Dim Sum - if you have time. Yes - one of the cardinal rules of selecting a Chinese restaurant is to see if the majority of patrons are Chinese - if yes, stay. Many families come here. Koi Palace has developed a great reputation for its variety and quality of dim sum and I have to agree the dim sum is above average - I really liked the fried shrimp/banana roll. But there were some misses - the mango pudding was a big disappointment - it was almond jello colored orange with mango flavoring added. The food wasn't so spectacular that it was worth the 1 1/2 hr wait - and folks on Sunday morning, that's the short-list. Part of the problem is people linger - read the paper, etc. post-dim sum. The food will arrive quickly if you took the time to look at the menu while waiting and hand the order to the watier as soon as he brings tea to your table. The wait is what really blew it for me. There are many other restaurants that serve the same quality of dim sum and you don't have to spend half a day waiting for it.
Some of the best dim sum I've had in NorCal. I've had great success coming here at 9:15 on a Sunday morning, even though the dining room is already quite crowded I've had parties of 5 or more seated within a minute or two. Compare that to coming here around 10:30 or later where you'll see the wait times soar past 2 hours! The waitstaff for the mostpart doesn't seem to speak English, but that doesn't matter because you mainly just nod or shake your head at the variety of dim sum brought out on different trays. Contrary to popular belief, there are carts here as well, for their fancier offerings. I have to point out their shrimp-stuffed crab claw as their best dim sum, and their spicy noodles are insane, too. Some of their fried dumplings can be a bit greasy, and the steamed dumplings tend to stick together, but overall the quality is just amazing, considering the sheer volume of people they serve every hour. I feel it's unfair of some to say that the wait times are too long; every popular place is like that--be smarter about the time you're here and you'll have a great experience. In any event, this is not the type of place you swing by before trying to catch a movie or a flight. Take your time, enjoy the environment, and savor the many different types of dim sum. Also be sure to check out their dessert dim sum; their black bean sesame dumplings are out of this world, and there's a cream puff that's coated in granulated sugar that has the outward appearance of a rather large donut hole, but inside the cream is blended with the dough, making for one of the best desserts I've ever had--if not a bit too sweet.
No table for roundeye. My sister thought this would be as good place to go for Christmas brunch Dim Sum. I've never been there but immediately had a bad feeling when i entered the parking lot and saw the throngs of Chinese folks out front. My sis said she put her name in at 10:45am and was told it would be 45 minutes. I noticed that there were almost no other non Chinese people waiting and had an inkling that they may not seat according to American custom (first come, first served). My fears were confirmed when we checked our status at 12, 12:30, and 1pm. Each time we were told it would be another 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile i noticed that no Chinese parties were waiting longer than an hour. We finally gave up at 1:15 after waiting 2 1/2 hours and it became apparent they had no intention of ever seating us. Having some familiarity with Cantonese culture, i should have bolted as soon as i got there. Crowded chinese restaurants will often seat the parties they believe will make them the most money first, i.e. parties of 4 vs. 3, repeat customers, etc. It really doesn't matter when you put your name on the list (and too bad they don't realize bad reviews from angry customers can lose them money). For example at Little Sichuan in San Mateo. if we have a party of 3, we always say we have a party of 4. They get a little angry when the 4th person never shows, but at least we get to eat lunch before 4pm. Fortunately there are plenty of good Dim Sum places in parts of town that have a good mixed customer base and will seat first come, first served. Try Ming's in Palo Alto. Perhaps the Dim Sum at Koi Palace is slightly better, but not so good that it is worth waiting several hours until the crowd dies down to get a seat. Thanks Koi Palace for ruining our Christmas.
The foods not great and the service is awful. I was really anticipating a great meal and was completely disappointed. The Har gow, shrimp dumplings, smelled fishy and were not tasty, the selection seemed poor, the service was incredibly slow. We would request things and it would take forever to get them (in some cases we never did). It took us over 20 minutes to pay for the meal (and this was after we finally flagged down a waiter). I don't see how this place survives. It's not that inexpensive either. Tong Kiang, Hong Kong Flower Lounge, and Yank Sing are all way better than this place. Another favorite for great cheap dim sum (more take out than eat in) is Good Luck Dim Sum. My mom was with us. She remembers the dim sum in Hong Kong - this is nothing like it she said.
Bad service & ok food. Food is not very impressive, bad service but price ok. This is the restaurant that I will try to avoid. They are not that special to worth the torture.
bad services. dim sum is ok although the wait is 2hours and 45 minutes long. The service was horrible, host was mean and waiters were mean, table was not set, tea was not what we ask for and we were hungry and annoyed after such a long wait. "...service meant they didn't care about retaining customers." We will never go back and told all our friends not to go.
Bad Service. Not worth the wait.. Usually very good for dim sum although the wait is insanely crazy and long. Dinner absolutely is not worth the wait and definitely not worth going to for Chinese New Years! I really wish we hadn't. The service was horrible. Each dinner plate came every 30 minutes which meant we were very hungry and annoyed. We understand it was a busy night but giving us that kind of service meant they didn't care about retaining customers. Will never come back here again.
Stay away. Been there 3 times. Food is good, no doubt about that - but not that good that you'd want to wait 3 hours for a table while having to stand around in a parking lot. There are a lot of dim sum restaurants in the bay area that are also good and without the wait. The worst part of the waiting is the managmeent's shady seating policies. I've seen group after group of people bypassing the front desk without getting a number. They headed straight to the dining area where they waited by the bar for a table. People were being seated without numbers. One group that had been waiting by the bar, even stood by a table while the people eating were waiting for their check. As soon as the people left, they sat down. If you understand cantonese, check it out next time.
Preferential Seating a waste of my time.
Mother's Day, 2006: After three hours of waiting, we finally sat down to eat. After our meal, and as a large table behind us cleared, some folks just swooped in and claimed the table. They'd been waiting inside the restaurant, apparently with the full blessing of the management, to snatch the first available table, while people like us were waiting patiently outside for their number to be called.
As we left, the manager picked up our signed credit card receipt and began to complain to us that we'd only left a $4 tip. I snapped back that if they weren't allowing friends of the restaurant to get in ahead of people waiting in good faith for their turn to sit down, the tip would have been higher.
Because of this blatant favoritism and unfair, preferential seating, we will never return, no matter how tasty the food.
Good Food Delivered With Extremely BAD Service. Koi Palace sure knows how to serve its renowned food up with a rotten attitude. The staff has no concept of service. From the moment we sat down I had to repeat my order 3 or 4 times to 3 and 4 different people, and still we waited forever before our food arrived. And we had hot pot, a meal that requires almost no effort on the restaurant's part, since the cooking is done by the customers. Once I left a tip and was publicly berated by the waiter because he thought it was not enough. The last time I was there I was so upset with the service I decided to leave no tip at all. I could hear the staff bad-mouthing me litterally as I was walking out of the restaurant. Serves them right though, because that'd be the last time I'll eat there.
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