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Joyful Garden- Allston, Days In

I have not heard anything about the place on these boards. I have had dinner twice and I have been impressed. Finally a nice sit down semi upscale Chinese location. They have the Linen and napkins and the food General Gau's, Crab Rangoon and Scallion Pancakes have been terrific. It's in a hotel but the place is nice. I have seen alot of Chinese , large groups which is alway's a good sign. Remember When In Rome.......CJ

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  1. Thanks for posting on this place. I've passed it dozens of times and been curious. I'm always a little wary of small hotel chain restaurants and that location has been a little cursed but I will try it based on your positive experience. Are they primarily American-Chinese or are there regional Chinese dishes on the menu? How are the prices?

    1 Reply
    1. re: gourmaniac

      It is a pretty extensive menu and the prices are in line. They also do crab and lobster dishes. Fish tanks add to the decor. The owner is not affiliated to the Hotel and also owns a place near Fenway Park[Didn't get the name though]Let us know what you think if you try it. Oh Yeah pretty good Mai Tai's as well.

    2. When in Rome... eat General Gau's?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Luther

        It's that whole Marco Polo connection.

        Thanks for the post - Anything associated with Days Inn typically scares me - although I remember having a rehearsal dinner at a Days Inn in Washington D.C. that catered to Koreans - can't quite remember if the family cooked or the hotel, but that was some darn awesome kim chi.

      2. My boss, who is from a town just outside Guilin, has recommended this restaurant to me. He thinks it's as good as anything in Chinatown without the parking aggravation. Still haven't made it over there.

        1. The name comes up on Xanga a few times... that's gotta be positive, right?

          1. This is the Days Inn on Western Ave? Do they have a full liquor license?

              1. I recently went to Joyful Garden, which is the Cantonese restaurant inside the Days Hotel in Allston, for the second time with my wife and her parents. We had a very good dinner, enough to revive this four-year old thread!

                My wife’s parents are Chinese, so we were able to order from the Chinese menu. Unfortunately, the English menu is missing some of the items listed in the Chinese menu, so I was happy to have access to an expanded offering.

                We enjoyed the following dishes:
                - Beef and cilantro soup – a traditional Cantonese soup with tender minced beef, egg drops, and a not-overwhelming amount of cilantro
                - Eggplant with basil – similar to the Yu Xiang Eggplant that I love – soft but not mushy eggplant in a flavorful sauce
                - Crispy tofu with shrimp – the tofu has a thin, crispy layer on the outside, but the actual tofu is silken on the inside with small pieces of shrimp topping the cubes of tofu
                - Pepper steak – admittedly similar to Americanized Chinese food, but the beef was tender and tasty, and not too salty or sweet
                - Water spinach (kong xin cai) – delicate greens cooked lightly with garlic
                - Tofu and fish hot pot – chunks of tofu and moist fish

                The restaurant is clean, and the service is friendly. As others have posted, the location is a bit tucked out of the way on Soldier’s Field Road, but the good thing is that there is parking.

                Joyful Garden
                1234 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA 02135

                9 Replies
                1. re: babka eater

                  I'm Asian-American and Joyful Garden has become the restaurant of choice for large family gatherings. It's comparable to places in Chinatown, but is much more convenient to get to for my relatives in the burbs. They do all the old standbys. Lobster with ginger and scallions, whole fish, whole crispy chicken with shrimp chips, deep fried tofu with shrimp, stir fried pea pod stems, etc. It is funny to go there with a dining room full of Asian families eating their multicourse banquets along with the few Caucasian parties who must be staying at the hotel eating fried rice, beef chow fun, and General Gau's chicken.

                  Joyful Garden
                  1234 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA 02135

                  1. re: Fukui San

                    Whoops I was looking at babka's description more carefully that is not the same dish as Pipa Tofu.

                    Pipa Tofu are meatball-sized soft tofu and shrimp balls, then lightly deep-fried and served with a light white wine sauce, with perhaps some broccoli on the side. Takes a bit of skill to put it together, and it's delicious.

                    1. re: Fukui San

                      i would love to know what the Asian chowhounds like here and how to order to get their best cooking. In New York, my Chinese friends would do the ordering and I know what we were eating didn't look like the food on most of the "anglo" tables. Generally, I loved the adventure though I wasn't taken by something called "fish maw soup."

                      1. re: teezeetoo

                        Bring a large group, ask to order one of the set banquet menus. This will typically be in a little booklet written entirely in Chinese. I don't read Chinese or speak much, so I couldn't read it if I tried. The menus are set menus for dinner for 6 people, or dinner for 8 people with different price levels. The more you pay, the more exotic stuff you have. You'll have to negotiate with the waiter a bit. Hopefully one will speak English well enough for you to communicate if you want to know beforehand exactly what you're getting and if you want to try and substitute. But I'd suggest you go with what's there, be brave and be willing to receive a dish or two that may be beyond your comfort zone. You will get a balanced set of offerings.

                        This is a typical banquet style menu I could recite from memory from years of weddings and family gatherings:

                        Cold platter (Beef shin, duck, jellyfish, squid, pork skin "cracklin's")
                        Soup (Seafood based)
                        Seafood in a taro "bird's nest" basket
                        Fried Shrimp with walnuts and mayo or sweet pork ribs
                        Crispy Chicken with Shrimp Chips
                        Whole steamed fish
                        Steak with Chinese Broccoli in gravy
                        Lobster with Ginger and Scallion
                        Fried Rice
                        E-Fu (soft) noodles
                        Red bean dessert soup

                        Something like that is probably available at most full service Chinese restaurants, if you're willing to ask the waiter for it and discuss it for longer than is usual.

                      2. re: Fukui San

                        Just to let you know, I'm often a member of a Caucasian party at the Joyful Garden, and I'm NOT eating fried rice, GG's chicken, etc.

                        Joyful Garden
                        1234 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA 02135

                      3. re: babka eater

                        I tried Joyful Garden a few times when it opened, in 2006 I guess! It was certainly respectable and I enjoyed my visits. The location is a bit odd, but my spider-sense went off when I passed by it. The cookery was good, glad it's still going.

                        I tried several things, but the "Crispy Tofu with Shrimp" definitely stands out. I believe it's called Pipa Tofu, and I also used to get this at the late Wisteria. Both versions were great. The salt and pepper Calamari was fine and so were the greens.

                        It's certainly a great place to bring friends who familiar with basic American-Chinese food but are willing to try a couple of new dishes. Cantonese food doesn't seem to get much respect from CH'ers these days, but I still love it.

                        Consider Joyful a "cross-over" Chinese restaurant for curious diners.

                        Joyful Garden
                        1234 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA 02135

                        1. re: tatsu

                          Are there any good vegetarian dishes that anyone can recommend?

                          1. re: tatsu

                            I agree with Fukai and tatsu above. This is a great restaurant to introduce others not-too-Americanized-Chinese food.

                            Taking a chance with the banquet menu is a great idea.

                          2. re: babka eater

                            Their Chinese language menu is online if someone wants to translate it. Practice your traditional Chinese reading and writing skills! Among other things, they have frog on that menu. Of course Lao Sichuan ("Sichuan Gourmet") now has frog on their [entirely translated] menu, and Peter says it's selling well, so this might be the breakout year for frog.



                            (the real URL as opposed to the one that directs you to a food delivery operation.)

                          3. I've gone a few times and the room is always full of Chinese/-American families. Definitely NOT the kind of restaurant I'd expect given its location.

                            1. hows the bar area/scene - any zombie-mai-tai-tiki action late night. how late is the kitchen open?