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May 11, 2009 12:55 PM

Recommendations for Chinatown

Hey there - to celebrate my wife's birthday, my son's high school graduation and the families desire to visit Chinatown finally after all these years, we've settled on eating somewhere this coming Sunday.

Wanted to know what sort of recommendations people have there?

To give you a way to narrow suggestions, my wife and son are not as adventurous as I am, so the menu should be rooted in what Americans traditionally know from Chinese restaurants, but be a bit on the exceptional side with some adventure mixed in. Nothing cheap, but not high end, either. Not looking for a place that has the best "foams" and "reductions" (my poor attempt at humor) or the chic-est decor. Just good food served well.

Thanks in advance - you guys have always been a great barometer.

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  1. Not my favorite, but I suspect Three Happiness might be a good fit for what you're looking for.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chandavkl

      If you do go to, please note that there are two restaurants with that name right across the street from each other. One is huge, the other is a little hole in the wall. You want the little one. I'd also recommend Lao Sze Chuan, which has a HUGE menu (although obviously the Szechuan dishes are the main attraction). Lao Sze Chuan has a bit of a "nicer" atmosphere than Little Three Happiness (but it certainly isn't high end).

      "Little" Three Happiness
      209 W Cermak Rd
      (312) 842-1964

      Lao Sze Chuan
      2172 S Archer Ave
      (312) 326-5040

      1. re: jesteinf

        Yes, the original one probably from the 70s on Cermak as opposed to the "New Three Happiness" with the Wentworth street address.

        1. re: Chandavkl

          Little Three Happiness is good - but for a celebration-type event, I don't think the place fits the bill.

    2. It's not clear whether you would prefer spicy Szechuan cuisine or mild Cantonese cuisine. Either way, you'll find good recommendations in the discussion at

      And if you're looking for nicer surroundings, the decor at Double Li is far nicer than Lao Sze Chuan; while I would not describe it as an upscale restaurant, the room is more attractive and more nicely decorated. Both have excellent Szechuan food.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nsxtasy

        Probably looking for milder - eventually I'd like to try more places myself, but I'm a bit more adventurous than my family is.

        Thanks for the recommendations and keep them coming.

      2. Also, what about Dim Sum? Anyone do this exceptionally well on Sundays? Isn't that the traditional day it's served?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bhickman

          The original Three Happiness serves dimsum at lunch time.

          1. re: Bhickman

            For dim sum, I would recommend Phoenix (if you want carts) or Shui Wah (if you're ok with ordering dim sum from a menu). I love Little Three Happiness, but their dim sum isn't up to the level of Phoenix or Shui Wah.

            2131 S Archer Ave
            (312) 328-0848

            Shui Wah
            2162 S Archer Ave
            (312) 225-8811

          2. I recommend Moon Palace, which just reopened after a remodeling. You will find Americanized offerings like fried rice, eggrolls, etc. to satisfy the less adventurous members of your party as well as more sophisticated Chinese fare. There are some spicy items on the menu, but plenty without heat too. Food is consistently good.

            Here's their website:


            1 Reply
            1. re: masha

              Second for Moon Palace. It sounds like exactly what you want.

              Alternately, I would suggest Emperor's Choice for a more seafood-oriented menu.

              Moon Palace Restaurant
              216 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616

              Emperor's Choice
              2238 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

            2. I would recommend House of Fortune on Wentworth. Since this is a celebration, you get a nicer (clean) atmosphere, with linen service. You can get your traditional American style items - good crab rangoons, potstickers, orange chicken, fried rice while getting something a bit more adventurous for a celebration - Peking Duck service (think fancier crispy Chinese duck burrito), Hong Kong Steak (pan grilled T-bone w vegetables and oyster sauce), Shrimp/scallop bird's nest, or even head-on boiled shrimp (as Yao would say - "Eat the head!").

              2 Replies
              1. re: SkinnyChef

                We ended up going with House of Fortune and spending a lovely afternoon walking around Chinatown going into stores (I bought a candy thermometer and my son bought a ton of Asian candy).

                Very quiet (we were there about as it opened), very clean and incredibly good service. The food was terrific as well. Giant portions, well priced and delicious.

                We started with the Spring Rolls (which are actually egg rolls filled with vegetables, shrimp and chicken) and the BBQ Pork. My son made the mistake of dipping too much of the roll into the mustard sauce.

                We then ordered sweet & sour pork (my wife's choice), Singapore Noodles (all of us agreed on that one), Mongolian Beef (my son's choice) and Crispy Skin Chicken (my choice).

                All of it was great. The Mongolian Beef and Crispy skin chicken being the best of the bunch, imo.

                I'd actually go out of my way to go there again.