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Best Chinese Restaurant in Southern California?

ipsedixit Jan 18, 2011 08:52 AM

What's the best Chinese restaurant in Southern California?

Use whatever criteria you want, whatever type of cuisine (e.g. Sichuan, Cantonese, etc.), type of food (e.g. dim sum, dumplings, noodles, fast food etc.), and price range to make your determination.

Let's not bicker about whether a particular restaurant nominated by a fellow 'Hound is right or wrong.

I just want to hear people's opinions on what they consider to be the best based on whatever criteria they want to use.

The only criteria is that it must serve some type of Chinese food -- be it fast food (Panda Express), Americanized Chinese (Yang Chow), dumplings (101 Noodle Express), or whatever strikes your fancy.

Personally, I have a hard time coming up with one. But if you put a gun to my head I'd probably say SEA HARBOUR.

There, I've committed. SEA HARBOUR would be my nominee for best Chinese restaurant in Southern California.


(Again, please, please, no debating a particular restaurant choice -- lets leave that for a later discussion, if at all.)

  1. m
    mc michael Jan 18, 2011 08:56 AM

    I think there are other places that might beat Sea Harbour on individual dishes or styles but across the board your pick seems solid.

    1. sku Jan 18, 2011 09:26 AM

      Wow, that's a tough one, particularly given the diversity of Chinese food in Southern California. I have lots of favorites, as I'm sure many people do. I agree that Sea Harbor is great, as are Elite and King Hua for dim sum and Cantonese. I've been really liking Wok and Noodle lately and Shanghainese is one of my favorite Chinese cuisines, and it's hard to beat Dean Sin World for XLB SJB.

      But if I had to pick just one I think I'd opt for Chung King. I don't think I've ever had a dish I haven't enjoyed there, from the cold appetizer line up of smoked chicken and boiled peanuts to the intensely peppercorned boiled beef and fish and fried chicken, and the pork with pickled peppers. Even the more innocuous dishes like the deep fried fish are excellent.

      So Chung King it is for me.

      Chung King Restaurant
      1000 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

      Dean Sin World
      306 N Garfield Ave # 2, Monterey Park, CA

      King Hua Restaurant
      2000 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801

      Wok and Noodle
      828 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803

      1. J.L. Jan 18, 2011 10:05 AM

        Yeah, as of January, 2011, my pick would have to be Sea Harbour as well.

        1 Reply
        1. re: J.L.
          reality check Jan 18, 2011 10:17 AM

          Dumping House in Arcadia for dumplings.

        2. wienermobile Jan 18, 2011 10:25 AM

          Sea Harbour!

          4 Replies
          1. re: wienermobile
            bgazindad Jan 20, 2011 05:29 PM

            what do you mean? What are you saying? Are you trying help or what?

            1. re: bgazindad
              Servorg Jan 20, 2011 05:34 PM

              I'll hazard a guess that wienermobile is saying his vote for best Chinese restaurant in the greater Los Angeles area is Sea Harbour. But, remember, that's only a guess...

              1. re: Servorg
                wienermobile Jan 20, 2011 07:23 PM

                Good guess.

                1. re: wienermobile
                  Servorg Jan 21, 2011 04:14 AM


          2. c
            chezwhitey Jan 18, 2011 11:03 AM

            depending on the night, lo wai lo, chang's garden.

            1. e
              estone888 Jan 18, 2011 11:06 AM

              In some ways, isn't this a little like Best European Restaurant in Southern California? I love Sea Harbour and Elite - which are similar - but I am no more always in the mood for their food than I am for, say, Italian or French or Spanish or Portuguese indiscriminately. I don't really go out for "Chinese food." I go out for Cantonese or other types of seafood, Sichuan, Shanghainese, dumplings, etc. I can't even recall the last time the thought process went like: I want Chinese food, okay, what type of Chinese food, where? It's more like, I want Shanghai food, where?

              One of the joys of L.A. is the diversity within cuisines. It's pretty much got the same way with Mexican food as with Chinese.

