Saturday, August 07, 2010

Goodbye to The Mandarin

Last week a friend of mine told me he was going to San Francisco with his wife. He asked me about restaurants and I was about to tell him that he had to go to the famous The Mandarin on Ghirardelli Square. It was a place I had gone to many times with my father back in the 1970's and 1980's. And a place I visited three years ago when I went back after so many years. But I decided to look for it in the Internet and learned that it had closed down in November.

The Mandarin was founded in 1968. It was the first restaurant to introduce real Mandarin cooking in the United States. Before that, Chinese places tended to cater to an Americanized version of Chinese cuisine. The Mandarin changed all that. The place was beautiful too with a truly breathtaking view of San Francisco bay.

When I used to go with my parents, we were lucky to get a table. The last time I was there, it was nearly empty. I talked to one of the waiters and told him about the many times that I had gone there with my parents and asked him if he could take a photo of me at the restaurant. He smiled and took the photo. It remains a fond memory of my trip.

If I ever go back to San Francisco, it will be strange not to visit The Mandarin. It was such a part of visiting the city. It was a part of my happiest memories of traveling with my mother and father. And like so many things when one reaches a certain age, it is gone.

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