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

DrBruin Mar 28, 2009 09:03 AM

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.")

  1. Foodandwine Mar 28, 2009 10:14 AM

    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
      westsidegal Apr 3, 2009 11:39 PM

      i wholeheartedly second the recommendation of BOMBAY GROCERY.

    2. Foodandwine Mar 28, 2009 10:19 AM

      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
        Chandavkl Mar 28, 2009 10:30 AM

        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
          Foodandwine Mar 28, 2009 10:32 AM

          " 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
            Chandavkl Mar 28, 2009 10:52 AM

            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
              Joe Blowe Mar 28, 2009 11:13 AM

              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
          JEN10 Apr 6, 2009 03:17 PM

          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. s
          soto i am Mar 28, 2009 12:11 PM

          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
            DiveFan Apr 5, 2009 04:03 PM

            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. t
            ToroTaku Mar 29, 2009 12:53 AM

            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. DrBruin Mar 29, 2009 12:14 PM

              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
                Foodandwine Mar 29, 2009 12:57 PM

                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
                  DrBruin Mar 29, 2009 01:52 PM

                  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
                    Chandavkl Mar 29, 2009 02:54 PM

                    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
                      DrBruin Mar 29, 2009 02:57 PM

                      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
                        Chandavkl Mar 29, 2009 03:09 PM

                        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.

                        1. re: Chandavkl
                          DrBruin Mar 29, 2009 03:11 PM

                          Thank you.

                2. t
                  torty Mar 29, 2009 08:41 PM

                  If you are willing to drive just a bit to RPV the lunch specials at Fu Yuan Low are very reasonable, always freshly made. 310-541-0803

                  1. s
                    soto i am Apr 3, 2009 12:40 PM

                    ANARKALI on crenshaw in torrance. Finally tried the lunch buffet yesterday. WOW! A taste experience of the highest order. Truly authentic spicing. Tandoori chicken, tika masala and a curry chicken coupled with vegetable (Squash and garbanza) and yougurt curries. Included naan, salad, mango lassi and gulab jamon. A great bargain even at a higher than the $6.50 tax included price. If you love delicious Indian, rush on down to this restaurant.

                    24416 Crenshaw Blvd. Torrance
                    310 325 8831

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: soto i am
                      Foodandwine Apr 3, 2009 04:19 PM

                      Soto.. Glad that you liked it.. Its on my go to spot 3 or more times monthly..

                      1. re: Foodandwine
                        Densible Apr 3, 2009 08:41 PM

                        Back in the day my fav Indian was called ANARKALI on Melrose in Hollywood. Could it be the same or the same family? I am excited to try it.
                        Re: Schezuan or however it is spelled, we think Schewan Kitchen (another bad spelling) next to Red Fort (agree about the salt and the endless wait for service and the loud Indian MTV on the big screen is an unwelcome distraction at least the last time we were there)is okay. There is not much to chose from. There is the place on Sepulveda in MB-forgot the name but has Szechwan in it-my partner loves the Kung Pao Shrimp.

                        1. re: Densible
                          DrBruin Apr 3, 2009 10:59 PM

                          I couldn't agree with you more about the rest of the comments about Red Fort. The place was empty, the service was slow, and to have the annoying music videos in the background, was an unnecessary distraction. I suppose it's there to entertain the staff because the place was empty. What's funny, is that I posted a similar comment about this restaurant in the past because I swear the owner's tried to buzz up their own restaurant and got offended when I called them out.

                          I just saw the Szechuan restaurant you were talking to when I was driving on that street this past week but I think I'm going to try and find the MB restaurant. Perhaps you can ask your partner if they remember the name and post it. I love Kung Pao...

                          1. re: DrBruin
                            CocoKauai Apr 4, 2009 05:24 PM

                            I think it may be Szechuan,924 N. Sepulveda, M.B., across the street from BR 31 Flavors. Not bad, depends on what you order and I'm sorry it's been a while since I've been. I think the tangerine spicy chicken was a good dish.
                            Previous to Red Fort, the food was delicious but seriously gone down hill since new concept, unless you like the blaring Bollywood ambience. Worth the drive: Taste of India, Sherman Oaks; the Chicken Makhni is divine.

                            924 N Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

                            1. re: CocoKauai
                              Foodandwine Apr 4, 2009 06:37 PM

                              Well its Two Thumbs Down for me. I had the Lunch Buffet at Red Fort some 3 months ago as it was touted rather well on yelp. Had lunch, the naan was the best part.. Kinda lackluster in means of taste. Not many people there either.
                              Szechuan ( across from 31 flavors), went there a few months back for dinner with about 10 people so we had an opportunity to taste many dishes. Gosh nothing stood out at all.. Sorry but I just did not like either place.

                              1. re: Joe Blowe
                                Foodandwine Apr 4, 2009 07:14 PM

                                Al Watan is better I like the place allot. When dining solo I always do the lunch special or dinner special plates . Great varitey naan, coulple of veggies and a few meats.. Excellent..

