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Dec 18, 2000 07:35 PM


  • c

I'm no stranger to Chinese restaurants (grew up in Monterey Park), but I'm looking for a Chinese restaurant serving up the classical 10 course banquet - AND - has the elegant decor that a Western restaurant would offer. HELP! Anything like that in LA? I haven't been able to find one. I've searched the net, and there are a TON of beautifully designed, elegant Chinese restaurants w/ authentic banquet menus in the Bay are, but nothing like that in LA. The only thing that comes close to what I'm thinking of is Fung Lums in Universal City (which closed down). Can anybod recommend a classy & 'romantic' Chinese restaurant? Thx.

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  1. My first question is: "Have you been to Monterey Park recently?" There are loads of incredible palaces devoted to replicating anything people are supposed to get in Hong Kong with some of the highest paid chefs in Southern California.

    If you really don't find their decor adequate, perhaps you could try Jade West, in Century City. Or the Mandarin in Beverly Hills (don't know if they still have a banquet room}.

    Also, in Beverly Hills, there is an extremely elegant Chinese restaurant on Doheny Drive just south of the Writer's Guild theatre below Wilshire. I think it's called Fung Lum (or something close). Check it out.

    Lastly, consider Quanjude Beijing Duck restaurant in Rosemead. Perfect Peking Duck; fairly elegant decor that presumably could be set up for a banquet. Good luck.

    18 Replies
    1. re: Bob Brooks

      I have to agree with you 100%. Except for a rooftop place like Empress of China we've got everything they have in San Francisco and more as far as Chinese restaurants go. I wouldn't go to the Mandarin or Jade West, though--the food isn't very good. And I think that Fung Lum on Doheny may have closed down. Historically, the #1 venue locally for high end Chinese wedding banquets was Harbor Village, now Empress Harbor, in Monterey Park. You can spend as much on a banquet there as you want to. Also, an awful lot of banquets are held at Empress Pavilion in Chinatown, which is a nice setting. And you're right in that there are many Chinese restaurants with great banquet facilities throughout the San Gabriel Valley.

      1. re: Chandavkl

        Have to agree with Empress Pavilion in Chinatown. For wedding banquets, they have accordion wall partitions that will close off half the restaurant for the banquet. And both they and 888 Seafood in Rosemead I believe have those dragon and phoenix decorations on the wall that have the eyes light up for toasts or bride and groom kiss or whatever. I think that Empress is also set up for various wedding games stuff but for traditional things you probably have to bring your own. They have many special banquet dishes like whole steamed winter melon containing winter melon soup served in a big metallic melon stand. As the melon stands, it continues to give off broth. More for a point of interest than for a wedding, but they also have full bar, shaoxing wine (if you want it) scotch and what have you. The last traditional Chinese wedding banquet I went to was in New York and there were some 16 courses, as I recall.Good luck and congratulations.

        1. re: jerome

          Thanks for the input everyone (I love all you foodies!) I guess that settles it, as I suspected - if you're going to have a Chinese wedding banquet, Empress Harbor/Ocean Star/Empress Pavilion are the places to have it at! I actually have been to Empress Harbor recently, and while the decor is more high end than the typical Chinese restaurant, it still lacks the ambiance I'm looking for. But oh well, I guess as long as everyone's happy with the food and having a good time, that's all that counts. Thanks again!

          1. re: Christina

            If you're looking for something very elegant, Chinese, and price is no object, why not talk to the folks at Yujean Kang on Melrose about taking over the whole restaurant for the evening and having a traditional Xiyan, wedding banquet? I'm sure they'll work with you to arrange a suitable menu and the place is yours.
            Similarly, you could talk to some place about catering the event and see about renting out the Pacific Asia Museum or another site used for corporate parties.

            1. re: Christina

              Ack! Try Empress Pavilion and Empress Harbor before going to Ocean Star. Of the 3, that's the least desirable. The acoustics are terrible, especially for a wedding banquet. The other two also have better food. I've been to many Chinese banquets in the LA area and the best has consistently been Empress Pavilion for large feasts, even though it's not spectacular in decor.

