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My final meal with U-Lee was a sad one, because it was my first and I'm bummed they are closed!
First thing: it's a family business, expect quirkiness. Happens all the time, I never take it personally unless I'm truly inconvenienced.
Second: Order to go, don't dine in. This would remove the concerns of service, their sub par glasses and dining ware as well as the lack of ice in cups.
Third: Know what to order. The trick to this spot was only a few key items: the dumplings, which are fab if you eat them right away, the Mongolian Beef dish and Hot and Sour Soup. Lemon Chicken is also rumored to be great. Outside of that, you start to mess with uncommon dishes (and I would never ever order seafood from a tiny hole-in-the-wall on principal).
Cheap, super hole in the wall neighborhood restaurant for those looking for a quick, Americanized Chinese meal. With that said, food is decent & the large doughy potstickers are the highlights.
Rest of the food is okay since a large portion of it is drowned in oil as the single guy cooking drizzles a ton into his large wok for each dish. This pertains to all the other food we ordered like the noodles, beef & eggplant dishes. While the food is cheap & plentiful, I think it might be enough to overlook the possible health violations an old, dingy hole in the wall place like this has.
Friendly people working & service. Come with the right expectations, cheap Chinese food!
Sigh, I'm going to miss this place :( U-Lee has been our go-to when hunger strikes and the only saving grace is greasy, filling, oh-so-yummy Chinese takeout.
After ~30 years inhabiting the corner of Hyde and Jackson, U-Lee is closing up shop end of September. Boo! Word on the street is they'll be relocating elsewhere in SF, though.
U-Lee does Chinese right. Cheap, tasty, and flavorful dishes. My faves have been consistent - beef and broccoli, sweet & sour chicken and bbq pork chow mein. More than affordable prices and quantity, can't wait to get details on the new digs!
The yang chow fried rice is incredibly delicious, due to the piping hot wok that they use to fry it. There's also a lot more ingredients in this fried rice than I've seen at other restaurants. Besides the standard cubed ham, peas, and scrambled egg, they also include onions, mushrooms, and chinese sausage - yum!
I also tried the General Tsao's chicken, which was not bad. This was not as crispy as I would've liked, and the batter got a bit soggy with the thick sauce mixed into it. However, the sauce was a tasty sweet and spicy flavor. It wasn't sickeningly sweet like at some Americanized chinese restaurants. There was also a good amount of meat in the dish, with a thinner layer of batter.
As for the ribs with green peppers, the proportion of ribs to peppers was about 1:5. The ribs also didn't have very much meat on them, and they were mostly bone. I'd not recommend this dish if you are looking to add more protein to the meal.
They were sold out of the spinach and bean thread noodles by 8pm on a Sunday, so I'll have to try again next time!
FYI, if you're looking to order a large batch of pot stickers to go, be sure to give them advanced notice, or they won't be too pleased. The max number of pot stickers I've heard them cater is 24.
One of the biggest downfalls of San Diego is that there is absolutely NO good Chinese food. No good dim sum.. nothing. Found U-Lee a couple blocks up from where we were staying. Got there at the perfect time because there were two tables open. As soon as we sat down, a group of people formed outside waiting to be seated. The flow of customers coming in and out of the restaurant was pretty steady, a lot of people came to order take out.
We started with egg rolls, super yummy and you could tell the ingredients inside were really fresh. For the main entrees, we got Chicken Chow Mein, Chinese Green Bean with Chicken, and General Tso's Chicken. I loved the Chow Mein and General Tso's Chicken. I really wanted "orange chicken", but General Tso's ended up being even better. It's probably a good thing we were only visiting because I can see myself ordering General Tso's chicken and eating it by myself a couple times a week. That's how good it was.
My boyfriend loved the Chinese Green Bean with Chicken. I really wanted the potstickers, but they are so huge and come on a plate with 5 or 6, there was just no way the two of us had any room for them. Almost everyone in the restaurant ordered them, I don't blame them. They looked delicious and every table ate every last bit.
