Chinese Food...and Bowling? (China Palace, Middletown, NJ)

Harmony Lanes has been around forever. I moved to this area in 1995 and remember going there with my parents at a very young age. They have a Chinese restaurant attached to it called China Palace. When I say attached, I mean the restaurant is actually part of the building. You can access the alley through there, though the alley also has a second entrance.

I thought the place closed down years ago. I was under the impression the restaurant went out of business, the lanes lasted a few more years, and then shut down. Maybe the restaurant was gone for decades and the sign remained. No idea. There were never any cars in the parking lot anymore. Maybe I was wrong, I don’t know. But the last year or so now I have noticed a major crowd in the parking lot and kept telling myself I had to stop in and check the place out, to investigate if this mysterious China Palace was in business or a memory.

Today, I literally did just that. I walked in and lo and behold, the restaurant exists! And they have a bar! How many sit-down Chinese restaurants have a bar anymore? The inside is dark, drab, and kind of morose (the alley ain’t nothing to look at either. The kind of atmosphere you would get if a place had its glory days in the 80’s and never did anything to update. It was lunch time but they had a few tables taken-- all Chinese clientele. A little more investigating online revealed this place is Taiwanese…and authentic at that. You can see pics of the menu below. Prices are outstanding.

Reviews online boast excellent food quality with snippy service. That was evident today. I wasn’t eating there, just wanted a menu. When I asked for one, she ran and gone one, slapped it into my hands and said, “Here go.” I don’t know if she meant “Here you go” or “Here! Go!” :smiley:

I am really curious and captivated about this hidden spot. I don’t know what it is. Maybe because I am nearly within walking distance and this place was hidden from plain view all along! I imagine they are successful between the nearby Asian population of Holmdel and also the copious amounts of bowlers in the evening and on weekends.

The bar was a real shocker. Small, like House of Chong, but full service. I don’t know how they afford their liquor license unless they do drinks for the bowling alley as well. Future HOdown location? I will try to eat here this week and report back.


Bowling and good Chinese food would be my ideal first date :sunglasses:


No kidding. I thought the place was abandoned and the cars were overflow traffic from the diner. The menu looks 50 yrs old, those are low prices. How was you bar drink?

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Didn’t have anything yet but I’ll have to go with a Mai Tai on my first visit.

Read my review on this place. You may want to think twice. Look at how dusty the liquor bottles are

Found it…


Well, the bottles may be dusty, but my complaint is that they close between 2:30 and 5, which is just the time we are in that area once a month looking for dinner.:cry: I would love to eat here more often. (Last time we ate there, everyone else was Chinese–always a good sign.)

I can remember eating here in the 1990s and at least some of the menu items are still around from then.

(I really wished they had named the restaurant “China Bowl”!)

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One and done on this place for me. I normally always like to give second chances, but I find no reason at all to go back.

I hope greg’s report is as hilarious as his Zhang’s grill one from his blog. After reading that I had to get in touch with him and invite him to HO :slight_smile:


My first “date” was at Harmony Lanes in 1974. Sorry we just bowled and didn’t eat Chinese food.

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Sounds pretty bad but I’m willing to investigate.

Trying to figure out the dust situation. Upon further research, that bar does indeed act as the bowling alley’s bar. Gotta think people are drinking consistently. Perhaps the alley was out of business when you visited?

Sit at the bar. You will see what I mean. Maybe they cleaned things up though. The bowling alley was definitely open. When they opened the door you could see some bowlers.

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I was only in there for 2 minutes so I will have to take a closer look.

They hold 4.1, 4, and 4 ratings on Google, Yelp, and Trip Advisor. Those are hardly the gospel but I will still give it a try. Can they be worse than Zhang’s? That’s still my favorite review. I pass there almost every day and eagerly await the moment I will see they are out of business. That review got me to this board because you found it!

I believe joon found the review online and posted it. I truly enjoyed the review and charisma. I then decided we needed a colorful food fan like you so I reached out. The rest is history :smile:

I really miss the ruby palace. I used to work on Bethany Rd but I had been going to RP forever. So when I got a job in Hazlet that was just more of a reason to eat lunch there probably twice a week. When you could pay 6 bucks for a giant tasty lunch, you tend to remember the good old days. Now smaller crappy Chinese lunches are 8 bucks. Sigh

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Actually, they close between 2 and 5, but what has knocked them down a couple of notches in my estimation is that we went there at 1:40 a couple of days ago and they were already closed!

(And would someone please take that stupid hat off my avatar?)

I don’t see any hat???

I like my hat! It covers my face :grin:

And it’s not like there is a “hat” button we can turn off.

I don’t either! Do I have one?

ETA: I don’t see one on mine either.

I don’t see hats for anyone lol. Maybe I am missing it or they don’t show on my screen.

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I want a giants hat curlz lol

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I’m not sure if it will help them… :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I called them the other day because I was almost ready to try them but wanted to make sure they were open. I was told over the phone that they close at 1:30. So the hours you know have changed.

Really bizarre on their part to have hours of operation consisting of 11:30-1:30 and 5:00-8:00. Is it even worth it? They miss out on a lot of business from the Lanes with both food and booze. This area is super dead when it comes to late night eating, but even most Chinese takeout places are open past 10 PM on weekdays, and later on weekends.