Imperial Delight — San Ramon
Inexpensive Chinese with quality ingredients distinguishes Imperial Delight.
It can be pretty hard to distinguish one business from another among the sprawl of red brick buildings at The Marketplace in San Ramon, but Imperial Delight is worth keeping your eyes peeled for. Once inside, you’ll leave suburbia behind, entering a nicely decorated—even formal—interior, with traditional Chinese paintings of cherry blossoms and koi.
The food is also a cut above, using obviously fresh ingredients seasoned with light but flavorful sauces. Prices are reasonable, mostly under $10. Lunch specials are the best deal: A main dish with the soup of the day, fried wontons, and a choice of rice costs between $6.25 and $7.95. Another $1 gets you a spring roll or fried prawn, and tea is included free of charge.
Check out the Yu-Shiang combination, a satisfying mix of beef, chicken, prawns, and veggies in a garlicky sauce ($6.95 lunch special). The sweet and sour chicken ($6.25 lunch special) doesn’t disappoint, and the house-made pot stickers are great, with a soft wrap surrounding juicy, tender pork ($5.50 for six).
International Way: If you’re not in the mood for Chinese, The Marketplace offers a dizzying array of cuisines, including Filipino, Greek, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, and Vietnamese—plus there’s Izzy’s steak house for old-fashioned meat and potatoes.
Big Deal: If you’re with friends, check out the Imperial Dinners group specials: $9.95 per person gets you egg rolls, fried wontons, soup, rice or chow mein, and one entrée each. — Ethan FletcherImperial Delight, 290 Market Pl., San Ramon, (925) 867-2888, imperialdelight.com. Lunch daily, dinner Mon.–Sat.