              11 Replies
              1. re: estone888
                Mr Taster Jan 18, 2011 02:26 PM

                ipsedixit posed the question fully aware of the absurdity and oversimplification required in order to answer it. It's just meant to be a fun exercise, not an analytical interpretation of the intricacies of Chinese food across LA. He's including Panda Express in the mix, fehcrissake! :)

                Mr Taster

                1. re: Mr Taster
                  ns1 Jan 18, 2011 02:35 PM

                  there is no better lettuce wrap than PF Changs.


                  (whether it's Chinese or not is an entirely different question)

                  1. re: ns1
                    Liquid Sky Jan 18, 2011 02:41 PM

                    Ooh, I've been dying to check out Sea Harbour. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO LOVE SEA HARBOUR: What are their best dishes? Thanks!

                    1. re: Liquid Sky
                      Servorg Jan 18, 2011 03:03 PM

                      You should review this review http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/726974 (g) and then make a battle plan and go.

                  2. re: Mr Taster
                    estone888 Jan 18, 2011 02:46 PM

                    Okay, point taken. I was in a cranky mood I guess. It's been one of those sorts of days. I suppose for just plain fun dining with great food and reasonable prices my pick would probably be Newport Seafood, although for a special occasion I'd probably have to concur with Sea Harbour, although it's a close thing with Elite. (But it has been a while since I've been to Elite for anything other than dim sum.)

                    Newport Seafood Restaurant
                    4411 W 1st St, Santa Ana, CA 92703

                    1. re: estone888
                      ipsedixit Jan 18, 2011 05:18 PM

                      Thanks for playing estone888.

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        estone888 Jan 18, 2011 05:26 PM

                        Just checked in and noticed this came up with the wrong Newport Seafood. I meant the one in Alhambra on Las Tunas. I've never been to the Santa Ana one.

                        1. re: estone888
                          carter Jan 18, 2011 07:03 PM

                          While I enjoy the Newport Seafood in San Gabriel, not Alhambra, on Las Tunas, my favorites are Hunan Seafood on Valley near Rosemead, and China Islamic, with Newport Seafood 3rd place and Chung King 4th.
                          Not much of a noodles fan.

                          Chung King Restaurant
                          1000 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                          China Islamic Restaurant
                          7727 Garvey Ave, Rosemead, CA 91770

                          Hunan Seafood Restaurant
                          8772 E Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

                      2. re: estone888
                        chezwhitey Jan 18, 2011 09:20 PM

                        If you really want to get technical about it, Newport is "vietnamese chinese" but who really cares at this point right? Great place though!

                        1. re: chezwhitey
                          will47 Jan 19, 2011 02:17 PM

                          They refer to themselves as "Chinese seafood with Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Thai influences".

                          1. re: will47
                            ipsedixit Jan 19, 2011 05:25 PM

                            Really is just Chiu Chou.

                  3. j
                    Jelly71 Jan 18, 2011 02:51 PM

                    my fave is Tampa Garden on Roscoe/Tampa in Northridge.

                    they make Americanized dishes and authentic dishes and all are fabulous. her version of Orange Chicken is perfect. and somehow, when you reheat it in the microwave a day or so later, it's not at all soggy. still totally crispy. it's like a little Chinese food miracle.

                    i adore their handmade cat ear noodles with chicken. i do not know what they do to their chicken meat, but it literally melts in your mouth. you barely have to chew it. and it is flavorful and moist.

                    i love that everyone from the foddiest foodie to your Uncle Joe who thinks Taco Bell is ethnic food can find something on the menu and be happy.

                    Tampa Garden
                    8241 Tampa Ave, Reseda, CA 91335

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Jelly71
                      ipsedixit Jan 18, 2011 05:18 PM

                      Well said, and thanks for chiming in.

                      1. re: Jelly71
                        foodiemahoodie Jan 19, 2011 07:14 PM

                        Crispy? In a microwave? Is that even possible?

                      2. b
                        bulavinaka Jan 18, 2011 06:50 PM

                        Yangming is number one! Oh - sorry, wrong thread... :)

                        Sea Harbour for doing a lot of things very very well. Still waiting for the maitre d' in the taylored suit to break out his version of, "Beyond the Sea."

