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San Gabriel Boulevard?

canyon Jan 7, 2014 10:56 AM

Hi Everybody,
I make frequent trips up and down San Gabriel Blvd because I'm visiting a relative in a nursing home just south of San Gab Nursery. We see so many little storefront restaurants, we were wondering, are any of them any good? Should we stop?

Thanks for any help.

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  1. blimpbinge RE: canyon Jan 7, 2014 11:04 AM

    are you looking for anything specific?

    1. b
      bringiton RE: canyon Jan 7, 2014 11:06 AM

      If you like pizza, be sure to stop at Petrillos on San Gabriel and Valley in the City of San Gabriel. Try the Petrillo's Special.

      1. c
        canyon RE: canyon Jan 7, 2014 11:12 AM

        I was wondering about the Asian restaurants I see--Tasty
        Choice. I just looked it up and found out there are 3. The parking lot is always full but I can't see under the curtains as we drive by. There are tiny restaurants behind potted hedges. There's a Hunan restaurant, I think.

        3 Replies
        1. re: canyon
          dreamcast18 RE: canyon Jan 7, 2014 05:11 PM

          Tasty Choice - worst choice on San Garbriel Blvd.

          1. re: dreamcast18
            chrishei RE: dreamcast18 Jan 10, 2014 10:35 PM

            Their hainan chicken is actually pretty good.

            1. re: chrishei
              blimpbinge RE: chrishei Jan 11, 2014 09:12 AM

              Yea they have a few nice items

              Their drinks are really really really bad though

        2. raytamsgv RE: canyon Jan 7, 2014 11:31 AM

          There are many restaurant choices in the area. I'm sure we could give you better advice if you identified the things you like (e.g. type of cuisine, cost, ambiance, etc.).

          2 Replies
          1. re: raytamsgv
            canyon RE: raytamsgv Jan 7, 2014 11:38 AM

            Hi again,
            As I said, it's the Asian restaurants on San Gabriel Blvd. that I was interested in. Or very close to SGB. Ambiance doesn't matter. I'm coming down from the Arcadia area and I drive up and down SGB several times a week now. Restaurants between Santa Anita Blvd. and SGB would be helpful too. I could try different approaches. I know that both areas are famous for different types of "Chinese" food. I just finished reading about Hunan on Yelp.

            1. re: canyon
              raytamsgv RE: canyon Jan 7, 2014 01:04 PM

              Here are some recommendations in no particular order:

              1. Saigon Bakery in San Gabriel. It's on Valley just west of San Gabriel. It has some really good bread and Vietnamese sandwiches. It's also dirt cheap: two banh mi for $5.50 but you get a third one free. If you don't speak Vietnamese, they have plenty of pictures. (Actually, they speak English). CASH ONLY.

              2. Another interesting place would be Shen Yang, which serves food from Northeast China. If you're used to the rice dishes found in many Chinese restaurants, this will be very different. A good writeup can be found here:


              It is located just south of Las Tunas in the same mini-mall as Hong Kong Supermarket. CASH ONLY.

              3. Another good, though more expensive restaurant would be Seafood Village on Las Tunas in Temple City. They serve seafood, including those straight from the tank. Their house special crab is their specialty.

              4. Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa is located behind the In-and-Out on Mission just east of Rosemead Blvd. They offer dishes from Central Vietnam, which isn't very common in the SGV.

              5. If you like pho chicken (Vietnamese noodle soup), try HP Pho Ga Bac Ninh on Mission Dr. in Rosemead. Their pho has a much lighter taste than traditional beef-based broths. Supposedly, the chicken is free-range, if you are into that. CASH ONLY.

          2. J.L. RE: canyon Jan 7, 2014 12:18 PM

            Not Chinese, but still a fine restaurant:

            Babita Mexicuisine - Chef Roberto has always fed us well.

            5 Replies
            1. re: J.L.
              kevin RE: J.L. Jan 10, 2014 11:00 PM

              Yeah. His shit is really good.

              Btw. JL, what was the name of the joint in San Gabriel with the great avocado milkshakes ???????

              Thanks buddy.

              1. re: kevin
                J.L. RE: kevin Jan 10, 2014 11:30 PM

                Saigon Flavour, and it's on Valley Blvd., just east of Del Mar, I believe...

                1. re: J.L.
                  ipsedixit RE: J.L. Jan 11, 2014 10:55 AM

                  If the avocado smoothie at Saigon Flavour is better than the one at Fresh Roast, I need to call my buddies at the DEA.

                  Need to update the controlled substances list.

