Panda Machi in Alpine, CA is doing something right. The business has been in this location for maybe 15 years, and for many of those 15 years the place has looked like a ghost town. Now, after about 2 years with a new owner, it’s always packed with people wanting more. The physical address is1730 Tavern Rd. just off the freeway.
I have learned to expect that whatever I order here, it’s going to be tasty. I will admit I’ve ordered a couple of dishes that weren’t stellar but I attribute that fact more to my ignorance than to the restaurant performing at subpar standards. I ordered the Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl ($4.95) and it didn’t bowl me over, but it was good. Huge portions of chicken, vegetables, and steamed rice all individually done properly but together they just didn’t pop!
I’ve enjoyed the Orange Chicken, Kung Pao Trio, Kung Pao Chicken, Garlic Shrimp and the Moo Shu Pork all to my total satisfaction. I’m not much of a Sushi guy, but Amanda goes with Nancy and I often and she enjoys Sushi. She has had Spider Rolls and she thought they weren’t bad, but the price was right so she enjoyed them. In Amanda’s view, you can find better tasting sushi elsewhere but factor in the good price and after a hard days shopping at the outlet center, you’d be happy with the sushi too.
If you go as Nancy and I often do, early enough to get the Lunch Specials (served until 3:00) you’ll find great food for under $6.00 with enough to fill me up twice so what a bargain. Agreeably feeling a little like Seinfeld’s parents after admitting to the early dinner, I’d go to Panda Machi anytime happily for good Chinese Cuisine.
I will add the fact that Alpine hosts many things to do besides eat Chinese. If you want to shop there’s the outlet mall at Viejas. Of course they also offer the Casino if that’s your passion. There is an animal sanctuary off of Japatul Rd, called Lions, Tigers, and Bears (http://lionstigersandbears.org/home.aspx) and historic buildings plus a microbrewery which makes a decent brew. Overall I say pack up your daypack and head to Alpine for the day where you may want a Chinese finish just off the I-8 at Panda Machi.