Nov 272011

Cuisine: Chinese, Vietnamese
Restaurant Features: Dinner Buffet, Lunch Buffet, On Site Parking
Location: Little Canada, MN
Address: 1 Little Canada Rd E Little Canada, MN 55117 (651) 483-1239
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-9pm Sat 12pm-9pm
Lunch Buffet Mon-Fri 11am-2:30pm * Dinner Buffet Fri-Sat 5pm-8:30pm
Links: Caravelle on Facebook * Google Map
Caravelle Chinese Vietnamese Restaurant ~ Little Canada, MN

Atmosphere: The Little Canada location of Caravelle Restaurant is located in an old and faded strip mall on Little Canada Road, about 1/4 mile from Rice Street. The dining room has several vinyl-clothed tables, including a handful that are round and can seat six.  There are a couple of Chinese lanterns suspended from the ceiling but that is the only hint given aware by the decor that this is an Asian restaurnt and not a diner straight out of the 90’s.
Dining Room at Caravelle ~ Little Canada, MN

Menu: Appetizers at Caravelle include Vietnamese Eggrolls, Vegetarian Eggrolls, Chicken Wings, Teriyaki Chicken, Oyster Wings, Szechuan Wings, Sugar Puffs, Cream Cheese Wontons, Fried Meat Wontons, BBQ Pork, Steamed Vegetable Dumpling, Pork Dumplings, Shrimp Spring Roll, Pork Spring Roll, Chicken Spring Roll, Shrimp Toasts, and Butterfly Shrimp.

Soups include Wonton, Egg Flower, Vegetable, Hot & Sour, House Seafood Soup.

Chop Suey, Chow Fun and Fried Rice options include Vegetable, Chicken, Pork, Beef and Shrimp.

Entrees include your choice of chicken, shrimp, beef or pork with Sesame, Curry, Kung Pao, Garlic Sauce, Egg Four Young, Sweet & Sour, Moo Shu, Lomein, Twice Cooked Pork, Ta Chien Chicken, Hunan Beef, Beef Szechuan Style, Vietnamese Hot Chicken, Tong Ting Shrimp.

Caravelle House Specialties include Caravelle Special Delight, Seafood Delight, Diamond Head War Bar (shrimp, scallops, beef, chicken, roast pork, sauteed with diced Chinese veggies), Triple Delight, Happy Family, Mongolian Beef, Ginger Chicken, General Tso’s Chicken, Chicken in Black Bean Sauce, Pineapple Chicken, Orange Beef or Chicken, Beef with Potato in Oyster Sauce, Shrimp with Black Bean Sauce, Salted Pepper Jumbo Shrimp, Beef Green Bean, Vietnamese Hot Spicy Beef, Chicken Broccoli, Moo Goo Gai Pan, Chicken Almond Ding, Chicken Cashew, Lemon Chicken, Beef Pepper Steak with Tomato, Beef with Broccoli, Eight Immortal Beef, Shrimp in Lobster Sauce, Shrimp Chinese Vegetable, Shrimp Almond Ding, and Chicken with Vegetables.

Vietnamese specialties at Caravelle include Vermicelli Bowl (choice of beef, chicken, or shrimp), Saigon Noodle Soup, and Pho (beef, beef meatballs, chicken and vegetarian).
Price guide: Appetizers $4-6 Entrees $8-12

What we ordered: We started with an order of Oyster Wings. This was an order of eight giant, crispy wings covered with a sweet vinegary sauce that was unlike any oyster sauce I have had before. I liked these but I wouldn’t call them oyster wings.
Oyster Wings at Caravelle ~ Little Canada, MN

We also tried the Shrimp Toast, which are little cocktail-sized toasts with a shrimp on top, then breaded and deep-fried. These were very crispy and heavily battered but didn’t seem greasy at all, which was an unexpected but pleasant surprise.
Shrimp Toast at Caravelle ~ Little Canada, MN

For our entrees we tried the Crunchy Sesame Shrimp, which I thought was great. The shrimp were quite large and butterflied before being battered and deep fried and there was a pretty big serving of them overall. The sauce was a tangy and slightly sweet sesame sauce
Crunch Sesame Shrimp at Caravelle ~ Little Canada, MN

