One thing I’ve learned about Chinese restaurants is that chefs don’t stay at one place for a long time, so consistency over the years can be a challenge.
I wanted to put that to the test at one of the Bay Area’s more popular dim sum tea houses – Koi Palace in Daly City. The restaurant has been so popular over the years it’s opened a second location in Dublin.
I visited recently with my friends Tat and Ramon, and we got there by 11 a.m. to make sure we didn’t have a notoriously long wait. After years of crowds, Koi Palace has implemented a sophisticated waiting system, providing numbers and a big screen that shows the numbers in the queue so you can see how many people are before you. Our wait ended up being only 20 minutes.
Once seated, you never feel like you’re rushed, and instead you can enjoy a tranquil lunch of dim sum delicacies and efficient service. And the conclusion I quickly came to was that Koi Palace’s quality has weakened a bit – although they still have amazing Shanghai soup dumplings and my favorite egg custard buns – but still wins on the variety front.
While Koi Palace offers up the typical daikon cake and shrimp dumplings, they also offer up dishes not commonly found at other Bay Area dim sum spots, including things like durian puff pastry ($6.90) and Macau-style egg tarts ($4.90).
The Last Bite
Dim sum prices are on the high end at Koi Palace because you’re paying for its popularity and variety of dim sum, and while there seems to be a sense of complacency in the kitchen, it’s still among the better dim sum spots around the Bay Area and worth the drive and wait.
Rating: 3 out of 4 camera snaps
Koi Palace, 365 Gellert Blvd., Daly City. PH: 650.992.9000. Open daily 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and 5 to 9:30 p.m. No reservations for dim sum, major credit cards accepted. www.koipalace.com
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