111 E 4th Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
The Pandemic has brought Soup Dumpling or Xiao Long Bao quality to new heights!
Why did we dine here? – Dough Zone dumpling house is a regional small chain of restaurants that started in the Seattle area (2014) and has now expanded into Northern California, at Cupertino and San Mateo. They specialize in dumplings and have a menu that is very similar to that of popular Din Tai Fung.
The San Mateo location is located in a jinxed location that has changed ownership every couple years. Let’s hope this place stays here for a long time!
Insider Tip – Use Yelp Waitlist
Cuisine – Chinese
Location – Downtown San Mateo
Opened – May 2021
Service – Dough Zone was better than most Chinese restaurants, but not up to Din Tai Fungs.
Verdict – The food is good and reasonably priced here. Service was reasonable, with lots of servers passing by. The soup dumplings are just attached below that of Dumpling home and Din Tai Fung, while many of the other items are very good. We had to wait during Saturday dinner, about an hour via Yelp waitlist.
Is this restaurant worth a 5 minute drive? Yes. 30 minute? Maybe. 1 Hour? No
Dough Zone Signature Dishes – XLB, Pan Fried pork buns.
Dough Zone’s Menu is pretty wide ranging with lots of dumplings, noodles and more.
Dough Zone Food Picks:
Green onion pancake ($2.95) what is technically homemade, but lack flavor. 7/10
Pork Xiao Long Bao Soup Dumplings. ($7.50) how thin skin and lots of soup. Pretty darn good rendition here. Amazing that it took quite a few years for several newcomers to really challenge DTF! 8.5/10
Q bao or Pan fried pork buns ($8.75) are good but not great. Dumpling Home in San Francisco is clearly better with more crispiness and density. Pan Fried Dumplings in Newark and Shanghai Flavor Shop in Sunnyvale is also better. These have a light golden brown char, and are very circular. 8/10
Chicken veggie wontons with chili sauce ($5.25) are also well done. Not too spicy, and very well-made wontons. 8/10
Sweet-and-sour cucumber ($4.95) are featured on their yelp page, an interesting spiral sliced version. 8/10
Chicken potstickers ($5.25) are eggless, well-made, have some juice to them, and are crisp. 8.5/10
Hot and sour clear noodle vegetarian ($5.95) It’s a reasonable noodle dish. Not too hot or sour, just right. 8/10
Kale salad in sesame dressing ($5.50) what’s well-made, lots of tender tail and not overdressed. 8/10
Spicy noodle vegetarian ($5.95) is the only clinker of the night. They just forgot to put salt in this thing. Amazing we had to ask for salt! 5/10
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
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