While the city of San Gabriel may be best known for its regional Chinese offerings, scratch beneath the dumplings and hand-pulled noodles to reveal a treasure trove of lesser-known gems. From an old-school Italian deli with a cold case full of salume to a Japanese fish market with the deftest knife skills, San Gabriel serves up all that is good to eat. Here now are the 15 essential restaurants in San Gabriel.Read More
15 Essential Restaurants in San Gabriel
Where new-school Chinese meets old-school institutions
Crowds line up at all hours for Mr. Yama’s reasonably priced and carefully sliced sashimi. While the selection is mostly basic — tuna, yellowtail, and salmon — the quality can’t be beat. Round out the sashimi spread with seaweed salads and rolls that can be found in the refrigerated section.
Golden Deli Restaurant
Vietnamese food is what you’ll find at this perpetually busy, efficiently run, and solid-as-can-be restaurant. Come for the blistered cha gio stuffed with ground pork and Woodear mushrooms. Then, settle in for a bowl of pho, a platter of broken rice, or a bowl of cool vermicelli noodles.
One One Dumpling
Even though this dumpling shop is no longer called Luscious Dumplings, its wares are still quite luscious. The most popular item is the pork-filled, pan-fried dumplings. The filling is a simple mixture of ground meat and chives, while the skins are pliable and not too thick. An intense sear crisps and caramelizes the exterior, adding some crunch to each bite.
Hui Tou Xiang Noodles House
It is hard to stand out in a crowded dumpling market, but this place manages to do so with its expertly made pork and crab soup dumplings, as well as its pan-fried pork potstickers.
The Islamic Uyghur cooking found here is a touch greasy, quite musky, and always most satisfactory. Omar’s shou la mian, ropey hand-pulled noodles that are characteristic of the genre, have an unbeatable bite—toothsome to the 10th power. Reminiscent of the staples of Northern China is the “Meat Pie,” a deep-fried Frisbee stuffed with minced lamb and carrot that tastes even better drizzled in chili oil.
Newport Seafood Restaurant
What keeps this place perpetually packed is the house-special lobster, live crustaceans fished from tanks and stir-fried with heaps of chopped chilies, scallions, roe, and garlic. The hunks of lobster are considerately cracked before landing on a platter slathered in the aromatic sauce.
This sophomore effort from Tony Xu of Chengdu Taste, serves up Chongqing-style noodles and dumplings. While the egg and tomato noodles are seriously slurp-able, it’s the simply named pork dumplings that really impresses. The meat-stuffed crescents are served in a garlicky and sweet soy-chili sauce that keeps crowds coming back for more.
Long Xing Ji Juicy Dumpling
Famous for its enormous dumplings, Wang Xing Ji is the first American branch of a popular dumpling house in Wuxi. In addition to the famously large soup dumplings, order the red braised spareribs and crispy eels.
Com Tam Thuan Kieu
Broken rice served with a plethora of proteins is what it’s all about at this long-standing restaurant. There’s shredded pork dusted in roasted rice powder, pork meatloaf, grilled shrimp paste, grilled pork, and so on. Make sure to get a fried egg to top it all off.
The best time to visit this porridge palace is during lunch where diners are greeted with a buffet of side dishes. Choose from a panoply of vegetable, meat, and offal preparations, like blistered green beans, snappy bamboo shoots, tender pigs’ feet, and twice-cooked pork. Everything pairs well with the fortifying porridge.
Boston Lobster Seafood Restaurant (粵唯鮮)
While the restaurant’s name might lead one to expect lobster rolls served on split top buns and towers of gloriously fresh oysters, the focus here is seafood prepared with a Vietnamese-Chinese bent. Every table orders the house-special lobster with garlic noodles and the shaking beef.
The specialty here is Northern Vietnam’s greatest hits. The bun cha, the region’s quintessential dish, comes with charbroiled pork patties and pork belly soaking in fish sauce. An order of the nem cua be, beautifully blistered crab and pork egg rolls, is an absolute must.
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Nha Trang Kitchen Restaurant
The menu here is refreshingly pared down. There’s pho, of course, and a few banh mi, but the specialty here, as the restaurant’s name denotes, are noodle soups from Central Vietnam. The bun bo hue, spicy beef noodle soup with lemongrass, soothes and satisfies with a little heat and pig’s feet for good measure.
Claro's Italian Market
Claro’s Italian Market has been providing fancy imported Italian goods to Eastside dwellers since 1948. The market’s deli is especially of note, with made-to-order sandwiches, prepared foods, cold cuts, and desserts for the taking.
The decidedly old school vibe at this mom and pop Japanese spot immediately puts diners at ease. Whether appetites call for breaded pork katsu or homey curry served over rice, everything tastes lovingly made by a Japanese matriarch.
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