Date Visited: 14 May 2015
Diners: Me & Wendy
Experience: I have a new favorite Chinese restaurant! Panda Cafe opened a few weeks ago in Leesburg’s AutoZone Center (formerly Prosperity Center). It’s a small place, but I’m currently pretty excited about it. The restaurants still at AutoZone Center include Del Rio, RJ’s Deli, and Little Caesars (J&W Asian Bistro, Sal’s NY Bar & Grille, and Dolce Coffee House all closed).
We started out with hot tea and two appetizers. The Shrimp Spring Rolls were crispy and flavorful, and the the Cheese Wonton Crab Rangoon was light, crispy, and hot.
I ordered Kung Pao Chicken for my entree (it’s my standard test for a Chinese restaurant). It came with peanuts on top, not mixed in, which kept them crunchy. The spiciness was just right for me, relatively hot. The sauce was nearly perfect, not too thick, nor too runny. I got the combo, so it came with Fried Rice and an extra Spring Roll. All delicious.
Wendy ordered one of the Chef’s Specials, the Dragon & Phoenix (“Crispy chicken and shrimp with vegetables.”) The chicken stayed crispy, the vegetables were light and crunchy, and nothing was overcooked. Clever use of Orange slices for separating the two parts of the dish. This one came with White Rice.
We were pleasantly surprised to be served a plate of artfully cyt Orange slices for dessert, on the house. On top of everything else, Panda Cafe really understands presentation. Even though it appears to be a rather modest little Chinese restaurant, every dish is very cleanly presented, and each one has some sort of unique little flourish.
Since our first visit was so positive, we had the opportunity to visit again a few days later on 17 May. That time I got the Crispy Chicken entree. It was excellent too! This sealed the deal as my new favorite Chinese restaurant! I encourage you to give them a try and support a local business!
BTW, here's a summary of all the Chinese restaurants I've reviewed so far (that are still in business):
- Panda Cafe (visited 14 & 17 May 2015 - this review)
- Chen’s Garden (visited 28 February 2013)
- Hunan Cafe (visited 4 April 2011)
- Mandarin Express (visited 28 February 2010)
- Wei's Garden (visited 8 January 2010)
- James Cafe (visited 25 November 2009)
- Jasmine (visited 25 April 2008, again on 12 November 2012 for the Sushi bar)
- Golden China (visited 5 April 2009)
- China King (visited 3 April 2009)
- Taipei Cafe (visited 18 April 2008)
Location: 707-F E. Market St., Leesburg, VA 20176, 703-777-5660
Web site: http://pandacafeleesburg.com/
Total bill: $29.73 + $10.00 tip = $39.73