1492 Old Bayshore Highway
Burlingame, CA 94010
Redefining top notch dim sum and Chinese food near San Francisco.
Why did we dine here? – Grand Harbor is a Chinese restaurant in Burlingame, California, located right by the San Francisco Bay. (Next door to Benihana) It has a grand view of the Bay and the San Francisco Airport to the north. Leisurely watch planes landing all meal long. Our Last visit was in the Summer of 2019.
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They have a dismal 2.5 star rating on Yelp. They mainly get dinged for the service. Why is it still packed?
We saw that the place was packed during the weekends and decided to give it a try. We dined for lunch on a Tuesday and still found the parking lot full at noon! Parking in the cramped lot is a pain. There must be a reason why so many people fight to eat here.
Hint, we are already looking forward to coming back for dinner. They have several dishes like pan fried rice noodle, coffee ribs, chicken in wine sauce, that others suggested.
Insider Tip – Arrive Early
Cuisine – Chinese Cantonese
Location – Burlingame by the Bay
Opened – 2017
Grand Harbor Signature Dishes – Their Top 10 Page
Grand Harbor has a very extensive dim sum menu with both old classic dishes and inventive new ones. Dim sum hard core fans should order some of the items from the Grand Harbor Top 10 page. We ordered a mix of dishes from both categories. A good amount of options for vegetarians.
There are a couple dim sum carts with desserts and congee roaming around. Most of the ordering is done checking off the menu with pictures. Prices are not cheap but do not scare off the locals!
Service – Grand Harbor had slightly better service than a typical San Francisco Bay Area Chinese restaurant. Refills were reasonable, but you have to flag them down for most items. The servers were all connected with headsets.
Verdict – Grand Harbor’s dim sum was better than we expected, especially the modern dishes that they invented. If you are into dim sum, Grand Harbor deserves to be on your list to visit. We would rank this slightly below HL Peninsula, and Koi Palace, but in the same company as Dragon Beaux.
Do not expect top notch service like you would get at Yank Sing or Hakkasan, this is a typical hectic Chinese restaurant. Definitely not a good place to try Chinese food for the first time.
Is this restaurant worth a 5 minute drive? Yes. 30 minute? Yes. 1 Hour? Maybe
Grand Harbor Food Picks:
Har Gow Shrimp Dumplings ($6 Large) are always a good way to see how a restaurant stacks up. The 4 dumplings had some skin breakage possibly meaning they were over steamed. They did possess very good shrimp flavor.
Sesame Balls ($4) were done just fine. Not too much sweet filling and still warm.
Deep Fried Sesame Ball with Pumpkin ($5.50) are a modern version of the classic. A little more chewy, hot and freshly fried with nothing in the center.
Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll ($6) hit the mark. Nothing special but good for those that must order it. Could have used more shrimp.
Sticky rice in lotus wrap ($6) was also fine, good size with soft rice, lots of meat, mushrooms inside.
Crispy Skin Red rice noodle rolls ($7) were on the Top 10 page and looked horrendous. They were bathed in a thick sauce and possessed a weird color. One bite and we knew they were on to something delicious. Brave dim sum eaters should go for this. In 2019 they put the sauce on the side. Hallelujah.
Swan Durian Cake ($7) were on the special page and even had an edible neck to it. A little darker than the menu picture, but sure to satisfy any durian fan.
Fried Almond Puff ($7) was on the special page and was mislabelled as Apricot Juice. This is like a super sized sesame ball with a nice balanced flavor to it.
Glutinous Rice Dumpling with black sesame paste ($5.50) had 4 large chewy ones with lots of powdery peanut on top.
Sesame with purple Yam custard bun ($5 Medium) are another special dim sum dish that we recommend. The buns were on a roaving cart, but one that had a heater to keep them warm. The filling had yam and cheese. This reminds us of a sweet/savory action.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Deep fried pork dumplings ($5) were medium sized and a bit on the greasy side. Average.
Spareribs with black bean sauce ($5.50) is pretty average. Why order it with all the other fun stuff.
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
Pan Fried Rice Noodle rolls w/XO Sauce ($7.45) was cold, pass on it.
Chinese New Year Dinner 2020
We ate at Grand Harbor in late January 2020 for Chinese New Year. It was a crazy scene with everyone running around trying to serve the crowded restaurant. The parking lot overflowed.
We order one of their set menus for $688. It was enough food for a dozen people. Surprisingly, all the food came fast and was cooked well.
Suckling Pig Combination Platter – Real nice pig
Crab Meat Soup w/dried scallops
Braised Dried Oyster w/Black moss & dried scallops
Stir-Fried Bacon & Green w/Prawns & Scallops
Braised Whole Abalone & Mushroom w/Pea shoots – Perfect dish
Smoked Chile Sea Bass
Fried Rice w/dried scallop & sea food – Addictive! MSG?
House Roasted squabs – Excellent
Fish Maw & Goose feet in abalone sauce
Red Bean Soup
On crazy days like Chinese New Year, you definitely want reservations and should just order their set menu. They’ll make large batches and you will get your food faster.
Do you agree with our review? Have you found other similar restaurants that are better?Restaurant Map: