The San Gabriel Valley just east of Downtown Los Angeles is a trove of incredible dining. The expansive area that includes cities like Arcadia, Alhambra, Monterey Park, and San Gabriel contains some of the finest Asian restaurants in Southern California, including a significant Sichuan, Cantonese, and Vietnamese food scene. However, there are plenty of other notable places to eat in the area, like Babita Mexicuisine’s upscale Mexican fare, as well as Claro’s Italian Market for stellar Italian subs. Here now, a guide to essential restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley.Read More
22 Essential San Gabriel Valley Restaurants, 2022 Edition
Dim sum, Taiwanese breakfast, and Italian sandwiches
In the running for the best noodle shop in SGV, Lan Noodle, which also shows up as Lanzhou Beef Noodle in listings, is a place for incredible spicy handmade soups and more in a casual strip mall space. Be sure to ask for things on the spicy side for maximum flavor.
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Din Tai Fung
The original landing spot in North America for this Taiwan-based chain, Din Tai Fung has relocated to inside the Westfield Santa Anita serving Shanghai-influenced xiao long bao and other stir-fried fare. In addition to dumplings, try the refreshing cold cucumber appetizer and comforting pan-fried rice cakes. There are locations in Century City and Torrance as well, both inside malls.
Taking over the former Din Tai Fung space in Arcadia, Chef Tony, conceived by Cantonese chef Tony He, is the smaller menu cousin of its original Rosemead restaurant Sea Harbour (which is also excellent). The dim sum here is among the best in SGV.
Dai Ho Restaurant
Known for its casual digs and amazing beef noodle soup, Dai Ho is a classic SGV cafe that only serves during lunch from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11:30 to 2:30 p.m. Get there early before anything sells out.
As the SGV’s only Michelin starred restaurant, Bistro Na’s boasts an extensive menu of palace-style fare with the ambience to match. Prices will be commensurate with the quality, but there’s no doubt that Bistro Na’s is the most upscale place to eat in San Gabriel Valley. Try the spicy dry-braised black cod served in a long oval platter.
Chong Qing Special Noodles
The late Jonathan Gold was a tireless defender of Chong Qing Special Noodles, which sits a bit hidden away from SGV’s main drag. It’s worth finding this noodle shop, which has more types of dishes than three restaurant menus put together. The noodle soups and flavor-laden dan dan noodles are worth ordering.
Golden Deli San Gabriel
Arguably the best overall Vietnamese restaurant in SGV, Golden Deli’s crispy, crunchy cha gio are always in demand, but everything from the bun to the pho are fantastic too. Expect lengthy waits during prime hours.
Newport Seafood Restaurant
With an expansive Cantonese menu with Cambodian influences, this huge standalone building in San Gabriel remains one of the region’s top overall restaurants, especially for its fresh lobster made with green onion and garlic, and as well as bo luc lac.
Jiang Nan Spring
With a wide, elegant dining room that feels grow up compared to some of its SGV rivals, Jiang Nan Spring is a Shanghai-style restaurant with a big menu and elegant cooking across the board. The kind of place to have a slightly fancier Chinese dinner if the need arises.
A modern Asian American restaurant with chef flourishes, seasonal ingredients, and California-inspired fare, Yang’s Kitchen has had to navigate the pandemic with some major adaptations to its menu. But the brunchy, all-day fare has some highlights, from a customizable set meal to cornmeal mochi pancakes.
Probably SGV’s most high-end omakase destination, Kogane is a seven-seat counter that serves incredible sushi from two accomplished chefs at a starting price of $250 for dinner. Lunch time is a more approachable $100 and includes some table seating as well. A truly special experience.
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Claro's Italian Market
Opened since 1948, this old time Italian deli and market has amazing sandwiches on plush bread. There are six locations in Southern California, but the original in San Gabriel is the one to check out.
With wide hand-pulled noodles hailing from China’s Shaanxi region, this versatile restaurant always has plenty of seating to accommodate medium to larger parties. Prices are incredible reasonable and the portions are hefty too. Get an order of chewy biang biang noodles for the table.
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Chengdu Taste founder Tony Xu has a more casual noodle-centric restaurant just down the street from his famous Sichuan restaurant. Mian might be even better, with elegantly sauced and well-portioned dishes that can be eaten almost every day.
It’s incredible that 77-year-old Siu Chen went from home cook to restaurant owner during a pandemic. The family-run operation is now Rosemead’s hub for Indonesian fare with beef rendang, lemongrass fried chicken, and grilled pork satay. It’s a takeout model where all food is prepared and pre-packaged, so order early or walk-in and try your luck. —Mona Holmes
101 Noodle Express
Most people come here for the beef roll, a scallion pancake stuffed with thinly sliced beef, cilantro, and sauce, but 101 Noodle Express has a huge menu of other dishes that run the gamut of Chinese cuisine. A reliable, affordable restaurant good for feeding a crowd.
Tony Xu’s enduring Sichuan restaurant can be inconsistent with the level of spice it puts into its dishes, but when they’re spicy, the heat can be unrelenting (and awe-inspiring). The mung bean noodles, spicy wontons, toothpick lamb, and eggplant dishes are the highlights.
One of the two main Sichuan restaurant powerhouses in SGV, Sichuan Impression has a way of serving polished, almost elegant regional dishes with enough spice to draw a decent of sweat on the brow. Start with the cold house special noodles.
A true throwback Mexican restaurant with white tablecloths, classic Mexican fare, and a grown up ambience, Babita is a real gem in San Gabriel Valley. A place to experience upscale Mexican food with good wine and stellar service.
Huge Tree Pastry
One of Southern California’s gifts is an abundance of Taiwanese breakfast spots. Operating since 2010, Huge Tree Pastry’s pan-fried omelette, hot soy milk, and crullers are only a small sample of what this diner excels at. If the plant-based crowd wants to make the trek, opt for the vegetarian fan tuan. —Mona Holmes
This dim sum powerhouse is packed most days serving fantastic versions of the daytime fare, like har gow, barbecue pork buns, and shiu mai. The prices are going to be a notch higher than other dim sum houses, but the quality is also better. For dinner, expect a more traditional Cantonese seafood-style banquet experience.
Delicious Food Corner
This bustling Hong Kong-style cafe in Monterey Park has a huge menu of every day Cantonese fare, from congee and rice rolls by day to more shareable noodle dishes and stir-frys in the evening. Bring a crew and order a ton of dishes.
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