Mandarin Roots

4.5
304 reviews
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$30 and under
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Tapas / Small Plates
Mandarin Roots is an Amer-Chinese restaurant specializing in elevated comfort food. Acknowledging our ROOTS, we combine contemporary & classic cooking techniques using locally sourced ingredients to provide a unique & amazing dining experience. To enhance your meal, we offer a unique selection of wines and local craft beers. Our bar also features Original Craft Cocktails, using fresh juices and premium liquor.
Also come join us for HAPPY HOUR Tues-Sat 5-7pm. Happy Hour will be on a first come first serve basis. We do allow reservations during happy hour only for parties of 6 or more. We look forward to seeing you at M/R!
For more information please visit our website www.MandarinRoots.com
What 304 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.3
service
4.1
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Good food. A bit loud for conversation.

Nice cocktail meni

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J
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

my new fav restaurant
my new fav restaurant
my new fav restaurant
my new fav restaurant

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SR
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 2

EXTREMELY Poor service, horrible food, VERY loud TV and were out of steamed rice!!

NEVER ever going back!!

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JF
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Mandarin Roots is a Chinese fine dining restaurant with a great choice of meals. We went for fried tofu, 8 grains bowl and crepes cake for dessert, all delicious. Plus the waiter was very nice to us. I recommand treating yourself with a carafe of Sangria. Great time in there!

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AT
Montreal
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was amazing the service was great! They were very patient with us. We were a group of 8 and had the perfect round table to actually all talk together. One person has a gluten allergy and two others are vegetarian. The server was knowledgeable and really guided us through a great night. Try the Peking duck and the tangerine beef. The chow main was also fantastic!!

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J
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

My only negative was the noise. But it was Valentine’s Day and pretty busy. I’ll try back on a quieter day. It looks good for drinks and small plates as well.

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EA
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

The service and ambiance were really good. The food was good except we got the duck and it was NOT worth the $45. I would go for all th other dishes. Everything else we got was great. I would go again!

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A
1 review
Dined on February 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Fresh, thoughtful approach to Chinese food with an upscale feel.

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EK
Seattle
34 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 2

The food was very good overall. Loved the Shrimp entire. The pork belly appetizer was not as good as expected. Service was not good, maybe because we had a large party. Even with that, it was poor.

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BA
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We had a nice lunch at Mandarin Roots which offers healthier versions of traditional Chinese dishes. My grandson wanted Honey Walnut Prawns which was delicious and sweet without the syrupy sweet sauce which many restaurants serve with it. My other grandson wanted Orange Chicken which they prepared similar to a beef dish they offer despite it not being on their menu. It was also delicious. Overall, we enjoyed the food and experience.

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KP
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

A cute place for oriental food. Great service and food was delicious. Loved the milk crepe dessert, so yummy! Would definitely visit again for that! :)

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P
Berkshire
11 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 3

After losing Mandarin Gourmet downtown a few years ago, I despaired of finding a good basic Chinese restaurant locally. Hooray! Mandarin Roots fits the bill. Excellent hot-and-sour soup, perfect prawns with honeyed walnuts, nicely balanced mandarin beef, etc. The clientele included a good proportion of Asian diners, so, even if it was "American-ified" food, it obviously wasn't too much so. Definitely going back.

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J
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food is a lovely fusion of traditional (hot and sour soup, eggplant) with the inspirational using high quality ingredients. The service is excellent, always. We were celebrating a birthday and with preplanning they were able to put together a lovely gluten-free cake for the occasion. Absolutely wonderful!

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c
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined on January 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great team outing. Family style food, circle tables, great fast service, and really solid food made for a super fun night. Would come back for sure!

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DS
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

An excellent meal marred only by loud music, which made it difficult to converse.

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CC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The hot and sour soup is truly awesome. Not on the lunch menu, but thankfully it was available. Great food and service was excellent too.

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U
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great Chinese food in a nice ambiance with friendly and cooperative staff. We are vegetarians and need to get variations on the menu. The team always help us adjust the dishes to fit our dietary needs.

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SF
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Delicious meal but a little pricry

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l
Sacramento
50 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal. Quality ingredients are used and they offer a traditional chinese menu with unique fusion plates as well. A loy of items are gluten free which is wonderful! Everything was tasty. Tangerine beef was a fave along with the ribs. The beef chow fun is to die for. Honey walnut prawns are delicious. Chow mein is a bit greasy.

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AR
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on December 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing! Its all about great food. Jennifer was our server and she was extremely hospitable. It made the food better-0

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t
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful favorite restaurant of mine.
Love the service and the food is amazing.

