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Savoy (Alhambra) Review--Excellent

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I've seen Savoy mentioned various times on the blog, but I never saw an officially review of the restaurant. Since I was there last week, here goes:

Savoy is located on Valley Blvd, two blocks east of Garfield. It's a hole in the wall located in the corner and close to Phoenix Restaurant.

There were 2 of us and we ordered the following:
1) Hainan Chicken Rice (this is their signature dish and I believe it is the best Hainan chicken rice dish in all of Los Angeles, and I have been to many HK style cafes with this dish): the chicken was tender, the rice was tasty and flavorful, and their sauces accompanying the dish were excellent. No wonder almost every table had an order of this stuff.
2) Chicken Broth: this is my first time trying this, but it was excellent. The broth was very tasty without being too salty and there were bits of chicken cube at the bottom. Definitely give this a try on a cold day
3) Curry Beef Stew: it was a bit on a salty side, but the curry sauce was very tasty and good. The beef stew was cooked perfectly to tenderness, and there was a lot of beef and potatos that came with the dish. I may actually prefer Garden Cafe's curry sauce, but Savoy's is good and would be better if it was just a tad less salty.
4) Iced Coffee: good
5) Chrysantanum tea: refreshing

Other things I have tried the loved:
1) Pasta (linguine with pork tenderloin in meat sauce): this is a very yummy dish as the pasta is tasty and cooked with the sauce and the pork is extremely tender. It comes with fresh bread and a side salad with a very good dressing. The only complaint is sometimes the dish is on the watery side, but it is nonetheless very tasty.
2) Roasted Chicken Salad: the chicken is good and the dressing is excellent. Need I say more?
3) Vietnamese Spring Rolls: pretty good appetizer

Overall, this place is a good deal, with almost every dish being in the under $7 or $8 range. I'd highly recommend it for to-gos. They are really quick, and usually you will be in and out in 5 minutes if you order the Hainan Chicken and 10 minutes if you order the pasta. This is without calling in your order ahead of time. The only downside is the parking can be horrendous at times, and you may need to park on the street and hike to the restaurant.

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  1. Thanks for the review! I had heard a lot about the Hainan chicken and when I tried it was not disappointed. It is a curiously simple dish, but it can be wildly addictive. The curry fish is also a favorite there. The fish is deepfried and nicely crunchy and the curry adds the perfect flavor to it.

    1. Savoy is an awesome place. my wife and I eat there a lot. Their Filet Mignon is also very good. Don't forget to try the shrimp eggroll appetizer also!

      1. Oxtail stew is also worth trying.

        1. +1 on the Hainan Chicken and Tea! Agree with your description. I could eat that ginger sauce all day! I would put it on everything! Would drive from South OC to eat there again.

          1. Escargot's pretty good too.

            http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

            1. Oh I miss Savoy!
              I used to get the chicken with their salad and tasty dressing instead of the rice. Not too heavy.
              I have to second on all the recommendations above.

              1. I have to disagree...if u had authentic Singapore Hainanese (the origination of the dish)...Savoy is mediocre at best. The chilli sauce is a key ingredient...no one makes it right in LA.

                The best hainanese chicken rice is up north. Straits Cafe and Raffles Cafe. 6 hours drive...yicks.

                5 Replies
                1. re: dreamcast18

                  Hainan Chicken Rice is not of Singaporean origin. It is from Hainan Island off the southern coast of China. It was perhaps brought to Singapore via Chinese immigrants. Savoy is the closest to the original dish.

                  1. re: SeaCook

                    That is false. In fact, Melaka (Malacca) and Singapore are at odds with who came up with Hainanese Chicken Rice. (Both are good). Please don't sprout nonsense. The one in Savoy is not even close to those in Singapore and Melaka - junk in my opinion. As others have mentioned - the chilli sauce is KEY.

                    1. re: dreamcast18

                      Yep, the dish is so Singaporean, it doesn't even use the country of its origin in its name. /sarcasm

                      You do realize that Singaporean cuisine is an amalgamation of multiple countries of origin right? It's a lot like Peruvian in that sense.

                      1. re: dreamcast18

                        Is the National Library of Singapore spouting nonsence?

                        http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_9...

                        Thank you taiwanesesmalleats

                    2. re: dreamcast18

                      Savoy may be mediocre relative to the average chicken and rice in Singapore, but IMHO, it's the best I've tried here. What fortifies this is the number of diners at Savoy who talk with that thick Singaporean up&down Singlish accent. I know Dong Nguyen is popular, but it seems to be more so with non-Singaporeans. I've never seen any of the servers at Dong Nguyen get dressed down by Singaporeans, while at Savoy, it seems to happen on just about every visit. :)

                    3. While I love the Hainan Chicken at Savoy, I think your review doesn't stress enough the problems with the place.

                      1) The Parking is non-existent.
                      2) The wait IS long. Prepare to "hang out" for quite awhile outside of the tiny restaurant with a lot of other people. Think "line for the bathroom at a Dodger's Game." If you like to socialize with smokers, this is definitely a plus.
                      3) As alluded to before, the seating space is small. Some tables inside and outside along the side. That's it.

                      It boggles my mind really. Savoy is ALWAYS busy and packed (except for Sunday's when they are closed). I drive by it quite often and always pass right by when I see all of the people waiting. I really don't like to fight crowds for my food.

                      And there's the mind boggling part -- a lot of the people do go there for the Hainan Chicken. And that's fine. I really like it too! SO....why not open another location???? If you've got a hot item, get it to the people! Look at Noodle World/Planet. They got it right! They've expanded!!!

                      I know that Savoy used to give you a small (and delicious) salad with the Hainan chicken but have stopped including it for free. Maybe all of that business just isn't enough?

                      So, you've got Savoy, Yazmin (and their one month "closed for vacation" in August), and Dong Nguyen's (which no one ever seems to remember the name of -- I love it when it's just called "that restaurant in the Vons/168 Store Plaza at New & Valley"). That's pretty much it.

                      I know Singapore is a tiny country, but how about some love for one of it's best dishes??? :)

                      Hainan Chicken is the next Orange Chicken just waiting to happen! $$$

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: atrac

                        When I went last time, around 7.30 on a Thursday, I managed to find parking in the back of the building and there was another spot open next to me.

                        Before having that day the last time I had hainan chicken rice was 6 months ago in Singapore, and while I agree that it doesn't rise up to that level, I still think that Savoy's is the best one in LA! Not everyone can go to Singapore everytime they're craving hainan chicken rice :)

                        As for expanding, I agree, but it seems that some business owners for some reason don't really think about expanding ...

                        --burumun
                        http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com

                        1. re: atrac

                          My guess is that the owner wants to do it his way and we won't see any expansion. First of all, how many Chinese restaurants close on Sunday? Secondly, they actually contracted their business. Savoy used to be in Chinatown in the spot now occupied by CBS Seafood. The relocation to Alhambra reduced the scale of their operation.

                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            I was actually able to try Dong Nguyen's Hainan Chicken tonight. It was really good. I was able to order it with white meat and boneless (which I have previously read they didn't do).

                            I was in and out within 5 mins....no trouble parking in the big plaza lot. No lines.

                            I've found my new spot. :)

                            1. re: atrac

                              Hi atrac,

                              Where is this place you're talking about? :) Thanks!

                              1. re: exilekiss

                                Dong Nguyen Restaurant
                                1433 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801
                                Phone: (626) 300-8618

                                It is in the plaza that has a 168 Supermarket and a CVS. It is at the corner of New and Valley. If you are familiar with the area, it is the plaza that used to have Von's (still crying over that loss!!).

                                1. re: atrac

                                  Thanks atrac. I'll have to try this out the next time I'm in the area! :)

                                  1. re: exilekiss

                                    I actually like Savoy's hainan chicken the best, but I think Dong Nguyen has the best ginger dipping sauce for the chicken.

                                    Also, if you go, don't pass up a chance to try the cube steak rice ... best item on the menu IMO.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Thanks for the tip ipsedixit! :) I may end up trying both places since they're so close to each other.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        I agree with Ipse on all accounts. IMHO, Savoy's chicken rice dish is better and closer to what most would consider the real deal, but that ginger dipping sauce at Dong Nguyen goes well with their chicken dish. They are very generous in refilling as the little bowl starts to go low.