Walking into Monarch, a Hong Kong-style cafe in Arcadia, feels like you accidentally crashed the Mad Hatter’s tea party. The maximalist dining room is a technicolored dreamscape with plush, tie-dye chairs, wavy blue wallpaper, and a waterfall mosaic created from thousands of glass beads. Even the monogrammed dinner plates with ethereal butterflies will have you pulling out your phone. The man behind the magic is Humberto Leon, fashion designer and owner of the equally maximalist Chifa in Eagle Rock. But just like its sister restaurant, Monarch is more than just aesthetics and vibes. The food is great, too. We love the salty, slippery egg crab fried fun and the curry noodle with briny squid ink noodles. Even simpler dishes like the steamed beet cake and spiced okra in Szechuan sauce pack flavor-heavy punches. We’ve never seen an upscale, party-like restaurant quite like this in the SGV, and Monarch pulls it off.
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