Monkey King

15 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Top Tags:
  • Casual
  • Creative Cuisine
  • Good for a Date

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In the 1920’s Tom Ah Quin was the most influential Chinese businessman in downtown San Diego. He owned the underground gambling establishment known as the Monkey King Lottery House, as well as Nanking Café. While being heavily involved in local politics he earned himself the unofficial title as “Mayor,” which helped Monkey King Lottery House become a meeting place for many powerful politicians and businessmen, where they would not only hold meetings but unwind and enjoy the fruits of their labor with food, drinks, and entertainment. In 1935, the Monkey King Lottery House was raided by the government, which brought the gambling establishment to an end. The original tile entry way of the Nanking Café still exists to this day. So much history was made under this roof, which is why Monkey King was brought back to life so that patrons from all over can enjoy its charm and nostalgia for many years to come.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Chinese, Dim Sum, Pan-Asian
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Hours of operation
Mon–Wed, Sun 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
Thu–Sat 5:00 pm–12:00 am
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Phone number
(619) 359-8897
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Nick Urbanske
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Cross street
Fifth and Island Aves
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Parking details
Garage parking available
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Public transit
Gaslamp Trolley Stop.
Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 15 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.0based on recent ratings
Noise · Moderate
56% of people would recommend it to a friend
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3.0Dined on May 28, 2018

The food was not flavorful at all. Our order got messed up a few times...don't think the servers were very educated on the menu or understood the requests very well.

3.0Dined on May 20, 2018

If we were to go back it would be for a drink & maybe the small plates.

5.0Dined on May 11, 2018

Totally enjoyed our meal. The restaurant is beautifully decorated. Highly recommend.

5.0Dined on May 9, 2018

The drinks were great, 1/2 priced for happy hour! Had the Happy Buddha and Egg Rolls. Service was great food was wonderful. Great way to say good bye to San Diego. Tyler was a great bartender and server.

2.0Dined on May 7, 2018

Service was awful. Waiting a long time for drinks. They brought us wrong food. It was my wife's birthday and they were alerted as such, but didn't even acknowledge it or do anything.

Kung Pao Chicken was exceptional

Seichuan beef noodles horrible

Would not go back. They need to improve and take care of their customers

2.0Dined on May 6, 2018

Would not recommend this place for dinner. It looks modern and cool inside, and we all liked the atmosphere of the restaurant, however the service was extremely slow (we didn't have someone come to us for about 20 minutes after we were seated), the food did not come for a long time, and when it did come the food was disappointing. At 7:30, I understand that they are going for a loud, fun atmosphere, but it was basically impossible to hear the person across the table from you. The drinks menu looked good, however, so it looks like this place might be better for meeting up with a friend for a drink, rather than a group for dinner.

5.0Dined on April 24, 2018

The food was DELICIOUS! Centrally located, nice atmosphere

1.0Dined on April 1, 2018

Our appetizers came out with our food. The food was bland. The service was terrible. We were not offered refills on our drinks. We also won’t offered dessert. Awful experience. I called the manager to give feedback before writing a poor review. I was promised a call back and never received a return call. Don’t waste your time eating here.

5.0Dined on March 31, 2018

Good, food was a little expensive for what you got

3.0Dined on March 25, 2018

Dim sum assortments had to be sent back because all the food was cold in both bamboo steamers. Dim sum tasted like frozen food. Service was slow. Spicy shrimp was good; but too spicy. Other shrimp dish was good. Notified the hostess and server we had a birthday; but nothing was done.

4.0Dined on March 21, 2018

Food was average, service was slow, the waiter was slightly rude towards the other guests. However, the manager did stop by all the tables to greet us, so that was nice.

5.0Dined on March 9, 2018

This was a pleasant find. The appetizers and small plates were perfectly prepared and presented. We enjoyed the dim sum menu so much we ended up sharing a main course noodle dish. Everything was very good. And the Chinese movie playing on the big screens for happy hour fit right into the ambience.

3.0Dined on February 26, 2018

Wanted to try the place for a few days. Made a reservation. Were seated outside. Nice and cozy.
Good was excellent. However, service leaves a lot to be desired.
Very slow. The waiter possesses no knowledge of menu, or service principles. Mains came out when our appetizers were just brought out. I asked to take the entrees back and to return them at appropriate time.
They were brought back warmed (!!!).
No wok dishes should be reheated.
It was gross.
When the server cleaned the table, she noticed my plate was untouched. All she did was ask me "if I need a box"
When I said "no", she didn't try to find out why I haven't touched my good and immediately produced a bill.
I was furious.
I have to say that manager was extremely courteous and professional.
He was very apologetic and understanding, and part of our meal was comped. The situation was remedied.
I'd definitely be willing to give this place another try.

4.0Dined on February 20, 2018

Awesome hostess! Food was cold and they were out of some items that the waitress failed to tell us about until we ordered it. Great atmosphere but wish the food was better

2.0Dined on February 16, 2018

Bad service