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“ok, but not great”
Review of Panda Garden

Panda Garden
Ranked #133 of 187 Restaurants in Bangor
Cuisines: Chinese
Restaurant details
Reviewed July 29, 2013

We were not impressed with their food at all. We remembered it as being much better, but this time was quite disappointing.

Thank wrpupkis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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28 - 32 of 49 reviews

Reviewed June 17, 2013

After reading the reviews here on Panda Garden, I thought I would give its lunch buffet a try. I had eaten there once before for dinner and found it too pricey and average tasting. We arrived at 12:30 pm for the lunch buffet and got seated right away. However, we had to wait for 10 minutes to get the plates from the wait staff. Unlike other buffet places, clean plates were not provided for later use. Even though the food was hot, quite a number of the items were already out. I guess 12:30 pm was a bit late by Panda Garden's schedule. More food did make its way out of the kitchen but at a very slow pace. I did not get to sample a few of the items and there weren't many choices to begin with. The food was average in taste and bordering on blandness at times. For example, the gung pao chicken was not spicy at all and full of sauce; when it should be cooked dry with oil on a high heat with chilli peppers. (Initially I thought the average taste was probably due to no msg being used. But I did have a terrible headache behind my right eyeball for the rest of the afternoon, which raised my suspicion on the msg issue).
Overall, I was disappointed with the food and selections. There was no dessert of any kind served at the buffet, So, for those who does not mind msg and wants a Chinese buffet, I would not recommend Panda Garden.

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Thank asiantraveller101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2013

Panda Garden is one of the only Asian cuisine restaurants in Bangor and the greater Bangor area of Maine that I can always depend on to have an enjoyable, excellent quality meal.

My family and I have regularly eaten at PG about once every month for the last 5 years. We always go on Sundays to enjoy the lunch buffet as it has enough variety for the whole family.

The food quality is consistently excellent. We can depend on it. In fact, almost every time we go it seems to us the food is better than the last time we ate it. This shows how consistent the quality is.

Our taste preference is above the greasy, gritty, overcooked food you can be sure to get at other Asian cuisine buffets. At Panda Garden I have never had a meal that was overcooked, tough, burned, grisly, mushy, or unseasoned (I've NEVER needed to salt anything I've eaten there). Their food seems to be made of simple ingredients cooked with care and a professional hand which doesn't allow for sloppy, lazy cooking. It tastes like it was made with simple excellence.

****If you're looking for heavy, greasy, over deep-fried and over or under seasoned Asian food this is not the restaurant for you.*****

FOOD: The spring rolls seem to be baked, not deep-fried and are crispy, light and flavorful. (I'm going to sound redundant here but the food is just so simple and yet packed with flavor!) The dumplings are delicious - I believe the dough is homemade, at least it tastes homemade. My favorite dish which is always included in the buffet is the garlic eggplant dish, when in season. The sauce is sweet and slightly spicy. Their vegetable fried rice is not greasy, nor is it littered with dried out pieces of rice and it's so flavorful but simple! The vegetable lo mien is incredibly flavorful and light though it's a noodle dish. All of the dishes which contain vegetables (Gen Tso's chicken, Buddhist Delight, etc.) have amazing sauces and REAL vegetables cooked al dente - not mushy or burned, they still have a crunch to them and are large pieces you can actually enjoy. The pork and potato dish is amazing - very sweet with some type of wine that flavors it. And the soups! Don't overlook the soup that comes with your meal. ***Again, if you enjoy the real, simple flavors of food, you will LOVE the soup. The wonton soup is light and packed with flavor. My father used to skip the soup until he was encouraged to try it (he does not like trying new foods). He tried the wonton soup and has gotten it every time since. The hot & sour soup is VERY spicy and delicious. It's a dark brown color from the mushrooms and perhaps soy sauce, I'm not sure, but if you enjoy spicy food, this soup will wow you. The egg drop soup is thick, simple, and flavorful.

SERVICE: The service at Panda Garden is consistent as well. The owners are always friendly and welcoming and they remember our favorite dishes every time, cooking them fresh for the buffet.
*****I forgot to mention about the buffet - at first glance it does not look impressive because they do not allow food to rot under the heating lamps but they replenish it with FRESH food as people enjoy the buffet. Also, if you notice something is out you can always request more of it by letting the owner know (although I've never had to do this as he keeps checking on the buffet to ensure there is enough). Their buffet may not have the 200 choices most Americans are used to but what it doesn't have in number it has in quality, flavor and excellent taste. If you enjoy food for its quality you will not be disappointed.

ATMOSPHERE: The inside of the restaurant is small, quaint, and cozy with character. It reminds me of a NYC alley restaurant. Overhead is a ceiling/roof window allowing a small amount of cascading sunlight into the main dining hall. The walls are dark with touches of Asian decor and viewable ceiling and wall beams. The tables are close together and it feels like a family dinner atmosphere. I would love to see this restaurant with an open patio or deck but they do not offer that in this space. All I can compare it to is the alleyway restaurants in inner NYC where it feels like you're eating in someone's private basement where its cozy and you cannot hide. The owners constantly check in with you and will ask you how your family is doing and catch up on what's happened in your life. It is as if they are welcoming you into their home for a family meal.
TAKE OUT: I have ordered take out numerous times and it is consistently as excellent as eating in. Very prompt service. The food is packaged in a way that keeps it HOT and the crispy noodles included are an added bonus. It is the best 'Chinese' take out in Bangor, hands down. And again, they always make conversation and ask how I'm doing and how my family is doing when I pick up the food. And I've also ordered a lunch portion of something they do not offer for lunch and they are always accommodating and polite.

Some Sundays we plan on eating at Panda Garden and there is a sign that says "Sorry we're closed due to catering." This is always a sad moment for us as we hurry to decide on where else to eat. The decision is always disappointing compared to eating at Panda Garden. I can confidently say there is no other 'Chinese' style restaurant we prefer to PG. We always end up choosing an American cuisine restaurant so we can avoid greater disappointment OR we will choose to simply go to Hannaford and cook at home instead of taking the risk. Many, many times we have gone out to a different restaurant only to leave saying "Panda Garden would have been so much better." And we end up going to PG the following Sunday because we cannot wait to eat there again.

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Thank Adelle2133
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2013

It wasnt worth even a light memory from when I went there many yrs ago so food no service must have been very good if I cant remember anything but never wanting to go bk

Thank Rebecca N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 11, 2012

While I have never seen more than my table and maybe one more occupied during a dinner service, the food and service are great. I understand the lunch is superb, just haven't had the time in my schedule to go.

Thank Hobarth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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