Panda Garden at Highridge Plaza in Manchester is not a place you’re going to find just driving by, which is probably why there have been two other restaurants there in the past few years. I went to one of its predecessors one time, and never went back. The other place opened and closed before I had a chance to get there.
After a recent dinner at Panda Garden I think, “third time is a charm.”
I remember being impressed with the building in its first incarnation. The swirled glass door at the entry way is of immediate interest. The rooms are spacious, with high ceilings and a fireplace is built into the wall separating the two main rooms. The white walls contrast nicely with the black and grey carpet. Very nice prints of Panda Bears are scattered through out. All of this serves as a subtle back drop when the food begins to arrive.
Chinese food almost has visual appeal because of the use of colorful vegetables. Here it is even more so because every plate is garnished with beautiful flowers made from thinly sliced vegetables.
We began with Bar-BQ Spare Ribs and Szechuan Dumplings in Hot Sesame Sauce. Both were delicious, plentiful, and the peanut/sesame sauce for the dumplings was phenomenal. Peking Duck was a delicious dish carved and rolled into soft flour crΘpe right at our table. We also tried Shrimp Royal, Chicken Chow Mein, Pineapple Rice beautifully served in half of a pineapple, and Vegetarian Paradise which was a combination of three separate dishes each in a different style of sauce.
Even the tea was wonderful. I often wonder why I almost never get a cup of tea hot enough at most restaurants and here a whole pot stayed hot throughout the entire meal!
Panda Garden is just off the main road. The official address is Highridge Plaza, Rt. 7A, 4519 Main Street, Manchester, VT. Call 802-362-9133 for more information.
PS – Tell them VERMONT.COM sent you.