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Good Chinese Food on the Westside???

I've lived in Venice for a year and a half and would love to find a GOOD chinese restaurant nearby....HELP!

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    1. It's really hard to find 'great' Chinese in LA...BUT... we have found a Cantonese Chinese restaurant on Pico, not too far from Venice, called "Hop LI" and it comes closer to anything I've had that reminds me of a Chinese restaurant I knew, loved and adored in Chinatown in Seattle years ago that closed down because the family decided it was time to 'smell the roses'. Good Chinese food is subjective but give this a try....who knows you may like it! They just remodeled their kitchen with 'state of the art' industrial stainless steel and their kitchen is most likely, as Chinese food kitchens go, the cleanest in LA....that's a big plus for me.
      I'm expecting a thumbs down from several on this board but Hey!....I did say good Chinese is in the eye of the beholder....right? :)

      1. Try Hop Woo on Olympic in West LA. Good Cantonese and ask about the daily specials written in Chinese on the whiteboard in the dining room. I'm not sure if those are offered every day, or if they put them up just for the weekend. They tend to name some of these dishes with embellished titles. So if you don't read or speak the language, you'll need to ask for an actual description. We've been happy with the results.

        Lin's on Pico, just east of Barrington, has some good dishes, mostly Cantonese style as well, but they also do Shanghainese rice cakes with pork and bok choy, and some of their specials can be pretty good. My friends from New York who have visited here say this place reminds them of Chinese joints back home. They even put out the obligatory fried chow mein noodles with sweet chili dipping sauce. They tend to go easy on the salt, and are usually pretty generous with the proteins. The last special we had there was salt pepper fried tofu, which is prepared and served just like salted pepper shrimp. If this is the kind of dish you like, just ask. In fact, this goes true for just about anything. If you don't see it on the menu, ask. If they can make it, they will. Service is good as well. A tallish Chinese man with glasses named Peter is very attentive.

            1. re: bulavinaka

              Hey, I freakin' love Panda Express -- that orange chicken is like crack.

              There are good places (as in tasty) but nothing authentic. Give Little Hong Kong on Sawtelle a try.

              1. re: a_and_w

                I like Little Hong Kong Cafe and Hu's the best. Both are inconsistent, but when either is on, they're ON.

                -----
                Hu's Szechwan Restaurant
                10450 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

          1. I'm confused. I've read the OP and the six responses so far, and read about Hop Li and Lin's on Pico, Hop Woo, and even Panda Express. But the three places mentioned listed to the right, Hu's, Canton Kitchen, and Szechwan, are not in any of the posts.

            In my experience, Hu's is the best Chinese on the westside. I really like their lunch combos, the ones with soup, a small crisp Chinese chicken salad, and then a large entree and rice. They do a great job with kung pao -- the chicken is velvetted and tender, the shrimp are large and tasty. Their dumplings are good, their eggplant or green beans in garlic sauce make a good side, though are a bit one-note for a main dish. I have tried just about every Chinese place on the westside, I've liked particular items at one or another (the hot'n'sour soup and shredded pork with broccoli a la Cheng Du at the former Chung King on Pico), but Hu's is my clear favorite.

            Canton Kitchen is by far the most disappointing, repulsive Chinese meal (or any meal) I've had in L.A. I wanted to like the place, and had heard good things about their eggrolls. But the dishes I got were bland, had gloppy sauce, and no flavor or freshness (and I ordered extra-spicy). The beef and chicken were dismal -- gristle, cartilage, chew, tough -- anything but tender or tasty. Truly bad quality ingredients and product.

            VIP Seafood is on the second floor of the minimall on the N/W corner of Wilshire at Barrington. They are the only place serving dim sum on the westside. It is surprisingly good -- the prices aren't horrible, it is cart service, the basic items are there and pretty good. If you aren't going to go all the way to the SGV, it does fine -- in my experience, on a par with Ocean Seafood or the vagaries of Empress Pavilion in Chinatown. The one thing I objected to was the parking policy on the weekend -- valet only, and validated only for a fraction of even a quick dim sum lunch, when the rest of the mall is closed or empty -- stupid, offputting policy.

