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Is there even ONE DECENT CHINESE RESTAURANT in West Hollywood?

Just had a horrible meal at Kung Pao on Santa Monica Boulevard. Why -- oh Why -- did I think this place would have halfway decent Chinese food? Yuck.

Please help!

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  1. The answer to your question is "No," and the response to your request is "Sorry." Regrettably there are not a lot of good Chinese restaurants anywhere that don't have a lot of Chinese diners. There's just not the critical mass of such diners in that part of town to support anything good. For a brief while there was a place on Third St. called Golden Village Coffee Shop that was good and authentic, but it folded after a year. Indeed, until about 10 years ago, there was absolutely nothing worth eating west of downtown. At least there are a few Westside options now, such as J.R. Seafood and Little Hong Kong.

    1. Depends on what you had at Kung Pao. Some of their food is quite good, especially their seafood dishes, the hunan lamb, and similar. Do not order the appetizers is the first rule of thumb there.
      The only 3 Chinese places in the general area are Genghis Cohen, Rice and Kung Pao Bistro. All are geared toward the Americanized tastes of those who live nearby. If you want truly authentic, the 626 area code will provide you with all the options you could ever need.

      1. The ONLY Chinese restaurant that I like in Los Angeles is Hu's Schezwuan (sp?) on National / Motor. Amazing, homemade dumplings the family rolls on the tables while you are eating... The Kung Pao shrimp is wonderful. It's in that little crook of National as it elbows toward Motor. Incidentally, the Indonesian Restaurant on that same street is good too. They have Durian there!

        1. had the same experience.
          every dish was truly awful.
          i didn't even expect anything authentic, i would have been satisfied with anything that tasted ok.
          even with that low level of expectation, all the dishes failed miserably.

          1. Unfortunately, no. If you can make it a little east, to Melrose between Western and Normandie, you can go to BBQ Unlimited #2, which is about as good as it gets without going all the way to the 626.

            1. Speaking of Hu's, here is a thread discussing that very subject, and not all that kindly, yet with mixed feelings like most all opinions on west side Chinese restaurants.

              1 Reply
              1. re: carter

                Interesting! Thanks. I've never really gotten into Chinese food. I suppose the main reason is that the flavors seem to be a mish mosh of things with no particular direction. I prefer Thai because the flavors are so punctuated and contrast with one another. Also...I worked in Taipei once for about 10 weeks and the food there was outstanding and wierd of course. That all being said, I don't mind PF Chang's. It's actually decent food and not so oily and mish moshy (that's a technical word by the way...ha!)

              2. While I'm not going to argue the notion that the better places are in San Gabriel (they are), the fact is that Mandarette on Beverly doesn't suck at all. Not what you'd call the most authentic or anything, but a very solid option to fix your jones locally. Also, there's a takeout place on the south side of 3rd, a block or two west of LaBrea, in a minimall, whose name I forget but that's pretty good as well.

                1 Reply
                1. re: deadorinjail

                  If you're talking about Chyn King on Third, you've got to be kidding.


                2. dead: What do you order at Mandarette? Do you happen to know which region of Chinese cooking it focuses on? Hunan? Szechuan? Shanghainese?


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Liquid Sky

                    I haven't been to Mandarette in a couple of years, but used to like it a lot. They have some dishes you typically find in NYC chinese places, like sesame noodles and scallion pancakes that are quite tasty, and have a tofu skin dish that is good. I went there ones with my friend from college (she's from NY) who speaks mandarin, and that day in particular we had very good food. It's a little tamed-down for the western palate, but would be my choice for chinese in the Weho area.


                  2. i've eaten at kung pao enough to know now what is flavorful and what isn't... the veggie orange chicken is amazing- and if you are a vegetarian it can make anything veggie on the menu. but a lot of dishes are dreadfully bland (healthy, however).
                    i love the sweet and sour shrimp at genghis cohen. Genghis cohen also has DUCK SAUCE!!! that is so hard to find in LA. so my vote is for GC and possibly limited dishes at KP bistro. Mandarette is okay, not fabulous.

                    1. I believe Mandarette focuses on the orange chicken region of China, that is, Americanized Chinese. It's pretty bland, but perhaps the best in the immediate area. What about Hunan Taste on San Vicente? Does anyone go there anymore?
                      Is it true that the place on Sunset and Laurel in the minimall across from the Sunset 5 is decent?
                      At work we order from Hong Kong Deli, but I wouldn't recommend it. I've also been to Wok Master on Beverly; also not good.

                      1. Very funny: "orange chicken region of China."

                        1. "I believe Mandarette focuses on the orange chicken region of China, that is, Americanized Chinese."

                          (screams heard in background)

                          1. OK, even I laughed at the Orange Chicken thing. But while there's no question it's cleaned up (I agree with the words of one Chowhound poster, re: if a Chinese doesn't have a C rating, it's not keeping it "reer"), that doesn't mean it sucks. It doesn't. Put another way, Bombay Cafe is in no way authentic Indian food, but that doesn't mean it's not delicious -- it is. And Mandarette is exactly that. It just happens to be a bit less greasy. Again, it's not what I'd call CH heaven, but I used to live in the area, and it's the only place worth it anywhere around there.

                            LS, here's the menu link: http://www.mandarettecafe.com/menu.html

                            1. There are NO GOOD CHINESE PLACES ON THE WESTSIDE. Anyone who takes you to one is not your friend. I've had to learn the hard way.

                              1. "Good" like in the SGV? No. Places you wouldn't mind going to? A couple. It depends on if you crave Americanized Chinese food. I've had a few good dishes at Mandarette (incl. spicy string beans), and it's close by, so that would be my vote. Genghis Cohen isn't even Americanized - it's sort of bizarro cuisine, like its neighbor, oki-dog.

                                If you're into authentic Chinese food, and sort of shift in your seat and take a deep, calming breath when you see the words "sweet and sour" on a menu, get used to Melrose Ave. cause you'll be driving to BBQ Unlimited #2 a lot.

                                1. I ate at the Mandarette recently for the first time in about 5 years. I was pretty pleased for non-San Gabriel Valley chow. We'd stop going because there was better elsewhere and hey really got an attitude for a bit. Service was friendly this time around. Someone above mentioned the stringbeans. I second that. I still like their scallion pancakes, as well.

                                  1. Well, Manderette's food is not bad at all, but definitely pricey for what it is. We used to order from there quite a bit at work. If you want to venture into Chinatown, then Empress Pavilion is the best (don't go on a Sunday for dim sum though, you'll wait for hours)...on the Westside, there is one place that is decent--VIP Harbor Seafood in Brentwood, on Wilshire Blvd. So, okay, it's not HONG KONG good (but what is, really?), but it's tasty, especially if you're in that part of town and craving Chinese food that's not Americanized to death.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Hamsters

                                      Have you been since VIP Harbor Seafood was sold in the past year or so? Have heard that it has dropped considerably since that sale. I have not been, so am asking for info.