, depending on the item. The BBQ pork rice roll on our last visit was one of the best I've ever had. The shrimp puffballs with the wispy noodly outsides were also about the best I've had and were from a cart. The cart lady ran out of the mayo as she got to us, but came back 5-6 mins later on her next pass just to give it to us. I haven't been aware of an order form option, but will check it out next time.

                            It's been two months or so since my last East Ocean visit, but I think that while potentially inconsistent, it's a solidly reliable option. It's also really good for dim sum novices because much of the staff, and clientele, is as comfortable with English as Cantonese. The family that runs the place is really nice and clearly cares about the diner's experience, despite the size and potential chaos of the place.

                          3. A detailed report on East Ocean Seafood, doesn't make me eager to return any time soon:


                            1. There was this one restaurant on Grand Ave, The Old Place. Wonderful people, cheap and delicious dim sum. I know my dim sum and this place was it. Too bad they went out of business so this reply is not at all helpful. I just wanted to mention the restaurant...oh how I miss it.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: v2pham

                                That place was a great value. Oakland's answer to Y Ben House, only cleaner.

                                1. re: v2pham

                                  I miss The Old Place a lot. Their lunches were also an incredible bargain.

                                2. I go to Happy Valley all the time because my wife likes dim sum and finds it satisfactory to good. Easy to park and very cheap. It get slagged a lot in these threads; I am highly aware that there is better dim sum available, but I like it enough that I don't have strong urges to go elsewhere. It's also the kind of place that you can go to in running clothes after a morning workout, which is a big +++ in my book. Sounds like Peony is worth a try again; I go to Emeryville East Ocean once a year or so and it's always good quality stuff but comparatively expensive.

                                  Has anyone been to Joy Luck recently? It used to be the winner in cheapness and always seem to have enough good items to make it worth it to me, but once I started going to Happy Valley the relative ease of going to that side of the lake won out, and it was sometimes just as good to better.

                                  My Taiwanese born mom and aunts visited recently and enjoyed it, even compared with the more expensive places they frequent in the Rockville, MD and Northern Virginia region. Not that they're experts or anything.

                                  Probably depends on what items you prefer too. Har gow in particular have too thick skins here.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: twocents

                                    Last week, I went to Happy Valley for the first time and I would say it's good and cheap. Nothing truly spectacular about the place, but I was satisfied. And parking was plentiful and meter-free.

                                    1. re: twocents

                                      did Happy Valley change owners or operators in the past few years, and/or were there any discernible improvements ? went there a few times for dinner, very reasonable of course, but the cooking and general feel of the place was a bit tired. thanks.