|1491 West Covell Blvd.|
|(In The Marketplace shopping center)|
|Chinese for: Yummy|
Panda Express is fast, cheap Chinese food, and is known for their signature orange-flavored chicken dish. Panda Express is a chain that is most commonly found in mall food courts, where the prices are less than those found in the Davis location. Similar to Buffets in town that existed pre-Covid 19, the food is pre-made and served cafeteria style to customers. Panda Restaurant Group, Inc. also owns Hibachi-San, which used to share their building.
This Panda Express is notably more expensive than its analogous mall locations. A two-entree plate with a side of rice or chow mein costs $8.88 after taxes. An experiment was performed to determine just how cheap their food is, and found that a downtown restaurant that makes food to order, Davis Noodle City, was cheaper by the pound and was arguably quicker if you permit calling in an order ahead of time.
Nothing at Panda Express is vegetarian. Don't bother if you're vegetarian.
As of late 2021, this place is pretty hit-or-miss in terms of quality, but mostly a miss. Like many other businesses effected by Covid 19, Panda is struggling to maintain a staff of experienced cooks. Food is frequently seasoned incorrectly or burnt, and the battered foods tend to be soggier than ever.
Upon purchasing food here, go home and take their online survey. Upon completion of the survey, you will be given a code that you can use to get a free entree on your next two-entree plate purchase. They also occasionally offer a free entrée to promote a new dish, such the free Kobari Beef on September 29, 2010.
Panda Express sometimes offers coupons for free items.
There was a Boston Market in this location years ago.
2005-10-30 19:43:27 I find their "Gourmet Chinese Food" slogan to be quite humorous; I can't think of anything further from gourmet. However, they're the only Chinese place in town that provides nutritional information even if their serving sizes are way off when it comes to steamed rice. —AnnaJones
2005-11-03 10:26:05 In terms of quantity, is this place all that much cheaper than other Chinese places? I've heard their Orange Chicken entree costs $6.59. Do they at least give large portions? —CraigBrozinsky
- 2005-11-03 11:32:48 This is one of the most expensive Panda Express' I've seen. (And I've eaten at a million of them on the east coast =/) —ES
2005-11-22 15:24:51 who actually goes here. jade garden has lunch specials for under 5 bux and you get a whole lot more. those boxes PE uses holds less volume too. —WillYan
2005-12-15 17:35:06 While my only experience with Panda Express is at mall locations (where I was rather unimpressed), I think Panda Express is not unique enough to Davis to breath added life into this otherwise cursed location. I think they should put a cool restaurant like a DINER in there. How about Mel's coming back? They used to be in the U Mall before it "rennovated". —JaimeRaba
2006-03-05 20:53:33 This place serves up greasy bowls of nasty. —KarenaAslanian
2006-05-21 20:04:00 Possibly the worst foods you can buy in Davis— I get cold chills everytime I pass by that place. Not to mention that they are so overpriced. —TonyWong
2006-08-16 14:32:49 This place is neither authentic nor gourmet, but I gotta give some props to their teriyaki chicken. That stuff is the bomb. I don't like the "cheaper by the pound" experiment. The food is totally different at Davis Noodle City. —WinstonLee
2006-08-22 12:34:37 panda express is the typical chinese fast food, lots of grease and rice to make you full and very little of what the flavor you want. —PorkFoo
2006-11-08 21:05:28 not authentic but fast and not as greasy as alota take out places. I usually only go for their fried rice and orange chicken. —AnnThiNguyen
2006-11-08 21:06:22 not to say the food is great, but i eat here once in a blue moon when im in a hurry —AnnThiNguyen
2007-02-12 20:23:36 Only in California can a Chinese food restaurant like Panda Express be run entirely by Mexicans. —GreggAlexander
