Princess Garden is a time machine (that also serves Peking duck)

Natalie Torres Gallagher

Princess Garden in Waldo is one of the city's best and most transportive dining rooms/Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

There’s something downright magical about dining at Princess Garden.

This Waldo Chinese restaurant has been open since 1981, but between the white tablecloths, the tufted dark red booths, tasseled lamps, hammered ceiling tiles and ornately carved wooden wall panels, it feels like it’s been around since the early sixties.

We’ve always loved the room, but it’s especially welcoming after a year of lockdown—truly, no place feels less like our own kitchen table than this dim and richly decorated dining room.

The menu, too, may as well have been rescued from a vault: On the drink list, find dozens of tropical cocktails ripped from a Mad Men episode: Mai Tais, Singapore Slings, Polynesian punch bowls. This is the place for Peking duck, for a loaded plate of Sichuan noodles in black bean sauce, for piles of golden Hunan egg rolls.

If you must, you may order from the “Princess Garden Lite” section on the menu, a holdover from the Atkins era and dedicated to “the weight watchers.”

The lunch specials here are such an outstanding value that you may feel a little twinge of guilt—or the sensation that you’ve somehow wandered into another time and place.

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