950 Mason St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410837.792339 -122.410518
Sunday, Wednesday & Thursday: 6:00 p.m to 10:00 p.m
Friday & Saturday: 6:00 p.m to 11:00 p.m.
Neighborhoods: Northeast, Nob Hill
How could the Tonga Room not be a beloved place? It rains! Indoors! There are fruity rum drinks and thatched huts to drink them in. Love this place, and if it goes I'll mourn it to the end of my days.
Great - if you're over 65 – This place is about to be shut down and repurposed and it's just as well. The rain and thunder showers were probably impressive decades ago but seem cheesy now. The band - which cost a $7 cover charge - played tunes from the 70s. They seemed talented but didn't sing a tune I recognized so I didn't enjoy it much, although the older folks dancing on the floor seemed to be having a good time. The drinks were waaaaaay overpriced. At least the service was friendly and fast! The creme brule dessert was so drenched in alcohol it was inedible, at least to me. 30 minutes and $45 later, we left disappointed. Steer clear if you're under 40!
Ambiance Is Great. Food & Drinks Pretty Good. – Ah-Oooo-GAH! My wife and I had cocktails and dinner at the Tonga Room a few days ago and were very happy with the experience. The room has been around since 1945 (it was the pool in the earlier part of the last century) so it's been around for a while; and is in great shape / under great management.
POSITIVES: The ambiance is wonderful, with the small lagoon and floating stage that resembles a boat. I loved the tropical downpour / thunderstorm effects that presage the beginning of the evening's entertainment. The Mai Tais were good & strong, so they do not skimp on rum. The food was also good, but not great. I loved the decor: with the thatched roofs, "lagoon" and the dance floor that looks just like the deck of a ship- complete with rat lines, block(s) and tackle etc...
NEGATIVES: The music, while pleasant enough had nay neither a surfing tune nor a lounge lizard song anywhere in the repertoire! Alas! The songs were mostly old disco tunes (Donna Summer, Bee Gees etc...) so that marred the ambiance somewhat. And as wonderful as the decor was / is, there weren't enough tikis! To those tiki aficionados looking for a kitschy tiki experience- this may not be the place 4 you! There are no Japanese glass floats, dried blow fish etc... While the Mai Tais were good, the taste of the canned pineapple juice lingered somewhat unpleasantly. I know- if they used genuine juice the price would go up 20% or more so there is that :-) And I wished the wait staff had more colorful / tropical attire. Dressed as they are / were in standard black / white uniforms they did nothing to add to the Polynesian theme.
A San Francisco Tradition – Went on dancing dates there 50 years ago and recently returned to find it just as enjoyable. Happy hour food and drinks were very reasonable. A tropical drink with a paper umbrella and fruit is fun. We stayed around for dancing and were not hassled to buy more drinks. Since it was my birthday, I was even given a fancy dessert to celebrate. Although it's fun to dress up you can be comfortable in casual attire. A stroll through the elegant Fairmont lobby
capped off the evening.
fab fab fab – One of the few Tongan restaurants outside of Tonga! Worth a visit to sample the south pafic cusine for this small island.
love this place - and its retro style – okay, while living in the bay area, i used to come here for an occasional happy hour. the drinks were good and the free buffet - decent. a few months ago, my mom and i came up to sf for a friend's wedding. my friends live around the sunset and richmond district. however, we decided to stay at the orchard garden (great hotel). exhausted, i had one of my friends meet me at the hotel and decided to walk somewhere closeby. we wanted to go to a place, where you can bring mom, to drink and have fun. wise choice... the filippino band was amazing. playing everything from top 40 to class rock 'n roll. and, we could tell they enjoyed jamming. (appreciated their non-cheesy renditions). since, we never had eaten a meal at this establishment, we ordered appetizers and drinks. after tasting the fried rice and everything else we ordered, we regretted not ordering a meal. the food was good. and, would have cost as much as what we spent on appetizers. (i am definitely going back for food). another thing i enjoyed about this place - you can come dressed however you would like. it is also a place you can come dressed in the attire (which you would never wear again, otherwise) you purchased to attend the opera or that wedding in 2005. its fun to get dressed up - the kind of "dress-up" wear you would watch your mother put on when she would go out on weekends or used to don when you were first in college - going to a nice restaurant with your group of friends- and tried to be "adult." this is definitely the place where you can wear your pearl choker and cocktail dress.
Wow! This place is really tacky. – It feels like like the perfect venue for a Goldman Sachs office party or something. We could picture a senior VP getting drunk on Mai Tais (which are quite good actually) and hitting on an intern as the faux Polynesian band belts out Journey. Nothing against Goldman Sachs really. We were just being juvenile and imaginative (drunk). I guess the festive mood does have an effect.
Just remember to visit this place with low expectations and take in all the cheese. It's like an episode of Montel. You want to turn it off but your having too much fun enjoying how bad it is. And for that it get two stars instead of one.
Poor Drinks, Bad Service, Incredible Decor, Astonishing Prices – They just reopened Thursday after renovations, seems unchanged. 6 of us, we ordered ~10 drinks over the course of the evening. The Singapore Sling and Mai Tai were terrible, the French 100 - a champagne cocktail - was totally flat - no sparkle at all, the service was so slow that it was too difficult to send the drink back. The bus-boy cleared away my 'souvenir glass' without asking. The Planter's P*nch was pretty good, the shitake egg rolls were excellent as was the almond garlic tapenade on flatbread. The band was entertaining, some of their songs were quite good - fun to dance to.
The decor is incredible, the monsoon rain is fun - if heavily chlorinated. It was $245 for 6 people - two appetizers, 10 or 11 drinks, and the $7 per person cover charge for the live entertainment.
How can this place have a 5 star rating when it gets so many well deserved bad reviews?
FWIW, we throw cocktail parties and really know good cocktails, we have all of Jerry Berry's recipe books, we know what they are supposed to taste like.
bad valet parking – I took my aunty at Tonga room for her birthday along with my sisters and it was bad the minute we arrived at the place.....I stopped in front of the Fairmont hotel and the valet attendant asked if we were checking in and I so no we are having dinner and he said that I am not allowed to do valet parking not unless I pay $50 for a valet parking, I thought it was rediculous for him to say I am not allowed to park there but I told him I didn't care if I have t pay that amount and he kept asking me at least 4 times and I was very offended just because I am Pacific Islander driving a very expensive car and I am young he assumed right away that I cannot afford to be there, that was very rude. When we got to the restaurants the lady set us on the cocktail side not asking if we were ging to have dinner or what not. Finally I told her we want to have dinner and she gave us attitude, the food was not very good and for the price it is absolutely not worth it, average chinese food nothing special. I do not like that place especially the valet parrking which I found out I didn't even have to pay for parking the attendant simply didn't like us because he felt like he was below us..... And we just wanted to have a good birthday celebration ft my aunty.
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