Golden City Restaurant

The lunch crew goes to Sunrise Buffet multiple times a year but since I generally avoid buffets (except vegas or souplantation), I searched for an alternative Chinese restaurant. Golden City was reviewed on mmm-yoso multiple times so I requested to go there one week. We arrived before noon and were only the second/third party to arrive for lunch. And as typical with Chinese restaurants, the menu was very diverse. I told the guys about the crazy $3.99 lunch specials for certain items, but the price was "suspiciously low" to them so we ordered off the regular lunch menu!

Golden City - lunch special appetizer eggrolls

As part of the lunch specials, we were served one eggroll each with a side of sweet and sour dipping sauce. The eggrolls themselves were already a bit soft on the outside, as if all the eggrolls were premade too early. I would have liked a little crunch on there.

Golden City - lunch special appetizer soup

We were also served appetizer soup as well. I enjoyed the addition of baby corn in the soup which differentiated it from the usual simple but typical egg drop soup. 

Golden City - mapo tofu

I ordered the Mapo Tofu since I hadn't eaten this dish in a while. After a couple bites, I wanted more leek or green onion flavor from it but instead my dish just had some kind of strange after-taste, maybe from the peppers cooked inside. I tested one of the jalapenos without seeds and had no issues with the 'one chili' spiciness level. Even after I finished my meal, I didn't sense any spice roaring out of the darkness! Nada. Nothing. I was only able to finish half of it so ended up getting a pretty cheap dinner out of this visit so whatever.

Golden City - kung pao chicken

My coworker dish also was not spicy, despite having bright red chilis in there! If i can handle it, then it's pretty mild! The bell peppers were crisp and to my liking but of course the onion I would have preferred more cooked (on the raw side and crunchy).

Golden City - noodles

My other coworker's noodles were a bit on the oily side as this dish tends to be. The green onions were a bit too prominent for me. The chicken in all three dishes was moist enough though, most likely due to them being dark meat. 

I had high hopes for Golden City after reading about it on the other blog but we just weren't impressed, at least not with the dishes that we ordered. Everything was rather bland and even the dishes with the chili pepper besides their name lacked heat. I'm still looking for a good Chinese place but in the meantime, I'll probably still be eating the other asian foods instead.

Click to add a blog post for Golden City on Zomato

Golden City Restaurant
5375 Kearny Villa Rd #107
San Diego CA 92123
(858) 565-6682

Share this post on...


J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats's picture
Submitted by J.S. @ Sun Dieg... (not verified) on Mon, 07/21/2014 - 8:25am

Womppp. I really do not get how with such a significant Chinese population in SD there are no truly great Chinese restaurants. I am constantly disappointed by Chinese food here, especially when we even had really good Chinese good in Brazil! Go figure.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Mon, 07/21/2014 - 12:42pm

Better Chinese food in Brazil than here? That's unexpected! I guess I've never been in love with Chinese food enough to explore more options though. I think my favorite foods usually come from the Asian 10 course meals from weddings. We do dim sum occasionally but I rarely crave it.

Kirk's picture
Submitted by Kirk (not verified) on Mon, 07/21/2014 - 9:35pm

I've had some decent meals at Golden City....though none of the dishes you had. "Chinese Food" is all relative. There's no good "Chinês-brasileiro" food here, nor "tusán" style Chinese food. While I'm not fond of the state of Chinese food in San Diego, I guarantee that you can have a decent meal at Golden City......with the lunch special even.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Mon, 07/21/2014 - 10:12pm

Yea, next time I'd need good recommendations beforehand. That's how a lot of restaurants are... you order the right items and it's awesome (hopefully), but the wrong items leave you questioning the entire restaurant. There's too many choices that we didn't even try. I'm also picky on what I order due to food preferences and my 'healthier food' mentality. I think I should have tried something like walnut shrimp, mongolian beef, etc, stuff that I usually like. I still would like to try their super lunch specials, but probably would need to take different dining buddies since these ones balked at my suggestion.

Also, to clarify, I only read Cathy's review recently and it mentioned that there were multiple revisits by you (Kirk). I did try the mapo tofu she mentioned but my 'ideal' version may be completely different than a typical or authentic version, whatever that should taste like. I'll have to re-read some of your reviews before a revisit anyway.

Cathy's picture
Submitted by Cathy (not verified) on Thu, 08/14/2014 - 5:13pm

I'm so sorry you didn't like it, Lynn. I've had the duck two ways as well as the Kwai Fei chicken multiple times and didn't want to 'repeat' Kirk's posts. One item I think that is done very well here is the fish porridge.

