Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant
3132 Vicente Street (between 42nd-43rd Ave.)
San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 564-9588 (Fax)
Why did we dine here? – Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant is a Chinese Mandarin cuisine restaurant located in the foggy Outer Sunset District of San Francisco. They have been serving up pretty authentic Mandarin dishes for many years. Old Mandarin is an Islamic restaurant that does not serve pork and sticks to Halal certified meats.
Our last visit was about seven years ago, so we were eager to rekindle our fond memories during the summer of 2021 during the Pandemic for Take out.
Insider Tip – This restaurant is tiny, so come early or late
Cuisine – Chinese Mandarin
Location – San Francisco, Outer Sunset District
Opened – 2001
Service – Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant is a pretty small restaurant, with about 10 tables, so servers don’t have a lot of excuses not to deliver quality service. Their service was solid but not outstanding.
Verdict – Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant is a solid bet for people seeking this type of authentic cuisine. It is worth the journey if you like Mandarin Chinese cuisine, especially lamb dishes. The prices have risen over the years. What’s new?
Signature Dishes – Hot Pot, lamb dishes, dumplings, Warm Pot.
Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant’s Menu is pretty extensive, they include a lot of the Americanized Chinese standards, along with Beijing Style Hot Pot, dumplings, noodles, and many other Mandarin dishes. Stick to the Mandarin dishes for authenticity. If you like this restaurant also try Beijing Restaurant in San Francisco.
Old Mandarin Islamic Picks:
Beijing Style hot Pot ($3 per soup base with dipping sauce) and Lamb Slice ($6.95), Beef Tripe ($6.95), Cabbage ($3.95), and Tonghao Veggies ($3.95) was configured with half spicy and half broth. The spicy segment was pretty tame. The lamb proved to be very gamey. This hot pot is extremely different than Little Sheep Mongolian hot pot, with its broth and varied items.
Lamb Stir fry with scallion ($17.95) was not too spicy, but a bit too greasy, and all in all, a very good version. 8/10
Peking Beef Pancake ($8.50) is a staple at many Mandarin restaurants. This restaurant cooked a pretty authentic version of this classic dish.
Green Onion Pancake ($7.95) really didn’t possess green onion flavor, but was superb. Freshly cooked and excellent texture, very thin. Different darker style than more spots. 8/10
West Lake Lamb Dumpling ($7.95 for 12) looked very pale, but proved to be gamey, juicy.
CRACK Fish with spicy numbing sauce ($28.95) is called water boiled fish elsewhere. A really good version utilizing sesame oil to lighten the heat. Less spicy is about 4/10. Better than China Village in Albany. 8/10
Hot Braised Lamb Ribs ($16.95) were swimming in a brownish gravy. Abundant in quantity, the meat was long braised, making it fall off the bone.
Sauteed String Beans ($8.95) came with tofu and was slightly spicy. A recommended dish from the waitress, proved to be just okay.
Sauteed Tong Hao or Garland Chrysanthemum with fresh garlic ($15.95) is not many Chinese restaurant menus around here. This is a rough, hard core veggie that was done reasonably well. 8/10
Fried Mochi ($9.95) for 4 pieces. Soft and gooey, filled with black bean paste. These were hot out of the fryer and reasonably good. They all stuck together in our togo box. 8/10
Crispy Cake with Cream ($7.95) consisted of a mochi like soft substance that was deep fried and covered with condensed milk. We would pick the other dessert over this one.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Mandarin Cumin Lamb ($11.95) is also on the chef’s special list. This was just ok. The lamb quality was high but there was not enough spice or flavor. China Village in Albany makes a much better cumin lamb.
Ma Po Tofu ($8.95) was average. Order it only if you really love this dish.
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
Stirred Flower Ball with Shrimp ($10.95) should be avoided. The waitress even warned us. Beijing Restaurant in San Francisco does a far superior version.