718 California St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410837.792561 -122.406230
Neighborhoods: Northeast, Chinatown
Not bad, but not great – While visiting San Fran on business I decided to go to china town with the idea being to find a really good place to eat and grab a cold beer. I spotted Cathay's while watching the California cable car go by. I swung back around and decided to give it a try. The place was pretty much empty at 6:00 pm so I was a little hesitant but sat down anyway. I immediately noticed a couple of waiters sitting at a table just kind of staring at me and not really doing anything. A waiter came by and said nothing, just put the tea down and left. Another waiter came by a few minutes later to ask if I wanted anything else to drink. I ordered a Tsingtao.
After looking at the menu which has no help for english speaking people at all, just the names of the dishes I ordered pot stickers and Scallops with three mushrooms. By this time the beer showed up and it was cold and they gave me a glass to pour it into, the guy didn't pour it though which I thought was kind of lame. A few minutes later the pot stickers came and I thought it was odd that they were a bit burned on the bottom, not quite black but a really dark brown. Anyway, I ate them but they were just ok, not stellar. The scallops though were really good, not mushy like another review I had read. The mushrooms seemed fresh too and flavorful. The price was reasonable for the city. I just think overall they need to work on their customer service skills and step up the food just a little bit and it will be a whole lot better. I think I'll try this one more time the next time I come back.
An embarrassment to San Francisco – Our server didn't even offer us drinks.
After our meal of duck fat and cold vegetables, I sat in front of empty dishes for quite some time while our server checked on every table but ours. Since we were so obviously a burden, I finally stacked all of the plates and pushed them to the edge of the table and different server came by and picked them up.
Finally, when our server came by to scoop up my boyfriend's plate (without asking if he was finished) I practically had to grab the back of his shirt to get his attention long enough to ask for a glass of water (which he got someone else to drop off at our table).
After the check was dropped, of course, they got quite attentive. We signed the credit card receipt and were still deliberating over the tip when a man came to our table and began jabbing a finger at the tip line over and over again saying "Total! Total!"
Finally he got frustrated and walked away. Half of the waitstaff were alternately watching us and counting out their cash in the dining room. Without washing their hands, they then went into the kitchen to touch food.
Upon telling my family about the legendary horribad service and poor, overpriced food, we learned that they too had experienced the same thing a few months earlier! The server made them feel more like an annoyance than guests, and they refused to accommodate even minor substitutions (my sister is a vegetarian).
In a city so well known for its cuisine, I don't understand how this place is even still in business.
Poor food, horrible service – I took a friend from out of state to this restaurant. We were seated immediately, but from there it went all downhill. The waiter was very rude and when I requested egg foo young without the meat - he said they are too busy and he doesn't want to ask the kitchen to not add meat. Oddly, the restaurant was clearing out and they really didn't seem all that busy. I opted for another dish anyway, and ordered it medium spicy. The waiter grudgingly obliged when he took the order, but then when the food came it was extremely bland. We told the waiter this was not how we ordered and asked to at least have some chili sauce. He said they don't have any (outright lie, no doubt) . He told us to use the dry peppers on the table. Throughout our experience, the waiter was just downright LAZY and his attitude was rude and evasive. The food sucked, but the service was far worse.
I would not return to this restaurant again.
Worst experience in SF. – Went to this place when I was on a business trip in SF. Turned out to be my worst experience in SF. The waiters were quite impolite. Put 15% hidden gratitude charge on us (2 people) without notice. The food was tasteless. The quality of food was below average. This restaurant is in a good location, and I was fooled by that. I felt regretful to recommend this restaurant to my colleague while we saw it and we two ended up with a disappointed dinner.
Bad Food, Bad Service – Not a great dining experience at all. We ordered Hot & Sour soup that was OK, but the eggrolls were swimming in grease. The sweet and sour pork we ordered was not good at all - the sauce was a thick, sticky paste at best and the meat was as tough as shoe leather. The service was not good either, we felt like we were an annoyance to the waiter instead of a patron to the establishment.
Gladly stuck in the '70s – The food here is pretty good and I would highly recommend the egg rolls as dumb as thay may sound. The decor inside is typicaly Chinese style from the 1970s which adds character to the place. Watch your step oustide, the hill it's on is extremely steep.
This is quality Chinese food?! – I've eaten at this establishment twice and the food was horrible both times. My wife wanted Mongolian BBQ but with tofu substitued for the meat. The waiter suggested another dish that had tofu and said that it tasted just like Mongolian BBQ. Don't know what he was talking about b/c it was more like Cashew Chicken. My sweet & sour chicken which was okay. Beverage refills were a joke. After getting our check and paying the bill, I went to the bathroom. While I was gone, the hoststaff tried to kick my wife out even though there were plenty of open tables left. When my wife told them that she would leave when I returned from the bathroom, they just stood there staring at her. My sister's family ate there as well and they had about the same terrible experience.
Enjoyable lunch – With help from our elderly waiter we had a great lunch. The prawns were fresh and very tasty with oyster sauce and vegitables. The potholders were an experience. Chinese ravioli stuffed with meat surprize. Cashew chicken was all white meat stir fried not batter dipped which made it elegant. The fried wonton where unremarkable.
Bad Food – The food here was terrible. The BBQ pork tasted rancid and the meat was tough to eat. The almond chicken barely contained any meat and was nothing more than a pile of stir-fried celery with some chopped almonds. Everything I tried in the menu was bland!
Good – A wonderful place if you're visiting San Francisco Chinatown for the first time. We came with some friends from out of town and after we were introduced to the owner, he stayed and chatted with us. The food was decent. Call at least a day in advance if you want the sticky rice fried chicken.
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