We do order spicy items a bit more toward 'medium' and that may have been a factor with the Ma Po Tofu; it is yet another version and no two places seem to be alike. I hadn't ever tried the items your friends had. In any case, there is no excuse for not crispy egg roll.

The lunch special menu is back at 9 p.m. each evening, if you want to venture out then. (The $3.99 specials on the front window are only at lunch time and Mon-Fri). I really do think this is an underrated restaurant.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Thu, 08/14/2014 - 9:30pm

Porridge sounds really good and I love it as comfort food! I will revisit here later this year and try what you mentioned. Typically I'll yelp or ask the waiter for recommendations but mapo tofu was on my mind that day. The experience may have turned out different otherwise. Plus, the entrees ordered by my coworkers aren't items I'd order anyway so the review is somewhat off-balance!

Since I can't handle spicy food, the lack of heat worked out for me personally. I don't care to sweat at a meal haha. Funny thing is that I enjoyed the version at ramen yamadaya (japanese restaurant) a little more! AND the very first time I remember trying it was through a microwave tofu recipe yet it got me interested! So many versions out there...

Cathy's picture
Submitted by Cathy (not verified) on Fri, 08/15/2014 - 5:05am

Mabo ramen at Chopstix Too is a craving version for me in the winter. It has the pork and tofu and noodles and broth...not rice.

Mary's picture
Submitted by Mary (not verified) on Tue, 07/22/2014 - 9:44am

I tried this place last year and also wasn't really impressed (I don't think I even bothered to blog about it because I thought it was pretty meh). But, cheap lunch specials are always appealing! Sometimes you have to keep trying to find the right dish or give places a second chance. If a place still isn't that exciting to me after a second chance then I might just give up on it. So many places to try!

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Tue, 07/22/2014 - 12:16pm

Yea, the biggest problem is that there are so many places to try! I noticed that some people revisit before posting but it's hard to go back if the first was just meh. In a typical workweek I'll only eat out for lunch once. I like bringing my lunch when I have something home-cooked since it's a little healthier. But some days you just need to get out of the office and some good food better be available at the table!

Faye's picture
Submitted by Faye (not verified) on Wed, 07/23/2014 - 7:17pm

I've been here several times with the family but didn't love the restaurant as much. I think it's just preference. They're known for their two course Peking Duck I believe (I thought it was alright). I think $3.99 is an insane lunch deal. I wonder if they bank on people ordering other items off the regular menu. What were the prices of the dishes you ordered that day ? Was there a price range for the lunch specials?

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Thu, 07/24/2014 - 1:55pm

I'm not too keen on chinese food so haven't really explored too many options. My recommended Chinese place would be Pearl Chinese Cuisine, especially the wedding food and their sea bass. At Golden City, the lunch was still relatively cheap without getting the 3.99 special. Our entrees were only 6.99 each. The chef specials were the most expensive and were priced at 9.99!

Miss Kim @ behgopa's picture
Submitted by Miss Kim @ behgopa (not verified) on Wed, 07/23/2014 - 11:11pm

Good luck in your search! That sucks that the food wasn't that great. Gosh nonfresh noncrispy egg rolls would make me want to cry! I love them, and can't eat them if not really hot and crispy. Is this like a fast food joint? Did you use any Sriracha? That almost always makes everything better!

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Thu, 07/24/2014 - 2:03pm

seriously, they were like the leftover luke-warm eggrolls you'd find at a chinese buffet. they should have toasted them a bit before serving. i did like the soup though. this is a regular sit-down place but i've had better chinese. i would really like to make this orange chicken next time I get a craving.

haha, i'm the 'non-spicy' queen so no sriracha for me!

Jim Gottlieb's picture
Submitted by Jim Gottlieb (not verified) on Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:40am

If you want spicy dishes, don't go to a Cantonese restaurant. There are plenty of excellent Sichuan places in the Convoy area. Also note that the dishes you ordered are really American-style Chinese dishes, so I wouldn't expect them to receive much care at a place like Golden City that caters to a mostly Chinese clientele. I have spent a lot of time in China, and I've never once seen an egg roll there.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Thu, 10/16/2014 - 4:39pm

thanks for your input! my experience is quite limited in the chinese food area so it's good to learn a little more. i'll have to be care of sichuan restaurants because i can't handle spicy myself!

Add new comment