When Stuart Davis opened the first City Wok in North Hollywood in 1990, he had already been honing the restaurant’s concept for three years. He envisioned a stylish, casual restaurant where chefs created fresh, healthy versions of authentic Chinese dishes to order in an open kitchen. The problem? Davis lacked a background in traditional Chinese cooking. Enter Hing Fan Chan, a professional chef trained in Kowloon, China. “It was a 50-50 collaboration,” Davis told Restaurant Hospitality magazine in 2003: Chan brought traditional recipes to City Wok, and worked with Davis to create healthy, MSG-free versions of authentic dishes. Their collaboration paid off: in 2011, City Wok earned Palm Springs Life’s award for the area’s Best Chinese Restaurant.
Today, flames surge as chefs tend woks in chrome-lined open kitchens. In the dining room, customers relax as they wait for servers to arrive with dishes such as a spicy kung pao combo or house lo mein. A breakfast menu features creative wok scrambles and moo shoo burritos, bringing Chinese flavors to morning meals without the hassle of stealing a Concorde.
La China Restaurant's vast and varied menu brims with classic Chinese recipes. Start off with savory potstickers or creamy crab rangoons, each packed into a paper-thin dough envelope perfect for stamping with sauce and mailed as a thank-you note to a loyal carrier pigeon. A wide range of meat-, noodle-, or seafood-based entrees also beckons diners—including the pecan shrimp, which drenches the crispy crustaceans in an ambrosial honey sauce. The five-flavor chicken lets tender poultry mingle with minced water chestnuts, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots in a signature sauce for an opus of tastes more harmonious than the Beatles' weekly potlucks. Beverages toe the line between domestic and imported tastes: wine selections range from California varietals to traditional sake and plum wine, and beer brands include Budweiser to Tsingtao.
J.Wok was created with the idea that great food is best served as an amalgamation of Eastern and Western cuisine. Taking it's cue from the melting pot that is today's modern society J.Wok's menu utilizes authentic Asian recipes as a basis while creating inventive dishes with a distinct American sensibility.
Kip's Cafe had been in El Cajon for 52 years since 1956 before relocatiing to the current location in Hillcrest. It is one of the few restaurants that one can find good Chinese, Japanese food and sushi, as well as a full bar with excellent selection of wines under one roof. You always can find something you like in here!
Hot Wok's brand of Cantonese cuisine, like its name, is refreshingly straight forward. Just because the cooks forgo frills doesn't mean they skimp on flavor, though. To ensure dishes pack a delicious punch, they rely on a lineup of vibrant sauces that range from a special garlic variety to spicy Sichuan influences, and use tender white chicken meat in many dishes. And whether they're sauteing the aforementioned chicken for moo goo gai pan or stir frying sliced beef with orange rinds and chili peppers, the cooks never use MSG to artificially enhance the taste. They can also happily whip up low-fat entrees, as well as omit salt, sugar, or soy from any dish.
Pan of Asia introduces the vibrant colors and intense flavors of beloved dishes from across China and Southeast Asia. Like the cafeteria at the United Nations, Pan of Asia’s menu spans a continent’s worth of delicacies, from spicy-sweet Thai basil with tender morsels of tofu and chicken, to exotic Malaysian curries, to several crowd-pleasing Chinese dishes. Guests can sink their teeth into salt and pepper shrimp, citrus fried chicken, or spicy garlic eggplant. And for dessert, Pan of Asia finishes meals with green-tea or mango ice, or sweet dim sum.