              Also, you may want to ask about renting one of the smaller rooms for the bride to change and get ready, or to use for the tea ceremony beforehand.

              1. re: Christina

                One slightly different possibility is the Universal City Hilton, which is Taiwanese owned and has a fine Chinese restaurant, which permits having a Chinese banquet in one of their ballrooms. I've heard of various Chinese banquets being held there (e.g., political and social organizations), but I've never been to a wedding banquet there.

                1. re: Chandavkl

                  on this topic, my friend was married a few months ago and had his banquet at the universal hilton. the food was delicious, quite possibly the best tasting wedding banquet dinner that i have ever been to!!

                  1. re: wilafur

                    Yes. Since the original 2000 post I've been there a number of times. Food is definitely good, but it is sooo expensive. I think a typical banquet runs around $700 per table.

                    1. re: wilafur

                      Sorry to resurrect a dead thread, but has anyone been here (Universal Hilton) for a Chinese banquet in the past year or so? Elite booked our date (after telling us we didn't need to reserve up until 3-4 months in advance), so now we're scrambling to make alternate arrangements.

                      Any other suggestions for somewhere small (8-10 tables) beyond the usual suspects (Elite, Sea Harbor, Lunasia)?

                      1. re: will47

                        How about Happy Harbour in Rowland Heights?

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          That is one other place that was kind of on my radar. It's a little far east, but if the food is enough better than the other places mentioned, it might be worth considering.

                          1. re: will47

                            Happy Harbour is easily on par with Sea Harbour and Elite.

                        2. re: will47

                          Just went to wedding @ Pacific Palms in Industry Hills. They served 10 course chinese style. It was decent, better than I had expected.

                          1. re: will47

                            Usually, you don't need to reserve that far in advance, but if someone insists on it, it's first-come, first-serve. You can get very good food at just about any of the large Cantonese restaurants as long as you are willing to pay for it.

                            Does it need to be a Cantonese seafood restaurant like the ones you've listed above? If so, try NBC in Monterey Park, Capital Seafood in Arcadia, or 888 in Rosemead. Of these, Capital Seafood is the smallest, and you'd probably take up most of the restaurant. The others are huge.

                            If you are more flexible, you might want to try Seafood Village in Temple City. It's not a Cantonese seafood place, but you can definitely have a Chinese banquet there.

                            1. re: will47

                              A friend's daughter just got married there (Universal Hilton). it's excellent. How about Monterey Park Hilton?

                              1. re: PeterL

                                Despite what common sense would dictate, I have always heard that the banquet food at the SG Hilton actually isn't as good as the Universal City one. I've never eaten at either, so that's all second hand. Also seen mixed reviews of dealing with the folks who coordinate wedding stuff there. Location-wise, San Gabriel would be better.

                                1. re: will47

                                  I know there were absolute horror stories floating around about the San Gabriel Hilton's banquets, particularly when they opened up. I have never been invited to a wedding banquet at the San Gabriel Hilton, while in contrast I've attended several at the Universal City Hilton (obviously after my original 2000 post), which probably says something right there.

                          2. re: Chandavkl

                            i went to a wedding banquet in the ballroom, the problem is its not "fancy" the ball room itself.

                            it just looks like an empty hall

                  2. With the natural reaction of focusing on Chinatown and the San Gabriel Valley, I've overlooked what is probably the nicest Chinese banquet facility in the Los Angeles area, Prince Seafood in Cerritos. I've only been there a couple of times due to its location and price. The main dining room is nicely decorated with a three story high interior ceiling, and the last time I was there they had a gal playing the cello for the diners. The restaurant serves a fine gourmet Hong Kong (i.e., expensive) menu. It originally opened several years ago as Princess Garden, branch of a British Chinese seafood restaurant. It's at 11828 South Street.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Chandavkl
                      Christina Fong

