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Graduating - Recommend a Chinese Restaurant for my family?

  • d

Hi guys, my parents, grandparents and siblings are going to be in Boston for my graduation in May and wanted to get any suggestions for a nice Chinese restaurant (I'm assuming in Chinatown - but general boston area is okay) that I can take them.

Obviously, being able to make reservations would be nice, but I know a lot of Chinese places don't take reservations at all. Main criteria are good food, nice/clean atmosphere and fairly large (to accommodate around 10 ppl and hopefully avoid too long of a wait if reservations aren't taken).

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Hi

    I would highly recommend Sichuan Garden in Woburn. This restaurant is in an old colonial house (The Bradford Mansion) which dates back to the 1800's. They have a variety of functions rooms on the second floor that are perfect for your graduation party. The largrest room could easily accomodate up to 50 people but they also have two smaller rooms which would be ideal for a party of 10 or so. We had a gradustaion party for my wife there last summer and it was a big hit. WE chose the room that is decorated with Chinese style furniture, The food is excellent and if your search some of the postings for this restaurant on this board you will see that it gets high marks from most people. They do very traditional sichuan style food along with a variety of other dishes. You can easily pre-arrange a banquest menu with the manager, Michael, either in person or over the phone.

    1. In Chinatown, good dim sum options include China Pearl, Emperor's Garden, Chow Chau City, and Hei La Moon. Of excellent-to-decent Chinatown Chinese options that might be able to take a party of 10 and aren't too horribly scuzzy, Peach Farm, Grand Chow Chau, East Ocean City, New Jumbo Seafood, and New Shanghai are possibilities. If you want to go vegetarian, there's always Buddha's Delight, which is OK.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bachslunch

        As far as I know, most of the Chinatown restaurants you've cited will take reservations for a group that large; I know Peach Farm will, and help you plan a menu, to boot.

      2. If you want to go to Chinatown, I suggest either East Ocean City because it's definitely one of the nicer and cleaner restaurants in the area or Hei La Moon - just for the sheer size of its place. But if you're willing to drive, there's a chinese restaurant at the Days Hotel on Soldiers Field Road on Storrow Drive. For the life of me I can't remember the name of it but their food rivals any of the restaurants in Chinatown and it's very spacious. Definitely big and roomy enough to accomodate 10 people.

        1 Reply
        1. re: girlygirl

          Perhaps you mean Joyful Garden.

          1234 Soldiers Field Rd
          Brighton, MA 02135

        2. I am very fond of Mary Chung's in Cambridge. They do have a large table in the back that can probably accomodate 10. They will reserve it if you call ahead. The food there is excellent.

          3 Replies
          1. re: foodieB

            If you're headed to Cambridge, Changsho can also handle this size group and their food, while somewhat Americanized, is good.

            1. re: bachslunch

              I did a graduation dinner at Changsho. While it's not the most adventurous chinese I've ever had, it was a lovely dinner, the restaurant's a bit fancier than those in chinatown, it was very affordable (you can easily do less than 1 entree per person and be very happy) and the staff couldn't have been nicer. You can get a big round table with a lazy susan and share everything. We set the menu in advance. Between Harvard and Porter on the redline, they take reservations.

              1. re: edamame

                I second the changsho opinion. They really are amazingly accomidating for large parties and it's relatively quiet which is nice. Plus there is parking which is always nice since it is Cambridge. The food is consistently good as well which is a plus at any chinese restaurant outside of chinatown.

          2. Royal East (Wuyuehua) on Main St. in Cambridge may do the trick. It's a nice room, fairly elegant, and I hear they take care of banquet-type parties very well.

            1. Golden Temple in Brookline is delicious but make a reservation

              2 Replies
              1. re: LexB9881

                i respectfully disagree with golden temple. it's wayyyyy over-priced and americanized. what do you like about it? sezchuan garden in brookline is way better imho.

                1. re: LexB9881

                  you also may need to take out another student loan

                2. When I graduated from Tufts in 2004, I had a graduation dinner at Taiwan Cafe. They accept reservations for large parties (I made the reservation in person the week before, then called to confirm the day before). I planned out the menu beforehand, but everything we had was on the normal menu so nothing had to be made in advance (although there are other options that do have to be made in advance, depending on what you want.) So when we got there, all I had to do was hand the manager the list of all the things we wanted, and we had a great meal. I googled and found the link to my post from 2004:


                  You could probably do something similar to this at any Chinese restaurant in Boston.

                  Dave MP

                  1. Scratch a chowhound bulletin board and as likely as not, you'll find a hundred different recommendations for Chinese restaurants.

                    To help narrow things down, can you tell us something about you and your family? Are you Chinese expats jonesing for Kunming-style cross-the-bridge noodles? Are you adventuresome Peace Corps types who spent a year in a remote village in Sichuan Province and are dying to get that real-deal ma-la? Is your family composed of adventuresome hounders who would eat anything with four legs except the table (though the table could be considered if it was properly seasoned)?