2007-07-21 22:00:40 Goood if lazy like me and in a hurry but it is good what can i say it is run all asian people i think if not anyone can make food does not matter what background you have unless authentic place yes i see your point —dickjones
2007-08-04 03:42:52 Pretty good fast food i like it and seams to be clean will be back! —Brians
2007-09-02 23:11:52 nothing special, the same panda express food in your local mall back home —DonaldJaye
2007-11-26 15:02:47 The panhandlers around The Marketplace have invaded this restaurant, and the staff doesn't do anything about it. On Saturday, my husband and I took our 16 month old there for lunch. There were only a few people in the place; as we were sitting down, a scratched and disheveled homeless man approached us. He would not leave and started to make a move towards my son. We blocked the homeless man, but he kept trying to get around us and go for my boy. My husband screamed repeatedly at the man to leave, I grabbed my son, and began calling 911. All this time, the staff actually cowered in the back. Not once did they come out or try to help. A 20-something guy sitting nearby came over to guide the homeless man out the door, but the bum attacked the guy! He began hitting him, and still the staff hid. I relayed this to 911. Once the bum realized he was outmatched by the guy, he left quickly - before the cop came of course. On the way out, a staff member cleaning tables mumbled to me (I don't think she spoke much English) something like, "Oh, bad thing." If you have to go into this place, keep your cell phone handy, your small children away, and be prepared for aggressive panhandling seemingly condoned by the staff. —NoelBruening
Hmm. i was wondering what had happened to all the panhandlers recently —FredChen
- They started invading Long's. I'm not even allowed to throw them out! —thelonepiper555
2007-12-03 00:36:37 Unfortunately, the title is misleading. When I first went there, I had expected them to serve panda, but well, it seemed too good to be true. Anyway, I've been there many times, and here's what I have to share...
Only seen one panhandler, though that was probably on the same night as the person above me.
This place is expensive. A two plate entree with a drink and Federal Taxes is a little over $7. If you have more time than money, you can go to Safeway's to buy a drink and come back to Panda Express. However you might need to sign up for a free Safeway Club Card or else the outrageous non-member price will hit you. If you go through all that, you just saved yourself 30, maybe even 40 cents.
As for the food itself, well, if you are experienced with Chinese Cuisine, you might find it so-so for Chinese food, and a little bit too greasy. If you aren't, Panda Express is pretty good, and saucy, right? Most people get a two entree plate. A woman or man behind the counter will then scoop up and plop your choice of a side, and two entrees. As for the sides, there's the steamed white rice, the fried rice, and the chow mein. Personally, I prefer the chow mein. Even though it's tasteless, I enjoy the texture of the soft noodles in my mouth, and the savory softness goes well with some of the entrees. The fried rice sucks. The steamed rice, on the other hand, complements the entrees well (as well).
Of the entrees, never get the Black Pepper Chicken. In their haste to crank out as many bulky restocks of the food, the onion slices that are featured in the Black Pepper Chicken entree are not caramelized probably. That means it is still white and somewhat raw, and will require breath mints afterwards, unless you are alone. The other dishes are okay, nothing memorable. Orange Chicken is featured (which is simply Sweet and Sour Chicken, but orange colored) seems to be able to trick others with it's promoted hype. But I had it, and it's nothing special. I always get Broccoli Beef, because I like Broccoli, and it seems like they can't possibly screw that up. The regular Sweet and Sour Pork is too soggy. The Zucchini Tofu, is interesting. But since it is pretty unpopular, chances are it isn't fresh. (Meaning the cooks don't restock it as often as the other entrees). And since it isn't fresh, it's pretty unpopular...
