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Cathay House


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718 California St
San Francisco, CA 94108 (Map & Directions)
Phone: (415) 982-3388
Cuisine: Chinese, Pubs
Neighborhood: Chinatown

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Additional Dining Info


Credit Cards Accepted


Good for Kids


Yes - Full Bar


Price Point
$$ $ - Cheap Eats (Under $10)
$$ - Moderate ($11-$25)
$$$ - Expensive ($25-$50)
$$$$ - Very Pricey (Over $50)


Outdoor Seats


Mon-Sun: 11:30am - 9pm

Restaurant Description

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Top Reviews of Cathay House

review_stars 09/12/2010 - Nanette Nelson
The food was DELICIOUS and the Pina Coladas were sweet and perfect and left me happy....The tour guide was great and I loved learning about the culture and what happened to them by the Americans that they encountered here (even though it is very sad and embarrassing Americans would treat people the way they would not want to be treated). I HIGHLY recommend this tour for everyone, in fact my husband and I are purchasing tickets for our son and his girlfriend to do it for her birthday!!!

review_stars 06/30/2008 - Greg
HORRIBLE!!!! Never been to such a bad restaurant!

review_stars 10/07/2007 - teri
The food here is o.k. the chop suey and chow mein are the best around. However the wait staff sucks. They seem more interested in catering to the people who are dressed for success, not people just out and about the town. But i still keep comming back for the chow mein.Wish the staff was a bit more kind. O Well!! Can't have it all.

review_stars 08/05/2007 - eva
I got my food with hair inside. I called manager but he didn't even apologize. We just left the place.Horrible.Don't go there. Waiters don't speak English.

review_stars 07/29/2007 - Kyle
I'm glad I'm following the other reviewer that jokes about "Ed's House O' Canton," because I wanted to bounce from site to site letting my experience known too of the Cathay House.

We were hungry, and saw this nice-looking place above Grant in Chinatown. White linens, above street-level, it seemed like a gem.

It was a turd.

My partner and I ordered familiar dishes to us, Paper-wrapped Chicken, Fried Quail, and entrees Kung Pao chicken and a Scallops with Snow Peas dish. I specifically asked if the scallop dish was a "brown," sauce, to which the waiter said, "Yes." I asked for something a little sweeter, a little more spicy, such as General's Chicken Sauce or something. He said, "We don't have that," and continued a broken, hasty reason why. I asked if there were any different sauces, even Szechuan, to which he said, "Yes, spicy yes, sweet no." He wrote something down and was suddenly gone.

My quail came. It was great. Tiny, but it's a quail.

I then received a brown sauce scallop dish with crushed red peppers in it. I sighed. I sent it back, with the waiter trying arguing with me, saying that's what I wanted. Refusing to argue, I simply asked for the menu again

The Kung Pao chicken came out, loaded with mostly asparagus (which was fresh,) and the blandest, somewhat dog-food smelling sauce my parter had ever had. He was hungry and ate it anyway.

I re-ordered something called Rockfish with Sweet Corn Sauce. Underfried fish came my way with what tasted and smelled like a cold can of cream of corn was dumped on top. I sent it back and asked for the manager with a more displeased waiter.

The manager luckily was a very nice man that quicky took all problematic items off the bill, and I asked him to give waiter $5, since we were both being kind of a pain in the neck to each other. Fair trade.

This restaurant seems geared towards elderly and international tour groups, since huge parties came and went like clockwork throughout our visit. A theory as to the bland, un-Chinese nature of the food: "Try and satisfy all."

The review included about the Chinatown bus tour saying the place is great says it all. Someone gets kickbacks for this place, somewhere, holding people's poor tastebuds hostage.

Avoid this place if you have ever had good Chinese-American or true Chinese food.

As the "Ed's House O' Canton," reviewer said, stay off the main drag, look for other Asians.

review_stars 06/13/2007 - Cathay House Tourist Trap
I had a bad feeling when my companions wanted to go to Cathay House. Here's two tips on finding good food in Chinatown: 1 - don't go somewhere where there are no Chinese patrons. 2 - Avoid places on the main tourist drag of Grant street, especially those close to either end of the street. Cathay House failed both those tests.

The food was poor, the Kung Pao is listed as spicy on the menu but wasn't at all, there was one sorry little slice of pepper in the whole dish. The other dishes were bland and lifeless.

The service was terrible. We didn't have chopsticks so one of us picked them up from the empty table next to us. The waiter rushed over and berated us for taking them from a table that was set up for a "special event" that was "just about to arrive". When we were leaving that table was still empty, and the bus staff had actually removed the rest of the chopsticks from that table. When we were paying we got another angry berating for accidentally signing and leaving the "customer copy" of the credit slips.

If you want good Chinese food in Chinatown walk a couple of blocks further and then dive off Grant around say Sacramento or Washington and explore a little. You'll see some of the less tourist-saturated part of Chinatown and will find better food with local clientele.

Avoid Cathay House at all costs. If you want this kind of Chinese food, I suspect there's a guy in Dubuque running "Ed's House-O-Canton" that does it better.

review_stars 05/17/2007 - Cathay House Fan
Awesome restaurant---ultimate dining experience in San Francisco's Chinatown June 2006--MIght also suggest GrayLine Tours of Chinatown which includes dinner @ Cathay house!

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