There are thousands of Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles; these are the ones that we have most recently reviewed. ARC-EN-CIEL CHINESE RESTAURANT (3377 Wilshire Blvd. (2nd floor), Los Angeles. (213) 388-7868). This relatively new eating establishment can be found across from the Ambassador Hotel. Among the many treats is the chicken with pine nuts--it's a light combination of finely cut chicken, ham, peas and celery with pine nuts and a subtle dash of Chinese wine. Even run-of-the-mill sounding dishes like fried won ton, or broccoli beef with bamboo shoots take on an exciting disposition at Arc-En-Ciel (which is French for rainbow ). The portions are generous, but we urge you to save room for the candied bananas. Lunch, Mon.-Sat.; dinner, daily. AE, MC, V. Free parking for two hours during the day, unlimited at night. Dinner for two, food only, $20-$30. CHEF MING'S RESTAURANT (8100 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (213) 654-3383). Located at a busy Santa Monica Boulevard intersection, you've probably driven by Chef Ming's a hundred times, unaware of its existence. The next time you're in the neighborhood, pull in, because it's a place you can depend on for good, clean healthful take-out. What you'll get is fairly straightforward Mandarin, Peking and Sichuan cuisine. It is simply cooked and served: no frills and low bills. There is good Peking duck, served with pancakes and excellent barbecued spare ribs. Lunch, Mon.-Sat.; dinner daily. Take out service available. Parking in rear. MC, V. Beer and wine. Dinner for two, food only, $15-$20.
CHINA PAVILION (2140 S. Hacienda Blvd., Hacienda Heights, (818) 330-5388). Owner Larry Tsui was born in the restaurant business . . . in fact, he was born in a restaurant. This place is a stunner: dining rooms separated by red teak doors; fixtures imported from Taiwan; sharply dressed tables all bathed in soft and plush lighting. They also boast a noodle maker, who plys his trade behind a glass wall. Even the simple dishes here, like delicate meatballs of minced pork in a rich brown sauce, explode with flavor. The pleasant waiters will assist you with the Chinese menu. Order Trader Vic-style drinks from the ornate bar. Lunch and dinner daily. Full bar. Parking in lot. MC, V. Dinner for two, food only, $15-$40.
DELI WORLD CAFE (125 Garfield Ave., Monterey Park, (818) 572-6588). You've never seen anything quite like this: a restaurant perched above a supermarket (you can look down and watch people shopping), with one of the most amazing menus in town. Whether it's boiled dumplings, tripe soup, raw crab or noodles, this food is without peer in greater Los Angeles. You might start with steamed pork rib and go on to minced chicken with rice, a treasure trove of goodies. Give in to the fresh-juice station, which serves all kinds of exotic liquids, when you've cleaned your plate. Lunch and dinner daily. Parking in rear. Cash only. Dinner for two, food only, $10-$20.
FORTUNE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT (750 N. Hill St., Los Angeles, (213) 680-0640). This bright new addition to Chinatown is situated below the better-known Miriwa, in the Chunsan Plaza complex. The food here is a treat, and the service the most pleasant in Chinatown. Shredded chicken with shark's fin soup is filled with gelatinous pieces of shark's fin and lots of thin strips of chicken. When you lift a spoonful to your lips, your senses will reel from a smoky sweet and unique sensation. Another memorable dish is stuffed bean curd with assorted vegetables, which is a large platter of sliced bitter melon, green pepper, eggplant and much more. The menu (even the banquet version) has been translated by the staff for your convenience. Lunch and dinner daily. Validated parking in Chunsan Plaza. Beer and wine. MC, V. Dinner for two, food only, $20-$40.
JOSS (9255 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 276-1886). Everything about this place is unusual; even the wine list resembles an oversized Christmas card. An appealing cast of serving people is a plus, too. Two dishes need to be mentioned--Mongolian lamb, sizzling in Shoa Shing rice wine with leeks and pepper; and shrimp with nuts of olive mellow, a sauteed dish that contrasts the crunchy sweetness of the nuts against the pungent flavors of roasted garlic and crispy ginger. The Peking duck is fabulous, the dim sum not to be missed. Lunch and dinner daily. Beer and wine. Valet parking in the evening. All major credit cards. Dinner for two, food only, $30-$50.