Golden Island Cafe – San Mateo, CA

I’ve been here a couple times now, both right after having dinner at nearby restaurants. Conveniently located right in downtown San Mateo and within walking distance from a handful of great Japanese restaurants.

A good size place with very casual vibe; a perfect place to hang out and have a few dessert or specialty drinks.

I believe it is a Taiwanese cafe but a lot of their menu items are also from Hong Kong and even the TV was on the TVB channel.

Their menu is a little crazy, with appetisers, rice plates, desserts (hot/cold) and drinks.

Their dessert sampler’s are great deals and a good option for the indecisive like me.

I’ve tried:

Dessert sampler $7.95

These surprised me because they actual came in full size serving bowls or at least bowls that were 2/3 the size of their regular size desserts.

Dun Dan (Almond)

The almond egg custard was not as eggy as I expected. It was very light, almost bland with hints of almond syrup.

Sweet Tofu

The tofu was not very good at all. It had the wrong texture and also bland. Tasted more like just curdled diluted milk. Not enough soy flavour and mushy.

Black Rice

The black rice was delicious. It was also fun because of the texture – chewy and a little toothsome from the husk of the rice. It was sweet and a tad savoury from the coconut milk.

Sago w Coconut Milk

Meh. This was light and refreshing. Slightly sweet with small clumps of sago. Not bad but nothing exciting.


Sweet Dessert Sampler $5.75

Mango Sago

Mango overdose! Light, sweet and refreshing – just like a fresh mango smoothie topped with a lot of sweet fresh mango chunks.

Green Tea Ice Cream

Nothing exciting but good green tea ice cream.

Tapioca & Sago Coconut Milk

I was not crazy about this. It was just diluted coconut milk with bits of slightly hard tapioca and chewy sago.

Mixed Fruit

Generous amounts of fresh strawberries and mangoes. Not really “mixed” fruit since it was only 2 types.


Mango Pancake $4.50

Surprisingly good. Thin delicate eggy pancakes filled with fresh cream and fresh mango chunks. Very tasty.


Grapefruit w Mango & Sago $4.95

Not very good at all. It was sweet and creamy but not a lot of mango flavour. Good amount of mango chunks and grapefruit tho.



Total Damage: Under $10 a person

Personal Rating: 2.75 out of 5 (Pretty average)

I am not a fan of the service here. It varies, the first time it was not too bad but the second time around I was left a little peeved. When we ordered, I asked about substitutions in the dessert samplers and was told we could not (eventhough I was allowed the first time around) but that is fine.

Then we were served the wrong pancake (banana instead of mango). Then we got the cold sampler and after 20 minutes I asked about the hot sampler – and a different server from the first kindly informed me that they were 2 out of 4 of the samples and that the first server already told us. I was baffled because she never did come to inform us and see if we wanted 2 other options and that she tried to lie her way by saying we just didn’t respond. She just left us hanging. So do check on  your desserts.

The desserts were not bad, some were good some not so. But a good range so everyone will have something they want. Prices are pretty standard with the best deals being the samplers.




Golden Island Cafe

146 E 3rd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401

(650) 685-5660

Golden Island Cafe on Urbanspoon

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