Bottom line, this place is fast food and you knew that before walking in. —R
2007-12-03 02:57:54 six something for a two item with chow mein/fried rice. Kinda pricey for what you get. Place is clean though. —KaiWan
2008-01-15 05:28:43 i always get a 2 entree plate with chow mein, orange chicken, and mandarin chicken
nothing else seems satisfyingly edible or tasty —FredChen
2008-01-28 16:51:34 I think basically if you're in a hurry, and just want a quick bite to eat that isn't fast food, unless you are a vegetarian or vegan, this isn't the worst place you could go. If all else fails, there's always the adequate appetizers. —thelonepiper555
2008-09-18 15:28:43 @Porkfoo: "panda express is the typical chinese fast food, lots of grease and rice" You should look at the food your mom makes. Most chinese food is greasy and has rice - not just fast food ones. —shalimar
2008-09-30 22:05:55 Went to panda and got pieces of chicken in my 100% vegetarian bowl. Absolutely disgusting/vomit-inducing. How the fuck did it even get in there? Not going again. DO NOT RECOMMEND to any vegetarians who just want a quick bite WITHOUT PIECES OF CHICKEN HIDING AMONG THE EGGPLANT. —triscuitqueen
- Oh my Gosh! There was food in your food? You poor vegetarian! —ColinDoyle
- 2008-10-02 15:19:46 To the commenter above, Panda Express explicitly states that nothing they serve is vegetarian. Even the steamed veggies are cooked in chicken broth. They have this on a sign in the store and on the website; this info is also on this page. Thus, it was only assumed to be vegetarian, and as such, you can't really fault them for it. Panda is not for vegetarians. But, there food is still good if you are really craving greasy orange chicken :) —ascapoccia
- It reminds me of my veggie burgers that I make with barley, onions, carrots... and stew beef. My vegetarian roommate asked to try some and I pointed out that "vegetable" does not mean "vegetarian". An assumption of cooked vegetables being vegetarian — especially in a fast food restaurant — is a bad move. Note the third paragraph at the top of this entry. —JabberWokky
2008-10-02 23:11:11 the orange chicken is delicious and the chow mein is tasty —ellenislove
2009-01-19 22:10:21 The manager was very rude here. It is not posted that you cannot bring dogs in, and seeing as we walk there with our dogs, we typically bring them in with us. Tonight she yelled at us, when she could have calmly asked us not to bring them in. We will think twice before coming here again. —jadeeyes1113
2009-03-20 13:27:32 My housemates eat this stuff. Doesn't look too good. To the above poster: It is a health code violation to bring animals into restaurants. It was unfortunate that you were yelled at however. —BenLee
2009-04-04 22:35:45 This place is pretty much what you'd expect, food-wise, and so I wouldn't even bother to comment except to mention how poorly run it is. The times that I have gone, there is always a huge line just waiting to get your plate with rice or whatever, with nothing much going on in the center area or at the cash register. If anyone related to management is reading this: we've known about the assembly line method since the early 1900s. It works. I recommend it. The first person should be doing rice/chow mein, then pass to the next person, then pass to the next person, then to cashier. If one person tries to do many different things, the line doesn't flow. Second bit of free advice: teach your people to talk to one another. The cooks finishes a plate of food, but doesn't tell the people who are dishing the food. Or, someone dishes up a plate of food, but doesn't tell anyone that it is ready. No one expects amazing food here (at least I don't), but I do expect *fast* food, since it's already made!
To the person with the dog above: they have outdoor tables. That's where our dogs hang out while we sit next to them and eat our food... as someone else pointed out, you can't bring dogs into restaurants. Personally, I think it's a stupid law, but that's the law. —CovertProfessor
2009-05-07 12:17:57 While it may not be fair to generalize a chain based on a couple of bad experiences, I have had several with Panda Expresses in other places. The food has been decent, but nothing special. However 2 out of 3 times I've gone there I have been ill. One time was in a Mall, and you can't expect much from a mall food court, but the other time wasn't. Now I'm not saying anything about this particular one, but after that I won't eat Panda Express. —MasonMurray
2010-03-10 16:22:54 They are giving out free food without a need for purchases today: http://www.pandaexpress.com/px/Facebook/HoneyWalnutShrimp_Wed031010.html —hankim
- Argh, I wish I had a printer :( —AlexanderHo
2010-03-16 19:53:55 I don't care what ya'll say, Panda Express is better than a lot of the Chinese food in Davis. At least they're consistent with their food (quality control). And I'm GLAD Noodle Express is outta here. —theooriginal
2010-07-18 17:17:13 On their west window, I saw a sign for a free orange chicken bowl on the 24th of July (which is a Saturday) from 10PM to closing. Man, I feel like I might be a part of their marketing department because I keep advertising their free giveaways. —hankim