We finished all four of our plates, wiped them clean. We will definitely be back to U-Lee. Service was kinda non-existent, but it's only the two of them working and they were definitely hustling to make sure no customers were left behind.
U-Lee is moving to the Richmond and I'm happy about it.
I came in today wanting to get their infamous potstickers one more time before they moved locations. 1pm isn't exactly that late, especially for a weekend lunch. But when we arrived, we heard the server dismiss another table and state that they were out of potstickers. The couple left. Then I asked her about the potstickers, asking when they'd be back, and she rudely replied with "It depends, I can't tell you when we'll have them again" and then walked off before I could even respond. Really? Not even a "come earlier in the day" or "we'll have them tomorrow"?
So we ended up ordering two entrees - the eggplant with ground pork and the chinese sausage with tender greens. Both were okay, nothing to write home about, except there was not a single piece of ground pork to be found with the eggplant. It wasn't bad, but I don't really enjoy paying $8 for just a plate of veggies.
The food was 3 stars, the service was 1. So here we are at 2. The server was rude, did not even stop to take my drink order (my boyfriend said he wanted "water" and then she walked off without even looking at me. Really??). Here's the thing: do NOT drink the water here. The water cups they provide you with are FILTHY. Both of ours had green gunk crusted to the bottom and to the sides of the cup. And the water they serve is lukewarm. Seriously, ew. Also, their sanitation score was nowhere to be seen. Curious. And probably illegal. 1 star it is.
Goodbye U-Lee, see you never.
The owners are bi-polar. Some days they allow you to order potstickers by itself (without an entree), some days they do not. Some days you can order to-go, some days you cannot. This all depends on their mood that day. Sometimes when you order to-go and arrive 25 minutes later, they either forgot to start your order or start it once you arrive. They can care less. The only reason I go here is because it is close by, cheap, and on days Sun Kwong is closed.
Well first time here. Came for the potstickers before they close on Sunday.
Potstickers did not disappoint and would give them a 5 but the rest of the food wasn't something to write home about. I agree their sanitation is questionable and the service is horrible.
We placed our order and had to wait at least 30 minutes to get one of our dishes. There were other people who arrived after us who were eating before we did. We also did not get all that we ordered (and when we got the bill we don't know if we got charged because it was in chinese). Place was super crowded and I'm guessing that's why the service was bad but still no excuse, get more help and serve in order. Water was luke warm and not palable.
They are re-locating to the Richmond district and I hope they open up a better location with availble parking (we parked 4-5 blocks away), and better service. And if they allow more than one order of potstickers that would be fantastic.
Ok I walked far to get here, literally. Pot stickers lived up to all the hype they were juicy and huge, solid 4 stars. 3 stars total because they really screwed up on 2 dishes. The tomato beef chow mein was super sweet and too saucy. The chow fun was crazy salty! Eggplant and pork waa good and chicken wings had a weird batter but it was juicy and the tomato sauce on the side made it real good.
I have been here occasionally but will not be back. Stopped in on a Saturday night (2 hr before closing) and ordered potstickers. Per the menu, the restaurant imposes a surcharge for ordering potstickers without also ordering an entree.
The Mrs. Maitre'D refused the order and told me she would not serve 1 person 1 large appetizer and that she would rather not have my business (an interesting point as the restaurant was EMPTY and there was no line -- perhaps this is why!). The nasty verbal attack continued as I left the establishment.
Places like this give the San Francisco Chinese community a bad reputation!
Size does matter. Face it, men, all that baloney about what kind of person you are on the inside is pure...well, you know what I mean. Maybe that's what motivates U-Lee to produce what I have to believe are the world's biggest pot stickers. Now I didn't ask Guinness to confirm that they hold the record, but I will admit I've had quite a few pot stickers in my life. Gyoza, empanadas, momos, knoedels, dumplings...whatever you want to call them. Believe me when I say they's big here.
