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San Gabriel Boulevard?

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. are you looking for anything specific?

    1. 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. 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

          Tasty Choice - worst choice on San Garbriel Blvd.

          1. re: dreamcast18

            Their hainan chicken is actually pretty good.

            1. re: chrishei

              Yea they have a few nice items

              Their drinks are really really really bad though

        2. 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

            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

              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. Not Chinese, but still a fine restaurant:

            Babita Mexicuisine - Chef Roberto has always fed us well.

            5 Replies
            1. re: J.L.

              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

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

                1. re: J.L.

                  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


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

                    1. re: ipsedixit

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

                8 Replies
                1. re: Ernie

                  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

                    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

                    Is Chung King good again?

                    Mr Taster

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        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

                          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

                            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.

                  3. 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: Servorg

                        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

                          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

                            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

                              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

                                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

                                  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.

                    1. 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

                        concur. steamed chicken or pork hock = good.

                      2. 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

                          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

                            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

                              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

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

                                1. re: Moivy

                                  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

                                    Love this comparison.

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

                              2. re: raytamsgv

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

                                1. re: raytamsgv

                                  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

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

                                    Mr Taster

                              3. 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

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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

                                        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

                                          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

                                            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

                                              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

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

                                      2. re: Moivy

                                        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

                                          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

                                            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

                                              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


                                                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

                                                  Any fish katsu served here ?????

                                                  I'll try to anyhow.

                                                  Thanks a bunch.