China Moon restaurant in Laguna Niguel serves authentic and delicious Mandarin and Szechwan cuisine for lunch and dinner.

This week we decided to try the China Moon restaurant, located in the Town Center at the corner of Niguel and Town Center Drive. It was our first visit, but I was looking forward to our dinner, based on the recommendations of some friends. Outside, the cheerful neon signs are welcoming. Inside, the décor is pleasant with lots of neutrals and a pretty mural on the ceiling, featuring the moon. There is a large display of wine bottles near the entrance, and there are lots of comfortable booths throughout the dining room.

We looked over our beverage options. There is a brief wine list, which offers wines by the glass or bottle. They have four different whites, including Kendall Jackson Chardonnay. There are also a few reds and two sparkling wines. In addition, beer choices include Tsingtao from China, Sapporo, Coors Light and Fat Tire. They also serve plum wine and sake. We chose to split a large Sapporo, and it was brought to our table quickly. We ordered water also, which came in a large chilled carafe which was nice, and the staff was good about keeping our glasses full.

The menu is packed with choices. For some reason the “starters” are on a page near the back of the menu, so if you want an appetizer, you will need to do a little looking. Interesting offerings include shrimp wonton, Chinese tacos, J’s spareribs, Shanghai dumplings, and salt and pepper calamari, along with some classics like mu shu, egg rolls, and potstickers.

Soups can be ordered for two or four people, and tempting soup options include, three flavor soup: hot n’ sour, won ton, sizzling rice and a creamy chicken and corn soup.

The dinner menu, which is a combination of Mandarin and Szechwan cuisine, is too large to describe in detail. There is a section of rice and noodles, vegetarian entrees, seafood, poultry (including duck) and meat-based entrees. Under “favorites” some of the highlights include rainbow shrimp, orange chicken, beef and scallops, Hunan lamb and Hunan capital shrimp.

After looking over all of it, I chose the beef lo mein, and my husband chose the rainbow shrimp, after some input from our waitress. She also suggested we try the cucumber salad to start. The salad came quickly on a serving plate with two additional plates. The salad was made with chunks of marinated cucumber, shredded carrots and bamboo shoots in a delicious, light dressing.

Our entrees arrived family style with a small dish of rice. The rainbow shrimp was a generous portion of two shrimp preparations separated by cooked snow peas. Both kinds were lightly breaded. The aromatic shrimp was covered with a flavorful red sauce and was quite delicious. The sesame shrimp was served in a light, sweet sauce and was also very good. The lo mein was steaming hot and was a great blend of the beef, noodles, and sauce with a few veggies.  It was not heavy or greasy at all. The portions were generous and the food was very tasty.

We enjoyed our dinner at China Moon. The restaurant has a nice ambiance, the service is gracious and professional and the menu is much more sophisticated than that of a typical Chinese restaurant. China Moon is open daily for lunch and dinner, except they are closed on Tuesdays.

I give China Moon 3 ¾ Patches out of 5.






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