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: bulavinaka
                          Chandavkl Jan 18, 2011 08:01 PM

                          What was the highest rated L.A. restaurant in that competition?

                          1. re: Chandavkl
                            bulavinaka Jan 19, 2011 04:58 PM

                            The "competition" shows eight different "Top 100" lists. The Palace Restaurant on Hillhurst came in at number 11 for Overall Excellence. After that, Happy Harbor in Rowland Heights comes in at number 34.


                            Happy Harbor Restaurant
                            1015 Nogales St # 126, Rowland Heights, CA

                            1. re: bulavinaka
                              will47 Jan 19, 2011 05:16 PM

                              There was some discussion of this on egullet recently too.

                              The competition is kind of absurd. For one thing, it's pretty clear that the restaurants have to pay a fee to be in the competition; for another, there are several different categories, so easy for a given restaurant to be in one of them. Very few of the restaurants are in a place where a lot of Chinese people live or work, presumably because this award is probably not followed by very many Chinese.

                        2. raytamsgv Jan 18, 2011 10:58 PM

                          Elite for me. I don't have any technical reasons for my preference. I just like their dim sum and dinners.

                          1. j
                            jenn_grey Jan 18, 2011 11:42 PM

                            Cheap and traditional Hong Kong food is at Tasty Garden in Alhambra on Valley Blvd. Opens late and their won ton noodles and clay pot rice are so delish! Must also try the waffle cake!

                            Tasty Garden
                            288 W Valley Blvd 110, Alhambra, CA 91801

                            1. j
                              jenn_grey Jan 18, 2011 11:44 PM

                              For dim sum, Lunasia on Main St. in Alhambra...no carts like the traditional dim sum places, but they make it fresh and hot usually.

                              Main St Cafe
                              450 Main St, El Segundo, CA 90245

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: jenn_grey
                                Chandavkl Jan 19, 2011 09:03 AM

                                Mentioning Lunasia raises an interesting point. Should cost be eliminated in the determination of the best restaurant? I think Lunasia is a step behind Sea Harbour and Elite, but taking into account the lower cost it's a much better value and I go there more often than Sea Harbour and Elite. Logically cost should not play a role in choosing the best Chinese restaurant. But if cost is ignored would I be forced to say Yank Sing is the best Chinese restaurant in San Francisco and Chinatown Brasserie is the best Chinese restaurant in Manhattan? Because I would never ever go back to either of those two due to the highly inflated tab.

                                1. re: Chandavkl
                                  mc michael Jan 19, 2011 09:17 AM

                                  I was thinking about this while eating at Yujean Kang last night--good food and high prices. I've decided there's something called value to be considered.

                              2. Das Ubergeek Jan 19, 2011 09:19 AM

                                Going by the only criterion that matters (the place I crave most often), the answer is JTYH.

                                JTYH Restaurant
                                9425 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                  Chandavkl Jan 19, 2011 09:27 AM

                                  Hmm. On that yardstick for me that would be Union Buffet in West Los Angeles since I'm there once a week. But then I would be excommunicated from Chowhound.

                                  Union Buffet
                                  11819 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                  1. re: Chandavkl
                                    Servorg Jan 19, 2011 09:31 AM

                                    "But then I would be excommunicated from Chowhound."

                                    lol...I went again with my wife and our son and his girl friend for dinner a couple of weeks ago and I think I am the only one to say they liked it (and would go again). I guess I'm a heathen too...

                                    1. re: Chandavkl
                                      raytamsgv Jan 19, 2011 12:43 PM

                                      "But then I would be excommunicated from Chowhound"

                                      We would never excommunicate you from Chowhound. However, you would need to do penance by eating some tacos at Taco Bell and chow mein from Panda Express.

                                      1. re: raytamsgv
                                        ipsedixit Jan 19, 2011 01:12 PM

                                        What's wrong with the chow mein at Panda Express?

                                        A better punishment might be chow mein tacos ...

                                      2. re: Chandavkl
                                        ipsedixit Jan 19, 2011 01:11 PM

                                        Hmm. On that yardstick for me that would be Union Buffet in West Los Angeles since I'm there once a week. But then I would be excommunicated from Chowhound.


