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Feb 6, 2013 09:22 AM

Seeking Chinese (Cantonese) restaurant in VA, DC, MD

I'm looking for the best Cantonese restaurant that serves seafood (preferably live from tanks). I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley and lived in San Francisco for a number of years, so while I understand I can't get that quality around here, what it the closest I can achieve? I'd like to be able to order a steamed fish (live), clams with black bean sauce, maybe some live shrimp, a lobster or crab, vegetables like snow pea leaves, maybe one or two meat dishes (e.g., fried chicken, satay beef). I've read about places like Hong Kong Pearl, Fortune, East Pearl, etc., but not sure where to go. Thanks.

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  1. I think East Pearl is straight up the best Cantonese place around, but purely for seafood, the best is Seven Seas, also in Rockville.

    Tanks all over, and they'll bring the fish to your table after it leaves the tank and before it heads to the kitchen. All kinds of shellfish (including live shrimp, though not always available), crabs, lobster. Rest of the menu is good, not great, but seafood is spectacular.

    1. If you are looking for only Cantonese restaurants, cross Seven Seas off of your list. It's not Cantonese.

      Off the top of my head, below are the Cantonese restaurants I've been to that have live fish tanks:

      - Good Fortune (Wheaton)
      - Hong Kong Pearl (Falls Church)
      - Sampan Cafe (Alexandria)

      I've been to the following Cantonese places some of which may have live fish tanks and some of which definitely do not:

      - East Pearl (Rockville)
      - XO Taste (Falls Church)
      - Golden King (Sterling)
      - New Fortune (Gaithersburg)
      - China Garden (Rosslyn)
      - Taste@Hong Kong (Chantilly)

      Every place on this list I've been to at least within the last 2 years.

      From this list, Hong Kong Pearl has the most seafood tanks and a huge menu. They should be able to fulfill all your menu choices.

      In my opinion, the best overall restaurants on this list are Sampan Cafe, Taste@Hong Kong and Hong Kong Pearl.

      The absolute worst is New Fortune. I only included it because we all have different tastes and there's a remote possibility you may like it. I've been to 2 Chinese Wedding Banquets there in the last 2 years (most recent was last September) and that is the absolute worst Chinese Banquet food I have had (well, besides Jing Fong in NYC Chinatown).

      1 Reply
      1. re: nova_ssss

        if i recall correctly, xo taste only has lobster tanks.

        i second the vote for hong kong pearl. mr. alka says it is just like the hong kong restaurants he remembers. if you do go, their chrysanthemum tea is lovely.