                      Again, thanks everyone for the input. ATTENTION ALL FUTURE BRIDES LOOKING FOR A CHINESE RESTAURANT!!! Prince Seafood in Cerritos is THE place! It has it ALL - sophisticated ambiance, dramatic elevated ceilings, reasonable banquet menu, and 'real' Chinese food (disclaimer - I have NOT eaten there yet, so can't comment on the food, but from the looks of it, it doesn't look like it will miss the mark). I searched high and low for an authentic Chinese restaurant that would have a real classy feel. I searched restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley, Chinatown, and the West side. Food is always delicious in Chinatown & San Gabriel Valley, but in terms of decor, they're not quite 'there.' As far as restaurants on the West side, they either did not have the classic 10 course meal, or could not accomodate a wedding banquet of 150+ people. Plus many of the restaurants that score high on the decor (PF Changs, Mr. Chow's, Yujean Kang's, etc. all kind of have that Cal-Asian Chinese fusion thing going, and me and my fiancee's family's are strictly traditional when it comes to food.) Universal Hilton has a decent menu and is fairly elegant, but is overpriced in terms of the menu - you pretty much pay for the ambiance. Little did I know that the 'perfect' Chinese wedding banquet restaurant existed in Cerritos. Thanx to the chowhound message board!

                      1. re: Christina Fong

                        I've been to 20+ weddings in the last few years. Unfortunately, what I've experience is that you'll get the high class decor but the quality of food doesn't match. For example, the Chinese banquet at the Universal Hilton is subpar to the banquet at Ocean Star.

                        My advice is that you actually eat there before you reserve the place. Most people (well, Chinese people) will remember the food rather than the atmosphere. People still rave about the food at my banquet at Ocean Star 3 years ago and I still remember the horrible banquets I've had up in the Bay Area to this day!

                        1. re: trojanita

                          must disagree with you on the universal hilton and ocean star comparison. ime, the universal hilton's wedding banquet is much better then the banquets at ocean star.

                          1. re: wilafur

                            i don't know about that. the lukewarm temperature of dishes tend to distract me. then again, it was 3 years ago...quality of the food may have gone up and down.

                            1. re: trojanita

                              3yrs is quite a long time. all the dishes that were supposed to be hot came out piping hot when i was last there (@3mo's ago). man, i'm hungry.

                              1. re: wilafur

                                bottom line: try before you buy. :)

                                1. re: trojanita

                                  i am never adverse to being the guinea pig. =)

                    2. My fiance is Chinese, and we'd like to have a Chinese banquet rehearsal dinner. Is there anyplace at the beach or in West LA? Santa Monica, Venice, Marina, Palisades, Malibu area?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: oceangal

                        How many tables would you need? A couple of authentic Chinese restaurants on the westside might be appropriate if you only need a small number of tables--Hop Li at 11901 Santa Monica Bl., or VIP Harbor Seafood at 11701 Wilshire Bl.

                      2. Check out Empress Pavillion. We had the wedding ceremony and banquet there several years ago and were quite satisfied. My mother wanted a certain menu which would appeal to Lofan people and they were very accomodating. They'll put together anything you want. They do a good presentation, the food is good and comes out when you tell them when you want it served. They also let us bring in our own wine and champagne. Any Chinese place you go to if you say you're going to pay in cash, they'll give you a break.

                        My multi-millionaire boss who never went to a Chinese banquet was so impressed and he never stops talking about the meal he had there and no complaints from any of our Chinese friends and relatives.

                        I've been to several banquets there for other occaisions and its always been good.

                        1. We need tables for about 100-125 people.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: oceangal

                            I'm not sure if there is anything west of Chinatown that can accommodate that number, but you might make an inquiry at the places mentioned above. Also, try Capri Garden in the hotel at Manchester and Airport Blvd., north of LAX. I seem to recall that they had a banquet menu, and while I didn't think the restaurant was that large, there may be additional space that I didn't notice.

                            1. re: oceangal

                              You might try GOLDEN CHINA in Culver City (


                              Nothing really fancy and definitely not on par with the stuff in SGV, but they should be able to accommodate a banquet for ~100 people.

                              Call them. (310) 559-0116

                              Good luck.