                    So, some knowledge about your background, what you're hoping for out of the restaurant, and where in Boston you're looking would help to narrow things down. If you want real-deal Chinese, I would avoid Mary Chung's and Changsho like fluorescent red sweet-and-sour plague. If you are likely to be scared of Chinese-only menus and weird wriggly things that the waiters can't translate, some of the seafood special places in Chinatown might be avoided. And so on.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: Dr.Jimbob

                      Respectfully disagree on the Mary Chung diss. The food there is great, especially the suan la show chow (sp?) and the scallion pie.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        Respectfully stick by my guns. Mary Chung is OK if Americanized Sichuan food is what you're looking for. It is definitely not a place to go for an authentic bite of Chengdu -- while it may have blazed a trail, many places much closer to the real deal have opened in its wake (at least one or two of which can do a passable scallion pancake).

                        1. re: Dr.Jimbob

                          Let's agree to disagree. I know there are better places for Sichuan food, but what Mary Chung does well, they do very well.

                          To the OP's question, if it was me I'd take Dave MP's advice and do a dinner at Taiwan Cafe OR go to Peach Farm.

                          1. re: yumyum

                            I also agree that Peach Farm would be a good choice, especially if the OP's family likes seafood.

                            Dave MP

                      2. re: Dr.Jimbob

                        Dr Jimbob, is there a Yunnan restaurant in town that you are referring to?

                        1. re: limster

                          Sadly no. I'm actually channeling a thread from the Manhattan chowhound board (we were in New York recently; more on this in a post to come this weekend). They apparently just opened up one or two decent Yunnan places, and another friend of mine told me about a Yunnan place in Chicago. I have yet to see such a place in Boston.

                          Getting out of grumpy-old-man mode, the basic point for the original poster is that whether or not the people in the crowd are familiar and comfortable with authentic Chinese style Chinese food, as opposed to Americanized Chinese food, is very important to making the right recommendation. Whether or not they can read Chinese and speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Toisanese, Taiwanese or whatever is also useful in formulating more specific recommendations.

                          1. re: Dr.Jimbob

                            how about a concrete recommendation? it's easy to throw stones at other people's recommendations. what is your recommendation for authentic Chinese food? how about if the OP can or cannot "read Chinese and speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Toisanese, Taiwanese or whatever"?

                            1. re: barleywino

                              I think Dr. J's question is reasonable and it would be helpful to hear from the OP. d2le, you out there?

                              1. re: barleywino

                                I don't think I've been making a secret of the places I prefer. There are a batch of decent places, if you know your way around a Chinese language menu. For northern style cookery, there's Qingdao Garden in North Cambridge (others adore Wang's in Somerville, I had a sufficiently subpar experience the one time I went that I haven't taken the trouble to give them a second chance). For Sichuanese cooking, Sichuan Garden in its various locations is my reigning champion, with second places going to Szechwan Bay, Anise/Chilli Garden and Zoe's (in that order). For Shanghai cooking, I like Wing's Kitchen (but there will be more about this after a planned dinner there this coming Friday) and Shanghai Gate in Allston and was spectacularly underwhelmed by C.K. Sau's new place in Wellesley (was underwhelmed by New Shanghai back when C.K. Sau was there also).

                                Cantonese cookery is something I'm a little more out of touch on -- it has been the default value in the U.S. for so long that the availability of alternative Chinese regional cuisines has induced me to spend more time at those other restaurants and avoiding Cantonese places. East Ocean City used to be my sentimental favorite place for years, but the last few visits have been increasingly disappointing. Their hours aren't nearly as wonderful as they used to be, the prices have been rising and IMO, the food isn't as good as it was. Peach Farm and Hei La Moon are two of the places touted on this group; I haven't made it out there yet.

                                For dim sum, I like Imperial Garden on Washington Street. Hei La Moon is currently the most popular place here, I personally found the lines encouraging but frustrating and that Imperial Garden isn't so much worse (if it's indeed worse at all). Would go however to either of those places ahead of Dynasty Seafood, Chao Chow City or China Pearl, none of which struck me as having the depth of flavor or freshness of HLM or Imperial Garden.

                                Taiwanese cookery is something I don't know much about, even though I'm half Taiwanese (some day I have to drag my father up from NY to teach me, I guess). Taiwanese expat friends have not been enthusiastic about any of the Taiwanese places in the Boston area. Me, I did like Taiwan Cafe in Chinatown as being a place where pretty much everything on the menu is not conventional Chinese-American fare, but nothing is too bizarre or out of the way, and everything I've tried there has been very good. I have seen descriptions of good Taiwanese cookery at MuLan in Kendall Square and Shangri-La in Belmont.

                                Further out of town, I've heard tell about some really good eats at Fuloon in Malden, have yet to investigate myself but I will. Beijing Star in Waltham has some pleasant surprises, decent Peking ravioli and some good northern variety.

                                If you're looking for ants climbing a tree, crab meat soup dumplings, Shanghai braised eels, hot-and-numbing chicken, boiled beef, or other stuff along those lines, various places listed above will be of use. If reservations, easy parking, large groups and pristine bathrooms are crucial, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

                                1. re: Dr.Jimbob

                                  The Taiwanese brunch at Shangri-La is great. You should definitely give it a try!

                                  Dave MP

                        2. Hi,
                          I highly recommend Anise at One Kendall Square, in cambridge. They have plenty of seating and will reserve a table for 10 or more people. They offer authentic Schezuane cuisine, friendly prompt sevice, decent prices, and a great drink list.