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April 9, 2009

Our local source for great Dim Sum, Tin's Tea House in Walnut Creek, to close this weekend

My family and are bummed. I got word today that Tin's Tea House Lounge, the Chinese restaurant on Mt. Diablo Boulevard that serves great Dim sum at lunch and on weekends, is closing this weekend.

The restaurant opened about five years ago. Its Walnut Creek site was the sister establishment of the popular Tin's Tea House in Oakland's Chinatown.

In a 2004 review in the San Francisco Chronicle, owner Alice Wan explained that she opened a Tin's in Walnut Creek because customers demanded a good Dim sum restaurant east of the Caldecott Tunnel. Apparently, many of her customers would drive from Contra Costa County or the Tri-Valley into Oakland to dine at Tin's, and they clamored for a restaurant closer to home.

Wan gave them what they wanted, and things seemed to go well.

My husband, son, and I have enjoyed a fair number of impromptu Saturday and Sunday Dim sum lunches at Tin's. The service was always quick, and the meal affordable and delicious. I'm also grateful for the fact that my 11-year-old son--who still turns his nose up at most anything green--loves seafood and many Asian dishes. I could eat Asian every night of the week!

If you've never had Dim sum (a word which literally means "touch the heart"), you could say that this type of cuisine represents the original concept of small plates.

At Dim sum restaurants, employees roll by your table with carts laden with plates or small steamer baskets. Each plate and basket contains a small portion of a meat, seafood, or vegetable dish. You choose the dish or say "no thanks." You get charged by every dish you choose. The advantage to this Dim sum version of small plates dining is that you can sample a variety of dishes--even the traditionally and highly prized Peking Duck! (Frankly, I've never tried Peking duck. Is it any good? I'd love to know!)

So, my family is sad about Tin's closing. Yes, we also are big fans of Yank Sing in San Francisco. We go there if we happen to be going into the city on a Saturday or Sunday. (The San Francisco Chronicle's imagination- and geography-callenged uber-critic Michael Bauer named Yank Sing one of the top 100 Bay Area restaurants. However, in Yank Sing's case, I'd say the Top 100 honor is deserved.)

Back to Tin's: It's been awfully nice to have a place, close by--in fact, within a mile of home--that satisfies my craving for steamed and plump shrimp or scallop dumplings, pork buns, or deep-fried shrimp with walnuts.

I reached an employee at the restaurant who said the owner might try to find another location in Walnut Creek or nearby. Let's hope so.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Big loss. That was SF dim sum in WC. I'm bummed.

Anonymous said...

Ching Chong Bing Bong.

Arl your dim sum are berong to us.

Anonymous said...

What a shame that such a wonderful restaurant is closing. As you said, the food was great and the service wonderful and the prices affordable. Also one restaurant in town where you could have a conversation without shouting and the parking was outstanding!

That particular location has seen many dining establishments over the years. Probably don't last because it is out of the gourmet ghetto area of downtown.

Good luck to the owners and thanks for the good eats!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the dim sum was different but the food for dinner was not very good. Also not very authentic but given that it's Walnut Creek where they are catering to many white folks, what do you expect.

Thud said...

My (Anglo Chinese)family visit W.C. for several months a year...Tin's is a great place with authentic food(if that matters)...it will be missed.The ching chong comments however will not.

Anna said...

I see that Forward Motion is closing too.

Anonymous said...

sad. the dim sum was okay but the atmosphere was pleasant. now the only dim sum place this side of the tummel that serves it up is imperial, its formerly the old bakers square across from park-and-shop. tins will be missed

Anonymous said...

ANONYMOUS 9:09 PM

Ignorant and offensive comments such as yours should be kept to yourself so you can amuse yourself.

Anonymous said...

My family is very sad to see Tin's close. We ate there after church about once a month -- it was nice to be able to get dim sum without driving to Oakland or SF.

Anonymous said...

We can only second the sentiment of most the comments here. Tin's will be sadly missed. Not only did we love their Dim Sum, we weres also very fond of their Moo Shu. One of the few places where the wrappers don't feel and taste like tortillias.

kashgar216 said...

In my opinion, Shanghai Restaurant's dim sum on weekends is better than Tin's. It's across the street in a little strip mall from the Mercedes dealership. Not Oakland/SF quality, but not bad for CoCo.

Anonymous said...

We were told, by the owner, that it was "landlord" issues at the current WC location that prompted the closure and that she was looking for other locations in the area. There is a website for the restaurant (google Tin's Tea House) as the owner also mentioned she would be updating the site with information about relocation - as it became available.