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Nice Chinese Restaurant - Atmosphere and Food?

  • j

I am looking for a good Chinese restaurant to take guests for dinner. I am looking for a place that has good food, but also nice atmosphere. Many of the places with good food lack in the decor/atmosphere department. So the 2 things I am looking for:

1- Decor/Atmosphere - Doesn't need to be as trendy as PF Chang's decor, but something nicer than Sam Woo's would be desired. Even something like Empress Pavillion during lunch dim sum would be okay, but I don't know if it is the same at dinner.

2- Food - Not looking for Americanized Chinese food like PF Chang's (even though I think they have good food) or Panda Express...something more traditional.

Preference would be east of downtown LA, but willing to travel to take them out as well.

Does something like this exist? Thanks!!!

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  1. I highly recommend Green Village in San Gabriel. Not-spicy, delicious Shanghai cuisine. Try the yellow fish with seaweed (they're deep fried sticks but they're amazing), the seabass in bean sauce, the green been starch with preserved vegetables, pretty much everything. The atmosphere is very upscale for the SGV.

    1. Hey jmp,

      Elite for dinner would fit your requirements nicely, IMHO. It's traditional Hong Kong Cantonese Seafood-style, with live seafood and some really interesting dishes (progressive and standout).

      Elite Restaurant
      700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

      1. Mission 261

        Mission 261 Restaurant
        261 S Mission Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

        2 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          For once, I agree wholeheartedly with you! Mission 261 is exactly the spot you're looking for.

          Mr Taster

          1. re: Mr Taster

            I also agree with Mission 261. The unusual "hacienda" setting makes it feel like a bit more of an event than most of the comparable upscale banquet-type places.

            Another possibility is New Capital in San Gabriel Mall, where the decor is maybe a little nicer than the norm although the service might be more typically chaotic. I reported on our recent meal there at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/491394

        2. Empress Harbour in Monterey Park...best service and cleaniness for an authentic Chinese restaurant.

          1. Empress Harbor or Elite in Monterey Park.

            1. We like Chang's Garden in Arcadia. Excellent food, elegant but not insanely ornate decor - none of the too-common ostentatious glitz'n'glitter - and very welcoming staff. We have not had dinner there, only lunch, but we've found the prices reasonable and the whole experience very comfortable. On Duarte Rd. just around the corner east of Baldwin, in a mall anchored by Arcadia Supermarket on the north side of the street. Chang's Garden is on a corner of the mall just off the street.

              1. A number of the restaurants already suggested are fine for what you are asking -- Mission 261, Empress Harbor, Elite, Triumphal Seafood. Empress Pavillion in Chinatown is OK but doesn't compare to the San Gabriel Vally restaurants. Another way to add a bit of style and service is to get a private room if you have at least 8 people. They can usually set up tables to accomodate 8 to 15.

                If you get a private room, even some of the places that can be chaotic in the main dining hall can become very comfortable -- Ocean Star and 888.

                1 Reply
                1. re: altstarr

                  I went through this for my wedding last year. The only private room we could find that didn't feel utterly claustrophobic and had a sense of style and feng shui was at Mission 261. For our 60 or so guests, all of the other places showed us these rooms which were literally tiny boxes with no windows in the back, whereas Mission 261 put us in a lounge room with beautiful earth tones and french doors in the front of the restaurant, looking out onto Mission Blvd.

                  Of course the food was wonderful, or I wouldn't be recommending it, despite the beauty of the place. I believe the manager we dealt with was Robert-- very funny, sarcastic guy.

                  Mr Taster

                2. FYI, all of the aforementioned recommendations are fine ones, but due to the breadth of Chinese food in Los Angeles, you should be aware that Northern/ Shanghai Chinese cuisine served at Chang's and Green Village is different from the much more familiar Cantonese ones such as Elite, Empress Harbour, and Mission 261. Cantonese dishes at Chang's and Green Village would not be their finest dishes.

                  1. You can also try Prince Seafood in Cerritos. Decor is much nicer than a typical chinese rest. They also have a mini bar on top floor. Oh, and they have roasted suckling pig :lol

                    1. I agree with many of the posters, you have to head out to SGV for some good authentic chinese, about 15 minutes further east from downtown if you dont have any traffic.

                      1. Thank you all for the recommendations. I will be eating out a lot this week checking out the locations. Along with some other searching, it seems like these were the primary recommendations: Mission 261, Empress Harbor, Elite (no particular order). Once I try them all, I will post a summary. Thanks again!

                        1. I like the Twin Dragon by Pico/La Cienega. Reasonable prices and nice service