It's their showpiece as they come by the half-dozen overflowing a worn melamine plate for $5.75 (photo: bit.ly/13AIr8u). They were good but nothing great. Just big and meaty and hard to maneuver with a pair of chopsticks. The rest of the meal faded quickly into memory. Jamie W. ordered the $6.75 Curry Chicken which had the unmistakable brown sauce that most Chinese take-out restaurants ladle on their dishes (photo: bit.ly/10Hy7h4). I went for the $6 lunch special of Chinese Sausage and Tender Green on Rice.
While the serving was generous, it was marred by being lacquered with too much oil (photo: bit.ly/YU1iwR). Service from the owner was jovial but most of the good spirits were directed to the regulars who received most of the attention. We had to wave our arms a couple of times to get refills on our water glasses. All in all, it's a decent enough place if you live in the immediate neighborhood, but if you had to take a bus and then walk up a treacherous hill to get to it like we did, I would ask yourself how badly you want the world's largest pot stickers.
FOOD - 3 stars...pot stickers on steroids not enough for me to be thrilled about the rest of the menu
AMBIANCE - 3 stars...just a hole-in-the-wall as you climb up Nob Hill (photo: bit.ly/18Xea9q)
SERVICE - 3 stars...friendly enough to virginal visitors
TOTAL - 3 stars...the real question is if U-Lee, should I Me-Lee in return?
I live right near U-Lee and they consistently serve great food at great prices. Potstickers are huge and tasty. Lemon chicken is great too -- crispy and the sauce is very tasty. They give a generous portion and every piece is crispy an delicious.
On too of the good food, the staff couldn't be friendlier.
I used to live down the street from U Lee's and frequently got take out. Their dumplings are just so delicious and so BIG! You get 6 juicy ones for just $7 and with vinegar, they're the best in class.
The restaurant is not too "hole in the wall." It's nothing special, just a normal restaurant, but is acceptable to take a date there, or just friends. They don't take credit card, which can annoy certain people, but each plate is only about $8.
My typical order is the beef chow meen (noodles). They make the best chow meen for sure. The chicken and broccoli (or beef and broccoli) is nothing special, so stick to the chow meen!
I love this place and would gladly eat it weekly again.
I ordered the kung pao chicken (white meat only). Ummm, where's the chicken? No, seriously there were two morsels of chicken in it. Also, got the hot and sour soup which tasted good but there wasn't enough stuff in it...no Chinese fungi but there was a random tiny shrimp, aka shrimps, in it. Definitely don't understand how this joint received high ratings.
My cousin raved about U-Lee so I thought "next time I'm driving by and there's an actual parking spot nearby imma gonna try that place". He particularly likes the broccoli beef, so I had that as a lunch plate. It was good. Nothing remarkable.
The nice thing about U-Lee is that it's such a cozy neighborhood place. It seems to harken back to days of yore, when Chinese diner type establishments were more prevalent. I really liked being there, more so than the food itself maybe, but if you're in the hood, stop on in.
I was so excited to try the giant potstickers at U-Lee, but after circling the block for what seemed like forever I was disappointed. They are definitely big, but in this case bigger is not better. The flavor was okay (a little on the salty side), but they were just too cumbersome to eat.
I ordered them to go and they were packed up in a standard Chinese takeout container, which resulted in soggy and stuck together potstickers. I wish they put them in a larger container.
Sadly, I won't be back.
Bigger is not always better.
(I'd like to just leave my review at that.)
No but seriously, because of the sheer size of these potstickers - like the size of my fist - there are drawbacks. First of all, it's super greasy and oily. Second, the skin is pretty tough because it needs to hold in all the filling. And speaking of filling, it's just a really dense meatball.
Split an order with friends, because you probably won't have room to eat much else. But then again, nothing else is so remarkable that you'll want to save room for them. So maybe just come here and have a giant potsticker and call it a day.
If you live near the area or can snag a parking spot, then this place is probably worth a try. But if you need to hunt for parking, it's definitely not worth the search IMO.