                                        Really? the "place you crave most often" is Union Buffet?

                                        I never realized that frequency can actually lead to addiction ... oh wait .. nevermind.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                          mc michael Jan 19, 2011 03:05 PM

                                          Addiction, eh?
                                          Would that be like posting 15-20 times a day on some food site?
                                          You can quit any time you want, right?

                                    2. m
                                      mayjay Jan 19, 2011 12:54 PM

                                      For me, today, it's Omar's or Chung King.

                                      Chung King Restaurant
                                      1000 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                      1. h
                                        highermath Jan 19, 2011 05:22 PM

                                        My goto is Hu's Szechuan in Palms. It isn't fancy, but the food is delicious. The fact that they deliver to my house is a big plus.

                                        1. Ciao Bob Jan 20, 2011 03:48 AM

                                          This is hard.
                                          New Chong Qing is the place that "haunts" me the most lately so I will say it. But the answer may change in a month or so.

                                          New Chong Qing
                                          120 N San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91775

                                          1. Servorg Jan 20, 2011 07:05 AM

                                            Well, KABC Channel 7 just happened to do a segment on their 6 AM newscast this morning in which they weighed in on the top 7 (wonder why they couldn't figure out some way to use their Doppler 7000 weather radar in this story?) Chinese restaurants in LA.

                                            This was done by their "traffic reporter" Alysha Delvalle in conjunction with City Search.com. One immediate point about this story is that they started with their number 1 pick. Who doesn't know that you count down from the bottom to the top when doing this?

                                            In any case the top 7 were:

                                            1. WP24 at LA Live

                                            2. Yang Chow in Chinatown

                                            3. Chi Dynasty Los Feliz

                                            4. Din Tai Fung Arcadia

                                            5, Empress Pavillion Chinatown

                                            6. Happy Family Restaurant Monterey Park

                                            7. Full House Chinatown

                                            And they even gave a bonus ranking to places outside the immediate LA area with

                                            Orange County's number one: Peking Gourmet in Garden Grove

                                            Inland Empire's number one: Dragon House in Riverside

                                            and finally

                                            Ventura County's number one: Gourmet Oriental

                                            Whew, now I'm exhausted.

                                            Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                                            1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                                            Yang Chow Restaurant
                                            3777 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

                                            Happy Family
                                            301 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90020

                                            Dragon House
                                            10466 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, CA 92505

                                            Peking Gourmet
                                            9092 Garden Grove Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92844

                                            Gourmet Oriental
                                            67 W Main St, Ventura, CA 93001

                                            900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                            Chi Dynasty
                                            12229 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City, CA 91604

                                            17 Replies
                                            1. re: Servorg
                                              monku Jan 20, 2011 07:34 AM

                                              She's easy on the eyes, but I've disagreed with her choices when she did the top 7 hot dog places.

                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                Chandavkl Jan 20, 2011 08:01 AM

                                                What a mixture of decent restaurants and yuckiness. I'm saving up my money to try WP24. If I ever make it I'll let everybody know.

                                                900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                                1. re: Chandavkl
                                                  Ashibi Jan 20, 2011 12:13 PM

                                                  I would not waste a penny on WP24. It was dismal experience. Upscale Chinese can be done – like Hakkasan in South Beach, FL where I had a great time. With resources they have WP24 has to do better job than they do currently.

                                                  900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                                  1. re: Ashibi
                                                    Chandavkl Jan 20, 2011 12:21 PM

                                                    But...but...Channel 7 says they're the best in L.A.

                                                    1. re: Chandavkl
                                                      Servorg Jan 20, 2011 12:24 PM

                                                      I would imagine that Chinois would be a good barometer for whether or not you will enjoy the food at WP24.

                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                        Chandavkl Jan 20, 2011 12:41 PM

                                                        Actually I liked Chinois, particularly since I didn't have to pay.

                                                        1. re: Chandavkl
                                                          Servorg Jan 20, 2011 12:43 PM

                                                          That seems to improve my enjoyment of a lot of places...