The Lemon Chicken also came as a large order of crispy, heavily battered chicken pieces, bathed in a very lemony sauce. This was good but I found the sauce to be kind of boring, like it was missing a crucial ingredient.  This was good only until the lemon sauce turned the breading soggy.
Lemon Chicken at Caravelle ~ Little Canada, MN

We also ordered the Pork Fried Rice, a heaping serving of rice with peas, carrots, scrambled egg, bean sprouts, and candied Chinese barbecue pork. Very flavorful and yummy.
Pork Fried Rice at Caravelle ~ Little Canada, MN

Service: We were greeted with a smile and the server was very nice. We took our time looking over the menu and ordered our appetizers and later ordered our entrees.  The dishes were brought out to us in the order they were prepared, which was nice so that we could try everything when it was hot and fresh.
Overall Impression: I had known of the Caravelle that used to be located on University Avenue(now closed) but I wasn’t aware of the one in Little Canada until a friend told me about the lunch buffet.  I am glad I stopped in and tried this place, especially glad I ordered from the menu, as the food was hot and fresh.
Caravelle Restaurant III - Little Canada on Urbanspoon
Caravelle Restaurant Reviews in Little Canada

Sep 042010

Cuisine: Asian variety…mostly Vietnamese with French-influence, but also some Chinese and Thai dishes.

Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking

Location: White Bear Township

Address: White Bear Township Theater Shops 1190 County Road J White Bear Township, MN 55127 They also do take-out! 651-426-3558

I hadn’t been to Orchid Restaurant in a few years (probably since my original review), but stopped there recently and feasted on a bunch of appetizers.  If you like Vietnamese food, I definitely recommend it!

Steamed Pork Dumplings @ Orchid Restaurant ~ White Bear Township

Steamed Pork Dumplings @ Orchid Restaurant ~ White Bear Township

Fried Calamari @ Orchid Restaurant ~ White Bear Township, MN

Fried Calamari @ Orchid Restaurant ~ White Bear Township, MN

Fresh Spring Rolls @ Orchid Restaurant ~ White Bear Township, MN

Fresh Spring Rolls @ Orchid Restaurant ~ White Bear Township, MN

Spicy Pyster Wings @ Orchid Restaurant ~ White Bear Township, MN

Spicy Oyster Wings @ Orchid Restaurant ~ White Bear Township, MN

Eggrolls @ Orchid Restaurant ~ White Bear Township, MN

Eggrolls @ Orchid Restaurant ~ White Bear Township, MN

Beef Skewers @ Orchid Restaurant ~ White Bear Township, MN

Beef Skewers @ Orchid Restaurant ~ White Bear Township, MN

Apr 192008

Cuisine: Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese
Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour, On-Site Parking

Location: Maplewood
Address: 1715-A Beam Avenue  Maplewood, MN 55109   651-747-1000  ***Located at the end of a large strip mall (next to Marshall’s)
Links: Bambu Website * Bambu Facebook PageGoogle Map


Atmosphere: Very romantic with dim lighting, candles atop white table-cloths, and richly colored walls.  There are both circular and square tables, which can easily be combined for larger parties.


Bambu also has a lovely bar area and boasts wonderful drink specials.


Menu: Appetizers include Chicken Wings, Egg Rolls, Pot Stickers, Fried Tofu, Calamari, Spring Rolls, Wontons, Shrimp, Fresh Mussels, and Pan-Seared Scallops.  Salad/soups include Bambu Asian Salad, Thai pineapple Chicken Salad, Spicy Thai Beef Salad, Vietnamese Noodle Salad, Egg Drop Soup, Hot & Sour Soup, Wonton Soup, Vietnamese Chicken Noodle.

