We are now done with Convoy’s East Side! And without further ado, we declare the Best and Worst of the East!
THE BEST OF THE EAST: DUMPLING INN
Why? It is kind of hilarious that after this whole journey and all this work, our long-time favorite still ranks first. But now we feel extra-justified in loving it best! Dumpling Inn was the first place we ever had xiaolongbao, and we have imprinted on them. We’ve had beloved, reputable xiaolongbao in other cities, but they never tasted as good as our Dumpling Inn’s. We love that they’ve kept it small, because they could choose to expand in a bigger location on Convoy if they wanted to. Yes, they have their off days, but that is because they actually cook their dishes from scratch. It doesn’t exactly have x-factor, but it gives us a happy-tummy feeling after the meal. Even people who don’t like vegetables (cough, Miko, Nick) like the crack greens!
Nominees: Chon Ju Jip, Pangea Bakery Cafe
Best Korean: Chon Ju Jip
Nominees: Dduri Ba, Josun, MARUBest Thai: Thai House
Why? We like them, and there are no other nominees.Best Dessert: Pangea Bakery Cafe (Jenne) and Fruit Shop (Miko)
Why? Pangea has yummy breads (like the raspberry bun!) and they’re open late. It’s a good place to bring a bunch of friends and talk after a meal. The Fruit Shop introduced Miko to mangosteens, and they have really interesting varieties of fruit that are not often found elsewhere. And they happily press samples on you!
Nominees: Pho Convoy Noodle House (just for their tricolor bean dessert)Best Date: MARU Lounge
Why? It’s more sophisticated than the other restaurants, but it doesn’t feel so try-hardy like Rakiraki. It’s cozy and not loud, and they’re open late with alcohol options.
Best Service: Cali Baguette Express
Why? Mitchell Nishimura, who works at the Kearny Mesa Cali Baguette location, is a wonderful human being — kind, considerate, with meticulous attention to detail.
Nominees: iSushi and Sushi, Roll Depot (terrible food, excellent servers), Fruit Shop
Why? They have lots of fun snacks (like Hi-Chew, which is delish), and it’s cheap! Plus, Mitchell Nishimura is good with kids.
Nominees: Liang’s Kitchen, Pangea Bakery CafeEAST SIDE’S WORST: EMERALD CHINESE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Why? It was dirty. The teapot was gross, and there was a BUG crawling around in the cart of dim sum!!
Nominees: Mapo BBQ Korean Cuisine, Nozomi, Sushi, Roll Depot, Tajima