                                                2. re: Servorg
                                                  mc michael Jan 20, 2011 08:23 AM

                                                  Wow, these are her picks? Or her producers? Or a digest of Yelp postings?

                                                  1. re: mc michael
                                                    Servorg Jan 20, 2011 08:32 AM

                                                    I got the feeling it was mostly City Search that came up with the list based on some number generated by their users. But I really don't know. Alysha is awfully pretty and the food that they showed at WP24 looked wonderful on camera. Hey, the upcoming Chinese New Year generated this whole "story" in any case.

                                                    1. re: Servorg
                                                      ipsedixit Jan 20, 2011 09:11 AM

                                                      Alysha is too good looking to eat at a dive like Dean Sin World/Tastio, for example.

                                                      People might mistake her for a misplaced mannequein from one of the boutiques in that strip mall.

                                                  2. re: Servorg
                                                    Das Ubergeek Jan 20, 2011 09:07 AM

                                                    ...Peking Gourmet?

                                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                      Servorg Jan 20, 2011 09:18 AM

                                                      You mean there's an OC Chinese you've yet to try? lol

                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                        Das Ubergeek Jan 20, 2011 10:50 AM

                                                        That was an ellipsis of disbelief, not of discovery.

                                                    2. re: Servorg
                                                      Mr Taster Jan 20, 2011 10:37 AM

                                                      Why exhaust yourself typing it out when you can just provide a hyperlink to the article and video?


                                                      Alysha tells us that Yang Chow serves authentic Chinese cuisine. How interesting!

                                                      Mr Taster

                                                      1. re: Mr Taster
                                                        Servorg Jan 20, 2011 10:44 AM

                                                        Mostly because I've seen these sorts of links disappear after the news story has run its course.

                                                        1. re: Servorg
                                                          Mr Taster Jan 20, 2011 12:29 PM

                                                          Then do an exhaustion-free copy/paste! Done & done.

                                                          Mr Taster

                                                          1. re: Mr Taster
                                                            Servorg Jan 20, 2011 12:35 PM

                                                            The more you work out the better you feel...being exhausted is a necessary by product of improving ones health! Besides, doing it my way entailed running the program back and forth in slo-mo on my DVR as Alysha waxed enthusiastically about the food ;-D>

                                                    3. s
                                                      smiling ed Jan 20, 2011 05:12 PM

                                                      Sea Harbour is clearly in a class by itself when it comes to Dim Sum and I would venture the
                                                      guess its one of the best in the USA. I once asked the manager if his food was as good as his
                                                      sister restaurants in China which I believe are in Peking and he said the Restaurant in Peking
                                                      was much larger seating 500 and had a much bigger selection of DimSum as they could employ
                                                      more people. I found Sea Harbour by accident when driving down Rosemead and saw a parking
                                                      lot overflowing with expensive cars and checked it out and have been a happy customer ever
                                                      since then and by the way the service is terrific too and the prices also beyond fair.

                                                      1. aching Jan 20, 2011 06:27 PM

                                                        I don't get to have Chinese nearly enough - but my pick is Din Tai Fung.

                                                        Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                                                        1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                                                        1. h
                                                          happybaker Jan 20, 2011 07:29 PM

                                                          Okay.... slightly silly but I have some logic here....

                                                          How about Phoenix Bakery? Because now you can have some dim sum before you dig into what you really came for but couldn't order JUST that - the fresh strawberry cake.

                                                          Phoenix Bakery
                                                          969 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: happybaker
                                                            Das Ubergeek Jan 21, 2011 08:23 PM

                                                            Oddly, I have never had the strawberry cake there. I make wide detours on the way home to go to Phoenix Food Boutique for their mango shaved ice, their chaa yip daan (tea-smoked eggs) and those probably-not-very-good-but-strangely-addicting-anyway mini nut tarts.

                                                            1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                              happybaker Jan 21, 2011 09:23 PM

                                                              Never? Oh my - you should!

                                                              When I first moved to LA, I liked it as it was the closest I could easily find to italian Casada cake - a white layer cake filled with fresh strawberries and vanilla custard, iced with slightly sweetened whipped cream and then topped with giant shavings of white chocolate. (It tastes much lighter and fresher than it reads, I promise.)