Chinese Entrees include General Tso’s Chicken, Sweet & Sour Chicken, Sesame Chicken, Beef or Shrimp, Kung Pao Chicken, Orange Chicken, Mandarin Chicken, Lemon Chicken, Cashew Chicken.  The following entrees can be served with either chicken, pork, tofu, mock duck, beef, shrimp or scallops: Broccoli Stir-Fry, Hunan Chicken, Sizzling Duck, Tiger Pork, Sizling Black Bean Sauce, Coconut Curry, Ginger or Oyster Stir-fry, Garlic Baby Bok Choy, Egg Fu Young, Chinese Chow Mein, Vietnamese Chow Mein, Singapore Noodles, Pineapple Stir fry, Hong Kong Wontons, Lomein, Fried Rice, Mu Shu Wrap and Chicken Almond Ding.

Thai Entrees include Thai Hot Curry Fried Rice, Pineapple Fried Rice, Yellow Chicken Curry, Pad Thai, Penang Red, Thair Stir-Fried Rice Noodles, Red Salmon Pineapple Curry, Green Mahi-Mahi Curry, Spicy & Sweet Blast Curry, Massaman Chicken Stir-Fry, Spicy Chicken, Basil Stir-Fry and Spicy Thai Basil Fried Rice.

Vietnamese Entrees include Salted Shrimp, Fried Rice, Garlic Catfish, Vietnamese Rice Platter, Fried Potato with Beef, Lemon Frog legs, Tamarind Shrimp, Grilled Beef and Shrimp & Beef.

Bambu also serves a large variety of Pho, an authentic Vietnamese beef broth served over rice noodles and Asian vegetables.

Seafood Entrees include Waleye, Seafood in Black Bean Sauce, Sea Bass, Triple Delight, Thai Seafood Linguine Curry.

Price guide: Appetizers $4.50-8  Salads/soups $3-11  Seafood $12-17  Chinese Entrees $9-13  Thai Entrees $9-17  Vietnamese Entrees $ 8-17  Pho $7-9
What we ordered: To start, we tried the calamari.  It was lightly breaded and served with stir-fried green and white onions.  I had never had calamari prepared this way, but I really enjoyed the blend of flavors.  I thought the serving was quite generous.


We ordered the Masaman Chicken Stir-Fry, a sweet green curry with chicken, onions, avocado and cashews.  I have never had a curry like this before, but I loved the flavor and texture of the dish.  This was also a very large portion of food.


We also ordered the Fried Potatoes with Beef.  The potatoes were crispy and the beef was tender and plentiful.


Fried Rice.  I cannot remember which fried rice we ordered, but it was pretty good.


My companion also ordered  lemonade and it was not only homemade, but hand-squeezed to order; both sugary and tart at the same time!

Service: Our service was exceptional! The server was very friendly and offered several suggestions from the menu.  Food was prepared in a timely manner and after compliments to the chef, the chef came out to talk with us.  By chance the owner was visiting the restaurant and also stopped to talk with me and my companion.  Everyone was really nice and talkative.
Overall Impression: Bambu is the total package and is my new favorite restaurant in the Northeast suburbs! The food, atmosphere and service were all superior.  A must-try!
Bambu on Urbanspoon

Mar 292007

Cuisine: Vietnamese


Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking

Location: St Paul, MN


Address: 394 University Ave. St. Paul 651.290.2585

Hours: Mon-Thur 11am-9pm, Fri & Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 12pm-8pm


Links: Google Map


Atmosphere: The atmosphere at Mai Village is reason enough alone to visit.  Set inside a brand-new $4 Million building in the heart of Frogtown, the entrance into the dining area of Mai Village is most impressive; a carved wooden bridge set over a beautiful koi pond.




Maivillage307_006_2 Maivillage307_0171000



Mai Village is also home to a large, wooden pagoda set in the middle of the restaurant ( Panels were carved in Vietnam and shipped over). All tables and chairs are also carved from wood.  There are several large round tables (seats 9) that have a revolving glass lazy-Susan in the middle.  Perfect for a bigger group!

Menu: Appetizers include spring rolls, egg rolls, chicken wings, wontons, shrimp, etc.  There are also several soups, including a variety of Pho.


Entrees include Vietnamese-style chow-mein, lo-mein, fried rice, and a variety of shrimp, beef, pork and chicken dishes.  Vietnamese specialties include meat and noodle salads.