We had friends in from the East Coast and their number one desire was Yu-Lees famous potstickers. After a long day of touring and sampling San Francisco's other fine foods off to Yu-Lees we go. Not very hungry but ready for the experience. After waiting 30 minutes we finally figured out that the trolleys had mysteriously stop running. Friend Debbie HAS to have these potstickers so we make the vertical trudge up Hyde Street (no small feat). We finally make it to the famed U-Lees.
The restraunt is very small, seats maybe 30. We were in luck, a table for four was open. We ordered potstickers and drinks from the waitress. She said what else? The menu said there was a surcharge if you ordered potstickers without an entree, we told the waitress we were fine with that. No she said we must order entrees. Debbie says we must. We are left with menus and nothing else for 10 minutes. Finally a man comes over (we'll call him U-Lee). We order 2 potstickers, beer and wine, and an order of chicken chow fun and won ton soup, we ask for the latter two to go. It says eat in or take out right on the window. That's when U-Lee lost it. He ranted in soup Nazi fashion that he makes no money on his dumplings, they are very difficult to make, he cannot give us take-out the other customers will think we don't like his food, and on and on he went. We were amazed but Debbie is firm so we let the man vent, and explain we are first time customers that do not know the tradition. He is somewhat mollified by our behavior and with a final thrust of "my wife will kill me" he's off. While we wait for our order we notice two different couples come in, order and eat potstickers and go. No yelling from U-Lee. We finally get ours and low and behold they are gigantic. We dig in. They were decent or at least three of us thought so. Doughy and roughly made and swimming in grease though they were. Debbie took a few bites but we noticed that her napkin was in play. She couldn't even eat hers! She hated them! Pass this one up my friend, they are sooo not worth the hype.
A hole in the wall family owned Chinese restaurant. The chef was energetic and super hardworking. Dishes I enjoyed were the:
* Honey walnut prawns
* General Tso's chicken
They are known for their giant potstickers (5xs the size of normal potstickers). In my opinion, it's more of a novelty dish, rather than being that tasty.
Although the restaurant is tiny, I was surprised that they don't have ice! (we asked for a glass of ice for our soda and they dont have any).
U-Lee Restaurant is a great place to have a group dinner. I came with a party of 8 and we nearly took up the whole restaurant. The best part was ordering all of the key dishes and getting to try everything. We ordered:
- 2x Potstickers
- Eggplant with ground pork
- General Tsao's Chicken
- Walnut Prawns
- Curry Beef & Tomato Chow Mein
- Chinese String Bean with Chicken
- Beef Black Bean Sauce Chow Fun
I think we ordered more dishes, but I'm blanking out on the rest. The highlight of the meal were definitely the potstickers. You can tell that they make them on the spot and aren't previously frozen from before.
Their service was great, they made sure that we had enough tea and water for the table. Overall a successful meal, esp when the meal came out to be only like $11 per person. What a steal! :)
Quick Tip: Cash only!
Absolutely ridiculous 'we don't sell pot stickers by themselves' surcharge rule (on a Saturday night + cash only (and no ATM). Internal Revenue fairness issues aside, it is a sad fact the quirky business practices conflict with a small local business that really does have great food. The question is: why ruin a nice local family based eatery with poor service, strange and shifting rules and a gruff demeanor - file under great food / location but abusive and condescending policies.
This review is for takeout food on a Saturday evening.
+Beef & Broccoli Chow Fun- wayyyy too many noodles and not enough beef and broccoli; it's also extremely dry and flavorless
+Mixed Veggie Deluxe- hubs liked this; good assortment of veggies
+General Tsao's Chicken- has this weird bitter taste and i got a stomach ache after eating this
+Rice- the portions are large so one serving for 2 people is more than enough
Service is fast and friendly. Small operation of 2 people.
Tiny, hole in the wall restaurant with a few tables and chairs inside. You can see right into the kitchen and where they'r cooking.
