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“Definitely worth a visit; my favorite Chinese restaurant in Berkeley”
Review of Da Lian Restaurant

Da Lian Restaurant
Ranked #179 of 787 Restaurants in Berkeley
Restaurant details
Reviewed 31 December 2016

Da Lian was and remains one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area. The service is friendly. The food menu is extensive, and includes a variety of dim sum items. I have liked most of the items I have tried. The wine list, although quite limited, offers most wines at under $20/bottle. This is a pleasant alternative to $10-$14 glasses of mediocre wines or overpriced cocktails at some other local establishments. Tables are nicely spaced/separated. You get a good dining value and dining experience.

There are several items on the menu that I have ordered repeatedly, such as the lamb or beef with cumin, and there are several that I tried during my most recent visit that I enjoyed and will likely reorder during future visits, such as the garlic noodles with pork brisket, and the lamb with pickled Chinese cabbage clay pot. I prefer the offerings here to those I have tried at Great China.

During our latest visit, we ordered one appetizer from the dim sum submenu, one from the regular appetizer submenu, the claypot (which is a soup), and four main courses to be shared among three people. We fully anticipated that we would have significant amounts of leftovers since the portions are quite generous. We got the soup, then within a very few minutes the dim sum and appetizer, and then within another two or three minutes the main courses started arriving on by one. We have never had this happen before, so perhaps it was a one-time glitch. The staff graciously added another table so that we would have room for all the platters. However, a nicer sequencing of food, with a delay between the appetizers and main courses would have been preferable. The main courses were getting cold as we finished our appetizers. Too much food arrived in too short a time. You might try asking the waiter/waitress to delay the arrival of your main courses. I will try this during my next visit, and it may work. If it doesn’t work, a more guaranteed way to space out the food delivery is to order appetizers, and then after they are delivered to the table, add the main courses you want to the order. This will give you time to enjoy the appetizers, and provide a break before the main courses arrive. As an additional note or suggestion, we found that the steamed shrimp dumplings were so fragile that they were difficult to get out of the steamer basket in one piece; the seams had opened. The pot stickers were large and had good flavor, but the pastry was a bit thick and tough. Again, I am not sure whether this was a typical or unusual experience. The remainder of the meal was very tasty. With a bottle of wine and tip, the bill was roughly $120. To put this into perspective, the dinner served three and we had enough leftovers for two additional meals for two people. That’s about $17/person per meal. Take out the wine, and you are under $15/person per meal. You can pretty much spend that on a single cocktail at some local places. In my book, it is a very good value.

Overall, I enjoy eating at Da Lian. I suspect that I will be trying a few more of their regional specialties, and a few more of the soups during future “winter” visits. I enjoyed the noodle dish more than I expected to. I do look forward to visiting again, but will do what I can to assure that one can enjoy the appetizers before the main courses arrive.

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Thank Andreas G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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4 - 8 of 11 reviews

Reviewed 16 December 2016 via mobile

Nice ambience. Ample sitting. Hostesses were responsive. They serve free tea. Chinese one. The starter with sesame bread and tofu was great. Chopsuey and noodles were a delight. Good Chinese restaurant in Berkeley.

Thank Rabi_Sharma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2016

Recently had dinner here for the 1st time - Sechuan chicken, kung pao fish, spicy pork noodles. All tasty, heat just right, white meat chicken was tender and perfectly coked, veggies fresh and lightly sauteed, generous pieces of fish filet. Only problem was the noodles. I was looking forward to this specialty of theirs, and while the broth was very good, the noodles themselves were a little overcooked. Maybe a transient oversight, I can't say. If I go back, I'll be sure to ask for the noodles with a little bite to them.

Thank Mark D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2016

If you're sick of these hipster places in the Bay Area that have long lines, bad attitudes, and big prices, you totally won't get that here. And it may be too shocking!!! Instead you get authentic HAND MADE noodles which are unbelievable. I'm not a carbo person but I have to make an exception for these babies. The chewiness of the noodles, the sauce, the crunchy vegetable, all of it was top notch. The service was excellent. Not overly friendly but answered all questions, informative, thorough. And the prices were downright reasonable. I mean, CASH reasonable. This was just an all-around great experience and I hate telling people about it if it's just going to make it crowded, because when you're paying $15-22 at those hipster doofus ramen places it seems criminal. On second thought, those people should just stay there and let us enjoy these Zha jiang mien noodles in peace.

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1  Thank FashionSpeedTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 May 2016

I really don't each Chinese food that often, in large part because so much of what you find for Chinese food int he US makes you feel terrible for hours after eating it...all the salt, oil, fat, etc tastes good but makes me feel really sluggish.

That's why a place like this is a real find...they have all the classic options but prepared in a way that is tasty and delicious without relying too heavily on grease and salt to make it taste good. I came here with my wife for a late dinner....all the options looked great but we were both in the mood for soup. She had the clam noodle soup and I had the spicy lamb and pickled cabbage soup. The noodles were fresh and the broth tasty...we were both pretty happy with our portions and with the quality of the ingredients.

We rounded it out with the unique sesame bread stuffed with onions and spinach (apparently a North China classic) and spinach dumplings. The dumplings were good, did not have that sort of toughened skin so common in mass produced dumplings. The sesame bread was also good but sort of a large order for just two people, probably best for a group of at least 3.

It was all very good and most importantly I felt okay after eating it. I'm excited to have discovered a Chinese restaurant that I can enjoy so I'll look forward to going back to sample some of their entrees.

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    • Food
Thank Retinol13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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