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Desperately ISO SGV type Chinese dinner in Irvine

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Heading down to Irvine from SF for a grad celebration w/ some older relatives who strongly prefer SGV-type of traditional Chinese family style dinner... staying next to South Coast Plaza & don't want to drive all the way to SGV.

I've searched on this board as well as on the web in general, and I have come up with practically nothing. Am I doomed to drag them to a really westernized chinese eatery, or look for something good that does exist in the area (secondary options are authentic sushi -- no huge westernized rolls, or Korean... or any other Asian food).

Back up plan would be to head into Westminister for Vietnamese... but I think that's as far as they would be willing to travel.

Thanks all!

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  1. I think there is a Sam Woo's in Irvine. That may come close.

    Newport Seafood in Santa Ana has good crab and has good dishes with Vietnamese/Cantonese influence.

    If you are willing to drive a little further for good food, Ten-Ten in Anaheim or Artesia would be a great bet!

    1. Sam Woo has two storefronts on Culver & Irvine Center Drive shopping center. One is a quick takeout / lunch space. The other is a white tablecloth place that's more suitable for your graduation dinner.

      There's also a newish Irvine restaurant called Crystal Jade that's a Cantonese place. It's a prettier room than Sam Woo or China Garden. I've only eaten dim sum there, not dinner. Based on the dim sum, I'd say it's a pretty solid bet. In the shopping center at Shady Canyon @ the 405 fwy.

      There's also Russell's Seafood at the Irvine corner of MacArthur & Main St. (Not to be confused with the Santa Ana corner of MacArthur & Main St). It's a Teow Chew place, merely ok food, but at least not watered down & westernized. If food is the priority (as opposed to a nice looking restaurant) I'd got with this as a last choice among the four I've mentioned. If nice looking is the priority, then maybe #2 or #3.

      1. There's a Ban Mu Yuan in Irvine which has another branch in Alhambra and Beijing. This is more Northern Style food, lots of noodle dishes, but I don't know how easy it will before a large family style dinner.

        1. There are quite a few options around. Here are my favs:

          Irvine - China Garden, Sam Woo, S & W Seafood, Russell's Seafood Palace (all Cantonese style, I believe)

          Costa Mesa - Golden Dragon (Szechuan)

          Fountain Valley - Wei's, Mandarin (both Szechuan)

          2 Replies
          1. re: Wonginator

            Seafood Cove on Westminster/Newland in Westminster

            Golden Dragon Pheonix (maybe? dunno, only know the vietnamese name) located directly across from Asian Garden Mall, on Bolsa

            1. re: Wonginator

              China Garden is pretty solid and has a nice dining room however if environment isn't too important, in Westminster there are two terrific places, Seafood Cove and Seafood Paradise but if you're serious about Veitnamese I would recommend you try Brodard Chateau in Garden Grove. It's no farther than the restaurants in Westminster and actually easier to get to (22 fwy, exit Magnolia).

            2. thanks for all the suggestions! Crystal Jade looks close enough, but not much info on menu items on the web...

              we'll probably end up @ russell's or sam woo (although I've had enough of sam woo's when I was down in SoCal for school). Of course, the choice this time is not up to my tummy but rather the elders.