China Village - Szechuan - 1335 Solano Ave, Albany, CA - Restaurant Reviews - Menu

China Village   - Szechuan - 1335 Solano Ave, Albany, CA - Restaurant Reviews - Menu
9/19/2016

I've lived just off of Solano for the majority of my life (three different locations) but had never tried China Village. No reason. Just skipped over it and tried others.And then it made the local news because Bernie Sanders ate there so I figured that someone had tipped him off that it was good eats and that, by extension, I should try it if I really want to call myself a local.Two words: legit China.I felt guilty for ordering in English. I speak Mandarin at a level of only what I've learned from library tapes and yet I felt gauche for using my mother tongue here. But while we are talking about my tongue, I have to say that the flavors of the dishes I got were rockin'! I tried the green beans with garlic, which I coudln't stop eating even when my tofu hot pot came out. The hot pot isn't a soup here, but like a stirfry in a hot pot. Delectable.The menu is too big to only come here once, I fear, so know that if you come once, you'll be back again.

9/10/2016

Really good spicy fish. Szechuan cuisine done the right way- with depth to spiciness, a hint of szechuan peppercorn, and not filled with salt, MSG or oil. Their pork shank is also impressive and not overly sweet, despite of it being a more Shanghai/Yangtze dish. Somewhat surprising to myself, I find China Village to be one of my favorite 5 Chinese restaurants in the entire Bay Area (other 4 being R&G in SF, Koi Palace in Daly City, Crouching Tiger in RWC, Shanghai Garden in Cupertino).

9/6/2016

Best Sichuan cuisine in the bay area that I've had, almost comparable to the actual province. If they add rabbit meat to the menu, then I think the only difference is price. That's not really something a restaurant in America can beat. The price is excellent and the portions are massive, family style in the actual Chinese style.The mapo doufu/tofu crab is my favorite thing there so far. Be sure to ask for extra mala (numbing spice) in your food for the proper flavor.Stick to actual Sichuan cuisine and you'll be ecstatic.

8/3/2016 Updated review

Treated my kin to a spicy meal back in April. We ordered some fish soup loaded with the red floaties all over. Mala taste was truly numbing and very oddly addicting.Few other stir-fry dishes, a sesame bread....truly, for $36--- I was happy to give them my patronage. Good go-to. Capacious when considering it's two sides to the place.Waiter was conversing with us in Canto.

Dry fried green beans Dry fried green beans Cumin lamb Cumin lamb Fish fillet mustard green vermicelli chili soup Fish fillet mustard green vermicelli chili soup See all photos from Jana C. for China Village 1/28/2014 Previous review Have yet to try more of their offerings, but usually busy and menu is extensive enough.The other… Have yet to try more of their offerings, but usually busy and menu is extensive enough.The other week, the hot & sour soup did impress.. to the point where we got one large order, and was quite satisfying.  Ratio is done well with black vinegar and pepper. Like the egg strands and amount of mushrooms and bamboo.On the other hand, the stir-fried noodles ordered were not cooked with care...over-gravied, and the ingredients were not impressive either. The choice of noodles used were one grade above cheap kinds bought at Ranch 99. Read more 7/28/2016

Short story: HUGE portions, nice ambiance, food comes out crazy fast, you can control the spice level (no need to fear the Szechaun category). Not the lightest, freshest Chinese food, but good value if you just want to gorge. For the longest time, I've told myself I don't like Chinese food because it's too greasy and the sauces are always too gelatenous. I prefer Vietnamese and Thai, because the flavors are just brighter and the dishes less heavy. But, I was excited for China Village to prove me wrong. Being in North Berkeley and all, I expected it to be on the fresher, less greasy side. Plus, everybody's talking about how Bernie Sanders ate here when he was in town, and it seems like the dude would be dining with "in the know" Berkeleyans who appreciate a good, unadulterated vegetable. But sadly... like most Chinese food... our dishes here *were* greasy and *were* gelantenous (this point was made especially clear when eating our leftovers the next day -- solid bricks of gelatin). We had the pork shoulder stew, the dry fried green beans (my fave of the night, nice & garlicky), homemade chow mein noodles, and the fish & tofu appetizer in a thick red sauce. It was a comical amount of food, way too much for 2 people. 1 dish per person is PLENTY here. The menu is ridiculously huge, I decided to just check the Yelp photos for things that looked good. Our servers were great about helping us decide on dishes that wouldn't be terrifyingly spicy. But sadly, this left us with somewhat bland not spicy at ALL dishes. I'd like to be able to get a little kick, without bringing tears to my eyes. To be honest, I was kinda hoping the Szechuan spice would help me go into labor, but alas... I need to better figure out their scale of spicyness. "Medium spice" did not translate well, and did not even phase le bebe. This place is clearly popular! Seems great for families, with the huge portions, quick service and ample seating. I just don't know when I'll be in the mood for something this heavy again...

