919 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9413337.796451 -122.405337
Mon-Fri 11am-10pm; Sat noon-10pm; Sun noon-9pm
Neighborhoods: Northeast, Chinatown
Great Food/Amusing Service – I have been eating at The House for about 20 years. We live out of town now, but get to go about every 2 years. The food is consistently great, the service is consistently amusing (think no nonsense). If you are looking for formal dining, this i not the place for you. Conditions are cramped and dingy, but it's all about the food. Do yourself a favor, DO NOT ORDER OFF THE MENU. Tell the owner/waiter to "hook me up". I usually ask for sea bass and the hook up, and they always deliver. Prices seem comparable to other restaurants.
Some of the best food I've ever eaten – The onion cakes. A woman waiting for a table must have seen the look on my face when I put it into my mouth, because when she passed by she stopped and asked what that dish was. Our other dishes were good too, but the service could barely be called service. If you go in with that expectation though, you should be okay.
The one thing that really, really pissed me off, however, is that the owner came to take our check and credit card and said "no credit cards" then walked away. So my husband ran down the street to an ATM to get cash. While he was gone, I looked over to the table next to us and saw them pay WITH A CREDIT CARD. Since we had to pay a needless $6 for ATM fees for no reason, we didn't leave a tip. Still, I would go back again. That's how much we liked it.
Really Awful – This place was on our list to try for several years before we got around to going, it was a complete waste of time and money. I can't imagine why people wait in line for this stuff. We ordered the shrimp pancake and sesame chicken with sweet potato which we'd read were really good, and were disappointed in both. The owner came to our table and trained a new waitress how to fold the pancake, without even acknowledging us. No idea how clean his hands were. He had recommended the beef for the pancake and it was excrutiatingly salty and greasy. the sesame chicken was very sweet and greasy, and the sweet potatoes were fried hard AND coated with the same greasy sauce. The place looks okay until you sit down and feel the sticky table and menu, and the warm water in dirty looking glass mugs is gross. The couple next to us (basically at the same table, they don't even break them apart an inch or two for separate parties) had to ask for new plates, the ones they were given had hair and food on them. Even for Americanized Chinese food this sets a really low standard and it's also ridiculously expensive. My advice - save yourself the long wait and keep looking. Or ask a Chinese local where they go.
Best Chinese Food – This is hands down the best place to stuff your face =]
(I could be a slogan writer)
Any chain Chinese restaurant can make chicken chow mien or beef broccoli, but none of them order for you like the House of Nanking, I went there and shoveled the food like I was in the military and didn't have another second. After eating so much and leaving I thought I couldn't eat at another Chinese restaurant again and I didn't not for almost 4 months.
Yes its a little dirty with the mass of people in and out you dont have time to clean everything when people are hungry, yes they order for you its part of the excitement and shock if you have never been, and if there is a line out the door it means the food is damn good and if you leave your missing out on something special.. people need to understand this is a gold mine in the middle of San Francisco...
the truth is you either love it or hate it but it is a food place and thats what I go there to do is eat. So i could careless if there is a little dirt on the ground or crowded at least I'm not eating out of a garbage can.
Still the same, but different – Why do good things have to change?I went to this restaurant 5 years ago and thought I had discovered a gem. Now the owner took many steps in the wrong direction.
They "updated" the walls inside and out, but still has the same cheap, slightly dirty look that we expect from a place like this.
The best way to order is still to ask Mr Fang, the owner, to pick for you.We told him we wanted as order of dumplings, one pork, one fish, one spicy one middle spicy. Part of the charm of this place is not to know what you are going to eat.We saw the two couples struggle (we were sharing our table with them,it is this type of place) for minutes with their waiter to decide and we knew we had done the right thing whne we started to get our meal before they placed their order..
The food arrived presto,and it was above average. The dumplings were competent, the slightly fried fish pieces came with mercifully underdone green leaves( is that chinese?) and we got barbecued pork in a slightly sweet sauce with apples ( is that chinese?). Rice was rice. Nothing spicy though. Mr Fang failed, or he did not tell us that spicy is not the forte of his Cantonese cuisine.
Another surprise was the bill. It doubled from 5 years ago. What was $20/25 for 2 people has become over $50. Of course Mr Fang, a good businessman that he is, looked at the lines outside ( we waited 20 minutes at 9 pm) and decided he could easy into a more comfortable retirement by cashing in on the tourists. But the prices are out of character with the place, the neighborhood and, yes, the quality of the food.
The only question is that when he does retire, House of Nanking will just become another House of Nanking like so many in the suburbs serving General Tso's chicken and sweet and sour something.
People that wrote other reviews complaining about the service, not getting a glass of water, etc, should go to McD's. This is not that sort of place.
But,like my son said, there are no more hidden gems in the age of the Internet.
Best Chinese Food EVER – There was a long line, and they crammed our party of 10 into a space big enough for 8, but the owner was charming and sweet. He promised to take care of us and the next thing we knew, dish after dish was being placed on our table and people were fighting over every last scrap. From the first course to the last everything was delicious, and they accommodated our friends with peanut and seafood allergies no problem.
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if you like MSG... – if you love MSG, then this is the place for you. all of the dishes, while tasty, are just loaded with the wonder spice which'll leave you with the nice dry feeling after your meal.
it won't run you too much money, but if you get there at the wrong time, you'll be waiting in line for awhile.
Never had a bad meal, always bad service! – After reading reviews of House of Nanking NO ONE should be expecting good service. The food however is fabulous. Don't expect typical, traditional Chinese ... this is Chinese fusion and is light and unique.
We go because the bad service is entertaining and the food is fantastic. Just tell the waiter what you like and they will bring out an assortment of dishes. Don't expect the food to be like the little mom and pop place around the corner and if Panda Express is your idea of great Chinese, then you should probably just go to Panda Express.
Anyone who reads these reviews and then complains about the bad service, chipped plates or warm water has no one but themselves to blame. Go for the food and don't let the rude waiters get to you.
Absolute failure....... – Where do I begin. I had a party 6 with 3 kids. We waited 40 minutes with numerous other parties getting in ahead due to our size.
We were seated and owner ordered for us, the meal was awful. One dish too salty, another too sweet, no rice after 4-5 requests (I ended up getting my own rice from the cook's station), overall, I would have taken a meal at panda express over this place in a second to trade in my $84 bill (zero tip). The food was so bad, my kids wouldn't eat any of it (they are half Filipino and used to eating some interesting dishes, but this food wasn't interesting just plain bad - the final insult, I had to take them to pizza and pay for yet another diner).
My first visit was takeout and it was pretty good, but this visit was such let down, I don't think I would ever go again.
Be wary... the food is spotty, the location is uncomfortable and the service is simply awful.
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