The San Gabriel Valley just east of Downtown Los Angeles is a trove of incredible dining destinations. 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. Here now, a guide to essential restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley.Read More
22 Essential San Gabriel Valley Restaurants, 2023 Edition
Cantonese seafood, Northern Chinese noodles, and soup-filled dumplings for days.
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.
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1919 Lanzhou Beef Noodle
The region of Gansu might have the best noodles in all of China, with the city of Lanzhou featuring a slew of hand-cut or hand-pulled noodles served in soup or with dry spices. 1919 Lanzhou Beef Noodle follows much of the same recipe as the lauded Lan Noodle in Arcadia, with similarly great broths and spice blends to make every bite interesting. Tired of “handmade pasta” and its sky-high prices? The portions and affordability of Lanzhou noodles will put a smile on your face.
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, and be sure to bring cash.
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.
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Tam's Noodle House
A true Cantonese all-day cafe with some of the quickest service anywhere in town. Place an order and expect everything from the kaya toast to the Hong Kong milk tea to arrive in mere seconds. Comforting bowls of shrimp wonton soup and fried rice give way to one of the best fried fish filet dishes in the SGV. The menu’s got all the hallmarks of a classic Chinese restaurant but with affordability, speed, and big portions in mind.
Cantonese bakeries are numerous across SGV, but Diamond Bakery might be near the best of the bunch, with a huge array of individually wrapped pastries to egg custard tarts to full cream-filled sheet cakes.
Japanese comfort food is on full display at Ducks, a family-owned restaurant serving katsu curry, yaki udon, spicy tonkotsu ramen, and all manners of tempura at reasonable prices. It’s easily one of SGV’s most beloved and enduring Japanese restaurants. Don’t mind all the ducks on display inside the dining room.
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Golden Deli San Gabriel
Arguably the best overall Vietnamese spot in SGV, Golden Deli’s crispy, crunchy cha gio are always in demand, but everything from the bun to the pho are fantastic too. People are almost always waiting for one of the small strip mall restaurant’s coveted tables.
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, as well as bo luc lac.
Jiang Nan Spring
With a wide, elegant dining room that feels grown 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, from the noodles to the fried rice. The kind of place to have a slightly fancier Chinese dinner if the need arises, with a menu and dining area big enough to please a crowd.
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San Gabriel Valley’s newest landmark dim sum spot might also be its best right now, with a bustling, well-designed dining room filled with eager daytime diners ordering a parade of squid ink har gow, crispy lobster rolls, and heaping bowls of congee. Bistro 1968’s specialties extend to sesame-filled peanut mochi, Iberico pork char siu, and curry-laden Singapore-style pan-fried noodles. Expect to wait during prime weekend hours.
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, including a customizable set meal and 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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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
Tony Xu’s enduring Sichuan restaurant can be inconsistent with the level of spice it puts into its dishes, but when the dishes are 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 and end with the mapo tofu with a bit of steamed rice.
Babita is true throwback Mexican restaurant with white tablecloths, classic Mexican fare, and a grown-up ambience. It’s a real gem in San Gabriel Valley, a place to experience upscale Mexican food with good wine and stellar service.
Gram Cafe & Pancakes Los Angeles
Fluffy Japanese souffle pancakes have been around in LA for a couple of years now, but few have perfected the format better than Osaka import Gram Cafe, serving at the ever-busy Atlantic Times Square in Monterey Park to long daytime lines. The labor-intensive process means the batter has to be constantly whipped, but the results are worth the effort, with jiggly, airy creations that come with a side of syrup and whipped cream.
Hue Thai Bakery & Deli
In Rosemead lies perhaps the city’s best banh mi spot, serving the platonic ratio of ingredients stuffed into a bread baked on the premises, with a choice of French roll or light baguette. Staff recommends the latter for a lighter crispness. With meaty paté, head cheese, ham, chả lụa (steamed pork sausage), and crisp pickled vegetables with the intense spice of fresh jalapeño and bright cilantro, this sandwich has it all.
This classic fast-food spot makes sliced pastrami an attainable art form, with sandwiches, hot dogs, and burgers used as a format for serving the preserved brisket. The Hat has always been a reliable spot for after-school snacks and late-night munchies in the SGV.
Delicious Food Corner
This bustling Hong Kong-style cafe in Monterey Park has a huge menu of everyday Cantonese fare, including congee and rice rolls by day and more shareable noodle dishes and stir-fries in the evening. Bring a crew and order a ton of dishes.