168 4th Avenue (At Ellsworth)
San Mateo, CA 94402
Little Sichuan is a Sichuan Chinese Restaurant located in Downtown San Mateo next to legendary foodie hangout Draegar’s. It has been around for many years but changed hands in 2007. The former co-owner and chef used to run Classic Sichuan Restaurant in Millbrae. Do not confuse this place with others with similar names. Many folks stopped coming after the change in ownership including ourselves. It was time to check Little Sichuan out again in October 2010, after another year. This is a place to come for Sichuan dishes like noodles, not for generic Americanized Chinese food such as Beef Broccoli. classic Cantonese Chinese dishes that are better down the block at Champagne Seafood or HK Causeway Bay. Our last visit was in March 2014.
Decor, Vibe – Little Sichuan is a small step up in decor from a generic Chinese restaurant but still paper lining the simple tables and chairs. During lunch, the place was about 75% full with local office workers of all races. We noticed several Chinese tour groups coming here for dinner. The new waves of immigrants has kept this place popular.
Little Sichuan Menu Pictures
Little Sichuan serves up pretty standard Chinese fare with an emphasis on Sichuan food. They have an extensive menu with over 150 selections. It is important you stick to the Sichuan cuisine otherwise you’re almost guaranteed to have something marginal. Lots of vegetarian options.
Little Sichuan Food Picks:
Dry cooked String Beans ($8.95) were a well done rendition of classic green beans. Ample quantity and decent quality.
Couple’s Delight is a classic Sichuan dish with a fair amount of heat. Their version is decent.
Spicy Sichuan cold noodles ($7.25) is another classic dish that still retains the recipe of the old owner. They mix up the thin egg noodles, minced pork, and sliced cucumbers at your table. A very good rendition of the classic. Noodles are bought not made here.
Pickle Pork Soup in hot ($7.95) is a Northern soup with some sour flavor and lots of vermicelli noodles. Not very popular with most folks, but give it a try sometime for a taste of real China.
Clear Wide Noodles ($8.95) were a bit greasy but made with nice sweet potato based noodles, green onions, and shredded beef. A good portion size.
Beijing style cold Rice Jell-O ($6.95) with house made sesame sauce is another classic Sichuan dish that is done very well here. The Jell-O could have been a little more firm but was passable.
Xing Jiang stir fried roast lamb with cumin powder ($12.95) was has improved significantly. Fairly spicy, with lots of cut up lamb and peppers.
Tea smoked duck ($10.95 Half) was full of bones and had little meat. Flavor was good as was smokey flavor.
Green Onion Pancake ($3.95) was a solid rendition and has improved over the years.
Complimentary Rice wine soup with dumplings was surprisingly pretty good. Other days we only got oranges.
Hot & sour soup ($4.95 Small) was decent and came with crispy chips. Lots of egg and a balance of flavors.
Fried steamed bun ($1.50) had to be sent back because the middle was still cold. It came back heavily deep fried and without sweet condensed milk.
Tiny steamed pork buns ($6.45 for 8) took forever to arrive and tasted pretty plain. Filled with a meat mixture, they were not the best.
Crispy Chicken ($7.95 half) came to us with several pieces still cold, so we had to send this back to. The meat was very pink and pale.
Little Sichuan has below average service for a Chinese restaurant where you had to hail waiter for almost everything. They did forget an item we wanted on one occasion.
Prices are reasonable and the Sichuan food is average, but other items are forgettable. If you are nearby and want Sichuan cuisine try this place for specific items. It is hard to justify coming here from a distance.