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Fine Garden

  • Vegetarian
    ( 7 reviews )
Contact 626-282-2282
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841 W Las Tunas Dr (at Mission Dr, north of 10 Fwy), San Gabriel, California, USA, 91776

Extensive menu features assorted vegetables and mock meats dishes. Daily bargain lunch specials under $6 per entree includes hot tea, rice and soup; brown rice also available. Regular menu prices are cheap to moderate. Large portions. Nicely lit interior plus an outdoor patio with Buddhist books for reading.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Chinese, Fast food, Take-out

Reviews (7)

First Review by piscesilver

Happy family chain? - Edit

This was my first trip to this restaurant and although the food was good, it gave me the "happy family vibe" The service was horrendous but the food was better than happy family. I understand what the previous reviewers say about the language barrier but this was also cultural. The server did seem to understand but she was just plain rude. I brought my family there (some meat eaters among them) and my God Son. The server did not offer us drinks (I guess because they give us tea) Whatever else I needed, I had to get up and ask for it and I saw other customers doing the same. They gave us the smallest table and my mom was very uncomfortable. At the end, I asked about deserts. She said she didn't know if there was any but she said she was going to check. She went and checked alright, she came with a small cup of frozen ice cream like product and said, "Ok Ice cream, very good" and left. My God Son tasted it and cringed and said, "this is too Vegan" LOL It was Taro root and I had ordered strawberry. I tried the ice cream and tasted horrible. Not only because it was Taro but because it was stale and even had freezer burn of how old it was!!! I didn't want to complain and instead give them this rating. My family made me promise never to take them back there again. Why would I go back if there are happy family restaurants all over my city with the same type of food and service?
The menu is similar to happy family but the food is actually a little better. Yes, it has dim sum, which is the only difference and the only reason why I would consider going back. However, I would not recommend it for a social occasion.

Pros: Varied Menu, Good food, Affordable

Cons: Bad service, Small parking, Small seating space inside


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Fine Garden VEGAN-APPROVED! - Edit

If you've read some of my other reviews of certain "vegan" restaurants in the greater Los Angeles region of California, you've seen that I take huge exception to those restaurants who claim to be vegan or even vegetarian are are either simply liars, ignorant, or don't care about some of the ingredients that their dishes contain, primarily egg, whey, animal stomach, and honey products in mock meats made in the far east. But at Fine Garden, they DO care about your Vegan lifestyle and you can pretty much eat in confidence there as long as you make it very clear that you are vegan. There is definitely a language barrier there, but there's one waitress who understands english very well. I was referred to this restaurant by a close vegan friend who is more of a raw-foodist than I am and she's a dedicated food-combiner. She told me that this restaurant does go out of its way to prepare food the way you want it. So on my first visit, I got lucky and got the good waitress. She took the time to explain to me that a large number of strict buddhists visit this restaurant regularly and they can "smell" if there's eggs or whey or honey products in their food, and so the restaurant has been very careful to sort out which of their mock meats have whey and which don't. She was very confident, knowledgeable, and concerned about what I expected as a vegan and what dishes are vegan-safe. RARELY have I been to a vegetarian restaurant that had such great concern for vegans and could say all the right words to make us feel good and safe about eating there! (Really, only Garden Wok and One World could I say the same thing about other than obvious vegan places such as Veggie Grill or Native Foods). Their food is soooo good! Not quite as good as Happy Family Restaurant (those liars poisoned me I don't know how many times with their hidden animal ingredients primarily whey which has animal rennet), but definitely up on that level of taste. Some of the dishes are kind of bizarre-tasting for the American palate so be prepared to take your chances with taste. I never send anything back just because I don't like the way it tastes. I just grin and bare it, that's the price of experimenting! The other waitresses do seem to understand what "vegan" means since they speak very little English but don't expect to have a conversation with them. ASK repeatedly if each dish is vegan to the other waitresses and they'll give you a pretty confident yes or no. I LOVE THIS RESTAURANT!

Pros: Most dishes are truly vegan, portions/prices are fair, Many dishes are DELICIOUS

Cons: only 1 waitress speaks good english, have experienced difficult chefs, They use MSG but will omit if you ASK


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Yummy Dim Sum - Edit

I tried the dim sum today and was impressed. I have heard about veggie dim sum restaurants in San Francisco and drooled about them but now I can come here. I love dim sum before I became a vegetarian and missed having it for years.

