Address: 138 Northwestern Avenue, West Lafayette, IN 47906
I still remember my first experience with Panda Express was during my LeadAmerica Defense & Intelligence leadership conference in Washington, D.C., during the summer between 8th and 9th grade. We were taking a stop at the Pentagon City Mall on the way to visit the Pentagon, and a group of us were looking for a place to eat in the food court. We hunted for about 5 minutes before someone exclaimed, “Panda Express! Let’s go there!” We clamored over there and ordered a bunch of food. I’m pretty sure that I got a double-order of their Orange Chicken on my combo plate, and ever since then, I have always been hooked on that stuff. To my delight, during my sophomore year, I saw the signs that they were going to be opening up a Panda Express right on campus, and I got pretty excited. After all, who can say no to that Orange Chicken?
Living close to New York City, I am rather a stickler when it comes to Chinese food, and granted, Panda Express is definitely considered “American Chinese food,” but in the middle of Indiana it is sometimes hard to find quality Chinese food. I have paid multiple visits to the Panda Express ever since it opened, and I have always been very pleased with the consistency of the food quality and the flavors. Many times, I get a “two entrée, one side” plate, loaded up with Orange Chicken, Beijing Beef, and the fried rice. If I’m particularly daring that day, I might go with the double-order of Orange Chicken again to really fill me up.
The restaurant interior is very nicely set up, and the bountiful number of windows provides a lot of natural light on a nice day. The tables are cleaned very regularly, and the service staff are all very friendly, from plating up your food to ringing you up at the register. It may not be completely authentic, but they are pretty good at what they do.
Take a trip down to Panda Express, as it’s a definite change from the Mexican food, the sandwiches, the pizza, and the fast food that is also offered in the nearby area. It never hurts to change things up a bit, and Panda Express is a great option to do so.
Here are my rankings for Panda Express:
Food: 5 / 5
All of the food, from the entrées to the side items, taste very fresh and are always packed with flavor.
Atmosphere: 4 / 5
The restaurant is always very clean, and the bright lights and open windows make for a pleasant dining atmosphere.
Service: 5 / 5
The workers behind the counter are really nice, and they plate up your food very quickly.
Price: 4.5 / 5
Whether you be eating lunch or dinner at Panda, I’ve always found the prices to be pretty reasonable for the amount of food you get.
Overall: 18.5 / 20 (93%)