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Tonga Room or Trader Vics?

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I'm going to be in the San Fran area from Oct 9th thru Oct 13th. I'll be helping/participating in a friends wedding and so, I won't have tons of time to check out all the Tiki joints I'd like to. If it came down to it and I could only go to one, which would you recommend - Trader Vic's or Tonga Room?

I believe there's (2) Trader Vic's restaurants there - Emeryville and Palo Alto. Isn't the Emeryville location the "lightened" museum like version? For Tonga Room when's the best time to go? What do guys you recommend I try (on the menu)?

BTW - Would love to meet with any Tiki Centralites while in town!


Hiya Pop,
It's really not a choice in my eyes, both! That is, try Tonga for a quick cocktail, preferably BEFORE the lame band comes floating out. That will let you see the room, and partake in the rainstorm/thunder, without paying the cover for the weak tunes. Tonga is a great room, but the service/food? Uggh.

TV's in Emeryville is the place to go, have not been to Palo Alto location, but I read it is the more "lite" version. Emeryville is the "flagship" site for TV now, a lot of the items from closed locations ended up there. Yep, go to Emeryville!


What time do they start charging cover at Tonga Room? Are they open for lunch? If I'm lucky, I'll get to check out both places. I haven't been to SF in 10 yrs or so and I'm trying to squeeze in LOTS of stuff to see and do!

the tonga room should have a happy hour too - it's lower drink prices and a free buffet. but it really is like only 1 hour, you should call about it..


Tonga's free Happy Hour Buffet went the way of the Dodo, 'cause some ne'er do wells would go there, order a drink, grab a plate and have dinner. Idaho, I'm looking in your direction.

Now there's a small plate charge. Not worth it, but have a cocktail and bail by 8pm. Then the band comes floating out and the drinks go up.

Don't miss the decor though OA did a great job, it's a classic.

edit: that weekend, apart from right by my birthday, Weee!, is also "Fleet Week". The highlight is the air show, Blue Angels fly mid-afternoon. It's quite a spectatcle, even if I am a bit biased (brother flew 18's for Navy).

[ Edited by: midnite_tiki on 2002-09-20 12:23 ]


I will echo what midnite said- try and see both. And please post again closer to your trip in the tiki events forum. We could all meet up for happy hour.

The food at Tonga is inedible, and Vic's ain't a whole lot better.

Like Midnight said, the Tonga is great but for god's sake get outta there before the band goes on. For me, it's the same thing as the Taboo Cove discussions; the music does not work with the envorenment. Even if the music did work with it, you would think that a name as renound as the Fairmont would be able to find quality performers. That one thing ruined it for me. The decor is great though.


The food I have at the Emeryville Trader Vics
is good to very good. The only mediocre item I had was the curry. I now stick to the bar bites for snacks or for meals I eat
some form of fish. The macadamia encrusted
mahi mahi is my mouth watering favorite. And, believe it or not, the Corned beef and cabbage on St. Patricks Day is good too. (although my cut last year paled in comparison to the previous few years).
The Tonga Room Happy Hour food is okay

[ Edited by: mrsmiley on 2002-09-20 16:56 ]

Tonga's free Happy Hour Buffet went the way of the Dodo, 'cause some ne'er do wells would go there, order a drink, grab a plate and have dinner.

Yeah, I noticed on their webpage that the happy hour buffet is $6.00 per person now with a (1) drink minimum. From this thread so far, they're getting mediocre reviews for it. Even still, I have to check it out. Can't come into town, not see it and wonder what I missed.

If anybody is interested in meeting up with me, email me on the side at [email protected]. Would love to meet some other TC'ers while I'm in town. I expect to arrive 10/9/02 in the afternoon. Maybe we can meet up that evening for happy hour.

Well, I finally leave for San Fran tomorrow (Wed -10/09) morning. I should be in town by mid-afternoon. For those who are interested in meeting at the Tonga Room for happy hour (Wed, 5-7pm) we'll be there. So far, I think aquarj, mrsmiley and tiki-bot are going to show up. Any other TC'ers in the area please stop by. Send me an email and I'll give you my contact info if you'd like. After tonight (Tues 10/08), I won't have access to my email for about 5 days.

Looking forward to meeting the San Fran contingency.


Mr. Pop,
I can't figure out how to access member's email addresses so you can email me at with your contact info.

Hanford-how do I access members email addresses. From what I remember I hit the "Email" button near that persons post and then it goes to some screen that asks for a password-my password doesn't work--is there a special way to do it?--bruce

Mr Smiley:

To view people's email addresses, click on their profile button; their email address will be displayed there. The email button (if available) will just email them directly (it is an email link).

When I tried it I was not logged in, and it seemed to work fine without asking for my password. Are you sure you're clicking on the email button?


mig posted on Wed, Oct 9, 2002 5:24 PM

PolyP: (wait, that sounds like something removed from a colon)

Just caught wind of this now. (I was combing the 'events' forum and didn't see this one in the main forum!) That is TONIGHT... and I'm going to get my ass out of this office chair and head straight there, right this minute. I can't stay long, but hope to meet up with you... I've wanted to meet up with you since the early days of Yahoo TC!


Gee whiz! I go back down to Los Angeles during what seems to be the only two days in the past month when nothing's happening there, only to fly back and find I''ve missed a fab happy hour gathering back up north! I just can't seem to win lately. I do hope you all had fun.
-Weird Unc (The Lone Tippler)

p.s. I'll see you all at the Bigfoot Lodge on Oct. 27 We can hoist a few cold and rummies then!

Well I just returned from my short jaunt to San Fran and had a great time. I finally got to meet some of the Bay Area TC'ers at the Tonga Room for Happy Hour: Mig, Tiki-bot, MrSmiley, TikiVixen, Aquarj and our very own Michael Jackson (in terms of celebrity appearances) - Hanford Lemoore!

This being my first time to the Bay Area in 10 or so years, I squeezed in every tourist trap I could but was still able to make to the Tonga Room on Wednesday and Trader Vic's in Emeryville on Friday.

The Tonga Room was everything I expected and more (regardless of the music). And the service was actually pretty good! My only quip: parking sucks. You drive around for 30 minutes or so looking for a space and just eventually give up and pay $15-20 or more to park in a garage. Considering this, it was totally cool of our Bay Area Centralites to make the trek and meet me at the Tonga and welcome me to the Bay!

Trader Vic's in Emeryville was great as well. The service at TV's was truly fantastic. From the valet driver, to the host, to our server, TV's Emeryville makes you feel like an appreciated guest. Got to work out the Credit Card a little bit too in their gift shop!

Being the forgetful person I am, I ended up leaving my digital camera at home and so ended up having to use my bulking SLR. I'll post pics here once they're developed.

Thanks again to those who came out to make me feel at home. Weird Unc, wish you could have been there. Maybe we'll meet at the Bigfoot gig on the 27th.

Next Stop - Sacto!


  • Mahalo Nui Loa *

*** * * The Polynesian Popster * * ***

[ Edited by: PolynesianPop on 2002-10-13 21:43 ]

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