                  (And, yeah, kevin, Fresh Roast *is* on San Gabriel Blvd.)

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    kevin RE: ipsedixit Jan 11, 2014 01:15 PM


                    You are way ahead of me in anticipating my follow-up question.

                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      kevin RE: ipsedixit Jan 11, 2014 01:31 PM

                      Fresh Roast sounds great.

                      I'll have to go their for the breakfast of champions:

                      Vietnamese cafe Sua dua, siphon coffee, egg waffles, and the avocado shake.

                      Thanks buddy.

              2. e
                Ernie RE: canyon Jan 7, 2014 12:32 PM

                If you like spicy, there is Chung King for Sichuan cuisine on San Gabriel Bl near Mission

                8 Replies
                1. re: Ernie
                  yizhang RE: Ernie Jan 9, 2014 02:46 PM

                  Chung King looks so sketchy from the outside but it's great. The mapo tofu changed my life. Seriously, I dreamt about it for days after my first encounter.

                  1. re: yizhang
                    Moivy RE: yizhang Jan 9, 2014 05:49 PM

                    Never been there but have driven by many times. This one is supposed to be the real one compared to the one on Garfield, south of Garvey. Not a big spicy food eater so I don't think I would like it.

                  2. re: Ernie
                    Mr Taster RE: Ernie Jan 9, 2014 03:52 PM

                    Is Chung King good again?

                    Mr Taster

                    1. re: Mr Taster
                      ipsedixit RE: Mr Taster Jan 9, 2014 06:24 PM


                      Was it ever?

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        Mr Taster RE: ipsedixit Jan 9, 2014 10:53 PM

                        10 years ago, it was about the best I knew of for Sichuanese, before the owner/cook ran off to San Diego. (Now that joint is out of business too, reopened in a different location in Linda Vista, under another name in fancier digs with more laowai appeal- paper lanterns and Chinesey kitsch, but the food was not bad.)

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster
                          kevin RE: Mr Taster Jan 10, 2014 11:01 PM

                          I tried the San Siego joint and it was almost as good.

                          It seems nowadays Chengdu Taste is the place to be.

                          And I love their freshly smoked plum juice.

                          1. re: kevin
                            linus RE: kevin Jan 11, 2014 07:34 AM

                            is that the stuff they have lined up in the tall carafes on the counter at chengdu taste? smoked plum juice?
                            i wondered what that was.

                            1. re: linus
                              kevin RE: linus Jan 11, 2014 09:03 AM


                  3. Ciao Bob RE: canyon Jan 7, 2014 12:33 PM

                    I say, pop into any random Chinese place within 50 hectometers of San G. Blvd and you are likely to have the best Chinese food of your life.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Ciao Bob
                      Servorg RE: Ciao Bob Jan 7, 2014 12:47 PM

                      How is Kim Ky Noodle House http://www.yelp.com/biz/kim-ky-noodle... ?

                      1. re: Servorg
                        blimpbinge RE: Servorg Jan 7, 2014 12:58 PM

                        It's not bad, but quality has slid over the years. Other similar teochew noodle houses like mien nghia, noodle cafe/kim kee, kim bao, do both rice and noodle dishes better now.

                        1. re: blimpbinge
                          barryc RE: blimpbinge May 21, 2014 02:01 PM

                          FWIW, i understand that noodle cafe is also cambodian influenced, i couldn't tell you what those influences are, maybe the addition of those deep fried cruller-type sticks which can be dipped into the soup.

                          i wish i had more of a sampling to suggest, but we both decided that we wanted pork kidney so i ordered mine with the thicker noodles in soup while she ordered hers dry with the thin noodles

                          1. re: barryc
                            blimpbinge RE: barryc May 21, 2014 02:24 PM

                            the cruller sticks are used in a lot of other chinese cuisine, i'm not sure that's the influence.

                            In addition, this type of noodle dish was brought by the chinese into vietnam and combodia (some of my relatives were part of this migration), which i'm sure have their own variations, but so far I haven't been able to identify what specifically sets them apart.

                            When I was in singapore, a lot of the locals preferred mee pok dry w/ the soup on the side, and the noodles were often first tossed in a variety of sauces.

                            Can't wait to go to swatow to try the "real" thing without much outside influence.

                            1. re: blimpbinge
                              barryc RE: blimpbinge May 21, 2014 03:09 PM

                              thanks for the feedback. the person i went with yesterday is chinese but raised in cambodia. i should have pressed her for some of the specifics, but we both fixated on pork kidney and started eating.

