HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Good Chinese food

I am still looking for really good chinese food in the OC. We are looking for the San Francisco and NY style chinese restaurants and are looking for suggestions. We have been to a number of them in the Newport Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa area but they just don't really have the food we would love to eat. Any suggestions would be great.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. What is the food you "would love to eat." That would help in making suggestions. And I don't know what San Francisco style Chinese restaurants are?

    1. They are the restaurants where won ton soup isn't a bad word and real ribs and more than just kung pao chicken or walnuts with shrimp. If you haven't had Chinese food in San Francisco or New York, it is very hard to describe but it is quite different from the "real" chinese restaurants that are here. I think that the food here is much more chinese than we are used to and I also think that pick up stix is just terrible. Don't know if that helps.

      3 Replies
      1. re: newport5

        So you're looking for the "Goldilocks of Chinese restaurants"?

        Not too Americanized, and not too authentic? Just, sort of, in the middle somewhere?

        Maybe you can get some wonton soup to go at Sam Woo in Irvine and then walk over and eat it at the Panda Express next door?

        1. re: newport5

          I live in the Bay Area and have Chinese food here all the time, and yet I have no idea what San Francisco Chinese food is.

          1. re: newport5

            "They are the restaurants where won ton soup isn't a bad word"


          2. It's not really "San Francisco" or "NY style" you're looking for, just old style Chinese American. Not a lot of that kind in Orange County which is more suburban. You might like Fu Wing Low in Fountain Valley.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chandavkl

              Thanks I will have to try that. FYI, I really don't like Panda Express. It is pretty bad.

            2. Have you tried Sam Woo on Culver? There is a nicer side and a take out/cash only side. I'd recommend the nicer side since they have more Americanized choices on the menu.

              They have some very authentic stuff but also a few more Americanized dishes that you're looking for like wonton soup, hot and sour soup, egg rolls, BBQ pork, kung pao chicken, etc.

              There's middle ground stuff like beef with green beans, fish filet sautéed with vegetables, salt and pepper pork chops or salt and pepper shrimp.

              If you feel adventurous, I recommend the Canonese BBQ duck (not Peking duck), lobster with ginger and scallions, winter melon soup, a whole steamed fish if the head on prep isn't too uncomfortable for you.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Porthos

                Agree with this rec and rec S.W. Seafood as well. Their Wor Wonton soup is really good.

              2. If you've tried a number of restaurants in Irvine and didn't like it, you don't really like Chinese food (caveat: depending exactly where you ate). You're looking for Americanized Chinese food.

                1. Thank you for the comment about the fact I don't like Chinese food but I do. It may not be the food that is here as I like the old fashioned Americanized Chinese food. I don't know if anyone has been to Shun Lee in NYC but that is a favorite.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: newport5

                    Shun Lee charges 2-4x what a regular Cantonese restaurant here charges but the dishes aren't any different.

                    If you like Shun Lee, get the Peking Duck at Sam Woo. The rest of the menu at Sam Woo Irvine (Culver branch) should be recognizable to you also. They have everything Shun Lee has and more.

                    1. re: Porthos

                      Thanks, willl try it. At Shun Lee, you pay for the service. I appreciate the advice

                  2. Not really OC but on the border, Jade House in Diamond Bar. But you might as well go to Sam Woo in Irvine or even Leung Kee (formerly or still is? Sam Woo) in City of Industry.

                    1. There are lots of Bay Area folks (and former ones) reading this board, so just throw out a few places up there you love and I'm sure we can guide you to a similar spot, even individual dishes.

                      Everyone's idea of what constitutes a "good Chinese restaurant" is totally different (particularly here in L.A. with the diversity of regional choices).

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: cant talk...eating

                        In San Francisco, I like most resturants in Chinatown. Also love the dim sum in a number of restaurants. I don't remember the names because I have never been to one there that I didn't like.
                        I agree with you LA has a great deal of regional choices. They are much more "authentic" but just not our taste. Will try Sam Woo and see how it goes.

                        1. re: newport5

                          Great. Also do check out L.A.'s Chinatown which still has a lot of sort of "pan-Chinese" places, like Mayflower and NBC (and even a Sam Woo), as well as decent dim sum (CBS, Ocean Seafood). Yang Chow is especially beloved by New Yorkers.

                          1. re: newport5

                            SF Chinatown is 90 to 95 percent Cantonese so that isolates what you're looking for.

                            1. re: Chandavkl

                              Btw, if you've been before, what region is the tasting menus doled out at Jai Yun from ?

                              1. re: kevin

                                In a word, quirky. Chef is from Nanjing, food I guess tends towards Shanghai, but really it's whatever the guy feels like cooking at the particular time.

                                1. re: kevin

                                  " ...hat region is the tasting menus doled out at Jai Yun from ?"


                          2. Yes, I guess that is it. That what is in NYC as well.

                            1. Yang Chow is great, the decor could be better but the food id quite good and no scrimpy portions, I also love Pauls Kitchen ...totally Old School and the best Egg Fu Young in hte city