We serve all the best versions of all the classic Chinese dishes that you know and love in a fun, retro yet modern environment. Our classically trained chefs are still using traditional techniques coupled with our original recipes to bring you a dining experience unlike anywhere else in the world. There may be thousands of other Chinese restaurants worldwide, but there's only one Mandarin House La Jolla.
The Mandarin House is ultimately the result of an improbable meeting of two young friends randomly meeting again after 5 years at an airport on the way to America. John - Tat - Law and Bill - Wai Choi - Man were young teenagers growing up working and cooking in the restaurants of Hong Kong in the 1960's. A chance meeting brought them back together and sent the pair on a journey from the East coast of America to beautiful San Diego over a span of multiple years and working and cooking in multiple restaurants along the way. But with a chance to finally do something of their own, the young chef's found an opportunity to transform an old diner into their dream and on April 21st 1977, The Mandarin House of La Jolla was born.
And though the start of the Mandarin House signified the end of a long journey for the 2 chefs, the long journey of the Mandarin House was just about to begin. Since it's opening day, the Mandarin House has been a favorite of La Jolla's locals and has cemented itself as one of the iconic La Jolla landmarks. The two young chefs crafted a menu using their Hong Kong techniques but inspired by East Coast menus. They added a few original signature recipes and over the years have refined the menu to what we have today. We've gone from this first location to up to 5 with 2 of them being opened abroad in Mexico City and then back down to this original one. We lost Bill man in 2004, and in 2016 John Law passed away. But don't worry! John's son Nelson has taken over and the traditions of the Mandarin House lives on!
In August of 2019, we had a small kitchen fire, which ultimately shut us down until June of 2021. We were able to rebuild the kitchen, as well as remodel a lot of our restaurant in the process. We tried our best to maintain our - 70s Chinese restaurant feel - but also make it a bit more modern. And somehow, I think we did it! So come on in and check us out! We've got the same delicious taste that San Diego knows and loves in a cool, fun and vibing atmosphere!