Dry fried green beans. One of their lighter veggie dishes, nice & garlicky. Dry fried green beans. One of their lighter veggie dishes, nice & garlicky. Spicy pork shoulder, more like a stew. Pretty darn decadent! Spicy pork shoulder, more like a stew. Pretty darn decadent! House made chow mein House made chow mein See all photos from Nique F. for China Village 8/1/2016

We have been wanting to get here for awhile and when our visiting friends told us they were staying in Berkeley I suggested we meet at China Village.Huge menu with selections from every food group :).  We ordered with some help from our server.Hot and Sour Soup, nice version of this favorite, "clean" tasting, good flavor from the broth and normal "soup texture" not thickened and slimy like so many restaurants do. A  small was enough for 6 people!Fish Dumplings, these were good, not the best we have had but good and were livened up with a fiery mustard sauce5 Spice Pork, by far the best dish ordered. Huge portion, layers of flavors and a gradual heat build up so all the flavors come through. Excellent!Cumin Beef, our server suggested this over the lamb as he said the lamb was more for fall - winter.  Very good flavor, cumin not overbearing as it can be. Good spice level. Large portion.Spicy Mala Tofu Dungeness Crab, this was another huge portion with the most heat. Not too much but noticeably more than the other dishes.  You had to work for the crab (crackers supplied) but the combo with the tofu was nice.Roasted Garlic Pea Shoots, had never had these, For me the Chinese version of broccoli rabe. Same look, texture and very delicious. Also a large portion.The leftovers were packed up and we sent them with our friends who I know would enjoy them for lunch today.  Service was spot on with good suggestions coming from our server.If we are in the area, we will be sure to stop in again.

5/7/2016

We came here for an early Mother's Day lunch around 1 pm and ordered the five spice pork shoulder, dan dan mian, green beans, five spice pork sesame bread, and eight ingredients sticky rice.Five spice pork shoulder: A must-try!! The best dish we ordered here -- A huge portion of fall off the bone meat with a spicy/sweet/garlicky sauce + bok choyDan dan mian: Tasty, spicy but not too much. If you're looking for something SUUUUUUPER spicy, you should probably order something elseGreen beans: Well-cooked, a good side with a bunch of spicy food!Sesame bread: Good, but a pass next timeEight ingredients sticky rice: Good, but a pass next timeTotal came out to be about $95 after tax and tip. They have a huge menu, next time I want to try some of their lamb and/or fish dishes. (let's be real, probably an "and")Mom was happy at the end, 5 stars!! ;) (and also for really tasty and unique food that you can't get at a lot of Chinese restaurants)

Pork shoulder, green beans, dan dan mian from left to right Pork shoulder, green beans, dan dan mian from left to right 8/29/2016

Its been years was a favorite when I lived there guessing its still good will have to get a rider up that way I'm an Uberist ie driver and missing old haunts if they have Korean Beef or Kung Pao shredded pork are good choices