I love their taro cakes. It came out warm and with nice gooey filling. Their turnip cake was good. Siu May, Char Siu, Har Kow, all of these were yummy. They also have sweet rice wrapped in lotus leaves.

Wow, service was good also but waitress may not speak English very well. However, there are pictures of the items so you can point and tell her what number you want to order.

I went with friends and ordered 11 dishes. Prices were so reasonable.

I love this place.

Pros: Vegetarian dim sum in SoCal, Reasonable prices, Tasty

Cons: 1 hour from home but not bad,


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Dog Friendly, and Very Yummy - Edit

I stopped here for lunch today while getting my car serviced at the nearby 76 station (at Del Mar). I had my little dog with me and so we walked the 6-7 blocks to Fine Garden.

They have a fully covered outdoor area so they didn't mind that I brought my dog. They were very nice to him and since it was hot out they brought him a bowl of water, and I gave him a little bowl of brown rice. NICE!

I had the Spicy Eggplant and also the Basil "Chicken" Nuggets. Both were quite good.

In the end they brought out TWO fortune cookies, one for me, and one for my dog! I won't feed it to him, but this fortune is his: "It's the crying baby that gets the milk."

Very apropos.

Pros: Delicious, Dog Friendly, Very Reasonable

Cons: No sauce for the "Nuggets"


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Bargain Find - Edit

I had read about this place on happycow, and here's my Fine Garden review.

Came here once and ordered from the lunch special menu. Each meal at a bargain, very cheap price. For each entree, we had a choice of white rice or bread (extra for brown rice, very yummy), soup, and hot tea.

My husband and I ordered 4 dishes to share, each very flavorful, though a couple entrees were a bit much on the saucy side for our taste (typical of restaurant-style Chinese food).

Like the other veggie restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley and Monterey Park area, the ingredients used are conventional and non-organic.

Pros: fast friendly service, fresh ingredients, large portions

Cons: too much sauce


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Excellent, tasty, affordable - Edit

*update: They now serve dim sum items. Began summer of 2011, separate mini menu available all day. This makes me VERY happy! Thumbs up!*

The first time I went here I went with a carnivore friend who has a secret fondness for veggie fish. We shared one of the casserole 'seafood' bowls and it did not disappoint. I'm always happy when carnivores leave veggie restaurants as full and content as I do!
I have since gone back for other casserole soups. The last visit, I took my mom there and we got sooo many dishes (leftovers for the next few days!) basically trying everything that we wanted to try. The veggie meats were super (try the BBQ pork - sweet and tasty), the vegetables were fresh, and I wanted to add a note about the service; chinese restaurants are notorious for bad service so I usually have little to no expectation for decent waitstaff, but here, I was very pleasantly surprised to have a friendly staff who were likely extra kind to us because they were so amused my mom and I were having the time of our lives.
We went at a less busy hour (late afternoon/early dinner time) and got so much, the waitress was surprised but went along with it and even had her own suggestions. She came out later to tell us they didn't have much of one vegetable but could accomodate and proposed some other veggies. Everything turned out EXCELLENT. And it never hurts to compliment like crazy. :) They ended up letting us a try a special "healing" soup on the house, and they chatted with us about how it's made etc. I have since tried to duplicate that one, granted, it never came out as good as theirs.
For your sweet tooth, I recommend a light dessert of the almond milk covered in flaky pastry (for almond milk fans, nice,thick and warm, the crust is bonus) or the chewy dessert ball/fermented rice soup (trust me, it tastes much better than I'm translating the name to be).
In the end, the price was definitely very reasonable given how much food we ate, the extra soups they gave us, and the personalizing of a couple dishes.
So, go when it's less busy, and be nice, and you'll be treated the same in return :) You might see me there!
Updated from previous review on Thursday March 04, 2010

Pros: delicious, affordable, variety

Cons: small, a little slow


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Impressed with the food, not with the service. - Edit

I found this place on accident when I was doing a show in the area. I was with my parents, and they had never eaten at a Chinese vegan place, and they really liked the food. My mom suggested going back. The food was really good, (our favorite was the mock Kung-Pao chicken) the prices very reasonable, but they weren't the best with customer service. Maybe we were there at a busy time (Sunday night). I would only go back if I happen to be in that area again, otherwise, I'd just go to a friendlier place if I feel like having vegan Chinese.

Pros: Great tasting food, outdoor sitting area, large menu

Cons: poor customer service, limited parking


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