Saigon Seafood Harbor Restaurant 3150 Pierce St./Central Ave., (510) 559-9388. Dim sum daily 11-3, D daily; $$. Though the name makes you think this is a Vietnamese restaurant, it is actually named for a lake in China and is a Chinese restaurant. The dim sum experience here is as I think it should be—it takes place in one gigantic room serviced by carts. A glass-enclosed chef’s station and tanks of live seafood provide a sort of entertainment at one end.
Quality ingredients and an efficient staff plus fresh seafood and some unusual dessert items—sweet pastry stuffed with taro root, round puffs of hollow donuts sprinkled with plenty of sugar—make it worth the often long wait. So get your ticket at the check-in stand and chill (I saw adults busy with books and kids with phone games).
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Dim sum photo gallery.
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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers