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Best Chinese outside of Chinatown?

Trying to find a good place to go without trekking to Chinatown. Anything noteworthy in Back Bay (I know - nothing), South End or Cambridge? Thanks as always...

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  1. Some from experience, some from lurking:
    Sechuan- Sechuan Garden-Brookline or Woburn
    Sechuan Gourmet- Framingham and Billerica (my fave)
    Chili Garden - Medford
    Fuloon- Malden

    Mixed, with "americanized" versions as well, reportedly good ones: Mary Chung, Central Sq

    Mixed good Cantonese (I think)- Qingdao Garden Cambridge

    Shanhaiese( I think)- Shangri la Belmont
    I think there's another one over near Harvard Stadium that's gotten good comments.

    I'm sure you'll have a lot of other responses filling this in.

    1. Nothing in either Back Bay or South End that I can think of. Allston has Shanghai Gate and the Waterfront area has Eastern Pier II, but that's about it for Boston spots outside of Chinatown as far as I can remember.

      Cambridge has four respectable or better spots: Qingdao Garden, Mary Chung, Mulan, and Changsho. It also has some awful places. Shangri La in Belmont is close to the Cambridge border and is very good. Some folks speak well of Zoe's in Somerville, but I didn't care for it much.

      Sichuan Garden in Brookline Village has fans, though my experience was not the best there. Haven't been to Sichaun Gourmet in Framingham, but many on this board seem to like it. China Sky in Wellesley, Lotus Blossom in Sudbury, and Quan's Kitchen in North Attleboro are varying degrees of respectable, better than the usual suburban Chinese dreck epitomized by Kowloon in Saugus or Yangtze River in Lexington.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bachslunch

        Although Yangtze does do a better than usual suburban dim sum. They actually roll the carts and have a fairly decent selection.

        for "american" chinese, there's also a second China Sky in Winchester, and some like the Great Wall in Bedford.

      2. Maybe not "authentic" but Bernards in the Chestnut Hill MAll has delicious, very fresh chinese food. They often have specials like clams with black bean sauce, salt and pepper fried soft shell crab etc. Nice veggies. They will make you anything you want.

        1 Reply
        1. Sichuan Garden, Sichuan Gourmet, Fuloon, Qingdao Garden, Wang's, Shangri-La.

          1. Sichuanese: Sichuan Garden; FuLoon (latter is actually astonishingly versatile); either one in a heartbeat over Sichuan Gourmet, Anise, Chilli Garden or Zoe's, though any of these would be preferable to most Mandarin-Hunan-Sichuan (i.e Chinese-American) places.

            Northern Chinese: Qingdao Garden in North Cambridge; Beijing Star in Waltham.

            Taiwanese: MuLan in East Cambridge; Shangri La in Belmont

            Shanghainese: Shanghai Gate in Allston

            These are all places to track down real deal Chinese stuff. I wouldn't put Changsho in that class.

            1. Another enthusiastic vote for Qingdao, and I echo the positive rec's for Shangri La, Zoe's, and Mary Chung.

              1. Good suburban dim-sum at China Pearl in Woburn on weekends, related to the Chinatown China Pearl. Leaves the Yangtse in the dust, where it belongs.

                1. Some of my favourites:

                  Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham for Sichuan
                  Fuloon in Malden for Shandong with some Sichuan dishes
                  Shanghai Gate in Allston for Shanghainese
                  Qingdao and Wang's in Cambridge and Somerville respectively for homey Shandong cooking
                  Mulan in Kendall Sq. for Taiwanese
                  Shangri-La in Belmont for Taiwanese (and a sampling of Chinese cuisines)

                  How's May's Cafe in Allston these days?

                  1. Chau Chow City on Morrisey Boulevard in Dorchester is great, and has tons of parking -- easier than its sister place in Chinatown, and only 10 minutes from the South End. Seafood is their specialty, but they make great veggies and all sorts of other things, too.

                    1. Green Tea in Newton does a nice Dim sum and has excellent food.
                      Sichuan Garden, Sichuan Gourmet, Fuloon
                      China Pearl in Woburn does a decent dimsum that is almost as good as their boston location ( a bit less variety)
                      Uncle Cheungs in Framingham does a very good northern chinese dim sum. Very unique.

                      1. new trend eatery and victoria's are pretty good for food outside of chinatown.

                        Victoria Seafood Restaurant
                        1029 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                        New Trend Eatery
                        103 Brighton Ave, Allston, MA 02134

                        21 Replies
                        1. re: oneeyejack

                          Admittedly I've only been to New Trend once, but our meal there was quite poor. It's too bad, because we looked forward for months to having good Cantonese food in our own neighborhood, but were deeply disappointed.

                          And I've never had a good meal at Victoria, plus the atmosphere there is oddly un-welcoming.

                          1. re: Allstonian

                            On the other hand, let us add to the chorus of raves for Shanghai Gate: probably the best non-Chinatown Chinese restaurant I've been to in the city. Also, the new incarnation of Wisteria in the Super 88 food court at Packard's Corner in Allston is equal to the original (now gone) Newbury Street location.

                            1. re: Allstonian

                              i go to victoria's on a weekly basis and i've never had a bad meal. what are you ordering there that makes it poor?? their selection of rice plates is nice and cheap.

                              again i ask you, what did you order at new trend? i've been there several times and never had any problems at all.

                              1. re: oneeyejack

                                Here's my comments from our one dinner at New Trend:

                                "Most recent was an oddly underwhelming dinner at New Trend last week - AWFUL salt & pepper squid which we sent back in exchange for a much better executed but underseasoned dish of plain stir-fried squid; Chinese broccoli with garlic, which was tasty but absolutely enormous stems of broccoli that were pretty much impossible to eat without mishap; and "crispy tofu" (again, in a notably underseasoned sauce) which turned out to be stuffed with shrimp. (I'd feared it might be from previous experiences with similarly-named dishes elsewhere, but the waitress didn't have enough English to discuss the problem in depth - unfortunately, BFP is allergic to shrimp alone among shellfish, but he was quite disappointed.)"

                                As for Victoria, I honestly don't remember exactly what I've had there because even my most recent visit was easily two years ago. Since I've had such poor experiences there, I haven't been very many times. I've tried some rice plates and other lunch combos; I've had one of the vaunted lobster specials and some other dinner dishes such as stir-fried greens; none of it has been any better than just okay, and the less-than-friendly service has taken away what little savor might have been found in the food. If all I want is a cheap rice plate I'm much more likely to cross Comm. Ave. and go to Quan's Kitchen, or, nowadays, go to Kantin at the Super 88. Just as cheap and way way tastier.

                                1. re: Allstonian

                                  "If all I want is a cheap rice plate I'm much more likely to cross Comm. Ave. and go to Quan's Kitchen, or, nowadays, go to Kantin at the Super 88. Just as cheap and way way tastier."

                                  Quan's Kitchen on Comm. Ave?

                                  Pretty much anything would be "way way tastier."

                                  1. re: KWagle

                                    This post got my antennae up, as I have a requirement to eat here (don't ask why).

                                    It: a) looks very unpromising from the outside, like the kind of joint that caters to the worst culinary instincts of drunken college students, and b) advertises on the Phantom Gourmet, also rarely a sign of quality in my book.

                                    Is this more than a bad-eggrolls-and-magenta-spareribs kind of joint? What's the best way to avoid having a nightmare suburban American Chinese kind of experience here?

                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                      Sadly, I'm afraid it's time to issue a Downhill Alert for Quan's. It's your basic neighborhood hole in the wall, but it used to be a really very good neighborhood hole in the wall with several genuinely great comfort-food dishes, like the two sides yellow with char siu and a personal favorite of mine, beef with bean curd on egg fried rice. They also used to have a scallion pancake every bit the equal of any in town. But within the last couple of years, it's changed owners and chefs, and it's just not as good as it used to be. It's not terrible, but it's nothing particularly good anymore.

                                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                        Yeah it changed owners but not cooks = they kept everything the same.
                                        I know because I chatted with the new guys, they actually felt in love with the food there & when the previous owner wanted to retire, they bought it. Just a bit nicer decor in the exterior & interior. Food is the same = great eats.

                                        1. re: lulu7

                                          Any turnip cake on the menu? In the old days, there was a turnip cake cooked in egg...Mmmmm

                                          1. re: lulu7

                                            Then why hasn't the old guy been in the kitchen for years?

                                        2. re: MC Slim JB

                                          I think the Quan's Kitchen on Comm Ave. in Boston may be different from the one that advertises on the Phantom Gourmet. The latter has locations in South Attleboro, Mansfield, and Weymouth, and their website doesn't mention a Boston location. I've been to the South Attleboro one and thought it was good, certainly better than the Kowloon-style suburban places or Chinatown in Brockton -- they offer a standard and more "authentic" Chinese menu as well as sushi and other Japanese options. It reminded me a little of China Sky in Wellesley, though not quite as expensive. I doubt that it's worth a special trip from Boston, but it didn't strike me as a bad spot, either.

                                          1. re: bachslunch

                                            Yes, Quan's Kitchen on Comm Ave and the suburban places of the same name are totally unconnected: I think the story is that they're different branches of the same family or something. But no, they're not the same place at all, and this is not the Quan's Kitchen that advertises on PG. I don't think this place advertises at all beyond occasional menu drops.

                                            1. re: bachslunch

                                              I've been to both locations, the one on Comm Ave & the one in Attleboro....they are unrelated....

                                            2. re: MC Slim JB

                                              The best way to avoid a nightmare suburban American Chinese kind of experience here (or even worse, a nightmare urban American Chinese carryout kind of experience) is to avoid eating at Quan's Kitchen, or anyplace like it.

                                              1. re: KWagle

                                                Thanks for dredging up a years-old thread to alert us of this. However, in its defense, years ago, Quan's Kitchen was actually pretty good for what it was. But it changed owners, lost its good chef, and is utterly useless now. However, given the influx of genuinely great Chinese restaurants in the neighborhood now, no one bemoans its passing.

                                      2. re: Allstonian

                                        I find the Victoria to be absolutely filthy. Dirty dishes and cleaning supplies lying about, walls with dried food all over them. Carpets in horrendous condition. After a twin lobster dinner there a year or so ago, I was so appalled at the condition of the place I vowed not to return....no matter how cheap the lobster is!

                                        1. re: Allstonian

                                          Have you tried Joyful Garden (in Days Hotel) @ 1234 Soldier's Field Road? Was just referred to it...not bad.

                                          I agree, Victoria had roaches running around when we went over the holidays...bummer.

                                          1. re: pacman

                                            pacman: do tell! MrLit and I have wondered after Joyful Garden for some time, hearing vague whisperings about it's wonderfulness, and noticing that it is ALWAYS full of Asian people (I wouldn't venture to say they're necessarily Chinese, since we're always driving by the place at 35 mph). "It's in such a wierd location, surely there must be something worthwhile," we thought.

                                            So... spill the beans. What did you like?

                                            1. re: litchick

                                              Sorry, I can't reply with any specific recommendations, but the (mainland) Chinese at my company use Joyful Garden often for group lunches. According to them, it is well-prepared Cantonese, nothing earth-shattering. And unlike Victoria, which they have also used for group outings, it's clean and provides a nice atmosphere.

                                              1. re: digga

                                                That's what I'd say, too. Good, solid Cantonese/Hong Kong style food. Maybe not the best in Boston, but probably better food of that style than anything you'll get between there and Chinatown. Even better, the parking is free, and the restaurant is clean and relatively spacious.

                                                Steamed whole fish with ginger and scallion is good, as are the other Cantonese seafood standards.

                                                The management previously operated the former Hong Kong Cafe in the now-defunct HoJo's Kenmore (taken over by BU as a dorm), and later the Hong Kong Cafe in the HoJo's Fenway (still there, under different management - a dreary space).

                                            2. re: pacman

                                              Yeah, just go across the street to Quan's or go to Joyful Garden - great Chinese food

                                        2. CK Shanghai in Wellesley Hills is really good. Get the crisy scallops or the General Gau's Shrimp.

                                          1. I've liked Joyful Garden the couple times I've been there. Quite decent Cantonese food, and the majority of diners is Chinese.

                                            Joyful Garden
                                            1234 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA 02135

                                            1. what about uncle cheung's in framingham? haven't been yet but read good things about it

                                              1. Based on my 1 trip, I'd suggest Myers & Chang in the South End. The food was great; maybe not authentically Chinatown..a little pricier; but no carfare to outside the regions that you mention.

                                                1. Reading one the the other threads reminded me of Little Q in Quincy -- awesome hotpot.

                                                  1. I had been looking forward to trying Myers & Chang when the opportunity to have lunch on a Monday presented itself. I arrived early at 11:35am to find I was alone as a diner - not to worry, I was certainly welcomed! The lunch menu is compact and easy to parse - I tried the hot&sour soup, the Dan-Dan noodles, and the mushroom omelette with stir-fried bok choy on rice. The food was impeccably fresh and hot, served without fanfare, to my simple delight! The omelette was the clear winner, perfectly cooked and fresh with fungus, a filling plate, and the one relative value for my meal - all good! Dinner seems like a next take, although I hear the lines are substantial.

                                                    Mary Chungs has had many fine offerings for years now that eclipsed many other places handily. Her dumpling dipping sauce is worth a trip alone - I tell her to stop fooling around with cooking a full menu and concentrate on bottling and promoting the sauce - it is one of the great culinary wonders of the local restaurant scene!

                                                    Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham has the top spot out there right now, no question. They try hard and cook real solid food.

                                                    Whoever says Uncle Cheungs needs their glasses adjusted, er, their taste buds, perhaps... the real topper here is when one night after complaining for one time too many about the quality of the food or the relative portion size, the management insisted we not come back - this said to a family group of two adults and two relatively quiet tween age kids. Imagine, our money is no longer green there!

                                                    The new Red Pepper deserves a full vetting out, I just don't know what to make about their untimely food delivery issues. Been twice, liked the food.

                                                    Frankly, I stay out of Chinatown mostly, nowadays, and I grew up eating there, as I lived in the Back Bay for 18 years. There is a good place now in Ashland, the Fusion Cuisine restaurant on Rt 126 by the Framingham town line. Owned by the people who bring Swatow to the cafeteria upstairs on Beach street. Sushi and Chinese with a sports bar too! Credible dining with better quality fats.

                                                    18 Replies
                                                    1. re: G Fresh

                                                      I only recommended uncle cheungs for their sunday dim sum. It is very unique and good. I dont recommend them otherwise. Worth going for the radish pastries alone

                                                      1. re: hargau

                                                        My taste buds are just fine, thanks. I think their regional specialties are great, altho too many diners seemed to be eating AmericanStyle Chinese. Still, to each his own.I LOVE going there, and am working my way thru all the spicey fish specials. Ifind the staff tobe really helpful in getting the most out of their menu,eventho Idon't speak Mandarin or Cantonese.

                                                        1. re: galleygirl

                                                          I agree that the woman who i think is the owner has been very helpful in selecting dishes and telling us what items were that we saw going to other tables etc. I think the purple menu that i posted is very good.

                                                          1. re: galleygirl

                                                            I vaguely remember folks describing Uncle Cheung's as Shanghainese on this board. Shanghainese cuisine tends to be non-spicy and if they do specialize in Shanghainese, I'd recommend looking into the fish with wine lees if they serve that.

                                                          2. re: hargau

                                                            how are the shanghainese dishes? pork shank sounded really good

                                                            1. re: galangatron

                                                              TC had the pork shank the first timewe went, thanks to Sheila's post. He went wild...

                                                          3. re: G Fresh

                                                            Here is the sunday menu they have. I have found it very good. The regular menu is junk

                                                            I now see that the size limitation here makes it too small to read. You can read it on my blog, link in my profile

                                                            1. re: hargau

                                                              is dim sum available all day saturday and sunday or only early sunday? i'm confused because the dim sum is on the same menu with the shanghainese dishes which are available all day

                                                              1. re: galangatron

                                                                11:30 to 2:30 sat/sun acording to the menu

                                                                1. re: hargau

                                                                  any of the dim sum items (radish pastry/xlb) appear on shanghainese menu too?

                                                            2. re: wittlejosh

                                                              I shop every Sunday early afternoon in Woburn, right next to China Pearl, and wondered what the traffic tie-ups were all about! Whatever is on their Dim Sum, must be amazing! Now I understand. :)

                                                              I like the food at the Great Wall in Bedford, it's always fresh. Even their buffet is kept up!

                                                              1. re: mcel215

                                                                to each their own, i have always found the great wall awful, americanized glop. Used to work down the street. Never liked the place. Its like mall food court chinese with a nicer atmosphere.

                                                                If in that area, try the sunday night buffet at Bamboo in Bedford. Also americanized but top notch quality and freshness with sushi, lobster, and other high end ingredients.

                                                                1. re: hargau

                                                                  I have been to Great Wall in Bedford a couple of times for their lunch buffet. The first time everything was hot and fresh and very good. The second time the food didn't taste as good as the first visit. Most of the items on the buffet were cold. How is the food at Bamboo in Bedford? I checked out their website and it stated that they have a lunch and dinner buffet. Do you know what the prices are for the buffet? Is the food at Bamboo better than Great Wall? Thanks for any information.

                                                                  1. re: buffet king

                                                                    The food is light years better at bamboo then great wall. The lunch buffet is smaller then the dinner buffet without all the seafood, etc.. I forget the prices. The dinner one in Sunday is the only one i usually go to. I love the ginger/scallion lobster and they also have a spicy fried shrimp dish which i really like. I eat mostly those 2 dishes! I do eat small amounts of everything else though but its hard for me to resist all you can eat g/s lobster! Depending on the night and crowd you often have to wait for the lobster to come out as it goes fast and sometimes i have seen people filling plates sky high of just that for the entire table :( I think the dinner one is around $20?

                                                                    1. re: hargau

                                                                      Where is Bamboo in Bedford. Yahoo/google searching has come up empty for me.


                                                                      1. re: bigboy

                                                                        Bamboo is on Rt 62 between Rt 3 and the Msx Turnpike, in a low brick building, the other end of which is Melting Pot. It's just west of the light at the diagonal street that goes past Sun Microsystems. It may actually be Burlington. I'm not sure.

                                                                      2. re: hargau

                                                                        Hargau are you certain they still have the ginger lobster on Sundays? I have been a couple of times (Bedford) and the most recent time about 4 months ago didn't have the lobster (and it wasn't just people scarfing it down). Sushi on the Sunday buffet is also more pleasing on the eye than its interesting. I definately prefer China Pearl when I get to choose. (Bamboo in Bedford or Westford is pretty good for business meals, though, where you need some safety built in for other eaters.)

                                                                        1. re: hargau

                                                                          I went to Bamboo in Bedford MA. for their lunch buffet. I have to honestly say that the food was fantastic. The food at Bamboo was much better than Mandarin Reading in my opinion. Everything was hot, fresh and they have plenty of items to choose from. Bamboo was packed and I couldn't find a parking spot. I went to the Burlington Mall which is down the street from Bamboo to past the time. When I returned around 1pm I found a parking spot. I still had to wait for a table but it was well worth the wait. I will definately return for their lunch buffet. I also want to try their Sunday night dinner buffet. Thanks for recommending Bamboo.

                                                                2. Mandarin in Reading also has sunday lobster buffet for 16.00 i think. Lunch is good at 10 bucks also. small selection of sushi. mostly americanized chinese.

                                                                  as for fuloon, can't get into it. tried dim sum buffet and regular menu. quite gross if you ask me. however we didn't get any szechuan dishes which is their speciality.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: cdoobiest

                                                                    The madarin in reading is the same as bamboo, same owners.

                                                                    At Fuloon i have only eaten the szechuan dishes. Mostly from the "picture" menu they have. All excellent.

                                                                    1. re: hargau

                                                                      Is Bamboo as good as Mandarin?

                                                                      1. re: bear

                                                                        I have not been to Mandarin but they are the same owners, same menu, same buffet.. as far as i know. http://www.bamboogourmet.com/Bamboo_l...

                                                                        1. re: hargau

                                                                          I've been to Mandarin a few times because it is a convenient place to meet a friend who lives north of the Boston area.

                                                                          I'm not wild about their dumplings. Too doughy for my taste. I can't really speak to the authenticity, since I'm not particularly educated, but I have really enjoyed the texture of their chicken dishes, at least the couple of times I've ordered one of their spicy specials. It's just velvety and tender. I've also enjoyed the Beijing duck and the Yuen-Yang Spicy Beef on Green Beans. Good flavor and texture in beef and sauce, and the beans were crunchy and yummy.

                                                                    2. re: cdoobiest

                                                                      Avoid the dim sum buffet. Regular menu items (especially featured items) that I have had are excellent. The menu is extensive though.

                                                                      1. re: cdoobiest

                                                                        I'm a huge fan of Fuloon's regular menu, but I wasn't that blown away by their dim sum offerings, so please don't let that be a deterrent from checking them out again.

                                                                      2. This is an awesome list. Thanks so much everyone. Can't wait to start trying...

                                                                        1. THE BEST CHINESE FOOD OUTSIDE BOSTON IS DEFINATELY THE GOLDEN TEMPLE IN BROOKLINE--WASHINGTON SQUARE BEACON ST.


                                                                          FRANKIE IMBERGAMO

                                                                          15 Replies
                                                                          1. re: frankie Imbergamo

                                                                            TO EACH THEIR OWN! NOT A FAN. WHY THE CAPITAL LETTERS?

                                                                            1. re: hargau

                                                                              HOW ABOUT THOSE GOLDEN TEMPLE RIBS FOR ONLY $20! OVERALL DECENT, FRESH AMERICANIZED CHINESE BUT VASTLY OVERPRICED!

                                                                            2. re: ScubaSteve

                                                                              what about billy tses in revere???? yummmmmmmmmmy!

                                                                              1. re: Diski

                                                                                Ditto the Billy Tse's recommendation. OOPS... forgot to use caps. ; )

                                                                              2. re: frankie Imbergamo

                                                                                I ATE THERE WHEN I WAS TOO YOUNG TO KNOW BETTER. PERSONALLY, I AM CURIOUS ABOUT THE ADJECTIVE "5-STAR" . ARE WE TALKING TRIPLE-A RATINGS OR WHAT?


                                                                                1. re: frankie Imbergamo

                                                                                  What do you recommend at the GT? Any faves?

                                                                                  BTW, in your profile I saw the title of your book was written in ALL CAPS. Is the book written in all caps as well?
                                                                                  That would really be something.

                                                                                  1. re: joestrummer

                                                                                    i recommend the Ribs, Crab Ragoon, chicken fingers, Egg rolls as appetizers.

                                                                                    The Lobster chinese style, The beef with Asparagus--and also the Lettuce wraps!!

                                                                                    check it out you will love it!! The Golden Temple is the best!!

                                                                                    Frankie Imbergamo

                                                                                  2. re: frankie Imbergamo

                                                                                    I wandered into Golden Temple one afternoon when I was in the neighborhood and starving for some chicken wings. When the waiter saw me, he did a double take and asked if I was chinese. I said yes, and then he asked me, in chinese, what I was doing here (clearly suggesting that there were better places to get authentic chinese food). I replied in chinese that I was just here for the wings, which seemed to satisfy him, lol.

                                                                                    1. re: jodydavis

                                                                                      That is the most awesome anecdote about Golden Temple (a place whose food and prices I've been slagging for years) I've ever heard.

                                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                        and when was the last time you ate there? i get the feeling that you've written off "americanized" chinese as a matter of principle. i recently had excellent beef and udon noodles here and a grand, definitely "americanized" shanghai chicken along with really firstrate linden tea. just let me know when you actually eat something at golden temple in the last year and i'll pay more attention to your opinion of the place.

                                                                                        1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                          I have nothing against American Chinese restaurants on principle. I often eat their food and enjoy it, especially when I'm in the suburbs and have few other options. You'll be able to read me saying nice things about one in an upcoming issue of Boston Magazine.

                                                                                          It's true I haven't been to Golden Temple in some years, so perhaps I shouldn't continue to disrespect it. But I'd be very surprised to learn that it has changed much since my last visit -- maybe someone who's been going consistently for years can tell me otherwise, that it has vastly improved?

                                                                                          I still remember it as having merely passable upscale-suburban American Chinese at very high prices, the kind of place where you can spend $30 on a steak stir-fry. It certainly is a very fancy-looking place as Chinese restaurants go, some might say even nightclub-y. (That's not often a good sign for the food, in my experience.)

                                                                                          I've heard from several local Hounds that the bartending is excellent, and they're not talking about tiki drinks, which surprised me a little.

                                                                                          Feel free to defend it as something else. I'm always willing to be convinced that places have changed for the better, even ones that have been doing essentially the same thing for 20+ years.

                                                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                            it has improved quite a bit though it is high priced and the upscale decor is hilariously tacky. the bar is first-rate, one of the best in the boston area. the tea menu is first-rate. the quality of the ingredients are first-rate (clams, shrimp, organic meats). it is still "american chinese" but you really should come and at least make a "present-day" evaluation. i don't know you but i'm guessing you respect the work of making good food too much to keep riding a restaurant on an out-dated opinion. I don't mean to be holier than thou on this, because I recently put down Abe and Louie's and i haven't been there in at least two years but I guess i don't expect any "formula" restaurant to suddenly change its spots. Golden Temple has changed its menu radically and i don't class it in the "formula" category. At a minimum, its too eccentric to be part of any "group" concept!

                                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                              Although now that you mention it, did they say how it is for tiki drinks? Because I'm always up for drinking something out of a ceramic coconut.

                                                                                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                Latest on Golden Temple
                                                                                                Food has gone down the hill during the last few years, althought I do praised their effort to have a premium supply - but it stops here.....I concluded that their cooks are screwing the preparation due to the lack of hiring an acknowledleable chef or someone inside doesn't care (they feel that we Lofan don't know about good chinese food - I've been to China = had authentic Beijing duck, shark fin soup in HK, etc. = I also understand the use of the wok to produce "wokhei" = breath of the wok, etc.) --- off with the shenanigans about ignorant lofan (us, gringos). Food comes out super-sweet (crab rangoons, btw they don't have REAL crab - it's basically imitation crab meat = fish, some cream cheese+a ton of sugar = fyi), overdry, overcook, re-fried, re-heated = you can taste it - if you know real fresh, food......not asking for authentic, but good comfort Americanized chinese food for those old Lofan....that's all because that's estated as your philosophy, no???
                                                                                                People travel & are much more adventurous these days - Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern = anyone???
                                                                                                Bar is ok, drinks are still packing a punch....but could do better due to inconsistencies & overprices, but then again clientele w/deep pockets - no biggie.
                                                                                                Decor - it's like 80's not much change except the fancy chairs have been replaced by some nasty, ubber fugly, golden plastic ones with very dirty covers (not so upscale).....in short words = needs a BIG ovehaul so cheesy now.
                                                                                                Their bathrooms are so filthy, dirty, obscure bacteria & who knows what else is roaming around = toilets don't seem to be cleaned since like 20 years ago.....should I go on????
                                                                                                Some woman manager was awful & rude on our last visit - I haven't seen her lately = do they fire her? About time.....what a disgrace for a FOH impression of this old institution.
                                                                                                Yeah, We still go there because of my boy - who loves their Mai Tais & it's the meeting place otherwise - no thanx. Usually leave after a few MTs + off we go to better & fresher food places. Sad.....

                                                                                      2. South Garden in Quincy next to Kam Man. I went there last weekend and the food was excellent and prices are very good. The Hainanese chicken is one of the best I've ever had.

                                                                                        1. Authentic Chinese food:
                                                                                          1. SeChuan Garden - Brookline
                                                                                          2. Chun Shin Yuan - brunch on weekends, normally americanized food
                                                                                          3. Shanghai Gate, Brighton
                                                                                          4. Mulan, Cambridge (taiwanese)
                                                                                          5. Shangrila, Brighton
                                                                                          6. Victoria's Seafood, Brighton (semi authentic, depending on what you order)
                                                                                          7. May's Cafe, Brighton/Allston (hidden jem, taiwanese)

                                                                                          non authentic:
                                                                                          1. Golden Temple, Brookline (ranked #1 among all my chinese friends and i for MOST UNAUTHENTIC)
                                                                                          2. Quan's Kitchen

                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: kweesee

                                                                                            i love shanghai gate and szechuan garden and golden temple and agree that the first two are "authentic" and the other so not "authentic". i'll look forward to trying may's cafe on your recommendation.

                                                                                            1. re: kweesee

                                                                                              Will someone please tell me what to order at Victoria Seafood that doesn't suck? I don't care a fig about "authentic" versus "non-authentic." I am interested only in "tasty" versus "non-tasty" and I have yet to eat anything at Victoria that even approaches tasty.

                                                                                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                Twin lobsters in ginger and scallion, congee, conch and vegetables..(make sure you ask for shrimp paste)

                                                                                                1. re: galleygirl

                                                                                                  The twin lobsters are straight out: absolutely the most boring lobster dish I've ever eaten. Not even worth the ridiculously low price. If I'm ever forced back in there, I'll give the others a go.

                                                                                                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                    Bummer.Maybe an off night.we thought they were the equal of Peach farm, tho their frying is NOT...

                                                                                                    1. re: galleygirl

                                                                                                      If we'd only ever been there once, I'd grant that possibility. Unfortunately, we've never had anything but off nights there, repeatedly giving them another try because reliable friends love the place, Chowhounds love the place, it's blocks from our house...they have never yet deserved one of those "one more" tries. How many bad meals do we have to suffer through at a particular place before our experience becomes valid?

                                                                                                2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                  not exactly the most authentic, but:

                                                                                                  spicy salty squid
                                                                                                  spicy salty pork
                                                                                                  peking spare ribs
                                                                                                  veal chops with black pepper
                                                                                                  ma po tofu

                                                                                                3. re: kweesee

                                                                                                  Good grief! what about Qingdao Garden in Cambridge, or Wang's Fast Food in Sommerville? Further a field, Sichuan Gormet in Billerica, Chili Garden in Medford.

                                                                                                4. I have never been to Golden Temple but given the controversy I plan to try it soon. I am a big fan of Bernards in Chestnut Hill and wonder why there are those who seem to have some extreme dislike of the place. We eat there often and the food is always tasty and fresh. They always have off menu specials that are excellent- this week it was clams in black bean sauce appetizer and a chicken cooked with lemongrass - both really good. The wait staff are very accomodating and efficient and the owner and managers always come around to check and ask if everything is ok. Other excellent dishes are the crispy chilean sea bass, the "must try" shrimp in black bean sauce with crispy shallots and green beans and the sirloin with jade broccolli. Anyone else like this place??? [ps I know it is not "authentic"]

                                                                                                  16 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: emilief

                                                                                                    I've enjoyed Bernard's, had a decent soup noodle there for lunch not too long ago. Mall location price premium, though.

                                                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                      Glad to hear it. True, not the cheapest place but if you come further west and try China Sky in Wellesley you will find the prices truly appalling. (e.g. one spring roll in an order for usual price for 2) and the food is ok but not close to Bernards.

                                                                                                      1. re: emilief

                                                                                                        For truly appalling how's this: Beef with Broccoli: $14.95; Beef Chow Foon: $14.95; Shrimp in Lobster Sauce: $16.95; GT Ribs: $19.95!! I get my Beef Chow Foon at Super 88 Food Court, it's excellent and it's about $6.00.

                                                                                                        1. re: bakerboyz

                                                                                                          Stating the obvious- the rent at the Super 88 food court does not compare to the luxurious sorroundings of China Sky- difficult to compare the two price wise.

                                                                                                          1. re: emilief

                                                                                                            the quality of ingredients at Golden Temple far exceeds the quality of ingredients at Super 88 - the comfort level bears no comparison - the absence of liquor is obvious - the size of the portions makes it quite easy to share (one order of GT special spareribs feeds three of us as an appetizer for example). It is pricey: however, its my belief most of the people on this site who pan the place haven't eaten there in years which seems to me a cheap shot kind of behavior.

                                                                                                            1. re: emilief

                                                                                                              Stating the obvious-the rent per square foot is higher in Chinatown than in Swellesley or Brookline and yet the prices are lower. The prices qouted above are not from China Sky but from Golden Temple. The quality of the ingredients at Golden Temple far exceeds that of the Super 88 , and you know this because you have personal knowledge of exactly what they purchase?

                                                                                                              1. re: bakerboyz

                                                                                                                the rent per square foot is something you can provide us with? the liquor license costs, etc? as for whether i know the ingredients are better, i have no problem stating that any body who shops and cooks and does any taste test could know that. some of the food at Super 88 is both good and good value but you are obviously going to insist on comparing apples and oranges. I like Nathan's hot dog stand but I don't insist that Peter Luger's is overpriced by comparison! and, by the way, have you eaten Golden Temple's food within the last few months? few years?

                                                                                                                1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                  Yes, I have eaten at GT several times the past few years; yes, I do shop and cook, as well as eat, I have also eaten Chow Foon at least 15 restaurants in the Greater Boston area and the opinion of my amateur palate is that the Chow Foon at Super 88 (Kantin) is as good as anywhere; I also have represented Chinese Restaurants and Chinese Supermarkets that rent space in Boston so I do have some knowledge of the rents in Boston; as far as the cost of the liquor license, the only cost associated with it is the purchase of one from a private seller if you are purchasing a restaurant or if you are just purchasing the license and transferring the location of the license, there are no ongoing expenses other than insurance and taxes. I assume that GT has had its license for at least 30 years, therefore there is no annual cost. Any other questions?

                                                                                                                  1. re: bakerboyz

                                                                                                                    the chow foon at GT is not good so I can't argue in its favor. you are still comparing "noodles" with high end lobster, shrimp, clams, etc. you don't know the square foot cost in brookline, the real estate taxes, etc. but i'm sure you think you are right so why go further. you hate the place. I like it. other chowhounds will have to make up their own minds.

                                                                                                                    1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                      In reading the posts over the years on GT, on the one hand, there are the obvious haters and detractrors, and on the other, there seem to be a loyal legion of folks who have been going there forever who believe it to be the "Peter Luger" of Americanized Chinese, and there seems to be no in between. Though you may doubt this, I am actually one of the few who is in between: I actually do like most of their food, I have found their quality, freshness and presentation to be very good. My chief complaint is what I consider to be outrageous prices. I understand that they probably buy very good ingredients and I understand that the rent in Brookline is high but it is for every restaurant in Brookline and not everyone charges $14.95 for chow foon. I mean come on chow foon is basically flank steak, onion, scallion, bean sprouts and rice noodles and beef with broccoli is basically flank steak, broccoli, oyster sauce and seasonings, how different can the quality of the ingredients really be? I love the Golden Temple Ribs, they are very tasty and huge but $19.95 for pork ribs! I really have no desire to continue a p....ing contest and it really is not a question of who's right and who isn't because this board is all about opinions and we are all free to disagree about the quality or value of a restaurant. Obvious you love GT, should continue to go and I am not in any way trying to change your opinion of GT, I just have a different one and if you believe they have to charge $14.95 for chow foon and $16.95 for shrimp with lobster sauce because of their rent, taxes, overhead, etc, then I have some swamp land in Florida I would like to sell you.

                                                                                                                      1. re: bakerboyz

                                                                                                                        Last time i checked, GT does not pay ANY rent, they collect rent. They own the entire block and rent out to all the other stores.

                                                                                                                        edit: I just checked and confirmed that yes they have owned that block for ages and now actually own much of the area across the street where the Tam used to be, etc...Plus lots in other areas of brookline

                                                                                                                        1. re: hargau

                                                                                                                          I guess that would explain why they get BLOCKS of valet parking from the town in that nabe...Sucks trying to park there in the evening...

                                                                                                                        2. re: bakerboyz

                                                                                                                          I appreciate your note and i don't disagree about the prices. my hackles get raised on GT because I find so many critics haven't eaten there in years but feel confident they can predict the food stinks. Very recently, my spouse was explaining to someone that he loved the bar at GT and was very fond of their martinis. The person, who admitted he hadn't been there in 8 years, said "oh, I supppose they serve them with little umbrellas." I respect that you've eaten there and I certainly can't argue with your assessment of their cost. I will say that, in New York, a very good chinese chef from hong kong told me he would never open a chinese restaurant in the states because people who were willing to pay 75.00 for dinner at french restaurants would never pay that for hong kong quality food. i don't mean to compare GT with Hong Kong gourmet but I do wonder if we aren't somewhat disrespectful of the cost/quality issues involving ethnic food. is there some reason a great Indian restaurant, serving quality food with service and ambiance similar to a L'Espalier, should not exist? They do exist in London. Here, it seems to me, we want our "ethnic" ma and pa style, and cheap enough to keep the owners poor.

                                                                                                                    2. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                      Wow, Teezeetoo, so defensive. I have eaten at GT a few times in the past 3 years and found it to be pretty unremarkable. Do you own it or something? Sheesh.

                                                                                                              2. re: emilief

                                                                                                                I wonder is China Sky in Winchester related to China Sky in Wellesley? I had dinner at CS Winchester about two weeks ago and it wasn't bad at all. Prices weren't great, but that's to be expected in Winchester. Portions were generous though - one entree is enough for two to share with a bit leftover.

                                                                                                                1. re: heathermb

                                                                                                                  Yes it is, Heather.
                                                                                                                  I agree, CS is good suburban American/Chinese. The crispy beef my kids particularly like. The sushi is also good quality. I enjoy the China Sky roll,an Unakyo roll (eel) topped with spicy tuna. I also agree, the tab is on the hefty side.

                                                                                                          2. FWIW, for all you Sichuan Gourmet-Framingham lovers, I'd like to suggest you try their much less fancy, hole-in-the-wall sister restaurant (same name) in Billerica (502 Boston Rd/Rte 3A; 978-670-7339). I work for a company that is ~40% Chinese, and the general consensus it this is the best Chinese in the Boston area, and that Billerica is better than the Framingham location. Standing room only at lunch time (and they prefer not to take reservations, although they will), but only Chinese locals for dinner.

                                                                                                            By the way, I've been to the new RedPepper in Framingham. We had extremely rapid service, and the owner wouldn't leave us alone he was so attentive. However, it was pouring rain out and only 4 tables of diners, so that might have had something to do with it. The food was great, but I'll need more visits to decide if it is as good as SG. Obviously the owner has something of an inferiority complex regarding their more well-known neighbor! For the only dish I had in common between the two, fuqi feipian (sliced beef tendon in chili sauce), I'd give the edge to SG. However, their eggplant in yuxiang sauce was sensational. Best eggplant I've had since Taiwan Cafe.


                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Tir_na_nOg

                                                                                                              I wholeheartedly agree with assessmnet of Sichuan Gormet in Bilerica. Had dinner there last night (moderately busy, but certainly no wait), and it was as good as ever. They also now have a liquor license. Based on your description, am very interested in trying Red Pepper--one of the few dishes that I do not like at SG is the Yu Xiang Eggplant! How would you describe the Red Pepper interpretation--Asian Eggplant or European? Less sweet or more sweet? & etc?

                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                could you give me a few recs for this place? we went Wednesday and while we liked it and could see potential we were a little underwhelmed.


                                                                                                                my post from Wednesday:

                                                                                                                1. re: ScubaSteve

                                                                                                                  well, last night we had the Cheng Du Spicy Rice Noodles (not really rice noodles, in Chinese these are called "liang fen" and are made from bean starch, totally unavailable comerically around here, the chef has to make his own), the lao sichuan chicken (my dining partner loves this, and I'm a fan of the cabbage that comes with it, so why not..) and the Sichuan Green Beans (they seem to be one of the few places around that gets this dish right).

                                                                                                                  Some other favorites of mine are:
                                                                                                                  Steamed bacon (remember when Chinese menus say bacon they mean fatty belly pork)in fresh garlic sauce
                                                                                                                  Sichuan Wonton with Spicy Chili Sauce
                                                                                                                  Fish Stew with Pickled Cabbage
                                                                                                                  Jin Gu Fish
                                                                                                                  Whole Fish in Spicy Chili Sauce
                                                                                                                  Xiang La Fish Filets
                                                                                                                  Beef with Spicy Chili Sauce
                                                                                                                  Beef with Hot Pepper (they will also make Pork with Hot Pepper upon request, which we do, as I prefer it)
                                                                                                                  Sichuan Double Cooked Bacon
                                                                                                                  Family Style Tofu
                                                                                                                  Cumin Flavored Lamb
                                                                                                                  Cumin Flavored Beef
                                                                                                                  Tripe with Pickle (not always available)
                                                                                                                  Pork with Pickle (not on the menu, but they will make it by request)

                                                                                                                  Any of these are in my opinion very authentic, and to my taste. Some, but by no means all, are fairly spicy either with Sichuan Peppercorns or with Chili Peppers or both. Once you get a feel for the spiciness quotient, you can always ask them to make dishes spicier or not depending on your taste. I wouldn't, however, reccommend getting dishes like 'Sichuan Green Beans" or "Fish Stew with Pickled Cabbage" made spicy, as authentically they don't have chilis and are meant to balance the other flavors in the meal.

                                                                                                                  Good luck, and let me know how you make out.

                                                                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                    thanks a Lot. we'll prolly be making the trip back this wednesday.

                                                                                                            2. Though the rest of the food there is pretty so-so, you can't beat the Peking Duck at Chef Chang's on the Boston/Brookline line on Beacon Street. The duck is crispy and juicy at the same time, they give you enough of those little pancakes (a pet peeve of mine) and you can order just a half duck if you like. I don't know if the chef himself is still alive, but it was always great fun for kids to see the old chef come out and carve up the duck --expertly-- at the table. BTW, do not confuse this with Chef Chow's in Brookline which is my least favorite Chinese restaurant, ever.

                                                                                                              1. Yeah, Sichuan Gourmet is good, but all the dishes are rather similar, lots of chili oil, not big on the sweeter flavors if that is what you are looking for--the best sichuan green beans ever and other great dishes if you love spice.( I go there frequently) Quan's in North Attleboro is solid, only been once.I personally would take brown sugar cafe in Brighton (Thai food) any day over Chinese.

                                                                                                                1. Shangi_la near MGH is really good and priced very reasonably. The Egg-Rolls are tops!

                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: chadwick77

                                                                                                                    Woah. I never thought I'd see the SHangril La & "really good" in the same sentence. When I'm really hungry & hungover I'll hit up their lunch buffet, but I don't see how anyone would ever really dig their food in a real sense.

                                                                                                                    1. re: chadwick77

                                                                                                                      The Cambridge street downtown Shanrgri-La is the worst. Absolute lowest common denominator americanized barely edible.

                                                                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                        Yeah. Like I said, it hits the spot when I'm really hungry and completely hungover (plus, there really aren't any other options in that immediate vicinity). I'd imagine it'd also be good if I was drunk.

                                                                                                                        Other than that, not so much.

                                                                                                                    2. Billy Tse in the North End

                                                                                                                      1. My favorite spot in Brookline is Golden Temple, they have the BEST crab rangoon I have ever had, and I've had a lot of them.

                                                                                                                        Imperial China is great in Framingham, as is the new place Green Tea II http://onefoodguy.blogspot.com/2008/0...

                                                                                                                        1. New Trend Eatery in Allston (103 Brighton Ave) is probably the closest you can get to Chinatown but in the burbs. It serves cantonese food.

                                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: qc204

                                                                                                                            Allston's outside of Chinatown, but it's not hardly the burbs. In any case, what have you liked at New Trend? I ate there once last summer and had an extremely disappointing meal - we actually had to send back an inedible order of salt & pepper calamari and get a different dish instead. I've noticed that while the place was packed all the time last summer, they're empty every time I pass by lately. I feel bad for them, but on the other hand my one experience there did not make me want to go again, even though they are about 5 blocks from my house.

                                                                                                                            1. re: qc204

                                                                                                                              It serves crap, and it's not in the burbs.

                                                                                                                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                                I think you need to eat there again. Definitely does not serve crap. Your small S&P calamari sample space is insufficient.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Luther

                                                                                                                                  Luther, what have you liked?
                                                                                                                                  I haven't beenthere yet, trying to decide if I should risk a meal? ;)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: galleygirl

                                                                                                                                    S&P pork chops are good (though I like them super-salty and these were more moderately salty). Green vegetables are good. Clay pots (with things like chicken, lap chong, fatty pork) are good. Steamed fish, at least in the basic scallion/soy preparation, is good.

                                                                                                                                    Basically, the Cantonese standards are solid. They offer a variety of preparations for whole fish, a variety of meats fried S&P style, and a variety of preparations for green vegetables. There are clay pots and roasted chicken served with shrimp chips. The ingredients all seem fresh. The only place I could compare it to in style and "authenticity" in the area is Hei La Moon, and I haven't enjoyed dinners there too much (gloppy/mushy textures and abuse of MSG).

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Luther

                                                                                                                                    We had several dishes, of which the s&p calamari fried up in rancid oil was the worst. Everything was bland and underseasoned (including our green vegetables.) With an introduction as unpleasant as that, I see little reason to give another try without some detailed recommendations of dishes that actually taste good.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Luther

                                                                                                                                      That was merely the crappiest of several crappy dishes. Seriously, the entire meal was awful. And as Allstonian said, we can't have been the only ones, because they were doing land-office business when they first opened, and when we walk past now (on our way to other, better restaurants), we rarely see more than one or two tables occupied. I don't expect them to be open this time next year.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                                        Based on Luther's rec. (and despite the snarky posts by the Allston food police) I look forward to eating there today.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: PaulB

                                                                                                                                          Please report back - I am interested in hearing additional opinions.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: PaulB

                                                                                                                                            PaulB - So what did you have and how was it? Please share your thoughts.

                                                                                                                                  3. Shangri-La in the Belmont, Watertown, Cambridge triangle is wonderful. Great home made tofu, terrific duck, can't say enough good things. Can't say Bernard's in Chestnut Hill has every done anything for me...If it ain't the Peach Farm it's Shangri-la for this former San Franciscan

                                                                                                                                    1. I agree with most of Kweesee's choices, although not necessarily in the same order.

                                                                                                                                      Best authentic Cantonese Food outside of Chinatown for me is definitely Joyful Garden in the Days Hotel on Soldier's Field. Victoria and New Trend cannot compare to the caliber of freshness and skills of cooking. If I rank these three, it will be
                                                                                                                                      1. Joyful Garden.
                                                                                                                                      2. Victoria
                                                                                                                                      3. New Trend.
                                                                                                                                      I have been to Joyful Garden numerous times, it is a real hidden gem so far. I mostly only see Chinese people going there in groups. Their American styled lunch is also pretty good. Quan's Kitchen is in no comparison to these.

                                                                                                                                      Best Taiwanese Food outside of Chinatown is:
                                                                                                                                      1. Shangri La in Belmont- although I truly dislike their services, they have an attitude problem.
                                                                                                                                      2. Chun Shin Yuan in Newton (only brunch)
                                                                                                                                      Both 1 and 2 offer Taiwanese Brunch at weekends which are very comparable. My criticism for both are the fact that they never tried to change or improve their menus. I now don't go to them often because I am a little bored with their old menu. A good restaurant needs to improve and grow over the years. I think Shangri La does have occasional specials for their dinner menu. It is the brunch menu I am referring to here.
                                                                                                                                      3. Mulan in Cambridge - very decent Taiwanese food, not spectacular, but very decent.

                                                                                                                                      I have not bothered to go to May's in ages because I was never impressed with their food preparations. It is more of a very coarse type of home style cooking. It might appeal to some though, just not my preference.

                                                                                                                                      Best Shanghainese Food outside of Chinatown is:
                                                                                                                                      1. Shanghai Gate in Allston - Chef is from a real classy restaurant background in Shanghai. Just check out the basics (pork shreds and the vegie slices) you can tell that they are of professional grade. The knife skill is the best of all Chinese restaurants in Boston. The weakness of this place is their casual foods. So you need to know what to order to enjoy the strength of this place. Weekend Dim Sum is weaker. In Shanghai, typically a real chef does not get Dim Sum food trainings. You have to learn to become a Dim Dum chef to be skilled in the little foods.

                                                                                                                                      2. Uncle Chueng's. Their weekend Dim Sum has a few very yummy choices which one cannot find anywhere else in Boston. For example, their home made stinky tofu is far better than any of the Taiwanese restaurants. Their pancake with cruller, although not the authentic Beijing style, is still very delicious. Again, one needs to know what to order to appreciate this place. They also have some solid dinner foods. The owner is very friendly with all customers. Listen to her suggestions. The Dong Po meat is excellent to try.

                                                                                                                                      Best Sichuan Food outside of Chinatown (do we even have Sichuan in Chinatown?) is:
                                                                                                                                      1.Sechuan Gourmet (both Framingham and Billerica)
                                                                                                                                      2. Sechuan Garden
                                                                                                                                      3. Red Chillie
                                                                                                                                      I am not a spicy food expert, so I am not going to comment too much on this category. But I did venture to Seattle and tried their chowhounde board's recommendation. Apparently, they claim that Seattle has the best Sichuan food in the US. I was very disappointed and disagree wholeheartedly. Just the Dan Dan noodle alone, our restaurants here do a far better job than theirs.