                              1. re: barryc
                                blimpbinge RE: barryc May 21, 2014 03:39 PM

                                There's also battambang on san gabriel, they have a much larger variety of food (with varying levels of quality). They appear to have a number of dishes not normally offered at the chinese-vietnamese noodle houses.

                                1. re: blimpbinge
                                  barryc RE: blimpbinge May 21, 2014 04:52 PM

                                  we were there in february. interesting setup with the TV's on the wall and the dance floor. i've been meaning to go back and see what it looks like on a dance night.

                    2. Chandavkl RE: canyon Jan 7, 2014 03:03 PM

                      Embassy Kitchen is my favorite restaurant on San Gabriel Bl. One of the better purveyors of Hong Kong style food in the area.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Chandavkl
                        dreamcast18 RE: Chandavkl Jan 7, 2014 05:12 PM

                        concur. steamed chicken or pork hock = good.

                      2. ipsedixit RE: canyon Jan 7, 2014 06:19 PM

                        Surprisingly, there aren't that many above-average, or even good, Chinese restaurants along San Gabriel Blvd, bounded by Las Tunas on the northern end and, say, the 10 fwy on the southern front.

                        I suppose you could hit up Indian for some kitcshy-Taiwanese food, but there are so many other places that are doing better and better Taiwanese food that Indian has almost become a caricature of itself.

                        Best bet along that stretch of San Gabriel Blvd might be to grab a banh mi at BMCC and then a sheet of HK waffles and a lemongrass juice at Fresh Roast.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          barryc RE: ipsedixit Jan 7, 2014 08:32 PM

                          the egg banh mi at saigon bakery at the corner of valley @ SG blvd. is good as a breakfast sandwich, but south of the nursery, which is just north of the train tracks IIRC.

                          i guess you could try fuji west where tokyo lobby used to be on las tunas about 3-4 blocks east of SG blvd.

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            raytamsgv RE: ipsedixit Jan 8, 2014 11:12 AM

                            Quite true. Even the Banh Mi Che Cali there is average. That particular branch seems more geared toward Chinese palates than to Vietnamese palates such as the BMCC on Valley Blvd in Rosemead.

                            But if the OP is coming from Arcadia, there may be a number of different routes to reach the nursing home just south of the San Gabriel Nursery.

                            1. re: raytamsgv
                              ipsedixit RE: raytamsgv Jan 8, 2014 11:18 AM

                              If it was me, I'd hang a dogleg right on Las Tunas (going north on San Gabriel Blvd) and stop off at Shakey's for some all-you-can-eat mojo potatoes.

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                Moivy RE: ipsedixit Jan 8, 2014 07:13 PM

                                I would go a little farther and hit Sam Woo. Always good chinese food.

                                1. re: Moivy
                                  ipsedixit RE: Moivy Jan 8, 2014 07:17 PM

                                  Well, if you're going to do that, might as well drive about another 1/2 mile on Las Tunas and go to Seafood Village.

                                  Makes Sam Woo look like canned tuna when you're dining on otoro.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    kevin RE: ipsedixit Jan 10, 2014 11:04 PM

                                    Love this comparison.

                                    Why not just hang a left head down Rosemead Blvd and end up at Sea Harbour instead.

                              2. re: raytamsgv
                                blimpbinge RE: raytamsgv Jan 8, 2014 11:54 AM

                                My guess is that they retained one of the chefs from lollicup, or they hired a chinese chef.

                                1. re: raytamsgv
                                  Moivy RE: raytamsgv Jan 11, 2014 12:26 AM

                                  What is Bahn Mi Che Cali? There are a couple of large restaurants on Garvey Ave. between San Gabriel and Garfield Ave. that are called that.

                                  1. re: Moivy
                                    Mr Taster RE: Moivy Jan 11, 2014 01:35 AM

                                    They sell banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) and che (Vietnamese desserts). Hence the name.

                                    Mr Taster

                              3. m
                                Moivy RE: canyon Jan 7, 2014 07:15 PM

                                Not an area we go to to find Chinese food but we really like TGK (Tasty Garden Kitchen) at San Gabriel Boulevard and Valley. Our favorite pho restaurant used to be in that spot. Don't know if it is part of the "Tasty Garden" family.The food is very good with a modern twist. and a little farther south at Garvey is East Gourmet. Good dim sum and has a take out/ BBQ on the side. If you go farther north to Huntington Drive, me like B-mans Teriyaki. Not really Chinese food but it is run by the son of "Spike's" teriyaki, favorite late night hangout for us when we were in high school on San Gabriel just north of Valley. It turned into 168 Garden.