6/9/2016 Updated review

I would give this place 6 stars if I could. This place is so surprisingly delicious, so reasonably priced, and so generously portioned that I am still slightly in disbelief. This may very well be the best dining experience I've had in NorCal. I usually never bother to write reviews but this place is just so goddamn good, and I am so goddamn inspired that my fingers found their way here without me even realizing. Came here with pretty high expectations from lurking on yelp. Ordered the Braised Pork Shoulder with Bok Choy and (so I thought) the Szechuan boiling fish fillet which were the top recommendations.I asked the waiter if we made good choices and he said they were excellent - seeming genuinely excited for us. (That's how you know a place is good - when the staff is even excited about the food)I was fully prepared to wait a good while for the food to come out since it was mentioned food was well prepared. But I shit you not, literally three minutes later, the waiter dropped a HUMUNGOUS glistening pork shoulder in front of us. You break into this baby and oh boy the meat just falls off the bone into the sauce that is the perfect balance between sweet and spicy. The Bok Choy is crunchy and an excellent pair to the pork. You gotta eat the sauce with rice too. If we didn't have leftovers, I would have still taken the sauce home to eat with more rice. 10/10.Five minutes later comes out the 1000 chili fish soup (The waiter misunderstood my order. More so my fault.) One of the best mistakes ever made. The waiter was happy to exchange it but suggested we try it first to see if we liked it (he knew!). Took a sip and wow. My boyfriend also actually said wow. Delectable. So rich and full-flavored yet still light. Not really spicy but so soul-warming. Hnnngh. 10/10.Did I mention the portions are HUMUNGOUS? Those 2 dishes plus rice could have easily fed 4. Bill came out to be ~$50 which is not bad since it's essentially another meal for us.We're super excited to come back with friends so we can try more dishes. If you read this far...thanks for going on this journey with me. Don't have too high of expectations or it might diminish your experience. So in conclusion: it's aight.

Braised pork shoulder Braised pork shoulder 6/8/2016 Previous review I would give this place 6 stars if I could. This place is so surprisingly delicious, so reasonably… I would give this place 6 stars if I could. This place is so surprisingly delicious, so reasonably priced, and so generously portioned that I am still slightly in disbelief. This may very well be the best dining experience I've had in NorCal. I usually never bother to write reviews but this place is just so goddamn good, and I am so goddamn inspired that my fingers found their way here without me even realizing. Came here with pretty high expectations. Ordered the Braised Pork Shoulder with Bok Choy and (so I thought)the Szechuan boiling fish fillet which were the top recommendations.I asked the waiter if we made good choices and he said they were excellent - seeming genuinely excited for us. (That's how you know a place is good - when the staff is even excited about the food)I was fully prepared to wait a good while for the food to come out since it was mentioned food was  well prepared. But I shit you not, literally three minutes later, the waiter dropped a HUMUNGOUS glistening pork shoulder in front of us. You break into this baby and oh boy the meat just falls off the bone into the sauce that is the perfect balance between sweet and spicy. The Bok Choy is crunchy and an excellent pair to the pork. You gotta eat the sauce with rice too. If we didn't have leftovers, I would have still taken the sauce home to eat with more rice. 10/10.Five minutes later comes out the 1000 chili fish soup (The waiter misunderstood my order. More so my fault.) One of the best mistakes ever made. The waiter was happy to exchange it but suggested we try it first to see if we liked it (he knew!). Took a sip and wow. My boyfriend also actually said wow. Delectable. So rich and full-flavored yet still light. Not really spicy but so soul-warming. Hnnngh. 10/10.Did I mention the portions are HUMUNGOUS? Those 2 dishes plus rice could have easily fed 4. Bill came out to be ~$50 which is not bad since it's essentially another meal for us.We're super excited to come back with friends so we can try more dishes. If you read this far...thanks for going on this journey with me. Don't have too high of expectations or it might diminish your experience. So in conclusion: it's aight. Read more 8/21/2016

The room surprises you once you walk in. It's huge and it has a fancy feel. It's super busy. The menu is also huge and it could be overwhelming, but everything looks really good.The portions are family size, so make sure to order to share or otherwise you would have a lot to take with you like we did. The small soup is a lot of soup! The service could improve. Because they're very busy there's no much of service per se. We ordered water 3 times and we are still waiting for it. They were in a rush, so not much explanation about some questions we had about the food. It's not bad, it's not amazing. Just ok. Prices are fair compared to the portions.

3/13/2016

Service was adequate but the food more than made up for it. See my photos for the four dishes that we ordered. The Lamb Dumplings with Green Onions and Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup were the standouts. The soup broth was fantastic. Even though I was sweating up a storm over the "medium" heat that I ordered, I couldn't stop drinking it!This is not a Cantonese restaurant. If you're used to ordering dishes such as won ton soup, sweet and sour pork, broccoli beef and cashew chicken, I highly recommend you take a deep breath and ask the servers what most diners order from their menu. Expand your horizons, you'll be glad that you did.

Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup Lamb Dumpling with Green Onion Lamb Dumpling with Green Onion Shanghai Xiao Pork Dumpling Shanghai Xiao Pork Dumpling See all photos from Dexter D. for China Village 12/1/2015

11/21/15:  Alright, let's be honest.... you know what it means when white folks clearly outnumber Asians when you go to a Chinese restaurant.  Okay, to give them credit, the food is more Chinesey than I expected, which is good.  But it's still clearly very much American-oriented in flavor.  Do not take your family visiting from China/Taiwan here.  Trust me.Also, note that Yelp's food type is set at "Szechuan" for this place.  It is not Szechuan in any way.  Zero heat.  Zero chili oil.  Zero numbing peppercorns.  Ignore Yelp's description.1. #10 Sliced Bacon-Cut Pork with Spicy Garlic Sauce $6.95:  The thinly sliced pork belly was cooked expertly and was quite tender, with the perfect mix of fat and meat.  It's hard to make this badly since the fat always will magically fix overcooked meat, and many times the meat actually is dry, but this one was quite good.  The sauce was pretty good--a little sweet, but I like it.  My gf repeatedly told me it's not authentic, which it clearly ain't, but I didn't care--tasted good to me.  The real stuff should have Chinese numbing peppercorns and a thick film of oil, with not sweetness, but I guess that would offend their typical customers.  Not nearly spicy enough though.  6/10.2. #63 Abalone Mushroom with Pea Shoots $15.95:  So, to make it clear, there's no abalone--the name refers to a mushroom that is long with a thick base (yes... just yes.)  Anyway, it's cooked well, and the pea shoots were cooked correctly too.  Good stuff.  The price is on the very high side though, though pea shoots are admittedly expensive at Ranch 99.  But still overpriced.  6/10.3. #69 Clay Pot Duck with Beer-Infused Sauce $17.95:  It's okay.  I don't taste any beer.  And, well, I didn't even know it was duck until I started typing this review and looked at my receipt.  Tasted like over-stewed chicken to me.  I did like the bamboo.  Pretty expensive for what it is.  5/10.4. #208 Szechuan-Style Spicy Cold Noodle (Chicken) $8.95:  The noodles themselves were good--thick and al dente.  The thin stalks of chicken was tasteless.  But I guess my gf's biggest beef with this is its insult to "szechuan-style" of which it is not.  Nothing szechuan about it.  In fact, the sauce is actually sweet!  Now, I'd have to say, it tastes okay, but if you're gonna name it something, it should be what it is named, otherwise it's false advertising.  2/105. #211 Brown Rice $2 each person:  Yeah, $2 each person for rice... $4 for us two.So, yeah, I give them credit for putting some real Chinese ingredients on the table.  But overall it just isn't the real thing.  I call it PF Chang's with real Chinese meats and vegetables.  If that's what you're looking for, cool.  If you want authentic Chinese, go elsewhere.3/5#chinese #americanchinese #chineseamerican

#69 Clay Pot Duck with Beer-Infused Sauce $17.95 #69 Clay Pot Duck with Beer-Infused Sauce $17.95 #10 Sliced Bacon-Cut Pork with Spicy Garlic Sauce $6.95 #10 Sliced Bacon-Cut Pork with Spicy Garlic Sauce $6.95 #63 Abalone Mushroom with Pea Shoots $15.95 #63 Abalone Mushroom with Pea Shoots $15.95 See all photos from Dean C. for China Village 2/23/2016

