Los Angeles is widely regarded as a culinary epicenter for Chinese cuisine, with arguably the best Chinese food in the Western hemisphere. Although the best Chinese restaurants are mostly concentrated in the Chinese enclaves of the San Gabriel Valley, there are many more in neighborhoods throughout L.A., from historic Chinatown to the San Fernando Valley and the South Bay. Read on for a list of the best Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles neighborhoods.
Located at L.A. LIVE in Downtown L.A., the setting at Triple 8 China Bar & Grill is sleek, modern and contemporary, with flat-screen TVs, glass panels and a stainless steel kitchen in the back. The lighting is dim at night, creating what may be the most romantic Chinese restaurant in L.A., set amid views of the twinkling Downtown skyline. The menu features top-notch fresh ingredients. Expect slivers of fish that sink in your teeth interspersed with fresh wok-stirred emerald green vegetables. Classic kung pao shrimp is a must, fiery and loaded with fat red peppers. The service is attentive and professional.
L.A. LIVE - 800 W. Olympic Blvd. Suite A-120, Downtown L.A.
Plum Tree Inn, a fixture of historic Chinatown, provides Chinese classics and spicy Sichuan specialties in a comfortable space. The stellar food is served over white tablecloths. Lion's Head, a pork meatball dish with lettuce swimming in a pool of sauce, was moist and flavorful. The honey walnut shrimp is crisp and plump, not mushy and overloaded with cream sauce. The service is excellent and attentive. Contemporary abstract artwork adorns the white walls beneath the purple-lit ceiling, creating a modern atmosphere in this landmark district. Pictures of celebrities and politicians, who have dined at the restaurant, grace the entrance.
913 N Broadway, Chinatown
Seafood Harbour is widely regarded as one of the best Cantonese and dim sum restaurants in Southern California. Its specialty is seafood, much of it live and plucked fresh from the clear fish tanks. The cooking is light and subtly flavored, unlike many Southern California Chinese restaurants that tend to overdo the saltiness and the sauces. The bustling restaurant feels like it's been plucked straight out of Hong Kong, with gurgling fish tanks and crowded tables over orange-red carpeting. Indeed, the food can match the quality and freshness of the cuisine found in many Cantonese eateries in China.
3939 Rosemead Blvd, Rosemead
Critics have praised Chengdu Taste as the best Sichuan-style Chinese restaurant in the United States, if not outside of China. Eating here means having Sichuan food that tastes even better than many restaurants in Chengdu, Sichuan, which had once been named by UNESCO as a city of gastronomy. The food is fresh and rich in spices, hot enough to make your eyes water. But the experience is worth it if you want some of the most authentic Sichuan food outside of China. Standout dishes include mapo tofu and boiled fish, along with fried string beans.
828 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra
The setting at Shanghai No. 1 Seafood is traditional Shanghainese, with red walls, white table clothes and framed black-and-white pictures of Shanghai in the 1930s, when the city was known as "the Paris of the East." The setting captures historic Shanghai in its heyday, from the glossy menu to the artwork, perhaps better than any other place in Southern California. The cuisine matches the decor in quality and authenticity, too. Fried fish is served in a pool of gooey orange sauce. The xiao long bao is a must, bursting with hot juices in a crisp, slightly burned dough. The egg rolls are crisp and flaky, and the fried rice is perfectly prepared, with morsels of fresh seafood evenly interlaced with the slightly firm rice.
250 W Valley Blvd. Suite M, San Gabriel
Originally from Taiwan, this critically acclaimed xiao long bao global chain has garnered a Michelin star for its Hong Kong branch. The setting at Din Tai Fung at Westfield Century City is sleek and stylish with modern dark wood. The Shanghainese-style dumplings are considered by many to be the best in Los Angeles. The skin is thin, so you can taste the moist ingredients within without feeling overpowered by the outer dough. The perfectly minced ingredients within are splashed with juice. The other dishes are expertly prepared as well, such as the fried rice and chewy noodles that taste just as good as those in any top restaurant in China. The boba milk tea, subtly sweet and infused with real tea, is one of the best in L.A.
Westfield Century City - 10250 Santa Monica Blvd. Level 2, Century City
This classic outpost from Chinatown, which started in 1977, is always near the top of the best Chinese restaurants list in L.A. The specialty at Yang Chow is Sichuan-Mandarin cuisine, which is heavy on dark thick sauces. The decor features pattern-laced green carpets and walls with Chinese landscape paintings depicting mist-shrouded mountains. The famous slippery shrimp is salty and tangy - the shrimp is plump and juicy, as are the scallop dishes. The ingredients at this place are top-notch, but expect dishes that cater to American palates.
6443 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park
Seafood Port Chinese Restaurant is one of the most popular Chinese restaurants in the South Bay. Located in a strip mall, the restaurant has tables covered with pink cloth and green plants at the entrance. Sit in pink booths or on dark wooden chairs. Bilingual waiters, dressed in black and white uniforms, offer meticulous service. The menu features large portions of mouthwatering dishes with a focus on fresh seafood. The dishes span from pan fried lobster with yee fu noodle and steamed whole live fish to lemon chicken and moo shu pork. A standout dish is the shrimp in lobster sauce, which tastes impeccably fresh. The shrimp is plump and swimming in a pool of lobster sauce. You can taste the shreds of lobster within a swirling gathering of vegetables. The experience is a wonderful interpretation of Chinese food geared for the mainstream, while honoring the traditions of China.
21180 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance