Dear Mr. Gold:

I have a dear friend who spends a lot of time in Beijing and loves Chinese food. Is there a place downtown or in Chinatown that has excellent cuisine from that region? I want him to have a good meal!

—B., Echo Park

Dear B.:

There are few really wonderful restaurants in Chinatown these days, especially ones with northern Chinese cuisine. If your friend really spends time in Beijing, the Americanized dishes at Yangchow won't suffice, no matter how popular they are. If eastern Chinese cooking is a workable substitute, Mandarin Chateau serves acceptable Shanghainese cooking, although I'd probably drive the extra 10 minutes to Giang Nan in Monterey Park, Wok n' Noodle in Alhambra or Mei Long Village in San Gabriel if I were in the mood for eastern dishes.

MANDARIN CHATEAU: 970 N. Broadway #114, dwntwn. (213) 625-1195

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