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Mar 28, 2009 09:03 AM

South Bay Thai, Indian, and/or American-Chinese Restaurants that you go to often

While I have actually have been known to drive a few hours when I get a hankerin' for a special meal, I'm looking for local go-to places when driving more than 30 minutes is not an option (either because I'm starving or because I'd like to finish dinner before I start eating breakfast).

I searched the boards and most food posts lately on Asian food are about soup dumplings, dim sum, sushi, noodle houses, and Korean food... or, the recommendations are "go to Chinatown, Arcadia or Monterey Park."

I live in the city of Torrance.

I'm looking for suggestions for American-style Chinese food restaurants in the South Bay. I'm at a loss of where to go. If i wanted pickled eel whiskers with black mushrooms in an XO sauce, I already have my go-to restaurant for that dish (that was a joke). I'd like your picks for Mandarin and Szechuan style cuisine. I'm not a huge Cantonese fan. Sometimes, I just feel like Kung Pao Chicken, mongolian/szechuan beef, pork fried rice, and/or a chow mein dish.

Please do not recommend the P.F. Chang - Panda Express type restaurants.

On the same note... it seems like Thai restaurants,of which there are many in the South Bay, particularly off of PCH, is no longer a trendy cuisine and it hasn't been discussed recently. I've been to a few Thai restaurants in the South Bay and I've been unimpressed. My usual issue is that the restaurant looks dirty, or they skimp on the protein or it's just not spicy enough.

Would love to hear what places you frequent the most.

This is another cuisine that there is seemingly an endless number of restaurants in the South Bay, and, well, I've been unlucky in picking out a place I'd want to frequent on a regular basis. Addi's Tandoori was maybe the closest I've found to tasty eats, but it's pricier than most and with the economy in the tank, I'd like to be able to eat out frequently and still pay the mortgage. My least favorite indian meal in recent memory was Red Fort (In one line, "The Dead Sea called, and it wanted it's salt back.")

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  1. These 2 are my favorite spots for India in the South Bay. Bombay Grocery buffet for $5 cnnot be beat and their sister place Anarkali is even better at $6.50. I am blown away by the Quality Price Ratio at these two spots run my lovely people whom actually care that you have a nice meal. Take a look at these links. You must try these spots and I would be happy to meet you there if you like..

    1 Reply
    1. re: Foodandwine

      i wholeheartedly second the recommendation of BOMBAY GROCERY.

    2. On the Chinese these are my go to spots for Lunch Specials. Every day till 4 I think. Great food at Great prices too. I like them both. But I like the Seafood Port just a little bit better..

      Seafood Town
      22922 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505

      Seafood Port
      21180 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503

      5 Replies
      1. re: Foodandwine

        Seafood Port and Seafood Town are both very good. But they're Hong Kong style Cantonese restaurants rather than Americanized Mandarin/Szechwan.

        1. re: Chandavkl

          " I'm not a huge Cantonese fan. Sometimes, I just feel like Kung Pao Chicken, mongolian/szechuan beef, pork fried rice, and/or a chow mein dish"
          They do have the dishes the OP requested.. Still the best Chinese that I can find in the South Bay.. Chandavkl thanks for the correction did not know they were that style..

          1. re: Foodandwine

            Well since they have a mixed audience, they do serve non-Cantonese dishes to satisfy the locals. But I would only eat the Cantonese food myself since the general rule of thumb is that you don't go to a Cantonese restaurant to eat Mandarin food (and vice versa).

            1. re: Chandavkl

              And just to repeat what's been stated in previous threads, both restaurants (Seafood Port and Seafood Town) are owned by the same family...

        2. re: Foodandwine

          my mom and I went to Seafood Port today. We had the lunch specials of spicy eggplant and the fried scallops. Oh YUM, the place was doing a great take out as well as sit down. The hot and sour soup was delicous, served within minutes of sitting down. $6.50 for a huge plate of freid and battered scallops, can't beat that. The servings are enough for 2 people, we will have a great lunch again tomorrow. They have a huge regular menu as well, go and enjoy!

        3. THAI
          If you haven't tried "Siam I Am" yet you're in for a treat. It's located on the west side of P.C.H. just north of Torrance blvd. Don't let it's diminutive size fool you. This little gem makes the tastiest most authentic dishes on par with Thai town. The best part may be the price. Lunch specials which include choice or white or brown rice. choice or meats or tofu (shrimp $1 extra) and a small salad are just$ 4.99. My favorites are the yellow curry and the eggplant with thai basil both with steamed tofu. Regular menu items are not much more expensive. Kao Soi and Thom Ka Kai are my non lunch favorites. Try it, you'll like it! Spotlessly clean with friendly service.

