My Top 3 Favorite Restaurants in the 626

Hi all! ❤

In this post, I’ll be writing about my favorite places to eat in my hometown. Now for those of you who do not know, the 626 is merely an area code for the general area of the San Gabriel Valley (SGV). The SGV include cities like Arcadia, San Gabriel, El Monte, and many other cities. I grew up most of my life in Rosemead and recently moved to Alhambra, so I’m pretty familiar with all of the 626. Like I said before, these are my top 3 personal favorites. There are so many more places to try and so many other places I wish I can include on this list, but if I were to give my suggestions to someone who could only have 3, the following will be on my list:

#3 Boiling Point

If you know the 626, you probably have heard this place before. Boiling Point is one of the most popular Taiwanese hot pot restaurants in the SGV. If you arrive at busy hours, be ready to wait at least 30-60 minutes. In the SGV, there are like 5 or 6 BP restaurants and all are different sizes. Once you’re seated, you’ll have an option of 10 hot pots. My personal favorite is the #4 which is their beef soup. They have other options like the House Special, Korean Bean Paste, and their most popular, Taiwanese Spicy. Unlike other hot pot restaurants, this place cooks the meat and veggies inside the bowl for you so you won’t have to worry about it. They place a coal-like object underneath the bowl and light it up to create a fire that keeps your soup warm.

Not only are they popular with their hot pot items, they also have tea to drink down with your meal. Hokkaido milk tea is a popular item but my boyfriend and I enjoy their Fresh Milk tea and their regular green tea.

Overall, this is a great place to eat if it’s cold out or you’re just craving some hot soup. I always suggest this place if I’m out with friends because the prices are reasonable. Each hot pot would cost around $15/ person and if you want to add more meat or add any other additional toppings, it will cost you $1-$5 per item ordered. The teas are priced like any tea house at under $5 with toppings being extra. You can easily walk out of this place spending $20 (including tip) if you don’t order extra toppings or tea. Come in before 3PM for their lunch special and that $15 plate will include a green or black tea.

#4 Beef Soup

#2 Yama Sushi

I love sushi. And really, it is so hard to not include this in one of my favorite places to eat. Now this place is not really a restaurant but more like a take-out sushi place. When you enter, you’ll find refrigerators with sushi including california rolls, unagi rolls, salmon nigiri, and other sushi options packaged for you to pick up and go. If you can’t find the fish you’re looking for, you can head to the fish cutting area. Now this may or may not take a long time, it really depends what time you arrive. Once you get to the front, you can pick what fish you want to cut or just buy the fish and cut it later. If you’re looking for a great selection of different fishes, this may not be the right place for you. But if you like salmon, yellow tail, tuna, scallop and octopus, you’re in the right spot.

Once you pay for everything, be ready to enjoy super delicious fresh sushi. I typically don’t have time to wait and get my fish cut so I always hope that they have what I like packaged for me to pick up. My favorite items are the unagi rolls ($6/12pieces) and the salmon nigiri ($7/5pieces). I love salmon and can legit eat it everyday. And Yama Sushi has fresh salmon every week. Another thing I like to pick up is their seaweed salad. At Yama you’ll find this and other little side items like fish cake that are less than $3.

I typically spend $20 on myself whenever I eat here. And I am never disappointed with spoiling myself. If you are in the SGV and want to pick up food to bring home or take to go picnic, this is a must-try!

Unagi rolls (bottom left), salmon nigiri (top left), tuna rolls (right), and seaweed salad (bottom right)

#1 Green Zone

Yaaaaassssss!! It is finally down to my number one place! It was really hard picking between this place and Yama Sushi but Green Zone slightly won due to the variety of items available. Green Zone serves Organic Asian Cuisine and its main location is in San Gabriel. Green Zone is expanding their restaurants and also serves Pasadena, Temple City, and Diamond Bar. Let me just say, the food is just really bomb. They have appetizers that range from dumplings to egg rolls and entrees that range from rice dishes, salads, to pasta dishes. I tend to come to this restaurant with my best friend who introduced me (thank you Yvonne!! 🙂 ) and we order at least 5 items whenever we come. Because this is my top place, I have a good number of favorite items here.

The Hainan chicken is one of their most popular items and is simply delicious. It’s not too heavy and I enjoy the three sauces (sweet soy sauce, garlic chili sauce, and a ginger scallion paste) that you may add on when eating. Their grilled pork chop is also another great item and can easily be shared and it is served with rice and a sweet salad. I can go on with many of their main entrees but these two have been my go-to plates. If we’re going to talk about appetizers, you can never go wrong ordering the salmon triangles (I told you the love for salmon was real XD ). They serve this dish with a magical dipping sauce that they call honey mustard with a hint of wasabi. If salmon is not your thang, their pan fried dumplings and their murasaki fries are pretty good.

Overall, Green Zone is just one of those places I wish I can always eat at but don’t have the money to always eat at haha 😥 A plate can range from $10-20 depending on what you order. Their most expensive item is their pasta dish that cost close to $20 so be prepared to spend a little more here. The cheapest dishes are their appetizers and they range from $5-$10. Although it may seem super pricey, this place is really nice to share with a friend or significant other. Either myself or the other person I go with will order a safe item and then we try out another dish. So far, there is nothing I haven’t liked and I tried a good amount of their items 😀

Murasaki fries
Hainan chicken and salmon triangles

If you are in the SGV, try out some of these places! I know I mainly picked Asian food but this is what is expected in a heavily Asian area.  Although I feel out of place in some places, I feel comfortable at these three restaurants. I may not be Asian and may not know the language much, but having lived in this area all my life, I would have never picked another place to be and love.

Thank you for reading and I hope you all get to try these places! ❤

❤ liz

Others who didn’t make my list:

  • Mama Lu’s – Monterey Park
  • Din Tai Fung – Arcadia
  • Young Dong Tofu House – San Gabriel
  • A Ri Rang Tofu House – San Gabriel
  • Saigon Eden – San Gabriel
  • Summer Rolls – Rosemead
  • Golden Palace Mongolian BBQ – Pasadena
  • Sushi Kuni – Monrovia


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