This is one of favorite places to get spicy food in the East Bay. We usually get some combination of the following: Spicy cumin lamb: always a crowd pleaser. The lamb is seasoned well but it's a smaller portion so if you have a big group...it will be gone really fast!Spicy beef tendon appetizer: this is one of my boyfriends favorite dishes and we sample it at every Sichuan restaurant we go to. It's a spicy dish. They make it well here.Garlic eggplant: I like the garlic eggplant here too. It's very flavorful and the texture is usually just the way I like eggplant, which is more on the mushy side.Spicy boiled fish fillet: this dish is a rock star. If you like spicy food and seafood, this is a very popular Sichuan/chengdu dish. They make it very well here and I would definitely recommend it. The last time we came here, we tried a few new things. We tried the spicy short rib hand pulled noodles. I definitely recommending trying the noodles. They are quite good, and definitely taste hand made. This noodle dish came with a pretty generous portion of short ribs. When the noodles were all gone, a bunch of short ribs remained. This dish is also very spicy so if you don't like spicy food opt for some of the other hand pulled noodle dishes! I would wish for a better noodle to spare rib ratio for this dish though. We also tried the clay pot pork dish. This was quite delicious. The pork was really tender and flavorful, and this dish was not spicy. And we got the celery stir fried with dried bean curd and shredded pork. I love this dish because it reminds me of my mom's cooking, but there are definitely better things on the menu here. If you really have a craving for dried bean curd (which I sometimes do), then it's a good option. One note: this place is a little pricier than other Chinese places but if you come with a big group it should still be about $25-$30 per person.

This is the rest of our half finished spread...garlic eggplant and stir fried dried bean curd with celery and pork. This is the rest of our half finished spread...garlic eggplant and stir fried dried bean curd with celery and pork. Spicy cumin lamb, a favorite dish of ours. Spicy cumin lamb, a favorite dish of ours. Clay pot pork ribs very flavorful and delicious. Clay pot pork ribs very flavorful and delicious. See all photos from Lin Z. for China Village 7/12/2016

Short version of my review - Never going here again.  1) Found hair in my food and 2) my friends and I were discriminated against.  Long version - Two friends and I went here for dinner and to watch a game on their bar TV.   I asked the owner/manager if we could sit at the bar to watch and he said "No, we're not serving at the bar tonight."  They instead gave us a table in the back.  Disappointed but respecting his policy, we took our table in the back.  After placing our orders, I noticed a table closer to the bar with a better view of the TV and our server allowed us to move.  This way, at least two of us could have a clear view - my third friend had to twist her neck around to see.  We got some beers while we enjoyed our meals and proceeded to watch the game.Halfway through the broadcast, I saw a two other people walk in.  One guy made a motion that looked like he wanted to sit at the bar.  Not only did the owner/manager seat them immediately, but he plopped them right in our view.  Mind you, the entire bar was open and he KNEW we were watching.  Still giving the the owner the benefit of the doubt, I thought, "This customer must be waiting for take out, he couldn't possibly have been seated for dinner.  And maybe the owner didn't realize how much their view blocked us since we were quietly enjoying the game."  You can guess what happened next.  Their dinner arrived - plated and ready for them to enjoy AT THE BAR.As you can imagine, I was pretty upset.  Not once, did we do anything to deserve being slighted like this.  Even after we were seated, it's not like we were loud or obnoxious while we watched.  In fact, we were so kind, courteous, that just 10 minutes earlier when I found A HAIR IN MY FOOD, I apologized when I asked if they could make me another one.  I couldn't bite my tongue.  As we left I asked the owner why they got to sit at the bar.  Caught of guard, he awkwardly said, "Oh...it's cuz they got beer".  Obviously oblivious to the fact that we did too, I retorted, "So did we!"  Trying to play it off, he condescendingly pat me on the shoulder and said, "Well, at least you got to watch, right?"  To which I replied, "No, only two of us did because my other friend's back was to the TV".  He shrugged and gave me a look like, "What do you want me to say?"  How about the truth?  But no, he couldn't say a word.I'm still baffled as to why my friends and I were discriminated against.  Maybe because we're young?  Maybe it was how we were dressed?  Maybe it's because we weren't caucasian like the two guys who he sat at the bar?  Who knows.  Their mediocre food is not worth this level of disrespect.

8/4/2016

My husband and I have been looking for a restaurant that offers a dish similar to the Cheesecake Factory's "Spicy Crispy Beef". I was told that the dish most similar to that would be the Szechuan Beef. I had heard and read reviews about China village so my husband and I thought we'd give it a try. I specifically asked the woman that took the order if the dish she had ordered for me is indeed similar to spicy crispy beef. With my excitement I rushed over and grabbed my order. I had noticed that the order said spicy dry beef which was a little concerning. I asked the woman again and she said "yes yes its the same"When I got home words couldn't express our disappointment. Not only was the dish nothing like what I had expected it was $18 and lacked flavor. I paid $18 for about 2 lbs of hot red peppers and 1/4 lb of chopped beef. When i spoke to the manager he basically disregarded what I was saying and wasn't accommodating.