                                14 Replies
                                1. re: Moivy
                                  ipsedixit RE: Moivy Jan 8, 2014 11:21 AM

                                  I have shed many tears when Spike's shut down.

                                  They had the most bland, insipid "coleslaw" this side of the Pacific (it's like, did they use dishwater to make it??), but fuck, it went perfect with their teriyaki sauce and grilled chicken. Just perfect.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    blimpbinge RE: ipsedixit Jan 8, 2014 11:56 AM

                                    you can try bmans

                                    but everytime I order bmans chicken teriyaki.. I get a lot of burnt or overcooked chicken

                                    don't know why

                                    1. re: blimpbinge
                                      barryc RE: blimpbinge Jan 8, 2014 12:11 PM

                                      i'd forgotten about b-mans. pseudo hawaiian. in the same complex as the hows at SG & huntington. i wouldn't go out of my way to eat there, but it does fall along the travel route.

                                      i'd do a 5 minute detour and head west on las tunas. try bentam ramen or golden deli or a few other places near that intersection.

                                      1. re: blimpbinge
                                        ipsedixit RE: blimpbinge Jan 8, 2014 06:34 PM

                                        I've had B-Mans many times, just doesn't do the same Spikes thing for me, however.

                                        I do like B-Man's teriyaki fries with chili quite a bit.

                                        A big problem with B-Man's is that their menu suffers from "bloat" -- they went from teriyaki bowls and burgers to things like curry, korean short ribs and mahi mahi??!!

                                        1. re: blimpbinge
                                          Moivy RE: blimpbinge Jan 8, 2014 07:04 PM

                                          I think it was that way at Spike's , if I remember correctly, the meats were always a little on the "charred" side. My sister loved the potato salad and I liked the tsukemono. Not a bib fan of teriyaki sauce so usually ordered it on the side.

                                          1. re: Moivy
                                            ipsedixit RE: Moivy Jan 8, 2014 07:09 PM

                                            At Spikes, you could order the chicken grilled "a la minute" -- so if you wanted chicken on the tender side, you could ask them to grill up a fresh breast for you instead of just taking one that's been sitting (or resting) on the grill pan.

                                            At least that's what the more, ahem, rotund server would do for me.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                              ilysla RE: ipsedixit Jan 8, 2014 08:52 PM

                                              Was too young to go to Spike's on my own (i.e., w/o a driver's license) when I lived relatively close by, but, had I known you could order the meat that way, I might've liked it better than I did.... Only went a few times, though.

                                              1. re: ilysla
                                                Moivy RE: ilysla Jan 8, 2014 09:20 PM

                                                I never knew that either. its a good thing I like burnt meat.

                                      2. re: Moivy
                                        Chandavkl RE: Moivy Jan 9, 2014 08:16 AM

                                        You may have noticed that the name changed from Tasty Garden Kitchen to T G Kitchen. Originally it was affiliated with Tasty Garden and had the same menu and food quality. After the name change the quality dropped like a rock.

                                        1. re: Chandavkl
                                          Moivy RE: Chandavkl Jan 10, 2014 06:18 PM

                                          Yes, we didn't want to go when they took over our pho place. but we gave TGK a try. I thought the menu was interesting and the food was really good. I've been to Tasty Garden on Valley and AtlanticTimes Square. Always very busy and loud with a younger clientele.

                                          1. re: Chandavkl
                                            kevin RE: Chandavkl Jan 10, 2014 11:06 PM

                                            Thwres a place called Ducks (???sp) restaurant on Las Tunas a couple blocks west of Las Tunas.

                                            Anyone know about this joint ??????

                                            1. re: kevin
                                              blimpbinge RE: kevin Jan 11, 2014 09:14 AM

                                              Ducks Restaurant

                                              Small family owned/run japanese place that's known for their curry / katsu / katsudon / tempura / udon

                                              They also have ramen but it doesn't compare to the nearby ramen-ya's

                                              I usually get the katsudon or curry katsu

                                              Note: The circulation is pretty poor in there so you will end up smelling like tempura oil when you leave.

                                              1. re: blimpbinge
                                                kevin RE: blimpbinge Jan 11, 2014 01:17 PM


                                                I would have never thought that's what they served there.

                                                I was seriously hoping based on the ramshackle (read: dilapidated) storefront that it served the eponymous dish of what else but DUCK.

                                                1. re: blimpbinge
                                                  kevin RE: blimpbinge Jan 11, 2014 01:18 PM

                                                  Any fish katsu served here ?????

                                                  I'll try to anyhow.

                                                  Thanks a bunch.

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