Price guide: Appetizers $4-7, Soups $4-7 (depending on size), Entrees $8-12, Meat & Noodle Salads $7

What I ordered: To start off, I ordered the spring rolls.  I thought the spring rolls were a little small for the price I paid, but they were filled with both pork and shrimp and were delicious.  Their hoisan peanut sauce is the best I’ve had anywhere and they gave us two full cups of it.




































My main dish was the sauteed chicken noodle salad. it was a layered salad, lettuce and mint leaves on the bottom, then rice noodle, then the chicken. The chicken was spicy and delicious, reminded me of the lemon-grass chicken I had at Orchid Restaurant.  The salad came with a light, thin dressing, but the salad was so flavorful I did not use it.























My companion ordered the beef and fried potatoes.  The potatoes were thin and fried to a nice, crispy brown.  There was more beef than I was expecting, sliced thin and very tender.  The sauce was almost like a thin gravy.  Very tasty!


Service: The service was very good.  There were plenty of wait staff available during the dinner hours.  Probably no need to make reservations, they have a vast amount of seating.

Overall Impression: The restaurant is beautiful and the food was pretty good, but a little pricey.  Nice place to come if you have a larger group because you can be easily accommodated.

Mai Village on Urbanspoon

Feb 262007

Cuisine: Asian variety…mostly Vietnamese with French-influence, but also some Chinese and Thai dishes.

Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking

Location: White Bear Township

Address: White Bear Township Theater Shops 1190 County Road J White Bear Township, MN 55127 They also do take-out! 651-426-3558


Links: Google Map Orchid Website .

Atmosphere: Newly constructed at the end of a strip mall, Orchid has a main dining room that seats approximately 50 people (booths and tables). Just off the side of the main dining room is the bar area with an additional 6-7 booths and taller cocktail tables. Softly painted walls, dim lighting, fresh flower arrangements and Asian decor give the restaurant a very cozy feel.  The bar is  a great place to have a drink if a table is not immediately available.  The Mojito is an Orchid specialty.


Menu: Appetizers: chicken wings, calamari, spicy oyster wings, spring rolls, pot stickers, cream chesse wontons, pot stickers, cripy shrimp, shrimp dumplings and grilled sesame beef.

Entrees: Mixed vegetable, broccolli in oyster sauce, sweet n’ sour, spicy kung pao, toasted sesame, lemon grass chicken, ginger chicken, sauteed beef with fried potato, Mongolian beef, pineapple delight, curry chicken, spicy szechwan,Vietnamese crepe, and black pepper steak.

Specialties: Deep fried sea bass, imperial prawns, Lúc Lác Beef, Steamed Sea Bass with Ginger, Special Thai Basil, French Garlic Prawns, Seafood Combo

Noodles and Rice: Orchid fried rice, Lo Mein, Vietnamese Chow Mien, Crispy egg noodles and mixed vegetables, Hảo Nhi’s Chow Fun, Spicy Singapore Noodles, Saigon Rice Noodles – Bún Tḥit Nứơng, and Pad Thai.

Vegetarian: Spring Rolls, Vietnamese Chow Mien, Lo Mien, Spicy Tofu or Mock Duck, Saigon Rice Noodle Dish, Annie’s Favorite Stir Fry, Buddha Delight, Fried Rice.

View full menu here

Price Guide: Appetizers: $ 4-7 Entrees: $9.75-12.25 Specialties: $13.25-17.25

What I ordered: To start off, I tried the calamari. I have to say that this is some of the best calamari I have ever had! It is cooked just perfectly so the texture is delicate, not tough. The spicy sweet and sour sauce is delicious and has just the right amount of “kick”, a perfect compliment to the calamari.


The entree I ordered was the Lemon Grass chicken; marinated dark chicken meat stir fried with white and green onions, lemon grass, curry and chili pepper. This dish came highly recommended by our server, and once I tried it, I could see why it is so popular. The sauce was on the spicier side, probably a 3-4 on a scale of 1-10.  I recommend serving it atop white rice.


My companion ordered Orange Chicken.  Crispy, white-meat with a deliciously sweet orange sauce.


Service: Most of the time the service is very fast and pleasant. If you happen to come when the restaurant is not as busy, service sometimes takes longer.
Orchid on Urbanspoon