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Panda Restaurant: A Trifecta of Asian Delights

The Lemon Grove eatery offers Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese cuisine.

The panda's menu consists of one item—bamboo. The Panda Restaurant's menu, however, seems almost limitless. And at this local favorite for 10 years, you'll never be more happy you're not one of the big, black-and-white beasts—no matter how cute they are.

The place looks a little dark from the outside because of smallish windows that are filled with signage. However, once you are inside the restaurant, you will find 12 tables in a bright and cheerful setting. The decor is very traditional, bordering on kitschy. There is even a red lacquered Chinese round door that leads to the kitchen.

And then there's the menu, which serves a whopping 162 choices. That does not even include the sushi selections or the lunch specials. Panda does not slouch when it comes to variety.

I decided to try one of Panda’s 32 daily lunch specials, all offered at the bargain price of $5.45. My pick was chicken with asparagus, which is served with steamed rice and egg roll. The service was attentive and fast—soon a large plate was in front of me, brimming with food. It was much more than I expected, and it tasted great.

The stir-fry consisted of morsels of tender chicken and a lot of asparagus. This was mixed with bamboo shoots and an array of crunchy fresh vegetables including carrots, zucchini, and onions, all in a tasty special white sauce. The rice was fluffy and perfectly cooked. A delicious crispy golden vegetarian egg roll completed the combination plate. Soon it was all gone. I saved the last bite for the egg roll. Yum!

I have heard the orange chicken is very popular. It’s the first choice on the lunch special menu, and I would like to come back to try it. I might also sample some of their Vietnamese pho. The fellow at the next table, without even looking at the menu, ordered a big bowl of it and was attacking it with gusto.  Must be good.

Everyone should be able to find something to like here. The chef’s special of shrimp with pecans in a light honey sauce sounds oh-so inviting. Now I am hungry again!

The restaurant offers a varied menu with big portions at rock bottom prices. Clean, quiet, tasty, quick, affordable. What more could you ask for?

is located on the mile of meals at 7816 Broadway, between Lemon Grove Avenue and Grove Street. They take cash and credit cards. The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch or dinner; the hours are 11:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m. They do not have a website. You can call them at 619-460-7450 to order food to go. Delivery and catering is also available.

Crystal August 18, 2011 at 06:46 PM
My family loves this restaurant. My eldest dtr and I always get the egg drop soup, my youngest loves the terriyaki chicken and sweet and sour shrimp, and my hubby loves the pho :)

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