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Gim Wah

September 1st, 2008 · 42 Comments

Gim Wah (Chinese)
3418 W McGraw St
Seattle, WA 98199
(206) 284-7000


Tags: Uncategorized

  • Ker

    Used condom in the restrooms makes me want to vomit!!!

    • KaitE


  • Jason

    The drinks here are the best in Magnolia, hands down.

  • Marlin

    The bar is always packed, but there are seldom many people in the restaurant. There is a good reason why.

  • Jody

    Fun, un-Magnolia-esque, dive bar atmosphere with great drink prices. I order the chicken fried rice and steamed broccoli or green beans to eat in the bar area.

  • Judy

    Meeting the gracious owners, you know why they survived 30 yrs here! Pride in their culture and business shows in the menu and presentation. Reasonable priced quality food, friendly mix in bar.
    Have never heard the ugly incident in the 1st review – out of character for here!

  • http://yahoo Michele

    Have eaten great food over the years at Gim Wah. Reasonable prices and wonderful service and wonderful to have in the neighborhood!

  • dd

    Our famous Magnolia Gim Wah has just had a great review in a new book that has just been published. Title: Seattle’s Best Dive Bars.

  • P

    We dont need places like this in Magnolia.

  • Trix

    Every neighborhood needs places like this.

  • Trix

    They are asking people to avoid walking in or near areas with newly poured concrete and to please use the temporary walkways to get to Gim Wah.

  • Val

    According to, at last surprise health inspection this restaurant got 36 points, with 1 high risk violations.

  • chiizus

    The food is greasy and gross, but it's a good place to go if you want a stiff drink. The bartenders definitely don't gip you on the alcohol there. But be prepared for a loud, boisterous crowd in there.

  • Molly Jane

    i agree with chiizuz. Gross food and it smells awful in there. If I wanted a good drink i would much rather go to swirl

  • MagMayor

    Anyone mistaking “The Gimmer” as a restaurant to eat food at is a sucker. The restaurant exists so the bar can remain open. You go there to make yourself numb. You'll find better food at Safeway's China Express. That said, I love the Gim Wah!

  • MagMayor

    Anyone mistaking “The Gimmer” as a restaurant to eat food at is a sucker. The restaurant exists so the bar can remain open. You go there to make yourself numb. You'll find better food at Safeway's China Express. That said, I love the Gim Wah!

  • Charlene

    This is by far the best Chinese food we have ever eaten. Our family drives over 30 miles to eat here and it is well worth the drive. The food quality is always consistent along with the customer service. If you are looking for a fancy restaurant this isn't the place for you; however if you are looking for REALLY good Chinese food give it a try!

    • chiizus

      Whoa. Really? o_O

    • Char

      yes! Really! We suggest you try the veg. chow yuk and the mongolian beef.

  • amusedpen

    We tried this when we first moved to Magnolia in 1993 – the grease factor was off the scale. We tried it one more time a few months later with the same result. We haven't been back since except to stop by one night on New Years Eve around 11:00 for drink, only to be told they were closing. On New Years Eve! We can only hope that one day El Ranchon can expand into this space and turn their existing restaurant into a great little Mexican cantina.

  • bill bibet

    Love the food and kitchy 80’s chinese restaurant atmosphere. It’s “comfort” chinese food…hey I’m asian and know where all the top chinese restaurants are in town, but sometimes you want some good old almond chicken, sweet and sour pork and pork chow mein. Try their mongolian beef or mandrin chicken for a little change…really good!

    The bar patrons (alcoholics) are scary and obnoxious, I avoid them…the comment about how “territorial” they are is true. If you are not a regular, you are not welcome. lol

  • SeattleMike

    This is going to sound weird. I gave it three stars on the basis of some hot & sour soup. I panned the place a year ago (used to be amusedpen). Some friends wanted to go there after a night at Swirl, so we went along. My wife and I shared a tureen of hot & sour, and it was some of the best I’ve had anywhere. We’ll try some other things, now.

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    Keep up the good work! Matt.