I'm assuming that means they close after 10PM... hours could use some updating :) —TomGarberson
2010-07-23 15:50:50 It's an American-Chinese fast-food joint, what kind of food do you expect? It's not terrible food, but you "could" do better. If you are craving something Chinese-y and this is your best option it isn't the worst choice. Those who say it's the "worst" food in Davis are clearly exaggerating because there are worse eateries; indeed, simply peruse this wiki and you'll easily find a handful of questionable restaurants. —blastoff
2010-07-27 22:25:58 If you think Taco Bell is Mexican food, you'll probably like Panda Express. —JimStewart
I don't claim that Taco Bell serves Mexican food, but I do find their items pretty tasty. Panda Express' chow mein, while it may not be up to par for all the "Authentic food"-nazis out there, tastes pretty decent. Pretty damn good for 3 dollars though, and it's a huge portion. —TheShah
The thing is that Davis has so many fine Chinese and Mexican restaurants, that can serve you authentic or popularized Chinese or Mexican food, it seems sad to eat at a place that puts quantity, speed and profit before quality. The cost and portion size becomes less and less a factor with age. —jimstewart
- Oh, I agree with you wholeheartedly. But as a college student, I wish I could afford to eat quality food more often. (Especially Thai food, mmmmm...) And I mean "afford" in terms of both price and time. —TheShah
- The thing is that Davis has so many fine Chinese and Mexican restaurants, that can serve you authentic or popularized Chinese or Mexican food, it seems sad to eat at a place that puts quantity, speed and profit before quality. The cost and portion size becomes less and less a factor with age. —jimstewart
2010-09-29 10:12:00 Today only (Sept. 29, 2010): Free Kobari Beef with this coupon while supplies last. Update: the Kobari Beef is pretty tasty. Slightly spicy, with a good kick from the leeks. I'd say it's better than most of the entrees there, although I'm generally not a huge fan of Panda, so feel free to take my opinion with a grain of MSG. Don't expect a full meal out of the freebie; it comes in a tiny little to-go box.—TomGarberson
2011-02-09 18:40:17 I love panda- their sides are kinda meh, but beijing beef and sweetfire chicken are always awesome, along with the creamcheese wantons. Obviously not real chinese food, but still damn tasty, in my opinion. Then again, I did basically grow up on fast food my whole life. —AndrewJacobs
2011-03-10 18:34:05 Got obviously overcharged, and got three different opposing explanations before they finally agreed to give my money back. And of course, they wanted to just give me extra food, trying to push that option three times before finally agreeing to give my $2.25 back. Have some integrity please, and learn to apologize when you're wrong instead of being incredibly rude; you just lost out on a previous long-time customer. —ScottMeehleib
2011-04-21 18:59:03 I don't care how much my Asian friends hate this place and how much crap they give me for going there, Panda Express is still my favorite Chinese food place. Period. And I will love it forever, especially the orange chicken. —ElizabethWood
2011-05-29 22:00:33 Food's gross, people there are nice because they seem like they're forced to. —sabumnim
2011-06-22 15:35:14 THE MOST RUDEST people I've ever met, they seem like they are forced to be nice but aren't really respective of you. I was about to pay at the front register and was deciding if I wanted anything else, and the Mexican girl at the front yelled at me to pay and I said "Give me one minute" and she yelled to speak up, that's right YELLED not asked nicely. If I weren't hungry that afternoon, I would've straight up yelled back at her and left without the food.
Also, the food was horrible waste of my money. —AndersonDaily
It sounds like she may have been hard of hearing. Also, how does her race enter into it? —JoePomidor
- Simple identification of the employee the complaint was about? I do agree that specious accusations of racism or complaints with racist overtones do pop up on the wiki, but this seems more like basic identification (you could equally ask what her gender had to do with it). People of all colors or genders can be rude, unable to hear, volume unaware, or whatever happened (me, I tend to be as loud as the loudest person in the room, which I have to consciously avoid doing). ⁓ʝ⍵
- If I were working in that kitchen, with the clanging of woks, people yelling back and forth, etc., I'd probably be hard of hearing, too, and maybe a bit frustrated with people who were supposed to give their order to the people taking orders. —CovertProfessor
- In reference to stating the employees ethnicity, I do find it troublesome that it was used in the sentence above. Mainly because it means that "white" is still the default. If it is just for identification purposes, then each time we describe anyone, their ethnicity should be stated, including that of white people. For example, the above sentence would read "...the white girl at the front yelled at me..."
