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Sep 4, 2012 09:15 PM

Best Late Night Chinese in the SGV (or Elsewhere)

Bulavinaka lamented in this thread ( that getting to SGV from the Westside for dinner at the fantastic Chinese restaurants out there is difficult because of traffic. Dim sum brunches on the weekends are indeed much easier and has been the impetus for my own pilgrimages to SGV many times. But I started wondering what options I may have for the occasional later weeknight trips out from the Westside.

I know many places of the well-regarded places are open until 9 PM or 10 PM, but for me, after getting the kids settled down for the evening, I probably wouldn't be able to get to SGV from Westside until the right when they're closing. So I'm looking for quality candidates that are open past 10 PM.

Since I can do a Yelp search as well as the next person, here are the contenders I've come up with. How do they rate?

* Tasty Garden (Multiple locations, open to 1 AM, 4 AM in Monterey Park)
* Sam Woo Barbeque (Alhambra location open to midnight, not sure about other locations)
* 101 Noodle Express (Arcadia location open to 1 AM, Alhambra only to 10 PM)

I could go on and on through the Yelp list, but I'll stop at this point and just ask for recommendations. Are any of the above places worth the hour-plus round trip (I've done Santa Monica to Rosemead in 25 minutes, freeway entrance to freeway exit, without driving too crazy) on a late weeknight for a likely-solo diner craving authentic, excellent Chinese food (either dine-in or takeout)? If none of the above are worthy, then which places, if any, should I consider?

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  1. Tasty Garden is a good option, as are most HK-style cafes (e.g. R2, JJ, Jazz Cat Cafe).

    Old Country Cafe is a good old standby that's open till at least midnight.

    When the weather cools, I would hit up Mon Land Hot Pot.

    Previous discussion here:

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Ah, thanks! I'll check out that thread.

    2. The rest of the world drives 50min R/T to eat Freddy Smalls/Shunji/Kiyokawa/Tar&Roses on a weekday. I don't think an hour is worth the kvetch.

      Sunday Cafe/Bacali/Garden Cafe/JR/JJ/KT/ABC//Insert-your-fave,possibly-shitty HK-style-Cafe all open til 4am. The fave in this household is KT, but I can't tell you why.

      Qingdao Bread is open til 1am on weekends. Yi's, aka JN Kitchen, aka 818 Shaokhao is open til 1am daily, and their mala sour crockpot will light your innards on fire til about 4am.

      If you really want a pleasurable place (that means booze and T&A, however weak, however Asian) Indian Restaurant is open til 1am daily.

      Post-coital: Old Country Cafe is right off the freeway, and open til midnight, and for the true Asian in you, offers unlimited refills on the very potent pudding milk tea.

      Pre-coital with a mistress: Seafood Village runs til midnight.

      Q: where would Ryan Gosling eat in SGV at 11:30pm on a Tuesday.

      17 Replies
      1. re: TonyC

        I always feel like I need a cigarette after reading one of your responses...

        1. re: PeterCC

          Or a visit to the local Planned Parenthood.

          1. re: PeterCC

            C'mon mang, you're asking for late night bites 25 miles away from home after putting the kid(s) to sleep?

            Would you like the local hotels closest to Seafood Village? Grand Inn takes cash with no credit card holds. Lincoln Plaza Hotel now has a fantastic bar on the second floor (yay Spirit House!), and if you ask nicely, if they have rooms leftover from the Chinesers, they'll hook you up with a room after you get trashed on Hangar24 brewskies.

            1. re: TonyC

              I'd take closer-to-the-Westside answers, except I know that the usual suspects would just goad me toward SGV anyway. And I am trying to find a place worth the drive, not just to make the trip for the heck of it. Maybe the answer is that an hour round-trip isn't worth the kvetch, as you said, for anything still open after 10 PM. That's fine too. I'm kinda putting myself through a personal re-education of authentic Chinese foods, but it's not that easy not living in/near the SGV, so I'm looking for worthwhile opportunities where I can squeeze them in.

              1. re: PeterCC

                TonyC always cracks me up...

                But I definitely see where PeterCC is coming from (especially hearing from the man himself about the difficulties of dining out with kids on the Westside). It is really difficult to expand your legit Chinese horizons, though, after 10pm, unless you consider hanging out with AZNs while drinking boba in cafes the quintessential SGV experience. I can safely say that none of the restaurants on my to-dine list fits this criteria :(

                On the other hand, I thought that the Alhambra 101 closes at 1am now? I remember seeing a sign and talking to them about it a few months ago. The Arcadia one shouldn't be bothered with.

                1. re: chrishei

                  Perhaps I won't make a special trip, but if I find myself out that way at strange hours, I'll keep the Alhambra 101 in mind.

                2. re: PeterCC

                  Honestly don't bother, living in the SGV I lament the crappy options for late night dining options even though I live 10-15 minutes away from most places. After 10PM it's just depressing with mostly faux-HK cafes and a few notable eateries. Honestly I would just wait for the weekend.