            I'd like to like Hop Woo, on the S/W corner of Olympic at Sepulveda to the west side of the strip mall. I've seen good and interesting dishes come out of the kitchen. But a lot of their business is takeout from the steamtables to the side. As a white person dining alone, I was given reluctant, perfunctory service the two times I stopped in for lunch. Add the parking hassles in that lot at the lunch rush with a couple other fastfood joints, and I just didn't enjoy myself and can't recommend it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nosh

              re: service at hop woo

              as a mandarin speaking chinese person, i am also given reluctant and perfunctory service as well. =)

            2. yogachik, what dishes do you recommend at Little Hong Kong Cafe? i ordered the broccoli with beef, chicken and shrimp for lunch there, and specified spicy. it was a fairly generous serving, but it was bland for my taste. it was also more expensive than Hu's, and didn't include the middle salad course.

              what do you like at Hu's? actually, i find them pretty consistent. i like the twice-cooked pork (no tofu) and the kung pao chicken. when i've tried to shake things up, i've been disappointed -- the sweet and sour was dreadful, with bready saturated coating, and the shrimp chop suey had an off taste and the shrimp a weird texture, not nearly as good as the shrimp in the kung pao. the eggplant in garlic sauce is good but too oily and monotonous for a single item (good side when sharing though) and i haven't brought myself to try to sour chicken (sugar and jicama?) or the beef & green pepper in brown sauce. i did have a revelation recently -- ordered the kung pao chicken with extra sauce, came in a soup bowl, and took the leftovers home to mix with a bunch of vegies like carrot, onion, and celery -- fantastic!

              2 Replies
              1. re: nosh

                Nosh, as a fan of mongolian beef, you should definitely try that dish at Little Hong Kong.

                1. re: nosh

                  at Hu's: I love their Szechwan wontons and the Szechwan beef -
                  at Little Hong Kong: I like anything they make with the garlic sauce.

                  Westside places tend to use too much sauce, and it's usually heavy on either the sugar or the soy - but these two don't do that (usually). I agree that Chang's is pretty good, but Little Hong Kong is much, much, better.

                2. I LOVE 'Soy Bean' WLA on Wilshire Blvd.
                  Sooooooooooo good! Mmmmm

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Pineapple099

                    I must've driven by Soybean about a zillion times -- it's on the south side of Wilshire sorta near Bundy, right? Tiny little storefront, and it looks like the restaurant has been closed for a year. Never heard or read a thing about it. What is good there? I'm willing to give any Chinese place a try, especially for an inexpensive lunch, especially if they'll do stuff spicy and no tofu! Is there seating inside or is it takeout only?

                    1. re: nosh

                      Soybean is passable, but I'd go to Chang's on San Vicente if I wanted Chinese in the area.

                      1. re: a_and_w

                        Chang's does not even have chopsticks on the table, although some of their dishes are nice and old style standards (I like their Kung pao chicken, spareribs are nice, moo shoo is nice too). They also do a lighter version of dishes with a white sauce that are supposed to have less oil.

                        Hop Woo always looks packed on weekends, is it better than Hu's?

                        1. re: noshie

                          Try the garlic green beans, black bean chicken, and the General Tso's chicken (crispy orange chicken) at Chang's. I actually don't particularly like their kung pao, which I prefer with crunchy vegetables like celery and carrots.

                          1. re: noshie

                            I just had dinner at Hu's. Our table did not have chopsticks (we had to ask)

                            The spicy Szechuan dumplings were tasty.

                            The sizzling rice soup was too salty and I think Chang's is better.

                            Both the kung pao and twice cooked port were gloopy, oversauced and oily and I think Chang's kung pao is better.

                            I'll try Hop Woo, but if that fails I guess I'm back to Chang's (I'll bring my own chopsticks)

                          2. re: a_and_w

                            chang's is not good at all. i had it for dinner when i was burning the midnight oil a month or so ago and foudn it to be extremely underwhelming.

                            1. re: wilafur

                              What did you order? Also, what time did you order? Was it by any chance a rather abrupt man who answered the phone?

                              1. re: a_and_w

                                my asst ordered for the entire team that evening. we had a mish mosh of crispy chow mein, fried rice, chicken/veggie over rice, etc and the food ranged from bleh to mediocre.

                                1. re: wilafur

                                  That's too bad. There are plenty of mediocre dishes on their menu, and it sounds like you got a lot of them. I can tell you were pretty turned off, but I urge you to give them another shot -- I really believe there's stuff worth trying (e.g.., general tso's chicken, black bean chicken, garlic green beans, and potstickers).

                                  One more tip: do not order delivery from them after 8pm. The man who often answers the phone can be vindictive and seems to resent "late" orders.

                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                    all good. i'll think about it....but i am probably going stick to india's oven across the street from me for late night sustenance. =)