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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Mon–Thu 11:00am–3:00pm
Mon–Thu 5:00pm–9:30pm
Fri 11:00am–3:00pm
Fri 5:00pm–10:00pm
Sat–Sun 11:30am–10:00pm

Features Kid-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Accepted


202 106th Pl. NE
Bellevue, WA
(425) 688-7991
Bamboo Garden
Jellyfish, kidneys, and pig’s-blood, oh my!

We love an authentic Szechuan restaurant that doesn’t tone down the spice in order to appease unadventurous diners. And we love any venue that appears to be channeling Lou Reed. So, yes, we love Bamboo Garden.

There’s plenty of complexity, heat, and variety on the regular menu, but it’s the section that beckons diners to “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” that excites us. Spicy dry-cooked frog, sour and spicy jellyfish, intestines from various animals—you can easily earn your trying-weird-stuff badge in one sitting. (The Wild Side also includes the area’s best rendition of swimming fire fish.)

But let that not distract you from the ordinary—there’s lots of “ma la” action (numbing, spicy, tingly, and fruity—all at once—from Szechuan peppercorns) in many of the dishes, especially in the fiery pot of fish pieces and the chong qing chicken. The hand-shaved noodles are another must-try.

Is it really a garden? Well, it comes closer than most of the thousands of Chinese restaurants that misuse that descriptor—there are, after all, bits of bamboo throughout the dining room. Although the place is still in the realm of casual dining, big booths, darker woods, and dimmer lighting make it look like Canlis compared to most Chinese restaurants.

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