Mandarin Lotus

  • Veg-options Veg-options
    ( 11 reviews )

5015 Kanan Rd, Agoura Hills, California, USA, 91301

Serves meat, vegan options available. Change of name in spring 2013; formerly Mandarin Express, same management since 1988. Offers many tofu and vegetable dishes as well an extensive list of mock meats dishes (ask if vegan). Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-10:00pm, Sat-Sun 4:30pm-10:00pm.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Chinese, Delivery, Take-out, Asian, Catering, Fusion, Non-veg

11 Reviews

First Review by dynamicbliss

You need to eat at Mandarin Express! - Edit

Mandarin Express is the place where everybody knows your name and you will be greeted by the warmest owners, Kim and Dan. They will never forget--not only your name--but exactly what you love and what you loathe in your food preferences. You can get exactly what you want here; atkins, lowfat, no fat, no sugar, tons of sugar, super crispy, no meat, no carbs, or carbo load...---from omnivore to vegan...and you will always get a giant portion. Chef Dan is very creative and Mandarin Express's menu boasts a choice for everyone. If you cannot decide from the zillion choices offered to you, just tell Kim what you like and what you don't......(like in the movie Chocolat where the owner could pick the favorite..similarly,Kim knows her stuff!)..If I tell Kim, "I'm vegan and I want only steamed tofu with a sauce that has no heated oils, so sugar, and I hate garlic"..she & chef Dan will create something very interesting and tasty for me. If I want something very basic, I can get that too. From sweet and sour to garam masala...amazing mock meat dishes both fried or pick...amazing rice and noodle dishes, soups..just check out their menu..and check out the incredible size of the Vegetarian menu..
Our favorites include kung pao tofu (with soft tofu), kung pao tofu skins (w/fried tofu skins), kung pao vegetables, any sweet & sour or orange peel dish, any sakiyo miso dish, any soup, any garam masala dish (potatoes are awesome).
Unlike anywhere else, Mandarin Express is both my weekly and special occasion choice because I can get it all here.
I can eat very simply (I just get steamed veggies and steamed tofu--or my favorite tofu vegetable soup) and I can get really decadent if I want for an occasion or to bring a guest...with any of the fried mock chicken dishes (my personal fav) or any of the mock meats...the sauces are awesome!
Eat it there or take it to go....and there is something great for EVERYONE here.....Call or fax ahead is not a problem. Catering not a problem. I'm telling you....check it's behind IHop on the corner of Agoura Road and Kanan in Agoura Hills....
I'm a food snob, I'm a very picky eater and I eat at Mandarin Express ALL THE TIME. SEE YOU THERE!
Aloha and Namaste!
Updated from previous review on Wednesday March 05, 2008

Updated from previous review on Friday March 21, 2014

Pros: custom choices, excellent food quality & taste, excellent people!

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Very unique, worth a trip - Edit

I was visiting friends for a long weekend and on the last night of my visit I asked them to let me take them to someplace special to thank them for their hospitality.

They suggested we go to Mandarin Lotus and told me that I was going to love the place. They were right!

They have an extensive and creative menu, very original recipes, not just vegan versions of typical Chinese meat dishes. They does some very creative things with tofu. One of my favorites was the Black Velvet Belgian Chocolate Agave Tofu, it was amazing. The mock fish dishes are also very, very good.

They offer an impressive selection of teas as well.
The service was warm, friendly and vet attentive, the owners knew my friends by name and welcomed many of their customers like regulars.

I will make a point of driving up from LA the next time I'm in town with a little extra time on my schedule.

Pros: Large menu, Fresh and tasty food , Great service

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Tasty, But Let Them Know How You Want Your Dishes - Edit

I had dinner at this very vegan-friendly Asian restaurant. The first thing I noticed was that the prices were much higher than I would have anticipated for the type of restaurant this appears to be. We ordered a mock beef with broccoli, mock chicken with pineapple, and Kim, the owner was so kind as to let us taste a vegan "quesadilla", Asian-style.

When we tried the vegan beef with broccoli, we both noticed that it was quite salty for our taste, and the beef was quite hard and dry. When we told Kim, she said that if we request the beef as "softer and low sodium", they will cater to our needs. She took the dish back, and the chef made the dish better for us. The vegan chicken with pineapple was quite tasty. The meat was a tad dry for our taste, but next time, we could just request it to be less dry. Kim mentioned that many people like their mock meats dry and crunchier.

The vegan quesadilla, which isn't presently on the menu, was the highlight. Perfectly spiced, and really delicious.

Kim also gave us some nice lemon verbena tea so that we could get a good rest.

Overall, I felt the service was very good, and the food was also good. Now that we know that we can get them to cook the way we want, we would have to be sure to let them know how we like our food.

Pros: Service, Many vegan options

Cons: Menu should be clear re. customization

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Please support Kim and Dan - Edit

Amazing food!! Belgian Chocolate glazed vegi beef over rice for example. Please support them.

