Columbus >Food & Dining > Panda Inn
1446 Bethel Rd, Columbus, OH | Directions 4322040.063781 -83.058126
Neighborhoods: The Gables
Unacceptable! – After a few bad experiences I decided to give the old Panda Inn another chance. I went to their website and it was down, so I called to see what was wrong and they had no idea what the issue was.
The hostess was very helpful and told me what their lunch specials were and I decided on Gen Tso's chicken. I then preceded to order an egg roll when I was informed that I was unable to order one egg roll, I had to order two. They were unwilling to sell me one egg roll, and said that an order of egg roll was two egg rolls and refused to sell me one!!! Are you serious??
New Owners – As I recently found out, the Panda Inn on Bethel at Go Down is under new management. The new chef brings his authentic Chinese culinary skills to a refurbished interior. The food can be ordered from an "American" menu version or a traditional Chinese version. It's all good but if you're not used to traditional food it may be a surprise sometimes (note: the snails are not what we would call escargot). The Koi Pond is an attraction for the kids, and the fish tanks in the front will be of interest to those who wish to order REALLY fresh seafood, including shell fish.
Has an allergic reaction here – I'm allergic to peanuts and although there were not nuts in my lo-mein, it soon became evident that they didn't clean the Wok well enough berfore cooking my dish. It was a mild reaction, but had it been someone else, they could have died.
Very Bad Experience – Stopped in on a Sunday at 5:30pm. One other party in the whole restaurant. 20 minutes after ordering still no appetizer or refills on drinks. Wait staff standing at the bar chatting among themselves. Got up and walked to door. Girl at cash register talking on phone while I stood there. Still no response. I had to interrupt her and tell her the service was slow and unacceptable. Only reply was "sorry". My dining companion and I then left.
I stopped there on the recommendation of a friend. However, judging by other reviews posted my experience was not unique.
How good is it? This is where the Chinese go to eat great Chinese food. – If you want good ethnic food, find out where they eat. Panda Inn is popular with local Chinese, and for good reason. The trick for Americans is to know what to order. First, ask for the Chinese menu - otherwise you will get the lame "americanized" standards (General Tso's, Sweet&Sour Pork, Orange Shrimp, etc.).
SOME THINGS NOT TO MISS:
Soup: Fujianese Dumpling Soup (a favorite in owner's hometown - you will never eat wonton again)
Appetizer: Chive Dumplings (split the top and drizzle with the vinegar juice that comes with it)
Vegetable: Order greens sauteed with garlic (ask the server what is fresh today - Chinese Water Cress, Tender Pea Vines, or Chinese Broccoli (very mild - and very different from American broccoli)
Fish: Flounder Paradise (flounder wrapped around scallions and crab meat)
...or for Spicy Fish: fried Szechuan fish
Something Different?: Tender Spicy Bamboo (sauteed with jalapenos)
Something Really Different: Three Cup Squid (we always order this with wary newbies who then proceed to devour it with delight - delicious)
Want something REALLY spicy? Order a bowl of fish served in Szechuan peppercorn broth. Eat the fish on rice. Don't mess with the peppercorns, though, unless you don't mind a numb tongue.
A couple of writers said they had "intestinal discomfort." My wife and I have been going twice a month for 6 years and have never had a bad experience.
Best chinese restuarant ever! – We have been going to Panda Inn for a long time. The food, service and price is the best! We especially love the lunch specials.
TASTY!!!!!!!! – My mom used to take me when I was a pre-teen and we lived in Hilliard.We both loved the food and the prices then.
Now I am 32, I still LOVE the food and prices.Feeding a family of 6 is never cheap, all of us are about quality food,we can all eat a lot of food with leftovers for about $40 & tip!
The service is always wonderful!
We drive from Pickerington,and is well worth the wait!The kids love to hear "want to go to the Panda Inn?".
I think a lot like them .......YUM.......!
The Best Chinese Restaurant In Columbus! – This is one of the few authentic Chinese restaurants in Columbus. Please don't waste your time and money on an Americanized dish like General Tso's Chicken, only because the authentic stuff is so wonderful! The menu is huge, and the value is great. Lunch specials are really cheap and taste great. The staff is wonderful and friendly. Seating and service are great. The owner knows me well and can almost order for me. Highly recommended!
Awful – Terrible food, health dept. issues, cheap but nasty. There is a quality Chinese restaurant right down the street; the last time I ate there other people invited me and I went hesitantly. Couldn't finish my meal. The lack of customers gives a clue, doesn't it?
Bland Food - don't waste your money! – My husband and I tried Panda Inn recently and were so disappointed. I ordered jumbo shrimp with mixed vegetables and asked that it be prepared a little bit spicy. It had absolutely no taste at all. Everything including the shrimp tasted like it has been boiled and all the flavor drained out of it. There was no flavor whatsoever, let alone any spices. I actually had to add salt to get it down and didn't even finish it. My husband ordered a beef dish and was similarly disappointed. We definitely won't return and will see out a better Chinese restaurant in the area.
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