                                1. re: Joe Blowe
                                  DrBruin Apr 5, 2009 02:41 AM

                                  I totally suspected they were shills. I called them out on one occasion and it was my posting that was being removed "for being off topic" probably. I basically said that I disagreed with that glowing review, because, let's face it, the food was atrocious... borderline inedible. And, there was absolutely no difference between the butter chicken and the chicken tikka masala we ordered.

                                  And, to top it off, I'm driving by the other day and they have a van with a huge sign trying to mooch off of the slumdogmillionaire movie buzz..... absolutely pathetic.

                      2. g
                        gore_mutt Apr 5, 2009 08:48 AM

                        I'm uncomfortable being a "one-trick-pony" but this question seems like a hanging curveball to me: some of my favorite restaurants in all of l.a. are Indian and south bay:
                        BILAL; AL WHATAN; AL NOOR
                        hope they are not too far north for you

                        1. DrBruin Apr 5, 2009 10:56 AM

                          Thank you for all the INDIAN food suggestions... I've got places to try for the next 6 months (sorta).

                          Now, are there any (more) of the SZECHUAN/MANDARIN or THAI rec's for the south bay?

                          1. martiniman Apr 5, 2009 04:06 PM

                            Well, for Thai I sometimes go to Chaba on PCH in Redondo. It's ok, I would have to say the best place I've been to in the South Bay.

                            For Indian, I go to Addi's and Kabab Curry. Addi's used to be really good, but it's gone somewhat downhill. Kabab used to be just OK, but it's improved since it's under new management. Never been to Angara or Red Fort.

                            Addi's Tandoor
                            800 Torrance Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

                            Kabab Curry
                            25332 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505

                            525 S Pacific Coast Hwy, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: martiniman
                              tkquan Apr 22, 2009 03:42 PM

                              Driving on Inglewood Avenue the other night on my way to try Al Watan and passed Al Noor. Looks like Al Noor is closed (permanently) and their website is also down.

                              1. re: tkquan
                                young_chower Apr 23, 2009 11:08 AM

                                THIS IS FALSE!!!

                                I just called them and after the longest three rings of my life, they picked up and said they are still open.

                                I repeat, Al Noor is still open and still serving the addicting chicken tala gosht, palak paneer, tikka masala paneer, naan, etc

                                (as far as the website, I don't believe it was ever functional.)

                              2. re: martiniman
                                DiveFan Apr 23, 2009 05:18 PM

                                Jeez, don't scare me like that. BTW I found the correct web site
                                and updated the CH Place and Google; the site looks active to me.

                                Annapurna Garden
                                15651 Hawthorne Blvd, Lawndale, CA 90260

                              3. s
                                SilverlakePhil Jun 7, 2009 10:15 AM

                                Growing up in Carson, Torrance was the destination for Americanized Chinese Food. Hong Kong Gardens & Golden Pheasant both accross the street from Harbor -Ucla Hospital were the prime destinations for me & my family. I think Michelle Kwan's family used to own Golden Pheasant. I think these two Restauarants are stil around, but I doubt if they're still good as they used to be. The other place was Ding How's on Carson & Cabrillo just down the way. I think this Restaurant closed down many years ago.

                                1. westsidegal Jun 7, 2009 10:32 AM

                                  not exactly an indian restaurant, more like a half-grocery/half-restaurant, but they serve a limited variety of well-prepared, flavorful, vegetarian indian food BOMBAY GROCERY on pch near oak (east of narbonne).

                                  they offer an ayce deal for about $6 that i think is the best bang for the buck in the LA area.

                                  1. f
                                    FatTooth Jun 8, 2009 01:13 PM

                                    my favorite place for mongolian beef in the south bay is little china which is located in a little strip mall in gardena. lunch specials are a great value for the amount of food you get.
                                    Little China Restaurant
                                    18026 S. Western Ave.
                                    Gardena, CA 90248 310-327-1585

                                    1. a
                                      annapurna7 Jun 8, 2009 01:54 PM

                                      My go-to (usually take-out) place for Thai in the area is Lomita Thai. It's on PCH near Western in Lomita. I'll usually get the pad kee mao, the pineapple curry and/or the yum nuah....all have been consistently good and I've been ordering from them for years. The green curry and panang curries are good as well. The Pad Thai is not their strongest dish and the po-tak soup was good the couple of times I've had it. The restaurant is clean and the hostess that is usually there is friendly.

                                      If I'm in the mood for brown curry, I'll go the Tasty Siam, on Western and Palos Verdes Drive North in Harbor City. It's definitely not as clean as Lomita Thai, so we don' t order from here as often. If Lomita Thai offered brown curry, we wouldn't bother with Tasty Siam.

                                      For Chinese, There is China Tea House on Sepulveda near Madrona. I haven't been there in year, but I remember it was decent.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: annapurna7
                                        soto i am Jun 21, 2009 01:19 PM

                                        ANARKALI halal on Crenshaw Blvd. unfortunately closed and replaced by a halal burger joint. Very sad as I really liked the lunch buffet at this place. Owner was supposedly remodeling. Same owner as Bombay Grocers on P.C.H in Lomita which is surprisingly not in the same league as Anarkali

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