                                                              Now I love the fresh strawberry cake just for it's simple self.

                                                              But you've got me thinking - tea smoked eggs. I've never had those. Maybe it's time for another visit...

                                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                Mr Taster Jan 22, 2011 06:53 AM

                                                                Point of clarification... Happybaker is referring to Phoenix Bakery in Chinatown, not the SGV Phoenix you are thinking of. One is a modern cafe which caters to the Chinese community and the other is an old Chinatown standard with that kung-fu bamboo font on the sign outside.

                                                                We tasted their strawberry cake for our wedding and it was fine but inelegant..... More suited to a kid's birthday party. (we went with Van's in Rosemead).

                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                Phoenix Bakery
                                                                969 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA

                                                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                  Jelly71 Jan 24, 2011 01:49 PM

                                                                  that's so funny that you say that about kid's parties. my family is in Lincoln Heights and growing up we had that cake at every single kid's birthday party. me and all my many, many cousins. i probably ate that cake once a month.

                                                            2. g
                                                              Ginger9 Jan 21, 2011 09:51 PM

                                                              I think you need to ask more specifically which is the best Chinese restaurant for cheaper eats (say under $25 per person) and best Chinese for finer dining (over $25 per person). Most, but not all, Chinese is cheap eats in So. Cal., so you may not get many replies in the latter ($25+) category. But, first-class/fine dining Chinese restaurants are now gradually popping up in the major cities of the world, so are there any like that in So. Cal.? I don't mean simply expensive, but value to match the price - high caliber, innovative and truly gastronomic Chinese food with polished service, big wine list and well appointed dining room enviroment to match the food. There are LOTS of great Chinese restaurants under $25 per person, but I can't think of even one in the $25+ category that is truly amazing. I can think of Mr. Chow and Phillippe Chow in the LA area, but are there any others? Chow and Chow are OK, but in my opinion nothing really that special in terms of food.

                                                              I traveled to Montreal late last year and had what I think is maybe the best Chinese fine dining ($25+) experience in North America called Le Piment Rouge. I was surprised to find such a restaurant in Montreal of all places, but I am craving their food and wishing there was a place like this in So. Cal.! I've seen fine dining Chinese of that caliber in Singapore and Hong Kong (Michelin 2 and 3 star Chinese restaurants), but nowhere else stateside. Does anyone know of a place like that in So. Cal. ...or maybe even in No. Cal.?

                                                              20 Replies
                                                              1. re: Ginger9
                                                                Chandavkl Jan 22, 2011 09:30 AM

                                                                Maybe the Puck restaurants WP24 or Chinois on Main fall into that category, but you may notice there's very little mention of those two restaurants on this board, probably due to their inauthenticity. Likewise, Mr. Chow gets ripped to shreds here for the same reason, plus the fact that the food sucks.

                                                                Mr. Chow
                                                                344 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                                                900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                                                1. re: Ginger9
                                                                  ipsedixit Jan 22, 2011 09:31 AM

                                                                  No, I specifically did not delineate any parameters, incl price, because I just want to know what you consider the best Chinese restaurant, period.

                                                                  For example, Langer's is often considered the ultimate restaurant in LA, even though it is far from fine dining.

                                                                  To paraphrase the words of one Al Davis ... "Just food, baby, just food!"

                                                                  1. re: Ginger9
                                                                    J.L. Jan 22, 2011 01:11 PM

                                                                    Mr. Chow makes something which barely resembles Chinese food, whereas Phillippe Chow offerings barely resemble food at all.

                                                                    WP24 is fusion Chinese, and their appetizers are decent - Certainly not my favorite in SoCal, though. While I'm on the topic of Wolfgang Puck, his original Sino-fusion eatery, Chinois on Main, is still serviceable after all these years, albeit a bit dated.

                                                                    Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver have large Chinese expat populations, so there's nothing surprising about finding great Chinese food there.

                                                                    Again, Sea Harbour remains my pick for both dim sum AND high end Cantonese banquet style (up to $100 per person) dining.

