Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Apr 24, 2007 08:00 PM

Monterey Park Suggestions for Lunch

Okay, so every other day for the next two weeks I'll be driving to Monterey Park (from Highland Park) to water my Grandma's plants (she's got a freakin' botanical garden in her backyard) and pick up her mail while she's out of town. Mentally-to make this not seem like such a pain in the butt, I want to grab a little somethin' somethin' to eat for lunch. It doesn't even need to be for lunch, it could even be a little snack (like Kelly's Bakery) or fun drink to quench my thirst (like some good boba). If it's something that I can pick up around lunch time and heat up for the husband for dinner that night, even better (for example tofu from Lee's tofu).

Places I've eaten and liked around there so far:
*Lee's Tofu
*Beard Papa
*Hawaiian Island BBQ
*NBC Dim Sum
*Pepe's (LOVE LOVE LOVE the hard shell tacos)
*The Hat (but there's one of those everywhere, so that's no fun)
*Mr. Baguette
*Kelly's Bakery
*Empress Harbor
*Dim Sum Express

Places I'm curious about:
*Mexi-catessan (any Mexican place that can survive in the middle of Monterey Park for THAT long has to be pretty damn good when you have Chinese restaurants coming and going)
*Angelena's (on Main St-the soul food place)
*Dumping Master (although I think getting it to go might not do it justice)

Since I live in Highland Park anything along the way would be fair game to me.

I'll have my dog with me so it's something I need to be able to pick up and go without her dying in my car. Also, if you knew they only take cash a little head's up would be good-I'm so bad at carrying cash around.

TIA! You guys are the best!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've never been, but CH's always seem to rave about Babita in San Gabriel, not too far away from Monterey Park.

    5 Replies
    1. re: hch_nguyen

      You might want to try Tin Tin Seafood, 7621 Garvey, just over the border in Rosemead. Fantastic $4.50 lunch specials--good tasting, large portions, good selection. You can order two for lunch and a couple more to take home with you.

      1. re: Chandavkl

        OMG my mouth waters just thinking about it. I don't know the real name- I worked in MP for five years and we just called the place "House Special Shrimp" or 501. It's located at 501 Atlantic. (on the corner)

        1. re: chowesq

          Sounds like Gourmet Delight, which I think is a Shanghai influenced restaurant that has been at 501 S. Atlantic for six or seven years.. (Some of these places are a blur to me.) I do remember fish with pine nuts in some kind of wrapper at Gourmet Delight.

          1. re: Chandavkl

            AHA! It IS Gourmet Delight! Thank you!

            1. re: Chandavkl

              Yes, Gourmet Delight is one of my favorite places in the SGV. It's a no-frills, non-dim sum, never-crowded, always tons of parking, always-get-seated-right-away, simple, delicious and inexpensive little spot. Great $5 and $6 lunch specials. My favorite dish is that minced fish in lettuce leaves. Very basic, with nothing but fish, pine nuts, peppers and green onion, sauteed and served with lettuce leaves. I was told it is tilapia so I tried to recreate the dish but failed miserably. It's on Atlantic and Harding, a few blocks north of Elite.

              Elite is my other favorite spot in Monterey Park. Probably my favorite place to get dim sum.

              I'd skip Dumpling Master and Ocean Star.

              If you're willing to try a few other places that are within a five or ten minute's drive from MP, consider these places:

              Din Tai Fung on Baldwin and Duarte in Arcadia (maybe more like 15 minutes from MP): pretty much a must-try for any foodie;

              Lucious Dumpling on Las Tunas and Mission in, I think, Alhambra: the name says it all. Amazing dumpling/noodle soup combos for $6;

              Lu Din Gee in San Gabriel for Peking Duck (must order an hour in advance);

              Babita in San Gabriel for upscale, authentic Mexican food, beloved by many CHers;

              Sea Harbour in Rosemead - another favorite dim sum spot of mine; or

              Blue Harbor Seafood Restaurant on Garfield and Valley in Alhamabra for decidedly ordinary but CHEAP dim sum (any order is about $1.60 during the week) in a white linen restaurant.

      2. Dumpling Master is no good - don't waste the time, nor the calories.

        Try MACAU STREET (429 W. Garvey Ave.) for egg custards and chicken knees, and YI MEI (736 S. Atlantic Blvd) for their open-faced pork baos, which are like Chinese tortas/tacos.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          Yi Mei?! Sounds so good! I will for sure pick one up tomorrow!

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Sorry ipsedixit, I would have to disagree with you on MACAU STREET. I'm not sure about back in 2007, but I just went there 3 nights ago. This was one of the worse experiences I've had. The owner took our order and made a mistake and the waitress claimed that it was our fault. We deliberately asked the if the dish in the picture was asparagus and he reassured us twice that it was. When the order was Chinese broccoli. The portions were tiny and food was horrible. The owner also suggested a chicken soup that they were known for that was $19.99. It turned out to be pieces of chicken and pork stomach dumped into a bowl of chicken broth. Not only that, when it arrived the soup was cold and needed to be reheated with a portable stove. I would not recommend this place to anyone.

          2. There area also loads of dim sum places and Viet places in and around the area. I don't know the area that well, but perusing the boards I've come up with a list of "to-do's"

            dim sum:
            The Kitchen
            Triumphal Palace

            Banh Mi Che Cali
            Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
            Pho 79
            Golden Deli
            Saigon Flavor

            and Shao Mei for Taiwanese shaved ice desert....

            1. i have lived in MPK for some time and besides some of the best chinese food around there is also some of the best mexican food around! ie: Armondos on Garvey ave just east of garfield. also, a cool happening place for cook your own new york steak and bar is the venice room. i just spoke with this guy who says he is opening an italian food restaurant with a woodfire oven on garfield up the street on garfield called Bollini's. so i will check that out when it opens. Best pastrami "the hat"!

              1. My favorite at Mexicatessen is the beef enchilada plate. Tacos are allright here but not as good as Pepe's. Lilliana's is closeby too if you like tamales.

                2 Replies
                1. re: kure

                  i go to mexicatessen often and my favorite there is all meat red chile burritos. also their half and half (red and green chile) burritos is good too. fyi - their green chile is extremely hot!

                  1. re: rickym13

                    Thanks for the heads up on the heat level, I have a bun in the oven right now and spicy foods don't sit well with him.