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.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Great food and service”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Imperial Palace

No photo provided
Got a photo?
Add it.
Imperial Palace
Ranked #475 of 2,347 Restaurants in Indianapolis
Price range: US$5 - US$10
Cuisines: Chinese, Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Cheap Eats
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Seating, Takeout
Level Contributor
20 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Great food and service”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 September 2013

While it's not much to look at, the positive reviews of this place did not disappoint. Bobby was so friendly and his passion for Chinese food is obvious. Some of the best Chinese we've ever ate - delicious. Would definitely go again if we are ever in the area. The fortune cookie we received was my only complaint, but I didn't have the heart to tell him it was stale.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank ddecamp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

17 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    11
    5
    1
    0
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Indianapolis
Level Contributor
103 reviews
79 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Tiny space - - GREAT food!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 July 2013

We have heard rave reviews about this place and wanted to try it out. Hands down one of the best Chinese food places around! Always call in your order!

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank twingrls2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level Contributor
71 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Best Chinese in Indy. Worst and slowest service...”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 June 2013 via mobile

Geez, I love the food, but good grief the food takes forever. It is literally never ready when it's promised. In four years, never had a call-in ready on time. Usually expect to wait 30-45 minutes. But, food is deliscious. Expensive for call-in Chinese.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Matt M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Best Chinese I've had in the US”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 May 2013

My husband and I just returned from our first trip to China. We'd always liked Chinese food, but it wasn't until we visited China that we knew what we were missing - the real thing was so much more flavorful than anything we'd ever had here, and we knew we were spoiled forever and couldn't go back to bland, greasy, everything-tastes-the-same Americanized Chinese food. So last week we set about trying to find a truly good Chinese restaurant in Indy. Online reviews led us to Imperial Palace, and I am SO GLAD we tried it!

From the outside it looks like your typical strip mall Chinese place. The interior decor is funny - lots of plants, a couple of tables, posters of Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. It's very casual. Mr. Lee (owner, chef, server, everything) was taking an order on the phone when we came in. We chose a table and he brought menus over to us as soon as he was off the phone. We were the only diners at that time (7:30 on a Tuesday evening), but there was a steady stream of to-go orders being called in and picked up while we were there - this place definitely stays busy. We explained that it was our first time, and Mr. Lee said he was glad we came on a Tuesday and not Saturday or Sunday - he said he gets so busy on weekends that it can take 60-90 minutes to get an order out and he wouldn't want that to be our first impression. We explained that we'd just returned from Beijing and were looking for good, authentic Chinese food and he joked we'd made him nervous now! As we chatted we learned he'd been born near Beijing, moved to Hong Kong at age 3, and then later to Taiwan where he lived for 20+ years and trained as a chef.

I didn't know what I wanted, so he talked me through the menu. He asked what meat I wanted and I said chicken. He asked if I preferred breaded or "plain", and I said plain. He asked what vegetables I like, and I said I like any veg that's not mushy - I can't handle mushy, overcooked vegetables. He also asked if I liked peanuts and mushrooms. He made it clear he wasn't going to use any ingredients I don't like - he was going to customize it to suit my tastes. He asked if I liked spicy food and I said sure; he asked how spicy on a scale of 1-10 and and I answered a 4 or 5. He thought for a minute and recommended I try the Kung Pao Chicken. I really loved that he took the time to find out what I liked and thought about which of his dishes I might enjoy instead of just rattling off a couple of suggestions. My husband ordered the Mu Shu Pork and some egg rolls to start. Mr. Lee asked if he was sure about the egg rolls - he said they're heavy, and we probably had really good dumplings in Beijing, we should try the dumplings here, he promised we'd like them... so we took his suggestion and ordered the dumplings instead. He turned on the music and headed to the kitchen to start our meal, singing along with Frank Sinatra as he cooked.

He brought out the dumplings and we were glad we'd taken his suggestion - they were just right and very tasty. When he brought out our main dishes, he took care to describe everything as he served it to us. He asked my husband if he knew how to roll up the mu shu pork in the pancake, and carefully walked him through it step by step. Our food was absolutely delicious. Typical Americanized Chinese food has sauces that are all over-thickened and bland and virtually all taste the same, they're almost all meat with hardly any vegetables, and the vegetables that are there are all overcooked and mushy... definitely not the case here. My kung pao chicken was sweet and spicy and smoky, a good balance of meat and veg, the chicken was tender and the vegetables were crunchy. Absolutely delicious food.

Mr. Lee checked on us several times throughout the evening and he was very personable, easy-going and interesting. He was curious about where we'd visited in China and what we thought about it, we talked about his history and experience in the restaurant business, and we talked a lot about food. We kind of felt like we were dining with a friend. He clearly loves what he does, he's very good at it, and he was genuinely pleased that we liked it.

Our total was about $27 plus tip. That got us 6 dumplings, a giant order of kung pao chicken (I took some home because I was too full to finish it), perfect sticky rice, and mu shu pork with pancakes.

We will most definitely be back to Imperial Palace - we have a new favorite Chinese restaurant. Wherever you are in Indy, it's worth the drive. I would say this is a mom and pop place, but it's just pop! The food is extremely fresh and made to order. If you're in a hurry, call ahead to place your order - because it's a one-man show it can take some time. If you're not in a hurry but you're super hungry, go ahead and order an app to tide you over while he cooks your dinner.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank HappyAuntie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Hidden Gem”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 April 2013

Great restaurant! Drove by this place for years and hadn't noticed it until recently. This looks like a typical Chinese joint from afar; however, it is very different. The place is clean, and the man who runs it is very kind and cooks everything himself. The food is also of higher quality than most similar restaurants. It does take about 30 min typically, so call ahead!

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Mgreer65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Imperial Palace also viewed

 
Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis, IN
 

Been to Imperial Palace? 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