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Dec 4, 2007 10:26 PM

Chinese Food on the West Side

What are your favorite Chinese Restaurants in Santa Monica, Venice, Playa Del Rey, or Marina Del Rey. I'm new to the area and haven't been able to find any good Chinese places.

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    After years of roving around, my current favorite has emerged as Hu's. (From Santa Monica, take the 10 freeway east and the first exit after the 405, National/Overland. Make a left upon exiting, the street will curve around to the right, and Hu's is on the right as National turns 90-degrees to the left.) I like the twice-cooked pork or kung pao chicken at lunch, the kung pao shrimp and eggplant in garlic sauce at dinner.

    1. Good chinese is really hard to find around here. Have not really found much, but I go to Szechwaun on Washington at abbot kiney often. They are pretty basic but decent. My boyfriend and I go for the cold peanut noodles, but some of their entrees are good as well, particularly the sizzling chicken. Also, at work we have been ordering from Mandarin, on Pico and it is actually very good. They do a good attempt at general tsos chicken which is something that is rare to find out here.

      4 Replies
      1. re: sundevilstef

        Where is Mandarin on Pico? I'm interested in trying it. I had delivery from Szechwaun and I didn't like it at all.

        1. re: ericasscreenname


          I'll bring you whatever you want. I know you dont like driving too much.

          1. re: FortyDeuce

            I really hate to say it, but after killing myself to find good Chinese in the area I would have to say PF Chang's, yes thats correct, PF Chang's. Szechwan on Washington is decent but some of their dishes are poor. I found Hop Li to be terrible. Mao's kitchen is not good. I haven't ventured as far as Hu's above so may be worth a try.

            1. re: ElJeffe

              gotta disagree, sort of.
              imho, pf chang's is really terrible.
              mao's kitchen is much better.
              if you think of mao's as flavorful food that has been inspired by chinese cusine, it's better than if you try to see it as authentic chinese food.

              none of the westside establishments can cut it as authentic chinese cooking.

      2. Though it's thoroughly Americanized, Chang's on San Vicente is top notch. My favorite dishes are the General Tso's (actually crispy orange chicken) and sauteed green beans with garlic.

        4 Replies
        1. re: a_and_w

          How are their lunch combos? Do they include a soup or salad or egg roll or?

          1. re: nosh

            I'm not quite sure how to articulate this, but on the west side, the best chinese food may be the ones within a mile of where you live/work/commute. There are no truly good places, and even the best (arguably Hu's, Hop Li) don't merit anything resembling a drive. There are plenty of sushi, french, italian, etc. places that merit a trek a couple of neighborhoods over. The same cannot be said for chinese (unless you are willing to trek to the SGV, in which case it is on a par with place I've been in China, minus the cigarette/car exhaust smell).

            1. re: BabyLitigator

              I think that's basically right. The chinese food on the west side is decent but hardly worth going out of your way for. That said, I do think Chang's is better than most other places I've tried -- provided you accept that you're getting Americanized Chinese.

            2. re: nosh

              I haven't tried their lunch combos, but the friend who turned me onto them goes there often for lunch. I think it comes with soup and egg (spring) roll. Try the black bean chicken, general tso's, or anything with veggies.

          2. Ack -- the PF Chang black hole of debate.

            I agree with the consensus regarding West Side Chinese restaurants. Growing up in NYC, there are some that are good in the way that the local restaurants in Manhattan or the outlying boroughs were good.

            PF Changs is good in the sense that the ingredients are generally first rate and the food seems to be less greasy than other local places I have been to.

            I don't know if any of this is authentic -- nor do I personally particularly care about authenticity since I just lump it all in American/Chinese cuisine -- some are better than others but I couldn't see traveling long distances for any of them.

            If I seem to be damning them with faint praise, I'm not -- sometimes it's not about authenticity -- maybe things would be easier if they weren't called "Chinese" restaurants.

            1. I like New Flavors Restaurant on Centinela just North of Washington Blvd- I always get their crispy (not the wet) orange chicken lunch special, I love orange chicken and its the best I've found around.