                  1. re: Johnny L

                    Thanks Johnny L. I was afraid of that. Based on your response, as well as Chris and Tony's, I guess I'll just steer clear of this idea, but at least I won't be setting myself up for disappointment.

                  2. re: PeterCC

                    Well, yes because if you want truly "authentic" (or even decent) Chinese food, you simply have to go to the SGV. I feel Westsiders pain, it's why I'm rarely in the vicinity, but a big +1 to Tony's comment re: willingness to drive to some places vs. others. YM apparently V, but don't sleep on Old Country Cafe or others Tony mentioned. While it's true many of the most interesting places close by 10 or 11, there are some post 10PM options. Another is P.P. Pop, the now re-located Dragon Mark, which is open to 1AM and features some different items from the above mentioned (though I don't notice any XLB). I truly need to write an open letter to Westsiders about Chinese Food...but, unfortunately, we aren't allowed to do such.

                    1. re: JThur01

                      Are you Ryan Gosling? ;-)

                      Thanks for the additional rec. As I said to Tony below, I definitely have no problem going the addition mile (or ten) for better eats.

                      1. re: PeterCC

                        Peter, you're good. I realize you've made the trek and are willing to, so you're excused. Maybe the best way to put it is there isn't much in the way of "destination" restaurants in the SGV after 10PM, which is not to say there isn't some very tasty grub to be had. Or put another way, I've never gone hungry or unsatisfied when I've wanted a snack when I've been in the area after 10PM.

                        And, if you haven't been to Uncle Yu's've missed an experience :-)

                        1. re: JThur01

                          There may not be a "destination" restaurant in SGV (at any time of the day or night), but the SGV itself is a destination.

                          I don't think you can say that about the Westside, even though there are "destination" type restaurants west of DTLA.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            There may not be a "destination" restaurant in SGV (at any time of the day or night), but the SGV itself is a destination.

                            A big, big +1 to this.

              2. re: TonyC

                In rereading your response, I'm now actually not sure what you mean by "worth the kvetch". Kvetch means to complain, so are you saying since others drive an hour to eat Freddy Smalls/Shunji/Kiyokawa/Tar&Roses, I shouldn't complain about doing the same to eat in SGV?

                Or, based on the rest of your response, did you mean that going to SGV after 10 PM is not worth the "schlep"?

                1. re: PeterCC

                  Are you saying since others drive an hour to eat Freddy Smalls/Shunji/Kiyokawa/Tar&Roses, I shouldn't complain about doing the same to eat in SGV

                  1. re: TonyC

                    Alrighty. I don't think I did much, if any, kvetching about driving in my OP, but perhaps you were referring to bulavinaka's comment in the other thread, which also wasn't very kvetchy but was a rather straightforward response to a question from ipsedixit. I absolutely have no problems driving a distance just to dine at a worthwhile place, I just wasn't sure what places were worthwhile after 10 PM in SGV (thus my OP), but now I have some options should I decide to make the trek on a night such as tonight, thanks to the responses from you and others.

                2. re: TonyC

                  Q.: where would Ryan Gosling eat in SGV at 11:30pm on a Tuesday.

                  Is the answer "it's a trick question"?

                3. You got me curious about this topic today Peter. Did some research myself, and even asked J.Gold during his weekly lunchtime chat just now:

                  Chris H.:
                  Was just talking to someone about the lack of legit Chinese options in SGV after 10pm. Any suggestions?
                  Wednesday September 5, 2012 12:11
                  Jonathan Gold:
                  They are kind of limited - I'm always kvetching about that myself. The HK-style cafes are open, of course - Tasty Garden is good. And the Phoenix stays open pretty late for seafood and such.
                  Wednesday September 5, 2012 12:12
                  Jonathan Gold:
                  HK cafes aren't really my groove. Noodle World is a late standard too.
                  Wednesday September 5, 2012 12:13

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: chrishei

                    HE and TonyC both used the same Yiddish verb? Or are you embellishing?

                      1. re: chrishei

                        GoldieLocks must have been reading this thread...

                          1. re: TonyC

                            Maybe he still thinks that you hate him Tony...

                    1. re: chrishei

                      Thanks for asking, Chris. Is he referring to Phoenix Inn in Alhambra?

                      1. re: PeterCC

                        Probably, since I doubt that he'd recommend the Food Boutiques (but all of them are open until 1am).

                    2. NY Seafood in the 99 market plaza at Atlantic and Garvey is open until 4a.m. - not haut cuisine but fast tasty and plenty of it

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: ZoeZ

                        Really? Do not know this place and cannot find anything about by googling...can you give anymore info?

                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                          Seen this place everytime I'm in the hood but never dared eaten there

                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                            "NYC" Seafood:

                            It's around the corner from Capital Seafood, faces Garvey Ave.

                            1. re: TonyC

                              Thanks, TonyC for adding the C.
                              Nothing special there.

                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                But, if one is looking for true Canto, and fare beyond the average HK-cafe, NYC Seafood is the option, and a decent one.