                                                                    Mr. Chow
                                                                    344 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                                                    900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                                                    1. re: J.L.
                                                                      Chandavkl Jan 22, 2011 01:42 PM

                                                                      Good point that Sea Harbour and a lot of the other Chinese seafood restaurants do provide for high end dining options within their overall structure. That obviates the need for separate high end dining facilities.

                                                                      1. re: Chandavkl
                                                                        ipsedixit Jan 22, 2011 02:13 PM

                                                                        Are places like Sea Harbour, Elite, Lunasia, etc. really considered "high end" in the grand scheme of things?

                                                                        Unless all you order are fresh seafood -- e.g. fish, lobster, crab, abalone, etc. -- and nothing else, it's quite easy on average, if not par for the course, to have a fantastic dinner at easily $40/pp.

                                                                        Compare that with say Providence. Can one really have a typical meal at Providence for $40/pp a la carte? Not unless you just have an appetizer or two and nothing else. Same with places like Spago, Patina, Saam, Osteria Mozza, Hatfields, etc.

                                                                        176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                                                        Osteria Mozza
                                                                        6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                          J.L. Jan 22, 2011 04:13 PM

                                                                          That's their pricing issue, not mine.

                                                                          Just between you & me, I'd happily pay twice what they're charging for a high-end meal at Sea Harbour, but I'm twice as happy that they're currently not that expensive.

                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                            Ginger9 Jan 22, 2011 05:21 PM

                                                                            Sea Harbour has excellent Chinese food, but I agree with ipsedixit that's it's not high end like Providence, Spago, Saam, etc. It's a difference in the finesse and precision of the food and food presentation, service standards, quality of the dining room environment, quality of the wine program, etc.

                                                                            Many people are so used to good (but not high-end) Chinese food that it's hard to imagine what high-end Chinese food really is until you see it. Try Googling photos and press articles of Lung King Heen (Michelin 3 star Chinese restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong) - there is a big difference between what may be considered high end Chinese in So Cal vs. what really is high end Chinese by global standards.

                                                                            1. re: Ginger9
                                                                              Sgee Jan 22, 2011 05:51 PM

                                                                              Scene WSJ is also a great site for what's current in Asia. Terrific stuff.


                                                                              1. re: Ginger9
                                                                                J.L. Jan 23, 2011 05:36 PM

                                                                                Michelin may know the thread count of the linens used in the dining room, but it has no idea that Uncle Harry's slow-cooked herbal chicken soup from the fluorescent bulb-lit hole-in the-wall eatery 3 blocks over bests Lung King Heen's by a mile.

                                                                                Michelin has no credibility when it comes to Chinese. Michelin stars are what first-time French visitors look for when they go to Honk Kong. And for that purpose, the Michelin system works great.

                                                                                In any case, the original question posed is for the best in Southern California, not the world.

                                                                                If the discussion were to extend beyond SoCal, I would argue that Singapore is a better food city than Hong Kong anyways.

                                                                                1. re: J.L.
                                                                                  ipsedixit Jan 23, 2011 05:39 PM

                                                                                  If the discussion were to extend beyond SoCal, I would argue that Singapore is a better food city than Hong Kong anyways.

                                                                                  Yikes. Hornet's Nest straight ahead, captain.

                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                    J.L. Jan 23, 2011 05:50 PM

                                                                                    Damn the torpedoes! :-)

                                                                                    1. re: J.L.
                                                                                      ipsedixit Jan 23, 2011 05:57 PM

                                                                                      Shouldn't that be ARM the torpedoes?

                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                        Servorg Jan 23, 2011 07:10 PM

                                                                                        I always buy fixed interest rate torpedoes myself...when I tried to complain to my torpedoe lender that they were all underwater he looked at me strangely, as if I had a screw loose, for some unknown reason... ;-D>

                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                          raytamsgv Jan 24, 2011 01:34 PM

                                                                                          Not really. In those days, torpedoes were actually what we call "mines" these days (Adm. David Farragut, Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864).

                                                                                          "I'll take useless trivia for $800, Alex."

