Rheem Fixture Tops Chinese Restaurant Challenge

Madeleine Singh and Layla Wright

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When it comes to dinner in Lamorinda, Chinese is usually a fool-proof option for a cheap and easy meal guaranteed to please. However, with an abundance of local options, choosing a restaurant is not easy. Here’s La Puma’s picks for top Chinese restaurants in the area.

GOLDEN PALACE: 581 Moraga Road

Located across from the Rheem shopping center and adjacent to 7-11, Golden Palace offers a casual dining experience. Opened just 4 years ago, the establishment includes both Chinese and Japanese cuisines.

Our order of combo chow mein and orange chicken totaled $25.89, making Golden Palace slightly less affordable than its competitors, but appropriately priced nonetheless.

Timmy, an employee at Golden Palace, claimed that when the restaurant opened, it caused its competitors’ rates to go down. “We have had 4 years of [being] open and this place was [earning] like around $500 bucks [a day], and now we basically average at least 2, 3 grand [a day],” he said. “So our business goes up fast, and then the others dropped down fast.”

The reason for Golden Palace’s success is their focus on making the customer happy. “We need to be able to stand out… I believe that’s customer service,” said Timmy. “Our goal is to make people satisfied, of course. We do whatever we can to satisfy people and make our food great. If you don’t like it, we might be able to change it, as long as it’s not a nonsense argument. That’s how it is.”

CHEF CHAO: 343 Rheem Boulevard

Located next to 24-Hour Fitness, Chef Chao provides a more sophisticated ambiance while keeping food delicious and affordable. Those who stop by in the afternoon can take advantage of the establishment’s lunch special, which includes an entree, soup, rice, and a customer’s choice of potstickers or egg rolls. Such a meal provides just the right quantity and variety of food for a good price; our bill totaled $21.85, including our additional order of chow mein.

Opened in 1979, Chef Chao is the longest-standing of the 3 restaurants we visited. “It’s been a long time, so we have many generations of customers coming; kids grow up, and then their kids- just many generations,” said Johnny, an employee at Chef Chao.

Although Chef Chao is no longer the only Chinese restaurant in the area, as it was in 1979, Johnny reported that the establishment has had no trouble staying afloat in the face of new competition. “[The restaurant had experienced a] recession, but then we go back up- we’re good. Busy some days, not busy other days, we’re steady,” he said.

While all of the establishments had good service, the waiters at Chef Chao were the quickest. Chef Chao has substantial parking, but the lot is known to fill up quickly during the busier hours (weekend nights especially), so accessibility may sometimes be an issue.

Overall, Chef Chao provided a perfect amount of food for a good price.

CHINA MOON: 380 Park Street

Located next to Lamorinda Pizza, China Moon provided a comfortable and somewhat formal environment with fast service. Parking was available right out front, though, as with the other restaurants, the spots have been known to fill up quickly during busier hours.

China Moon provided an average eating experience. Our bill totaled $24.60, placing the restaurant in the middle in terms of cost (though it was still very affordable). Food was brought quickly, service was great, and their menu also held a whole page of lunch specials, similar to Chef Chao.

Overall, we had an average experience at China Moon.

THE VERDICT

Chef Chao claimed the top podium spot, followed by Golden Palace in 2nd place, and China Moon 3rd. When it comes to Chinese food in Moraga, it’s hard to go wrong. All 3 restaurants were great in their own way and provided solid service with delicious food.

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Rheem Fixture Tops Chinese Restaurant Challenge