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Overpriced - Edit

I visited this restaurant after seeing its solid happy cow rating. In my opionion, the restaurant is overpriced for what it is. The mock meat was sliced so thinly that all I could taste was fried coating, the sauce was very sweet without much flavor, and the ambiance was underwhelming. The food wasn't BAD, but I certainly expect more for the $12-20 price range.

Pros: Friendly staff

Cons: Underwhelming ambiance, Underwhelming food

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Great Food - Edit

Though I'm not a vegan, I visited this restaurant with a friend and we both were delighted. We had the mock chicken curry and the mock strawberry chicken. Both were terrific and serving sizes were generous; the owners visited our table and were friendly. Though not much for ambience, the soda machine is flat and bitter, and the lunch special are a tad expensive, I would highly recommend this restaurant. In fact, this is amoung the best vegetarian meat substitute I've eaten.

Pros: great meat sub, friendly owners, great variety

Cons: atmosphere, bitter flat soda

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Delicious treat! - Edit

Mandarin Express is a great vegan chinese restaurant, owned by the most friendly, wonderful couple. The owners serve sooo many folks every week, and yet they frequently remember your order and name! Every item is available as vegan or non-vegetarian, so you can bring your meat loving friends and relatives with you, no problem. Wonderful combinations of herbs and spices make this one of the best vegan dining establishments that I have ever been to.

Pros: Fresh, Fast, Super Flavorful

Cons: Little expensive

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Worth a trip--Best Vegetarian Food in SoCal! - Edit

When you drive up to this tiny hole-in-the-wall in an Agoura Hills strip mall, you may not expect to be absolutely dazzled. I have been a vegetarian for 15 years, and Mandarin Express is a dream come true. The menu is immense; fortunately for first-timers, the friendly and helpful owners Kim and Chef Dan will make suggestions based on your likes and dislikes. Vegetarians can rejoice: not only does Mandarin Express serve every kind of "mock meat" imaginable, each dish has a unique and flavorful sauce and super-fresh vegetables. Everything can be made to order: no oil, extra spicy, no MSG. Our favorites are the Korean Mock Beef or Mock Shrimp and the French Basil Taiwanese Mock Shrimp, but we try something new every time and have never been disappointed. Meat eating friends have agreed that it's the best Chinese food they've ever tasted. Call ahead to give Chef Dan plenty of time to create your delicious meal. Mandarin Express is truly worth the trip!

Pros: Delicious Food, Very Friendly Staff, Countless Vegetarian Options

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Vegans to meat eaters will love this place! - Edit

I'm vegan, my husband's a meat eater, and we both love this place! He even likes the vegan food. It's really the best Chinese food I've had in California.
The owners Kim and Dan are so friendly and make great suggestions if you get overwhelmed by the giant menu!

Pros: Excellent food, Healthy cuisine, Friendly staff

Cons: Best for takeout as restaurant is small.

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My favorite food to eat when I'm back home - Edit

I eat at Mandarin Express every time I go home to visit my parents. Agoura Hills isn't exactly filled with excellent restaurants for vegetarians, so I was pleasantly surprised when my best friend suggested this place a few years ago. Even though it's pretty much the only restaurant I eat at when I'm in Agoura, it never gets old. I used to order the same thing every time (vegetarian fried wontons, mixed vegetables, and rice) because the food is so good that I didn't feel the need to try anything new. When I did take a chance and try something new like the mock shrimp and mock chicken, I loved it. The choices are endless and you really can't go wrong. It is the best mock meat and doesn't taste too much like tofu (I'd rather just order tofu if I want that taste!) or too bready like some mock meats. And thankfully it still doesn't taste exactly like meat because that would gross me out. It's just all around delicious food. Plan ahead and phone in your order because good food takes time to prepare.

Pros: great food, healthy, friendly staff

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Culinary Ecstasy in Agoura Hills - Chinese Fusion - Edit

Mandarin Express (aka Chinese Fusion) has the best food on the planet!
If you're lucky enough to live in the LA / Ventura area, or visiting, finding this eatery is like finding a diamond. I first got hooked back in 2000, when a co-worker suggested trekking out from Woodland Hills for our lunch break. Kelsey Grammer's Orange Chicken, made with "mock meat," was my initial obsession. It is so incredibly yummy, it took years for me to get the courage to try another dish!
Mandarin Express will fit the needs of any dietary constraint, from Vegan to Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian to Carnivorous. The Orange Chicken I first tried was so good, it was hard for me to allow myself to try anything else, but over the years I have learned that EVERYTHING that chef Dan Chang makes is outstanding. I have never been disappointed.
These days, I allow Chef Dan to choose and surprise me with my meal. He knows that I'm an Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian and has the talent, skill, ability and gift to prepare an endless number of impeccable dishes. Not only are there over 300 choices on the written menu, there are limitless possibilities that Chef Dan, the Grand Master of Culinary Arts, can invent.
Do yourself a favor and get out to Mandarin Express for an unforgettable treat, and say hello to your new favorite restaurant.

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