This is another restaurant where I have returned due to a first great experience. Besides the delicious food, I like this place because it is not noisy, it has a classy atmosphere and the service is very kind without being 'invasive' as it easily happens in other places (this is a feeling we Europeans often have in US restaurants).
Favorite Dish: I had one dish in mind when I proposed to my colleague to dine at the Panda Inn, the Upside-down Crispy Noodles with Shrimps, which I had eaten three years before and never forgotten. My colleague's comment to this dish: 'Spectacular!'
Whatever you order, remember that servings are big.
IMHO this is the best Chinese restaurant in San Diego County. The decor is lovely, there is a spectacular view of downtown and the bay, the prices are moderate, the food is fresh, aromatic, flavorful and delicious. They have a full service bar, the service is prompt and friendly. Most of all the food is excellent!
This is listed as Mandarin but they offer Szechwan style and a few other dishes such as Thai, Singaporian and Mongolian inspired flavors.
I want to mention that The Panda Inn seems to be connected to the Panda Express chain found around the city. The food at The Panda Inn is so much better than that I've had at any Panda Express, so don't go by that experience if you've tried Panda Express and thought it lacking in some way.
The Panda Inn will not disappoint!
Favorite Dish: At Panda Inn, you will most likely find a few of your favorite items, they offer most of those found traditionally in Chinese restaurants, but they have lots of lesser known dishes and trying any of them is a treat.
One of my favorite dishes is Kong Pao Chicken. I've had this and others and the flavors of each item is very good.
Their weekend buffet is really nice with a wide variety of choices and the price is quite reasonable.
Parking is ridiculously easy at this place even though it's in the middle of downtown San Diego and about a block away from the Gaslamp District. Panda Inn is right atop Horton Plaza so you park in the attached garage and just be sure to get validation before you leave the restaurant.
Panda Inn has a great staff. There are several dining areas available: outside tables in front, main dining area inside, the back dining area (our preferred choice always!) plus a private room off the back dining area that can accomodate between 10-12 people. This place is so good that when we were in town and my youngest had a choice for his 6th birthday lunch between Panda Inn and McDonald's, it was no contest for this 6 year old... he chose Panda Inn.
Favorite Dish: Last night, we had their special Braised Beef Short Ribs and it was absolutely divine! Melt in your mouth goodness! The Honey Walnut Prawns and Sweet & Sour Pork is also good but what's really outstanding is their complimentary fortune cookies which come wrapped in colorful foil as they are dipped in white chocolate! One bite or one cookie is never enough. Their special cookies are available for sale at the counter so be sure to grab some on the way out. Totally addictive.
The Panda Inn offers a first class experience for every customer. Great food, great locations and magical experiences are what they are all about. This location has been in the same location since Horton Plaza opened over 20 years ago (it's part of the same company that owns Panda Express). We had a great time, the server (Doree) was friendly and helpful and the owner wanted to make sure we had a good time. Overall, I look forward to returning soon.
Favorite Dish: For starters, we had the Salt and Pepper Prawns (delicious) and the Crispy Calamari (spicy). For our entrees, we selected Wok-Seared Scallops (large scallops and veggies in a brown sauce), Honey Walnut Shrimp (large shrimp, glazed walnuts in honey and a white sauce), Braised String Beans and White Rice on the side. And since it was my birthday dinner, I had Green Tea Ice Cream (very delicious) and something very different...White Chocolate Dipped Fortune Cookies (which you can purchase). The second time we visited Panda Inn, LJ had the Crispy Fish Fillets and Green Beans entree while I had the Phoenix Chicken entree.