Spicy Dry Beef - Not a lot of beef, 2lbs of peppers, and costs $18. :/ Spicy Dry Beef - Not a lot of beef, 2lbs of peppers, and costs $18. :/ 9/14/2016

Not honest----need to double check the chef suggestions menuWe came on 2 days ago,  order the spicy crab, 2 different price on 2 menu, $ 28.99 and $ 34.99, we asked why,  the waiter reply maybe print problem.The crab didn't came from the fish tank, it taste so bad not like the first time ( about 1 week ago). Service not good, tea pot opened more than 5 minutes,  no one refill,  at least 3 waiter standing near the kitchen and talking. Even the boss not friendly , maybe they don't welcome Asian people come.

11/24/2015 Updated review

I went back and had the spicy hand-made noodles with duck in beer sauce. Man, what a treat!!! perfect to share (and order one or two appetizers!)I'm still holding off the fifth star, because the old guy behind the counter (owner?) was quite rude. The wait staff however is really friendly and accomodating - I went with my old parents and they take forever to decide :-)

noodles with seafood noodles with seafood 10/13/2015 Previous review Ooooh the spices! Very yummy Chinese place in the heart of Albany. Friends took me here for lunch… Ooooh the spices! Very yummy Chinese place in the heart of Albany. Friends took me here for lunch and we feasted like kings and queens! Chose water dumplings and won ton soup as starter to share and then the three lunch special for 29.99 - chose three main courses from a list of lunch items. We had spicy fried prawns, shredded pork with garlic sauce (lots of yummy mushrooms and bamboo shoots!) as well as sesame chicken. Very friendly service, super clean (bathrooms get top grades from me) and nice, modern, non-stuffy interior. I'm a fan and I will be back! Read more lunch time lunch time 7/29/2016

4 stars for the food, 1 star for the service. Should be 2.5 stars, but 2 seemed too harsh, therefore the 3 stars.China Village has been living on old hype and food quality has gone down. Not terribly, but noticeably. Add poor service and it's a downhill slide that is almost impossible to recover from.You have to repeatedly beg and plead for water which is a vital essential for this very spicy hot food...this is hotter than most American Chinese restaurants. We always have to ask at least two times for items (a fork, side order of rice, napkin, etc). 10 minute wait times to be seated (during which, not even a greeting), 10 minute wait for order to be taken, 15 minutes food to arrive, even though both times we dined the restaurant was only 25% full at 1:30pm on a weekday. The ONLY thing that came quickly was when the manager immediately whisks your credit card away to ring up the bill.The wait staff isn't rude, just very inept, forgetful and probably overworked.  After one server brought our entrees, she said she'll be back with the rice...and she never returned. After trying to politely to get the attention of other servers, I finally had to do the rude "EXCUSE ME" shout out, exclaiming "it's been 10 minutes and we're still waiting for our rice while our food is getting cold." This is a shame because the food is good, some of the better reasonably priced Schezuan in the Bay Area. Solano Avenue is full of other good restaurants who serve their customers much better.

4/11/2016

One of my favorite Chinese food spots in the Bay.  It's that Sichuan and Hunan style spices that make this place great.  I have been coming since I was in college and usually always get their Spicy Beef Noodle Soup.  It is especially good when its cold out and my sinuses always get cleared up when eating this flaming beef flavored soup!  When my buddy eats it, he sweats so much that the drops of sweat go right into his bowl.  Nevertheless, it doesn't stop him as he continues to devour his noodles haha.  Sorry for grossing anyone out but you should try it for yourself.  Also good is the boneless chicken over chili.  I don't remember the exact name but the waiter will know what you are talking about.  The chicken is moist and juicy as you look for them in a bed of chili.The eggplant is good if your looking for a non spicy dish.  They got the chili fish which is good and spare ribs.  I like their green onion pancakes.  Stir fried pea shoots as well. Check out their daily chef specials.

8/20/2016

The food is amazing - got hot pot #64 with everything, if u like tripe or tendon or all in one - get that but beware it can feed like 4 people hahah --- left oversssss!!!!!

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