Charles Phoenix’s Slide of the Week: Golden Pagoda Resaurant, Chinatown, 1975
This is, in no uncertain terms, my favorite pagoda in all of Los Angeles. Golden yellow paired with Chinese red and Buddha blue trim have never looked so good together! Even the Kirin sponsored Chinese lanterns match!
The Golden Pagoda Restaurant isn’t the centerpiece of Chinatown, but it certainly is the crowning touch. Except for the name, which has been changed to Hop Louie, it looks virtually the same today as it did when it opened in 1941. It’s one of the many kitsch-cultural stops on my “Disneyland” tour of downtown tour this weekend and next. Standing in front of it is like being in a dream. (No, not the kind you get after eating too much Chinese food!)
When you walk in the door off to the left is the lounge should you desire an exotic cocktail before you saunter up the staircase to the second floor where you will find the most spectacular mid-century Chinese modern dining room on earth! If Lucy and Ethyl ever went for Chinese food this is where they would go.
No updated Chinese restaurant menu here. Oh no! They still serve 1950s style Chinese food. Entrees are served drowning in red, white, or brown goop. It reminds me of the authentically unauthentic Chinese food that I grew up eating at the Yangtze in Ontario, CA. When in doubt you can’t go wrong with the egg drop soup.
The best table in the house is the only table actually in the Pagoda. Recently, I asked the hostess “How may does the booth in the pagoda seat.” She looked me up and down and said “eight heavy-set people!” Well, I thought “no second helpings of sweet and sour pork for me!”
Here’s to the Golden Pagoda, Chinatown and YOU!