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“If you want authentic dim sum - go here!”
Review of Lai Hong Lounge

Lai Hong Lounge
Ranked #555 of 6,311 Restaurants in San Francisco
Neighbourhood: Chinatown
Restaurant details
Neighbourhood: Chinatown
Reviewed 6 April 2018

This restaurant was recommended to us by a local who was working at the California Welcome Center at Pier 39. We had asked for a good place for dim sum in China Town that wasn’t touristy and he mentioned that he remembered going here as a child. Although the service was not great (reason for the 4), the food was very good and we enjoyed the experience. Tips:
- When you enter, they will put your name on a list and give you a ticket with a number written on it. They will call out this number when your table is ready. To the left they have tables for 2 and 4 and to the right the larger group tables. After waiting about 20 minutes, we were able to get our requested table for 4.
- They bring a pot of hot tea and each person who pours a cup is charged $1.30. In our party, I was the only one who drank it but since we poured everyone a cup, we were charged $5.30. I was expecting this as I’ve been to plenty of Asian countries. It tasted just like normal Chinese tea. They did not offer sugar, sweetener, iced water, or any other drink. There is a refrigerated case at the front that had soft drinks in it, so we could have ordered one, but my family insisted to me that they were fine (I was actually a little parched during the meal). When I looked around the restaurant, no one had another drink on the table, no water, no nothing — they were just drinking the hot tea.
- You are given a Sharpie and one plastic menu for your table with pictures of most of the food items when you are seated (there are extra printed takeout menus with the same items at the front of the restaurant). The items are listed in English and Chinese. The food is not described on the menu, but we had no problems ordering from the names and pictures. You just mark how many of each item you want and then place the menu on the edge of the table (at least that is what we did). Most people in the restaurant appeared to be speaking Chinese (both wait staff and guests) and our receipt was in Chinese.
- Don’t expect friendly service. It took a bit of effort to catch someone’s eye to indicate that we wanted to order and that we wanted them to take the menu. It seemed like the waiter kept scanning our area and missing us. Not sure if that was intentional or not.
- Once you get the order placed, it starts coming out pretty quickly. One nice service feature is that they do ask if you want the larger items cut in half, which is nice when you’re sharing a pork bun.
- The prices are very reasonable and much cheaper than what we paid for Din Tau Fung in Santa Clara. But then again, DTF’s food is also a bit better (not to mention the service).
- Be sure to check their hours before you go as their lunch hour ends at 2:30 and then they reopen for dinner. Not clear if they have the same menu for dinner or not. We probably arrived around 12:30, maybe later, and there were plenty of folks that arrived after us.
Overall, a fun authentic experience.

Date of visit: March 2018
1  Thank Brenda S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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15 - 19 of 82 reviews

Reviewed 30 December 2017 via mobile

A bit off the main Chinatown strip but we'll worth the walk. Helpful staff and lots of Chinese patrons (always a good sign!!) Tasty Dim Sum and delicious chef specials. Highly recommend.

Date of visit: December 2017
Thank Joeandems
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 December 2017

Well you can tell by the number of Oriental people both inside and outside that this is a well frequented restaurant. This is NOT a push cart Dim Sum Restaurant. You have to order off a laminated menu - which has pictures and is pretty descriptive especially for those of us who do not speak the language.

Good Food - Good Service - We were looking for good Dim Sum and not Ambiance so where not disappointed by the lack of Ambiance.

Get there at least 30 minutes before you want to eat as this place is crowded and always has a wait.

Worth the Wait !!

Date of visit: December 2017
    • Value
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Thank DannyD1548
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 October 2017

The real deal Dim. get there before 2 PM. Next trip we are going for the dinner menu. This is real Chinese as you would get in Hong Kong. There is no cheating here. Be ready or you will be disappointed. there is a reason there are mostly Asians in this restaurant.
Go wild and try a little of everything. This is not Americanized Chinese. If you order meat it will be in bit sized pieces with bones and fat. But the flavor is over the top. any rice dish is t die for, spicy and sticky but do not eat too much - save room for the Dim Sung. Pick and Dim Sung and you will be fine.
the dim Sung is very limited for dinner. So if you dive into Dim go for lunch - BUT there will be a line

Date of visit: September 2017
    • Value
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Thank bobthemagicfan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2017

Lai Hong is nothing to look at from outside but on the recommendation of our AirBnB host (thanks Irene!) we went. There were maybe 3 tables with Western diners, the rest were all Chinese which was a positive sign.

The waiter was superb; bringing us the picture menu (whilst trying not to feel like an incompetent, it really helped) and suggesting we had over-ordered by two dishes (actually it was 2 1/2). The food delicious and really good value.

I cannot recommend this place enough. We will definitely eat there again when we make it back to SF.

Date of visit: August 2017
    • Value
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Thank Paul_W_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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