2011-07-09 18:28:03 I guess I wasn't clear with the amount of anger I had writing this. Ok I agree with the amount of loud noises happening in the kitchen, but I still don't get why she told me to hurry up when I was still looking at the other foods in case I wanted other things to eat. Yeah, she yelled at me but why couldn't she be professional and ask "sir are you ready?" or not instead of yelling at me to hurry? I don't know, I thought places like these are suppose to act "professional" but I guess their manager doesn't discipline their employees appropriately. And with the race issue, it was because I was angry and I just had to point that out because most of the Mexicans I've encountered here in Davis seem to be loud, obnoxious and bossy. —AndersonDaily
2011-07-14 07:49:07 I just started a job at Panda Express. I like it so far, but the registers are incredibly hard to use.... It's interesting to see so many conflicting opinions about the place on here. Regardless of how the food is, (because I'm vegetarian), it pays extremely well, and we do a good business. —SiRJenk
2011-11-05 16:45:43 This is the worst restaurant in Davis! Never go here! —emc2
2011-11-14 20:28:22 I spent a year shredding the gnar in Tokyo so I know Chinese food and let me tell you, Panda Express is the REAL DEAL. ITS THE BEST CHINESE FOOD IN DAVIS and maybe the WORLD!!! I eat here every day if i get the chance. Unfortunately Im in Hong Kong for the rest of the year so I cant get good Chinese food here :( —KCSlater
2012-05-14 15:51:13 Up until recently, Panda Express was part of my weekly rotation of lazy college student cooking and reasonably-priced takeout. It's not because the food is fantastic or that the prices are dirt cheap (though if you make use of the coupon on the back of the receipt, you do get a pretty good deal), but mainly because it was so convenient to walk across the parking lot and get a styrofoam box of warm food in a few minutes.
I don't think anyone should walk into a Panda Express and expect gourmet or remotely-authentic Chinese food— their dishes are tasty in their own way, and their portions are decent. With the exception of one visit out of dozens, I've found the service to be good. Bear in mind that "good" at a fast food restaurant is not the same as "good" at a fine dining establishment, but the folks working the counter are generally quick and responsive, even if I had to repeat myself over the clanging of woks and food pans. They're not there to wait on you hand and foot, and some will be visibly impatient at a particularly indecisive customer (I don't blame them, I have a hard time resisting a frown or eyeroll when someone takes 5 minutes to decide on their second entree, too), but overall, I've always been satisfied with my meal and will continue to go. —AbbYu
2012-06-01 06:53:25 http://www.pandaexpresssocialmedia.com/SummerHours/index.html
Free Orange Chicken. As it is free, I'm not sure I care who cooks it. —DavidBarnum
2012-11-16 13:44:49 I find it laughable that there are so many negative comments here for a place that is cheaper than nearly every other asian restaurant in Davis. I also find it laughable to read comments like "who goes here?" Want to know who goes here? Everytime I go there is typically a line of between 15 to 20 people....yet we keep seeing comments on sites like this saying "who goes here" for a place that makes by far the best Orange chicken in the area if not the world. —RandyUCD
2013-07-18 14:18:41 I really don't know why I keep coming back here. It's not bad if you want cheap fast-food that isn't a burger, but the service at this location is absolutely terrible. Several times now I've gone and had to wait in "line" while a single worker helped a single customer in front of me as they waffled back and forth deciding what they wanted for their second entree. Other workers were literally just walking around, doing nothing, with their hands in their pockets while I stood there waiting, getting angry glares from the stern-faced cooks who have obviously been working there way too long. It's FAST-FOOD, I shouldn't have to wait 5 minutes for someone to take my order when there is no one waiting in line.
There are also panhandlers galore out front on the nearby lawn. This seems to be where they like to hang out in the Marketplace. —Chronoz