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  • Big Small

    The Gim rocks. Real people, real stiff drinks, and hearty food make it a neighborhood joint for the ages. Try the Mongolian beef without the “plastic noodles” as one bartender puts it, along with a half order of pork fried rice. Delicious. The rice has good sized chunks of BBQ pork and the Mongolian beef is some of the meatiest around. You can’t fault this place for what it is. If you need chi-chi, this isn’t it. Lunch is good too. Yes, there is better Asian dining elsewhere, but I always give The Gim my business. It must go down in Magnolia history as an icon of comfort food. This from a guy who knows the real thing…lived in Asia and married to an Asian woman. The Gim is all-American. Be sure to say Hi to Alan, owner, cook, and the hardest working man in the Village. He’s always on the job.

  • guest

    I love this place.   In an upperclass neighborhood where folks can be a little uppity at times ( that’s not me or you, of course!)  Gim Wah has no pretense and just does well that which it is –a damn good dive bar and a dependable Chinese restaurant.   The restaurant is nothing extraordinary, but it does a few dishes spectacularly well–especially the pot stickers.   But the bar itself is what is an American classic.   Like any dive bar there is the usual collection of people from the fringe of life– the addicted to alcohol, some folks down on their luck temporarily, and some who life seems to have just gotten the best of them.  I love them all– they each have a wonderful story to tell of the human condition and drama.  But make no mistake the Gim Wah is not just an alki’s bar.  There are many middle class working  types and even a few individuals that I suspect could buy half the main street out if they chose but like to be with real folks just having a good time.  And from time to time there may be some young folks but it is mostly an older crowd.  

    What really makes the place wonderful are the help.   Owner Allen is the chief cook and works from 11:00 am to 1:00 am 7 days a week in the Asian tradition.  The long time bartenders are not the sterotypical Seattle bartenders– hard bodied young ones put out as bait for the “hot” crowd so soughtly sought by br owners, but real women who might remind you of a colorful Aunt you dearly loved or an aging actess from “A Street Car Name Desire” era.    Judy is there in the days during the week and has a heart of gold.  Margie runs shop in the evening during the week and is fond of Mickey Mouse and Minnesota sports teams.   On Tuesday night she brings in her own heavenly homemade desserts and sells them for $3.75.   Margie is there on Saturday nights and every other Sunday as well and there is no nicer person in the world.  

    The drinks are incredible.  Never thought I would have to ask the bartender to water a drink down, but at Gim Wah there pour is more than Super Sized.   The price is always incredible reasonable, too.   What is even more shocking to me is though they only offer 3 wines- a red, a white, and rose— the House Brand is a darn good wine and I like to think of myself as picky about my wine.  

    As I have said I am genuinely fond of this place.  The only thing I don’t like is the men’s bathroom and it is classic Dive Bar Men’s Restroom.   I would appreciate it if they would do a better job in this area.     

    Gim Wah is real….and I can be real there, too.  No one is trying to impress me and I don’t have to try and impress anyone.   I am not much of a drinker, but this place does call to me quite often. 


  • Bo

    I was told when I went into the bar that they would only accept cash only, no cards or checks.  Hello, IRS, are you there?

    • Danny

      They take credit cards.  Many places no longer take checks.  

      • Bo

        Danny, I was told no credit cards or checks, cash only.  The Gim Wah is a haven for illegal activities that we do not need in Magnolia.

        • Patron

          That’s a brazen accusation. Throw the first stone there, clear heart.

        • Danny

          Well, I use my credit card all the time.  As for illegal activity I have not seen the slightest sign of it.   

        • Danny

          I went to Gim Wah to check on their credit card policy.   The definitely take major credit cards for all purchases over 10 dollars.  Many places have a similar minimum policy.

    • DMiller

      Ive had this same experience.

  • Arca

    I dont think the food could have been any worse.

  • Ken


  • Mago

    5 stars!  A great place to get my pork pulled!

  • MagMom

    The place is dirty, the food is awful, what more can I say?

    • DANNY

      don’t go into a Dive Bar expecting Canlis.     I love this place.   Colorful people and strong drinks go along way.

      • MagMom

        Danny, I dont expect Canlis, but the Gim Wah is gross…

  • Morgain

    I will never go there again.