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Apr 10, 2006 01:46 PM

Full House - Chinatown - Best Chinese Food in LA

  • m

Make the trip to Chinatown for some authentic chow. Restaurants here come essentially in two types: the formal banquet hall where the seafood is so fresh it often comes straight from the tank; and the casual cafeteria where they serve huge platters of chow mein, Mongolian beef, lemon chicken and other quickly prepared meals at rock-bottom prices.

Full House has the most authentic chinese seafood in Chinatown. The place itself is not the most upscale but the food more then makes up for it. Wonderful Szechwan green beans, corn soup, pungent shrimp, and Peking duck.

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  1. can't comment with regards to it being the best, but it sure does hit the spot after a night of boozing. :)

    that said, it is probably one of the better restaurants in chinatown but i much prefer heading further east to get spectacular chinese and taiwanese food.

    1. Where might I find the best casual cafeteria? I LOVE the idea of "huge platters of chow mein, Mongolian beef, lemon chicken and other quickly prepared meals at rock-bottom prices".

      1 Reply
      1. re: Lov2eat

        Cheap and adequate--remember "cheap & adequate"
        LA Chinatown
        Won Kok on the corner of Alpine and Main Street
        May Flower on Spring near the corner of Ord Street.

        Been to Full House Seafood many times for family banquets and celebrations and find its just average for seafood and not deserving of the raves its getting because the top chefs in town like to dine there. (probably out of convenience as mentioned by someone else).

      2. f

        Where is this? What style of Chinese food?

        5 Replies
          1. re: miko

            Cantonese resto serving Szechuan greens and Peking duck? Nice.

            1. re: Peter

              hey its full service to appeal to everyone's palate. :)

              1. re: Peter

                My bad...What style of Chinese food would you call it?

                1. re: miko

                  It's cantonese. I like it because it's open until 3am. I'd avoid the peking duck and the szechwan themed dishes. The iron-skillet tie-ban dishes are good, they have the salt-pepper shrimp, often with roe, they do good things with pea shoots (doumiao) and the sweet-sour gulao rou (sorry I don't know the cantonese name) pork isn't cloying, and is pretty good.

                  Stick withthe seafood, the soups, etc. It's fine.

          2. The Chinatown Full House is okay, but its specialty is being open at 2 a.m. Half a dozen places in Chinatown, most notably Empress Pavilion, serve better seafood, but none of them stay open nearly as late. (Damn, I miss Happy Valley!)

            On the other hand, I am a great fan of the Full House in Arcadia, which is kind of bare bones but has swell dim sum in the mornings and directly prepared, inexpensive seafood at night.

            4 Replies
            1. re: condiment

              "The Chinatown Full House is okay, but its specialty is being open at 2 a.m. ..."


              Chefs frequent this place not because of the food, but because of the hours. It is the only place that is actually open after most chefs close up shop.

              1. re: condiment
                Former Downtowner

                The original Phoenix Inn on the corner of I think Ord and Spring (can't exactly remember the streets) also opens till 2am. Great food, and you can get jook in the wee hours.

                1. re: condiment

                  I also like to go to the Full House in Arcadia for a quick dim sum meal on Saturday mornings/noons. It's usually really packed. Servers are so friendly! When service is a bit slow, they enjoy conversing and recommending other good Chinese restaurants in the area (provided you can speak Mandarin or Cantonese). Last year, they revised their main menu, so it includes some fancier fare now...I actually like to go there when Oceanstar is too crowded, because Full House also offers a variety of the better quality kinds of live fish.

                2. I think it was last year, but I had dinners during the same week at Full House and Golden City across the street, and I made it a point to order similar dishes to see which one was better, and Golden City produced better dishes across the board. I looked forward to Full House, since I had heard a lot about it, but many items were lackluster, or just haphazardly prepared, whereas similar dishes at Golden City were outstanding. Though I haven't had it in a while, Golden City made one of the best tofu dishes I've ever had in a Chinese restaurant. And once the manager figured me for a serious eater, he suggested an off-menu fried rice which was, again, one of the best fried rice dishes I've had (containing crab, dried scallops, lots of egg white, etc.). If you haven't already, you should check out Golden City before making such a gramd proclamation.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Eric Eto

                    Golden City is terrible! I used to go there eons ago when they made the best wonton noodle soup, right there in the window. Went there recently and food was all a little soggy and very little flavor. The rice was poorly cooked, very hard. My mom orders the crispy fried chicken pretty much at every Chinese restaurant, and Golden City's was the worst.

                    1. re: FoodEverywhere

                      Guess I'll have to give it another check when I'm in town again. But I thought most of the food I've had at Golden City on several occasions was better than similar stuff at Full House or Empress Pavilion for that matter.

                      1. re: Eric Eto

                        Now I'm curious about Full House. Think I went there once since we came to America. No talk in the Chinese community about it, so can't be that good. But I've still got to try it again, since it's been there for as long as I can remember, and still standing after Grandview Gardens has been demolished.

                        1. re: FoodEverywhere

                          I'd say both Golden City and Full House are OK--certainly not San Gabriel valley quality, but both have some pretty good dishes. One reason you may not have heard much buzz about Full House in the Chinese community is that they don't have any lunch specials. That'll keep a whole segment of the populace from going there.

                    2. re: Eric Eto

                      Not sure if there's a "connection" between Full House and Golden City. On a few occaisions while dining at Full House I've seen waiter's picking up live seafood or other stuff from Full House and bringing it across the street to Golden City. Golden City was better in the old days when it was a reliable noodle and soup joint.

                      1. re: Eric Eto

                        If you liked the off-menu fried rice at Golden City, try the same fried rice at Triumphal Palace. Actually a specialty of the cook who used to make the same glowing dish at Mission.

                        1. re: Eric Eto

                          Whole-heartedly agree with you on this one. I'm not in the camp that is impressed with Full House. My family and I went to Golden City a few years back because Empress Pavilion was closed for a party and we were all really pleasantly surprised at how good the food at Golden City was. Since then, it has become one of the 2 default restaurants in Chinatown that my parents and I go to for dinner.