Two Great Cheap Eats in Monterey Park

By John Oliver, Special to LAist

It's time to eat and the place to be is Monterey Park. Over a couple visits to the San Gabriel Valley city, we tried two excellent restaurants that had very flavorful food at very economical prices.

First was Lucky City (415 W. Garvey Ave., Monterey Park), which is easy to get to from I-10. There is ample parking and although reviews have said the service is brusque, it really isn’t. As with most restaurants in this area, you are given a bowl of complimentary soup after you sit down. I’ll prepare you. The soup is not pretty. It seems to contain everything that was leftover from the kitchen in a murky brown liquid. That being said, the smell and taste are enchanting. (And did I mention it was free?). Lucky Park specializes in Chiu Chow cuisine, named after an Eastern Province in China that borders the ocean. Do they ever know how to do seafood. They know how to do squab and beef too. The service is snappy and if you prefer any alcohol with your meal, you had best like beer or cabernet, because that is all that is available. The decor leaves a lot to be desired, but at these prices, that is fine.

Seafood Village, an LAist favorite, down the street was the stop on the next trip. It also has a Chiu Chow style and the focus is, of course, on seafood. A similar mystery soup arrived and was good. The real star at this restaurant was the House Crab, which was cooked up nicely with a slightly salty and slightly spicy coating. YUM. The other dishes were not as tasty as the crab, but they weren’t bad. I didn’t find the overall quality (except for the crab) to be equal to that of Lucky City. The wine selection was a bit better at Seafood Village, in that they had wine. An overall nice value, but likely worth it for the crab. Seafood Village has a similar drab decor to Lucky City.

These are just two of the restaurants on Garvey in Monterey Park. They actually seem to be without end, comment below on your favorite Monterey Park eatery. Now if only there were mass transit so we all could realistically make it there for dinner...