          The small Indian place east side of Hawthorne in the northern most portion of the strip mall north of Torrance blvd is my go to vegetarian. All day specials for $3.99 gets you a curry veg of the day plus two more veg choices rice and chappati. For $4.99 you can substitute one curry meat dish (chicken, lamb or goat) or for $5.99 choose two meat dishes. They also offer regular menu items.

          1 Reply
          1. re: soto i am

            AHa, soto_i_am, you mean All Indian Sweets and Spices. Samosas are still 75 cents.

            What gore_mutt said - Al Noor and Al Watan. CTM is so boring, go Paki.

            I'll add that Annapurna Garden in Lawndale is South Indian/vegetarian oriented but also has chicken dishes. I don't think they're related to Annapurna Cuisine on Palos Verdes Blvd near Sepulveda.

            Little Asia is an inexpensive 'simplified Chinese' place, no steam tables. Lunch specials and soups are especially good. You always feel good after eating here.


            Al Watan
            13619 Inglewood Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250

            Al Noor
            15112 Inglewood Ave, Lawndale, CA 90260

            Little Asia
            12725 Hawthorne Blvd, Hawthorne, CA 90250

            All Indian Sweets and Snacks
            20916 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503

          2. THAI - This place is really good for the Gardena Torrance area. It's not a pricey sit down place like Chaba in Redondo. The pad thai is good and the curries are also solid. Thai beef salad has a good kick with the tang as well. It's not Renu Nakorn but we're talking Gardena/Torrance...
            Three Spices Thai
            16400 S Western Ave
            Gardena, CA 90247
            (310) 516-6514

            1. Thank you for the suggestions. I'm still looking for a mandarin/szechuan chinese restaurant if anyone has a tip. Again, I'm not into Cantonese restaurants. I go by the mantra "don't go to a coffee shop and order the steak and lobster special" or "if you're at a steak house, you should order the steak." Cantonese restaurants are cantonese restaurants because they cook cantonese food.

              6 Replies
              1. re: DrBruin

                But for the dishes that you stated I still think that you are being short sighted with passing on them unless you have tried them already.. I personally do not consider them Cantonese at all.. Perhaps I will ask next time around.. Understand the point "when in rome".. Update.. I just called Seafood Port and they are indeed Cantonese. But the food still rocks.. Sorry for the bad tip..

                1. re: Foodandwine

                  Short sighted? Only when I'm not wearing my glasses. ha. Don't sweat bad tips. Every post on here is an opinion..... They're neither right or wrong (most of the time, but that's IMHO). Most everyone on here is just trying to help someone else get a little closer to food nirvana by sharing their experience.

                  I mean, if that's the only tip I'm going to receive on a SB mandarin/szechuan style restaurant... then so be it. I'll end up giving it a try at these Cantonese restaurants... it'd just be nice to get a mandarin/szechuan style restaurant rec.

                  1. re: Foodandwine

                    I wouldn't call it a bad tip. Kung Pao Chicken and Mongolian Beef are not Cantonese dishes, while fried rice and chow mein generally are (though there may be regional variations). But the truth is that a significant sector of the dining public just thinks of Chinese dishes without regard to regions, and Cantonese or non-Cantonese restaurants will bring in dishes from the other side to keep their customers satisfied. For example you may have read on this board about the the symbolic re-opening in downtown of the old Far East Cafe by the new Chop Suey Cafe. Far East Cafe was an old style Cantonese restaurant, but Chop Suey Cafe's classic old time menu includes kung pao chicken and orange chicken, two non-Cantonese dishes which didn't even exist in LA when Far East Cafe was in its heyday.

                    1. re: Chandavkl

                      I think this point was already made, Chandavkl.

                      How about this... do you know of a Mandarin-Szechuan FOCUSED restaurant (and I'd even be okay if they served a few cantonese style dishes) rather than the other way around?

                      Honestly, this is what I'm looking for... if you don't know of any that you'd recommend, no need to post a non-answer.

                      1. re: DrBruin

                        You might try Shanghai Palace, in the Ramada Inn at 2880 Pacific Coast Highway, Torrance. It's an authentic Shanghai style restaurant with good stuff like XLB, lion's head meatballs and rice cakes. But I think they also include Americanized favorites on their menu, so it might be worth your while to check it out.