                                                                                  2. re: Ginger9
                                                                                    raytamsgv Jan 24, 2011 01:38 PM

                                                                                    "...there is a big difference between what may be considered high end Chinese in So Cal vs. what really is high end Chinese by global standards."

                                                                                    It depends on the standard used to judge "high end". I agree with others: Michelin has no idea about what good Chinese food is all about. It's like having a Chinese dining group rate restaurants world wide. Their standards of judging Western foods would probably be vastly different. Here's an interesting, older article about three Sichuan chefs evaluating the French Laundry and western dining in general: http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s...

                                                                                    1. re: raytamsgv
                                                                                      ipsedixit Jan 24, 2011 01:49 PM

                                                                                      Michelin has no idea about what good Chinese food is all about.

                                                                                      That's probably too broad of a generalization. There are Chinese Michelin starred restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau.

                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                        J.L. Jan 24, 2011 05:00 PM

                                                                                        There are Chinese Michelin starred restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau.

                                                                                        ...I surmise only because there's pressure for Michelin to write reviews in that part of the world.

                                                                                      2. re: raytamsgv
                                                                                        J.L. Jan 24, 2011 05:05 PM

                                                                                        Thank you from the bottom of my heart for that link, raytamsgv. It should be a "must-read" in any cooking class.

                                                                                        The article presents a fine example of how the world is getting smaller (in a good way), one person at a time.

                                                                                        1. re: raytamsgv
                                                                                          bulavinaka Jan 24, 2011 05:42 PM

                                                                                          Great article - thank you...

                                                                                          1. re: raytamsgv
                                                                                            Mr Taster Jan 24, 2011 09:38 PM

                                                                                            Absolutely wonderful article. Although I suspect such a well-traveled writer and chef such as Fuschia Dunlop is "playing dumb" for dramatic effect about being surprised by certain aspects of Chinese culture (such as their revulsion of raw meat or uncooked vegetables, which is no surprise to anyone even marginally acquainted with Chinese people & food traditions... let along a food writer who actually lives in China.)

                                                                                            Thank you very much for sharing this link.

                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                2. mikeop34 Jan 23, 2011 08:54 PM

                                                                                  My favorite recent Chinese pick is Shanghai Yu Garden (Shanghai Yu Yuan). I don't have a "favorite" type of Chinese food, but I probably go with Shanghainese more often than others. It may sound weird that nothing there really blew me away, but for me, Shanghainese food has always been comforting and satisfying. The place is small but has a relatively nice interior, and to top it off, a really convenient and huge parking lot behind it. Can't really go wrong with any of the Shanghainese dishes there, especially the small cold plates.

                                                                                  And since a lot of people are mentioning Sea Harbour, I'll weigh in with my experiences as well. I've only been twice, once for a banquet-style fixed price menu and the other for dim sum. Dim sum was outstanding, but I still prefer Elite for dim sum. The banquet-style menu was quite disappointing, though. It combined some live seafood dishes with others, and it was an early dinner, so it wasn't particularly crowded for the kitchen, but I didn't have any particularly memorable dishes. The seafood was very good quality but the dishes were bland.

                                                                                  Yu Garden (Shanghai Yu Yuan)
                                                                                  107 E. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                                                                  1. boutmuet Feb 16, 2011 12:02 AM

                                                                                    I am by no means an authority on Chinese food but I never had a bad exerience at Ma's Chinese Islamic in Anaheim. I love the flat-bread they have :)

                                                                                    Ma's Islamic
                                                                                    601 E Orangethorpe Ave, Anaheim, CA 92801

                                                                                    1. Ashibi Mar 18, 2011 02:04 PM

                                                                                      Has anyone been to XINO in Santa Monica? It is located in Santa Monica Place - top floor. I had a quick lunch there once. It was walk-in and I was expecting something along the line of PF Chang. But I though the food was unexpectly good. My husband, mother-in law and I enjoyed the several different selection from their Dim Sum Menu.

                                                                                      395 Santa Monica Blvd #308, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Ashibi
                                                                                        Servorg Mar 18, 2011 02:32 PM


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