Glad I gave it a try, but won't be coming backhere.
-Hungry Hungry Pongy
While in San Francisco this past weekend, we wanted Chinese food and did a random search on yelp for cheap Chinese food. U-Lee popped up with consistent reviews, so we gave it a shot.....and boy, we sure were HAPPY!
This place is a hole in the wall, but do not be deterred by that. The service is speedy and the food is DELICIOUS!
We started off with the potstickers because the reviews were so good. These things are MASSIVE! The taste was delicious, but i tend to like an equal amount of noodle to meat, so i wasnt really blown away like others were.
Next we ordered bbq pork fried rice, General Tsos chicken and Beef with Asparagus. The chicken and beef were DIVINE!
General Tso Chicken- delicious tender fried chicken covered in a rick thick sweet sauce with big chunks of garlic and red chili flakes. This was the real deal & we both loved it.
Beef with Asparagus- Equal amount of beef to asparagus, the asparagus was perfectly cooked (not soft, with a nice crisp to it) and the beef was really tender and delicious.
BBQ pork fried rice- It had a touch of smoky flavor that neither of us were too impressed by.
The parking was a bit tough, but we eventually found something. This is a CASH only restaurant with friendly service. This place is very small with only about 8 tables, so i am sure it most likely gets crowded. We will definitely be back whenever we visit the city!
I've always enjoyed the food and service at U-Lee for the past 25 years. I will miss Judy and Kenneth's warm hospitality (along with the potstickers) and look forward to their new restaurant in the Richmond District some time in the future. Please keep it the same name.
First off, this is a hole in the wall kind of place. Do not expect fancy fine dining here. I've been coming here off and on for a few years and find the food to be generally quite tasty here.
Potstickers! This is the one dish that they're kind of famous for. Just the sheer size of the things will knock you back. Think roughly 2.5 times the size of a regular potstickers you see anywhere else. The filling is all meat (pork), the wrapper is homemade. They cook them perfectly the way they're supposed to, with one side all crispy and the rest just cooked. I feel that they used to be better. The potstickers are no longer dumpling shaped, but more in these rectangular shaped sealed pockets now. The dough seems thicker and less delicate than they used to be and there's a large sealed dough-only part that sticks out beyond the meat filling (this edge piece used to hang out only about .25" or so, not 1+" like they do now.
My real favorite dish here is the dry fried beef chow fun. Fried just right and has a nice carmalized flavored to it.
As I recall, their wonton soup wasn't bad either.
Prices are good. Parking is not.
The food was good but the service was awful, to begin with they did not have ice so the beverages were room temperature, second the cups weren't thoroughly washed; The water was served with soap suds. And last but not least my waitress had the odacity to demand a tip. And not only did she demand a tip she gave an exact amount of how much I "had" to tip her. Overall okay food but will definetly not return due to the service.
Worth the search for parking. Small cozy spot, fresh food made to order but only accepts cash. We ordered The General Tsao Chicken, sweat and sour chicken, egg rolls, chicken fried rice, chicken wings, pork fried rice and all were delicious but my favorite were the chicken wings and the general tsao chicken.
Find a parking, bring cash and enjoy!
Find a parking, bring cash and enjoy! Read more
The food here is solid and the staff very hardworking and friendly. Old-school hole-in-the-wall kind of place.
The potstickers were over rated even though they're known for these. Also, they have no ice for drinks, etc.
Overall reasonable and you won't be disappointed here (unless you're going just for the potstickers)
HOLY POTSTICKERS!! For starters, the potstickers were MASSIVE. They tasted good for the most part, however, I felt as though they were a bit too meaty for me, but definitely enjoyable.
We came here on a Sunday evening and were surprised by the size of the place. It appeared to be a family run joint and all of the employees were VERY nice! You can see directly back into the kitchen and they do not mind you watching at all, very cool!
We got a ton of food and it was all pretty good. I would definitely recommend the sesame chicken, that is delicious. The chicken chow mien was pretty good as well as the pork fried rice. We also got lemon chicken that my boyfriend loved.