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MI
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Mandarin Roots was just fine, but nothing special. My wife and I got 5 different small plates, and most of them were tragically unseasoned (they lacked salt and acid), if very well plated and constructed. The crispy silken tofu and MaPo Tofu were quite nice, and the Taiwan Sliders were really close but could have used some pickles with a bit more bite to cut through the fat and chewy buns.

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D
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent describes everything about this restaurant!!

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A
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This restaurant is consistently good and service is prompt.

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l
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

Service terrible. Not like it use to be. Had to redo our bill as we did not get the happy hour discount. We have been long long term diners there

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LB
Los Angeles
8 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We were a group of 6, wanting to catch up with each other after almost a year of not seeing each other. We throughly enjoyed the food, atmosphere, and being able to hear each other without yelling across the table. I highly recommend this restaurant for small group of friends to enjoy meaningful conversation with great food.

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CJ
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 16, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

Mandarin Roots used to have an extensive GLUTEN FREE MENU, truly unique for a Chinese restaurant. Gluten free choices have recently shrunken down to a handful. Very disappointing.

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MA
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food, ambience. The service is always top notch.
Friendly and approachable staff.

Love this place!

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a
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Very noisy in the restaurant due to one group which lingered for quite some time.

Food wasn't as good as previous visits. One dish was described as not spicy but was quite spicy. The Dan Dan noodles came as components so had to be assembled at the table by the diner which is a change.

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CL
1 review
Dined on September 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The waitstaff did a fantastic job accommodating us as we were in a bit of a rush and had a flight to catch. They served food quickly while remaining attentive in anticipating our needs, and made my mom's birthday celebration a wonderful experience.

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D
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 6, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Food was excellent. However. The main dining room was very noisy with it only being 50% full. We could hardly hear each other without shouting. The restaurant should look into some sound proofing panels to dampen the sound.

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C
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

For the large group that we had of 15, our waiter was beyond perfect.

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N
San Francisco
64 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 1food 4service 4ambience 2

They charge $0.50 for ONE extra LEAVE of LETTUCE

We ordered the chicken lettuce wraps and needed one extra letucce, they charged for it!!!!

PLEASE do not nickel and dime your customers.....

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t
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Foods were tasty and ambience was good

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RG
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

We came here for dinner on a Sat evening and it was sparsely populated. There is a parking lot in the back with an extremely narrow entry road. Once parked, we entered through the back entrance which felt a bit seedy as there was a garbage container and a worker smoking next to it, looking strangely at us!

There is a large patio in the back which feels airy and there were a few people there. As we tried to make our way to the front, a server waved us to a table in the main hall, which was almost completely empty. Felt a bit odd, so I went to the front desk anyway to check in for my reservation. The lady there lacked finesse, and the whole operation felt a bit mom-and-pop.

The decor was reasonably elegant, somewhat dim and muted. We got our menus and it showed a large selection of items, not your typical fare. Our server turned out to be well-spoken and efficient so our experience started improving as the evening progressed.

Our first item was Moo Shu Chicken appetizer. It was amazingly flavorful, with a nice mix of vegetables and a pomegranate-infused hoisin sauce. We really enjoyed this.

The next item were the potstickers. They were served very fashionably, each potsticker in a large spoon dipped in sauce. They were nicely crisp, with soft filling inside.

For the main course, we got Sesame Chicken, which was like orange chicken encrusted with sesame seeds. Good flavor, crispy, juicy. We also got the Lotus and Roots dish, which had large slices of lotus root, asparagus, mushrooms and other items in a light, white sauce. Mild, yet tasty. We also got the Garlic Noodles, which were very good.

So the food was really top notch and varied. The ambience is classy. Service is efficient, but not very warm and friendly. Aspects of the setup appear a bit tacky e.g. parking access, dry reception, etc. Location is uninspiring, on a quiet stretch of El Camino, so nothing interesting in the neighborhood.

Still recommended for the food itself.

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PD
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Probably the overall best Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto, even if it is at a relatively non descript location on El Camino. All the food is outstanding and the cocktails are other worldly. The small plates are great and the entrees are slightly pricey but well worth it for the quality.

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AB
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was great experience from the service and to the food. It was more than I expected.

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OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on August 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was really exceptional. Everything was very fresh and seasoned just right. Especially liked the chicken in lettuce wraps, Peking duck and moo shu pork. Service was also excellent — really helpful with menu selection and everything was timed well. Will definitely return.

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j
San Francisco
212 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Food was good, though the choices we made were not to our taste as much as with our prior visit. Service was excellent.

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T
106 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

Ordered a pisco sour, they brought me a cocktail with passion fruit. Ordered the pork belly quesadillas, th taste of dough was prevalent. Ordered the cracked pepper clams, the thick taste of ginger was prevalent. Then I ordered the roast duck salad, that was good.
The service was attentive, the waiter tried to make amends, but the damage was done.
Will not return.

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