                                                                                                                                      Best Shabu outside of Chinatown is:
                                                                                                                                      1. Shabu Zen on Brighton Ave in Allston (with parking in the rear)
                                                                                                                                      2. Shabu Shabu Toki (100% japanese owned, a little more $$, do try the final rice with soup option.)
                                                                                                                                      Do NOT bother to try the shabu place on Harvard St. in Brookline, they are Taiwanese owned, with very bland broth and their weekend Taiwanese brunch is awful. Do not waste your money.

                                                                                                                                      I didn't give a northern Chinese food caterory because I found all the ones others mentioned are just mediocre at best. I am not impressed with Qingdao Garden, nor with Wang's. Beijing Star is somewhat disappointing too. They all offer some unique dishes, but I think the chefs' skills are still not very good. I actually like the newer Noodle Town restaurant in Chinatown better. I fear that these places are a bit overrated.

                                                                                                                                      I have not tried Chili Garden or Fuloon, so I cannot say anything about these.

                                                                                                                                      In terms of Americanized Chinese food any of the following are deserve a visit:
                                                                                                                                      1. Golden Temple
                                                                                                                                      2. Bernards
                                                                                                                                      3. Chun Shin Yuen
                                                                                                                                      4. Uncle Cheung
                                                                                                                                      5. Shanghai Gate

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChiOut

                                                                                                                                        Edit to my last post, the Chinatown new place is not called Noodle Town, it is called Dumpling House (I think) right on Beach street.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChiOut

                                                                                                                                          I would recommend Chung Shing Yaun too.

                                                                                                                                          They serve Taiwan style dim sum during the weekends and I think it's pretty authentic. There's usually an extremely long wait but I think it's delicious!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Carp85

                                                                                                                                            We (also) really like Shangri-La (149 Belmont St, Belmont, MA 02478)- their pork cellophane noodles are scrumptious, and I've heard rave reviews of the beef soup and dim sum on weekends. You can get a lot of different things there, but there's definitely a Taiwanese emphasis on a lot of the food.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Carp85

                                                                                                                                              Nan Ling? That takeout place on Mass Ave near Berklee?

                                                                                                                                              I had without a doubt, the worst meal I've ever (not) eaten in a Chinese restaurant.

                                                                                                                                              The Hot and Sour soup...it had the look and feel of used motor oil. There were some mysterious items floating in it, which may have been mushrooms or possibly tofu. There was a red grease slick floating on top.

                                                                                                                                              Let's just say the rest of the meal went downhill from there, and I ended up throwing it all out.

                                                                                                                                            2. Those who have read my early posts know that:
                                                                                                                                              -I have a poor reaction to sweet foods and am allergic to shellfish.
                                                                                                                                              -I am a visitor in Boston (and am enjoying it very much).
                                                                                                                                              -I am from Oregon, where there is No. Good. Chinese. Food.

                                                                                                                                              I'd been avoiding Chinese food as most of it upset my reaction to sweet flavors. Recently, however, I was at Mulan with a group and was able to tolerate several of the dishes. Thus inspired, I'd like to give Chinese another try.

                                                                                                                                              I'm interested in any style that isn't Americanized or overly sweet. Golden Temple is totally off the list. I like spicy food so Sichuan would probably be my first bet. I'm staying in Brookline for two weeks so I'm sure I'll make it to Sichuan Garden. I'm not familiar with Shanghai style, but I've heard about lion's heads before so Shanghai Gate might be a good opportunity to try them. Please warn me if I'm making any mistakes in these assumptions or if you can recommend dishes at these venues.

                                                                                                                                              I'm more than happy to go to Chinatown, and would enjoy any options in that neighborhood as well. I differ from others in this post that the burbs are relatively inaccessible to me - I have a subway pass and that's about it.

                                                                                                                                              I didn't expect Chinese to be high on my food tourism agenda in Boston, but I appreciate any clear answers without turf wars.

                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: twitchology

                                                                                                                                                would love your feedback on brookline places when you try...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: twitchology

                                                                                                                                                  JoJo Taipei in Allston--see several recent threads. Shanghai Gate--I've enjoyed the little I've eaten here but be aware that sweetness is a major (and genuine) element in Shanghaiese cooking. I haven't tried lion's head at SG but elsewhere (I'm thinking of Wing's in Chinatown) it hasn't approached the candied sweetness of Chi-Am. But I don't know where your tipping point is. Wisteria in Allston (at the Super 88, Taiwanese like Mulan) has gotten some love here. If you're still in Cambridge, Qing Dao, northeastern Chinese (Shandong) up on Mass Ave near Davis, for house specials only, good boiled dumplings.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Aromatherapy

                                                                                                                                                    Re: Wisteria House, Super 88 in Allston. It's Taiwanese so it isn't sweet. This is the only place in the Boston area where I've found traditional Taiwanese fried dumplings. These are long and skinny dumplings and perfectly fried. I've also enjoyed stir fried noodles with sa cha sauce here (sometimes it's a little greasy) as well as several of their noodles soups. None are sweet.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                      Have you tried Jo Jo Taipei yet? Barmy and I had their Taiwanese fried dumplings and really loved them.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                                                        I haven't yet. It's on the list though. Are their dumplings skinny?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                          Yep - they look more like gyoza than like potstickers, but the filling is meatier.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: twitchology

                                                                                                                                                    Cantonese food, which is the predominant style of cooking in Chinatown, is rarely sweet. It may be tough on your shellfish allergies since it's also known for cooking seafood, but you would still have plenty of choices. The key is to stick to traditional dishes, and not going for the westernized ones. I'd suggest Hong Kong Eatery for light meals (noodles, light rice plates, etc.) to Peach Farm for a bigger meal/dinner (variety of dishes). Also popular here is Taiwan Cafe (same vein as Mulan - Taiwanese with some Chinese dishes), Best Little Restaurant seems to get some nods, Big Fish is also popular. Lastly, if you want to avoid sweet, try shabu/hot pot at Shabu Zen or Kaze.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kobuta

                                                                                                                                                      Barmy F. has made me a fan of Kantin in Super 88 food court in Brighton. Wonderful Chow Foon.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                                        Ah, yes. I always forget Kantin because it's a little out of the way for me, but when I make my trips to 88 there, Kantin is one of the few places I consistently like to order from. Good Cantonese style dishes.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kobuta

                                                                                                                                                          At Super88 also hit:

                                                                                                                                                          Ken's Ramen
                                                                                                                                                          Pho Viets
                                                                                                                                                          Wisteria House

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                            Is this the same Wisteria House that used to have a place on Newbury and now has a store in Cambridge? I was only ok with the Newbury St location. I never pass up Pho Viets for a bahn mi to go when I'm at 88. I still haven't tried Ken's Ramen, and I love ramen - makes me sad.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kobuta

                                                                                                                                                              Same Wisteria house. I had the Singapore Noodles at Kantin last night... yum.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Chef Changs in Brookline on Beacon St. I shouldn't even tell you b/c it's one of my best kept secrets (although it's quite large). Classic table side carving of peking duck, the spring rolls are paper thin (not that thick bubbly dough) with real fresh shrimp, the duck sauce is made in house, the General Gau's is in a light but very flavorful ginger sauce- not that mystery brown sauce... i could go on and on

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: elissa8009

                                                                                                                                                        woah. The last time I went there they used buritto tortillas as the wrapper. Totally messed up. It should not be nearly as thick, and it should not have that bitter flavor.

                                                                                                                                                        My first rec will have to go out to little q. The hot pots are not bad, even if they don't have the chinese muslim sesame sauce I love. It's probably the best chinese hot pot around boston, but I like it more for it's total likeness to a chinese hotpot chain.

                                                                                                                                                        I've gotten kind of tired of most Cantonese restaurants and Shanghai gate is now my favorite Chinese place.

                                                                                                                                                        Victoria's is about as good as most Canto restaurants in Chinatown. They have a decent poached soy sauce chicken, lobster, veal with string beans, salt pepper squid/pork. My mother says Joyful Garden is pretty much the same but cleaner, and I trust her taste in Cantonese food.

                                                                                                                                                        Sichuan garden has killer dan dan noodles and fu qi fei pian. The tea smoked duck in my opinion is better than shangri la's, because it's more tender. It's not amazing by any stretch though. The skin is a little soggy.

                                                                                                                                                        Jumbo Seafood in Newton is also half decent for Cantonese food. They sometimes sell the concubine chicken from china pearl cafe.

                                                                                                                                                        Qingdao garden has homemade dumplings that can be better than any of the thick skinned peking ravioli junk, but I've gotten them not cooked through before. Most of their other dishes are novel, but very mediocre.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: elissa8009

                                                                                                                                                          don't know when you were there last but it has plummeted down hill with rapidity. the good is gloppy, the interior is dirty, and the great peking duck is merely a memory. alas

                                                                                                                                                        2. I absolutely love this place. A menu, with simple, fresh dishes that you crave, right down to the sides of wok-charred veggies! You must try the hakka eggplant while it's still there (I believe they switch up their veggies seasonally). I also really like the fact that they do small plates (I hate cheesecake factory sized portions and I generally am dismissive with tapas, as I like to indulge myself more than your average girl). SO try anything-- adventurous? The lobster udon noodles, the buffalo sweetbreads, or Tiger's tears! More traditional? Nab the dumplings or ribs! Also, they've got a multitude of crazy strained down menus for the shellfish-allergies, nut allergies, vegetarians, etc. (a nice surprise when I took my mother who has a gluten allergy).

                                                                                                                                                          Go and have fun, walk around the restaurant and notice all the little comical details with their waving kitty and cheeky slogans written all over the mirrors.

                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: vanessa m

                                                                                                                                                            I have no idea which restaurant this post references....

                                                                                                                                                          2. Victoria's Seafood on Commonwealth Ave next to BU. Their food is comparable to Chow Chow in Chinatown but prices quite a bit cheaper. They have a twin lobster special (prepare anyway you want) for only $16.95. Their ongoing special also includes live whole fish steamed or spicy peppered salted softshell crabs dish for only $10.

                                                                                                                                                            1. I had a bad dim sum/ brunch experience at Yangtze River (Lexington) recently. While I didn't try the dim sum, the buffet options were greasy and not appealing. I have had better luck at the Chang Sho in Cambridge and have heard good things about sister restaurants in the 'burbs (see website- Water Lily in Wayland is one of them). China Sky in Wellesley was excellent, and the setting was lovely.

                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chocolate Mousse

                                                                                                                                                                never been to Yangtze River for Lunch or visited their buffet but i must say that i Love their Yangtze River Beef (deep fried crispy goodness, almost like candy) and their twice cooked pork with dried bean curd. i've also enjoyed their braised eggplant bowl.

                                                                                                                                                              2. I rely on Su Changs on Lowell St in Peabody and Taste of Asia in downtown Salem but there is room for a Chinatown style place on the NS.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I'm very picky, travel a lot and am always hunting for especially good Chinese. The best I know in all of eastern MA is Mary Chung Restaurant on Mass Ave in Central Square (near the Middle East, same block just a few doors down). Here is the catch, though I love this restaurant (it is one of my fav's across all price points) I believe their are two sides to it. Its Americanized Dim Sum menu on weekends (11:30 - 3:00) is top of class, but its food the rest of the week is only above average, not the standout like its Dim Sum. There are certain dishes I feel very strongly about (as being very good) that I think will be sure to hook any first time visitor, otherwise their extensive menu can be a bit overwhelming for newbies. I highly recommend the following:
                                                                                                                                                                  "Steamed," not fried, Peking Ravioli (the skin is thin and the sauce just right)
                                                                                                                                                                  Small Steamer Buns (another pork dumpling, but much smaller and more delicate than the Peking Ravioli - it arrives in a bamboo steamer basket w/ a delicate yet complex ginger sauce)
                                                                                                                                                                  Their particularly just right Crab Rangoon
                                                                                                                                                                  Fried Eggplant
                                                                                                                                                                  A special they often have listed at the front of the restaurant is "Grandma's Pie" (a mushroom dish that is so hearty it is hard to believe it is a vegetarian dish)
                                                                                                                                                                  A very hot and spicy noodle dish called Dun Dun
                                                                                                                                                                  If you don't like hot and spice go for any of the Taiwan Style Fried Rice Noodle dishes (there are several choices of Pork, Chicken or Veggies), I prefer the Pork

                                                                                                                                                                  Start with these recommendations and you will return regularly and crave it in-between visits. Fyi, it is Cash Only and remember, only the weekend Dim Sum is astandout. Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                                  Mary Chung Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                  460 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                                                                                                                  Middle East Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                  472 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: brentgodfrey

                                                                                                                                                                    Would love to revive this old thread! I've eaten at both South Garden and China Pearl in Quincy this year, and they serve excellent and authentic Hong Kong Cantonese cuisine outside Boston - I would recommend both places.

                                                                                                                                                                    Are there any other good Chinese places in the 'burbs? I will always go to Chinatown as my first choice, but I'm increasingly faced with friends/family who are reluctant to deal with the tight parking issues there. Anyone have recent updates on good Chinese places further outside Boston than requested by the original post, i.e. places convenient to the Masspike, Rt. 9, or 495?

                                                                                                                                                                    I'm especially curious about any recent experiences with Shanghainese cuisine/dim sum at Uncle Cheung's in Framingham? (there are pretty negative Yelp reviews that say this restaurant (owner?) is often rude to non-Mandarin speakers.) In addition, any update on the Newton area? I know there were Taiwanese places popping up there at least a few years ago. Thanks in advance for any feedback.

                                                                                                                                                                    China Pearl
                                                                                                                                                                    237 Quincy Ave, Quincy, MA

                                                                                                                                                                    South Garden
                                                                                                                                                                    217 Quincy Ave, Quincy, MA 02169

                                                                                                                                                                    Uncle Cheung's Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                    266 Worcester Rd, Framingham, MA 01702

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: spectra21

                                                                                                                                                                      I went to Uncle Cheung's a couple of weeks ago and it was a disaster. "tolerable" "eh" "mediocre" and "bad" do not describe a meal worth bothering with. I was much happier with 石庫門 ("Shanghai Gate") and am hoping to get back there tonight. Of course anyone reading this is welcome to invite themselves along. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                      Uncle Cheung's Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                      266 Worcester Rd, Framingham, MA 01702

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KWagle

                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you for this update KWagle. I tried the dim sum menu at Acacia Country Club in Westboro and it was also a disaster and quite dead inside. Don't bother! I will try Shanghai Gate in Allson another time.

                                                                                                                                                                        Shanghai Gate
                                                                                                                                                                        204 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: spectra21

                                                                                                                                                                          I went to Acacia once. It was very weird and food came out slow, service slow. Place was pretty full when we went. Some dishes were very unique/good. Others not so good. Nothing i would call disaster though but have not been back..

                                                                                                                                                                          Kwagle what did you get at Uncle Cheungs? I have been several times and ordered only off the dimsum menu. Sometimes takes a real long time for the food to come out but its usually good. Last time i was there though, they served us spring rolls that were golden brown on the outside but frozen inside. Have not been back since. I do love thir radish pastries though

                                                                                                                                                                          Uncle Cheung's Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                          266 Worcester Rd, Framingham, MA 01702

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hargau

                                                                                                                                                                            We ordered dinner. The sauteed eel (or whatever it was) was generic swill for the white trade, basically flavorless in a brown sauce that tasted, well, brown. The smoked fish was too dry and too tough. The fried baby fish were excessively bony (though this might be a preference, since I had excessively bony fish at a Hunan place in Flushing) but were also cooked to taste burned. The rice cake with wild vegetable was just plain mediocre--you could do as well at home.

                                                                                                                                                                            I've now been to 石庫門 twice, and really enjoyed it both times, though they never give me enough hua jiao. But, much of the food we enjoyed there is certainly not Shanghainese. So I don't know whether it'll be a reasonably substitute for the late lamented Wing's Kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. All Seasons Table in Malden is my number 1 for Asian food outside of Chinatown...great lively atmosphere, beautiful decor, delicious food, and great drinks. Everything from there sushi bar apps to mango chicken and pad thai entrees are quite yummy!
                                                                                                                                                                    Whether its for a nice dinner or fun night of drinks, All Seasons is always a great time!

                                                                                                                                                                    All Seasons Table Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                    64 Pleasant St, Malden, MA 02148

                                                                                                                                                                    1. very authentic chinese in the suburbs. best location of this 4 restaurant chain.

                                                                                                                                                                      Lotus Blossom Chinese Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                      394 Boston Post Rd, Sudbury, MA 01776

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: riverboy

                                                                                                                                                                        They do have good food but it is not at all authentic. Very much americanized

                                                                                                                                                                      2. they have very good spareribs on the bone.

                                                                                                                                                                        Lavender Asian Cuisine & Bar
                                                                                                                                                                        519 Boston Post Rd, Sudbury, MA 01776