I bet if you go open your fridge right now, there’s some Chinese leftovers in there. We all have a favorite Chinese restaurant that already knows our order when we call. Lo Mein, Fried Rice, Chicken Wings, Sesame Chicken, you already know. But we hardly ever go out to a Chinese restaurant. That is unless you hang around me, because I know a few spots that scoff at your idea of Chinese food, and you’ll thank me if you go try them.

Cafe China

Cafe China is located in Midtown Manhattan and has a Michelin Star. Their food is traditional Sichuan that is several notches above the rest. Small, with traditional decor, it is quiet, the service is impeccable. I went with my girlfriends for one of their birthdays. We were immediately engulfed in the food, so much that we actually forgot to order wine, which is unheard of, believe me. We ended up drinking their tea, which of course was delicious.

Our appetizers consisted of an array of Dim Sum. We had Scallion Pancakes, Pork Potstickers, Crystal Shrimp Dumplings, and my personal favorite Pork Dumplings in Chili Oil. These latter dumplings were undoubtedly the best I ever had, just incredible. For the main event Daisy had Fragrant Fish (filet of sole with sow pea shoots and green chili pepper). Yvonne went with Sweet and Sour Baby Ribs, while I chose Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce. Sandra opted for the Kung Pao Chicken (stir fried with peanuts, peppercorn and chili peppers). Our desserts were Pumpkin Donuts, Coconut Sorbet, Green Tea Gelato with Red Bean Mochi, and Eight Jewel Rice. Please do yourself a favor and get the Coconut Sorbet, which is served in a coconut shell. It is one of the best things you will ever eat. This place is in my top ten restaurants ever. It’s unbelievable.

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Nom Wah Tu

The former well loved Fung Tu is now Nom Wah Tu, and I love both! Wilson Tang, owner of Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown, has taken over this lovely little place on the Lower Eastside, serving small plates Dim Sum style with a lineup of inventive cocktails.

I went with my daughter in tow, and being that the prices are extremely reasonable, we pretty much ordered half the menu. Our lineup consisted of: Pan-Fried Chicken Dumplings, Shrimp and Snow Pea Leaf Dumplings, Pork Soup Dumplings, Roti Pancakes, Nuggets, Fried Spring Rolls, Shangai-Style Stir-Fried Noodles, and Duck Confit Fried Rice. The shrimp dumplings were beautiful and extraordinary, the soup dumplings were my favorite. We shared some of our sizeable meal, took some home, and loved everything. The traditional menu has a modern flavor to it. Exceptional! You feel almost guilty looking at the bill! It’s quite a treat, don’t miss out…

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Philippe Chow

I love me some lunch specials! I love all specials to be honest. Not because I’m cheap, but because I get to try several small dishes as opposed to one large one. Luckily for me, there’s plenty of specials in Manhattan, even in the finest of restaurants. Philippe’s on the Upper East Side is no exception. This Beijing style eatery has a stellar reputation and a stylish atmosphere.

Their 3-course lunch special runs under 40 dollars, and even includes a specialty cocktail. I helped myself to a Red Dragon Rose Sangria with rosé, ruby red grapefruit juice and bourbon. Pretty darn yummy. Due to a lucky glitch I ended up with 2 appetizers: their famous Chicken Satay, and Chicken Lettuce Wraps made with zucchini, bamboo shoots and served with hoisin sauce. The main course was an order of Crispy Beef in sweet orange-carrot sauce, which was very, very good. My dessert was a warm brownie with coconut sorbet topped with whipped cream and strawberries. Of course this was way too much food for one person, but with a doggy bag this was an excellent lunch that turned into an excellent dinner!

For more info click here