P.F. Chang's

An American fast food chain fails to dazzle

P.F. Chang's
PF Chang’s is the type of place that can divide friendships. Some will abhor it. They’ll turn their nose up at the American chain. They’ll perhaps argue that the crimson, oddly hoity interior is just a ruse to distract from the very chintzy fast food on offer. Then there will be those that find this attitude pretentious and unreasonable. They’ll argue that you don’t go to a mall for fine dining, and that if you want to fill up on comfort Chinese food, PF Chang’s is the place to get it.

I know where I stand; you probably do too. I’m a food critic, after all. So no, I don’t find PF Chang’s charming, and it’s not because I’m innately opposed to fast food. It’s because the food just isn’t very good.

Desperate to give the place a chance, my date and I ordered all the items that seemed to be signature – basically, anything with a picture on the menu. We started with the obligatory steamed vegetable dumplings. These, it must be said, were among the worst I’ve ever sampled. The dumpling base was hard and slightly congealed, but that aside, the interior was oddly astringent, and was nearly tasteless aside from a slightly soapy aftertaste. I also ordered the dynamite shrimp. Though these came served in a martini glass, they couldn’t help tasting cheap. The breading was soaked with what seemed like a mix of tabasco sauce and mayonnaise. Sure, they were edible in the same absent-minded way that crisps sometimes are, but there was nothing nuanced about them. They were fried and they were hot, and beyond that they possessed little character.

Mains continued in the same vein. An order of Mongolian lamb was so bizarrely sweet that my date likened it to rice crispy treats (after she mentioned it, I realised she was right). Our other main, honey-battered shrimp, was also sweet, but bland, and very similar in structure to the dynamite shrimp starter.

Desserts were a highlight of the meal, mainly because they didn’t taste quite so synthetic. Sweet cream cheese wontons were fried and came with a caramel and vanilla drizzle (luckily that’s all it was, because the wontons were better off without it). A slice of carrot cake was enormous – easily big enough to feed four or five diners. It was moist and creamy, and while it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t thrilling either.

I’m willing to be called snotty for my stance. But I can’t help it; I don’t believe spectacularly mediocre food should be rewarded, not even with faint praise. I don’t care if Dubai is a fast food town – it shouldn’t be. There’s enough genuinely wonderful (even budget) food out there that we just don’t need the likes of PF Chang’s.

The bill (for two)
1x Dynamite shrimp Dhs42
1x Veggie dumpling Dhs22
1x Mongolian lamb Dhs49
1x Honey shrimp Dhs84
1x Cream cheese wontons Dhs25
1x Carrot cake Dhs28
Total (excluding service) Dhs250 P.F. Chang's
5 1

By Daisy Carrington | 16 June 2010

Location: - Mirdif - Dubai
Tel: 04 231 6660
Travel: Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road
Cuisine: Chinese
Times: Open daily 11.30am-midnight
Price range: Dhs200-349
Credit Cards Accepted: Yes
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  • Muncher Jan 07, 2013 11:54 am
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    The food is incredible !
  • Suhaila Aug 29, 2012 08:19 am
    Would you go back to this restaurant?
    Best for:
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    The food is good especially:

    THE DYNAMITE SHRIMP,, its mouth watering
    the wraped chicken is excellent,,
    the noodles + sweet chicken and shrimp, are all perfect..
  • Farah Ali Jan 24, 2012 04:17 am
    Would you go back to this restaurant?
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    The best chinese restaurant and the food is amazing..specially the Dynamic Prawns,,,when you see the crowd you will know how good is the restaurant..
  • May Dec 29, 2011 07:25 pm
    Would you go back to this restaurant?
    Best for:
    It was our first time in PF Chang's and we'd say the food was more than excellent and their service thumbs up! I had been to several Asian restaurants in town and PF Chang's is the best I have been to. I couldn't help but compare to the restaurants I have visited in Hong Kong and Singapore yet PF Chang's is at par. I am not sure why the food critic gave it a poor rating, I guess we all have our own choice and we are our own critic to what we eat. Being an Asian myself, I'd say they are one of the best. Food wise and value wise. I've been to Noodle House and their food sucks especially with their fried rice and food is more expensive than PF's. Good thing I didn't read the review, it will be a shame to miss their food.
  • TattiKat Oct 27, 2011 11:11 am
    Would you go back to this restaurant?
    Best for:
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    So far, I had the honey shrimps and requested the checf if he can also mix in some scallops! And they were magnifiscent!!! I would come back and try their meat dishes soon too with my friiend because we botht got the same taste when it comes to eating out!

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