We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Still the best Chinese restaurant in North Carolina”
Review of Gourmet Kingdom

Gourmet Kingdom
Ranked #16 of 76 Restaurants in Carrboro
Restaurant details
Reviewed October 27, 2012

I love this place!

I admit the decor is low-rent. Parking sometimes can be problematical.

But the Szchuan dishes! Oh, they are wonderful.

This is the real thing. I just wish there were a Chinese restaurant as good as this in my home town of Asheville.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank LanSluderBelize
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (47)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

43 - 47 of 47 reviews

Reviewed July 23, 2012

Quite unlike typical Chinese restaurants across the U.S., the kitchen here turns out cuisine that's close to identical to what one finds in restaurants in China! The a la carte menu is extensive and includes many genuine Chinese dishes that are not found in most U.S. restaurants. This is possibly due to the large Asian population in the area, including students at the University of North Carolina in neighboring Chapel Hill. Unlike the flavorless brown sauce used for too many dishes in typical U.S. Chinese restaurants, the Chinese cooking served here features a variety of delicate sauces, the trademark of authentic Asian cuisine. The Twice Cooked Pork (pork belly) was just one example. The Eggplant in Garlic Sauce is so delicious that it's hard to believe it's made with eggplant. Another treat was Smoked Tea Duck with a subtle, smoky flavor created by smoking pieces of duck over smouldering tea leaves and served with a dab of hoisin sauce on the side, reminiscent of famous Peking Duck. The Squirrel Fish was crispy and sweet (again with a unique sauce), very close to what one finds in China. These entrees were served with a large bowl of rice to be shared along with the entrees.
It was good that we were not in a hurry, since service during our visit was quite slow, leaving plenty of time for conversation while waiting for each entree to appear. It's unknown if the many minutes between servings was due to an off time for the kitchen staff or usual at this restaurant.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank David O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2012

. . . then ask for recommendations. Incredible. Spices I have never experienced before. All so warming and delicious.

1  Thank jazzalto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2012

Gourmet Kingdom is under new management, and while the decor and atmosphere still leave a lot to be desired the restaurant has huge potential ... as well as huge portions. The two of us ordered the szechuan wontons, spicy chicken, shredded pork with green onions and the green beans. There was easily enough food to serve six or eight people, and we had leftovers for three meals.

Everything was very good, but in retrospect we ordered badly, even though we sought the advice of the waiter. All the dishes, except the green beans, had the same szechuan chili sauce, and the meat dishes were ALL meat, with no vegetables. By the way, contrary to some other review we didn't find any of the dishes very spicy, even the three hot spicy chicken, which is the hottest dish listed on the menu. I'd like to explore the huge and varied menu a little more and suspect after a few visits one could find a lot of interesting dishes that go well together.

All the staff were speaking Mandarin, and a number of the customers were Chinese.

For two beers and the four dishes we paid around $60 with tip, a good value considering the huge portions.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2  Thank LanSluderBelize
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2011

After reading several reviews of this restaurant , I finally tried this place. In my opinion, the food we had was the best Szechuan meal I've had in this area, and as good as any I've eaten at in NYC, and that is a bunch of excellent restaurants.

Having read all the yelp reviews on this place, I was prepared for the unprepossessing appearance - frankly, I'm rarely, if ever, turned off by the appearance of a restaurant - I've eaten in too many joints that produced unforgettable meals, and I've eaten in beautiful restaurants where the food was at best, messed about, and at worst, a flippin culinary train wreck.

The interior is somewhat dark, but not gloomy, and dressed in the quintessential faux Chinese decor. The booths are large and comfortable, and the height is such that you have a nice feeling of privacy. We were waited on quickly, by a young, adorable Chinese girl. She at first gave us the American style menu, but quickly brought the authentic one for us.

We ordered the Dan Dan noodles, and they simply were perfect - with plenty of meat, nice greens, tender noodles, and plenty of chili oil. The heat built, but did not numb, and the quantity was enough for two to have as an app twice. Really nice start.

I chose the Ba Shu Spicy Chicken (#R19 on your score card) because it was the only dish to have a 3 pepper designation as to the heat level. The dish was beautiful, the portion huge, and the taste was sublime. It is like Kung Pao with out the peanuts and more moist due to the nice, hot sauce, and brings the promised heat, thank God. The sauce flows to the bottom of the large serving dish, so be prepared to dig it out for your serving,

Our second choice was a mild dish, Sliced Beef with Green Onions - Pepper Steak, if you will. Another large plate, filled with tender slice of bite-size beef - why so many Chinese restaurants serve these enormous slices of beef that are better suited for sandwiches, is beyond me. The dish contained white onion, as well as green, and they were done perfectly, with some nice residual crispness, and the sauce added to the overall taste. This is a simple dish, done very well, and it along with the rice, married well with the spicy chicken.

The 3 dishes, plus 2 drinks, came to $39, and we left with more than enough of each, plus white rice, to enjoy at least one more meal, maybe 2 if I make rice. We will be back, again and again, and hopefully the consistency benchmark will be met.

And finally, the chop sticks were not the warped wooden kind that seems to threaten splinters in the lip, but solid and durable, capable of doing good work. This place is a gem.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Fred B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Gourmet Kingdom also viewed

Chapel Hill, NC

Been to Gourmet Kingdom? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing