These days it is hard to find a Chinese restaurant that does what I call old fashioned Chinese food and is not trying to be everything to everyone, a giant buffet with usually mediocre food, or an essentially fast food Chinese carryout where the food is kind of average, but okay in a pinch. Oriental Inn is none of those things. It is a family owned and run restaurant that has been in the same location on the east side for 30 years or more, with fast service and friendly wait staff. It's usually the owner who greets you at the door and seats you - he is very jolly and good natured, treating everyone in a friendly manner and after a customer has been in there a few times, he recognizes faces and even sometimes remembers what you like to eat. The decor reminds me of the Chinese restaurants I used to eat in when I was a kid, traditionally Chinese and quite pleasant. The food is very good - have never had anything that I did not like. Most recently I had garlic chicken that was very delicately spiced with just the right amount of garlic, tender chicken, water chestnuts. crunchy celery and sauce that was not overpowering. Egg rolls, crab rangoon, and all the soups are also good. They will work with you on the level of spice you want, adding or subtracting to your taste or bringing it to the table on the side if you want to "do it yourself" - very accomodating in any way they can be. There are a variety of dinner combinations including soup and appetizers, or you can order al a carte, but the value is good and everyone can find something in their price range as almost all entrees are under $20.00, as are many of the dinners, and the amount of food is ample - usually enough to take home some leftovers. This restaurant is well known to east siders and quite popular, but perhaps could be considered a hidden gem to folks from other neighborhoods. Well worth a trip from whatever one you live in to try this little hidden gem.
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