If you are getting a to go order, I would not recommend getting the potstickers, we did and they were put into a to go box so when we tried to take them out of the box they mostly broke and weren't as crispy as they would have been if we ate them in the restaraunt.
One other sad thing: we did not get any fortune cookies! I am not sure if they forgot or if they do not give them out here.
I would definitely go back here again, the food was good and the employees were SO great! I would love to support them!
I love U-Lees. But, I also love Sun Kwong located right across the street. How do you decide which to patronize? This is how: Sun Kwong, the everyday-food. U-Lee's, when you want to sit down with friends/fam and eat giant pot stickers. Go there and be happy.
The potstickers are the hit as everyone has stated. Only thing we really liked actually. Everything else was decent. Not sure why everyone thinks they are amazing. Our meal was full of MSG and was overcooked. Still on the hunt for the best Chinese food.
1 star for the food itself. Price is good and service is fine, but really not worth rating those for food that's not really edible.
Came here for the potstickers as a snack (via the highly rated yelp reviews), and also ordered chicken with string bean. Everything was extremely oily, and salty, and this is coming from someone who enjoys a little oil in his food. The skin for the potstickers were moist despite being thick, but I don't know if thats because it was drenched in oil. The meat was quite terrible. It was just ground pork mashed in, with no seasoning, onions, and just a bunch of meat oil oozing out. The size of the potstickers was novel.
The chicken with string beans was not bad, but again, probably the oiliest and saltiest dish I've had in a long long time. Each bite of the chicken/string beans had to be followed by their rice and a huge gulp of water.
I recommend yelpers to stay away from this place if they care for their health.
The people here are sooooo nice! Ken conversed with everyone in the restaurant with friendliness and ease of manner. I was impressed with how welcomed and at home he made me feel in such a short period of time. He conversed with other diners in the restaurant in the same, personable manner. If ratings were based on service alone, this place would rate five stars.
However the food did not taste very good. I did not feel that the food was "inedible" as another reviewer stated but did feel it to be only passable (i.e. I could eat it but wished I had chosen another restaurant). The beef and broccoli was probably the best dish although a bit watery. There was disagreement between myself and the person I was dining with on the chicken fried rice. Although I felt that the chicken fried rice was tasty, my father felt it was too dry. However we both agreed that the worst dish was the sweet and sour pork which had a watery sauce and poor pork quality (most evident in the bigger pieces which had a weird chewy texture). My father was bothered by the flavor/seasoning of the fried pork as well while I was neither pleased or displeased.
The people were so nice at the restaurant that I wish I could rate this place higher but, unfortunately, I disliked the food enough that I would probably never come back.
The potstickers were ginormous! However, they weren't great,were difficult to eat,and were very greasy/oily.
The egg rolls were great! They were soooo hot when we received them that I even burned my finger, but they were good and were served with a sauce similar to sweet and sour sauce.
My friend got the sweet and sour pork and that was pretty good, though she was disappointed that it did not come with rice.
I got the chicken chow mein and it was pretty good, but it somewhat reminded me of Panda Express.
Business info summary
- Price range
- Under $10
HoursAdd business hours
- Lemon Chicken
- Egg Roll
- Price varies
- Black Mushroom With Oyster Sauce
More business info
- Takes Reservations
- Accepts Credit Cards
- Good For
- Lunch, Dinner
- Bike Parking
- Wheelchair Accessible
- Good for Kids
- Good for Groups
- Noise Level
- Beer & Wine Only
- Outdoor Seating
- Has TV
- Waiter Service
From the business
We are known for our huge pot-stickers in pork or vegetarian. Come on in and see what everyone is raving about. All for under $7.00!Learn more about U-Lee Restaurant - CLOSED , Opens a popup
We are known for our huge pot-stickers in pork or vegetarian. Come on in and see what everyone is raving about. All for under $7.00!
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