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what SGV restaurant should i take my friends to?

i'm going to make my friends make the trek out to SGV (from west LA) in order to introduce them to real chinese food. most of them are from out of state and think panda express is the real deal.

since it will be about 6 of us, i'd like for people to sample a wide variety of dishes. we're all grad students so something <$15 would be ideal. nothing too crazy yet nothing too predictable (no dim sum, no din tai fung, no hot pot).

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  1. New Capital for Cantonese seafood. I just posted about them. They are having a seafood special ($3.99 a pound for king crab, 1 cent a pound for live shrimp, and 1 cent a pound for live dungeoness crab). They will be at the old Sam Woo location on Del Mar Ave and Valley Blvd. starting April 20th.

    Green Village or Mei Long Village for Mandarin/Northern cuisine

    Empress Harbour off of Atlantic Blvd./Garvey has dinner specials that comes with soup, where you order a few dishes. You better know how to read Chinese to get to that menu, but you could make it out of there for around $15 per person if you stick with the family dinner special.

    1. If they think Panda Express is the real deal...take them to Panda Inn (Pasadena)...the mother of Panda Express. It's not as bad as it sounds.


      1. i'd introduce them to dim sum.

        empress harbor, full house (arcadia), 888, etc.

        2 Replies
        1. re: wilafur

          Mei Long Village is a good suggestion. Green Village is good but a little more expensive than some places. We had a very good dinner at Macau Street with 11 people that came out to about $15 per person.

          1. re: Chowpatty

            I agree with Mei Long, here's our post regarding our recent chowhound dinner. They aren't stingy ingredients, nice clean flavors and yet are very approachable and friendly. And they have BEER!! :D


            It's one of my go to places... and yes, you WILL come out of there at ~$15pp!


        2. I would suggest Ocean Star for seafood dinner. I have always liked their dim sum and went recently for dinner and it was great. Fantastic walnut shrimp, fresh crab with ginger, and green beans with XO sauce

          1 Reply
          1. re: Ernie

            I'm not sure you can make it out of Ocean Star for under $15 a person if you order seafood of any kind.

          2. Try Seafood Village in Temple City.

            Lots of seafood choices, as well as your run of chicken, beef, pork items. Plus, the huge pictures lining the walls are a great guide to ordering.

            Menu is simple and easily decipherable, and yet the food is excellent.

            Items to consider:
            House special crab
            House special fish stew
            Three spice chicken
            Mongolian Beef

            1 Reply
            1. re: ipsedixit

              haha beat me to it. i second Seafood Village either in Temple City or Monterey Park. I prefer the Monterey Park location.

            2. If you change your mind about dim sum then I would suggest Full House in Arcadia as well. An affordable non dim sum Chinese place is Nice Time Deli (also in Arcadia in the plaza across the street from where Din Tai Fung is). I go to the one in Irvine when I can because is pretty cheap and good-but I like the Arcadia location better. Chang's Garden is pretty yummy too and they have lunch specials! :)

              1. I'd recommend Empress Harbor in Monterey Park or Seafood Village in Temple City/Monterey Park for dinner.

                Empress Harbor has good food, but it may be a challenge to figure out what to order if you don't read Chinese. Their English menu is decent, but they have numerous specials written in Chinese. I'd recommend a family dinner--generally well-balanced dish selections.

                Seafood Village can get very crowded. In Temple City, you need to go to the back of the restaurant (i.e. away from Las Tunas Dr.) in order to get a number. Their menu is decently translated, and they have a lot of pictures if you don't read Chinese. In Monterey Park, you may need to wait in the dingy parking lot. The Temple City one has a little larger waiting area.

                If it's crowded, Seafood Village can get very loud. It may be difficult to hold a conversation without yelling or at least talking rather loudly. In this case, Empress Harbor would be a better bet.

                Here are a collection of my personal reviews that may be of interest to you: