I eat at Mandarin Roots approximately twice a month, and I always have a good meal. The menu has a mix of traditional Chinese restaurant dishes updated and done with high quality ingredients, as well as some more modern "fusion" dishes. The hot and sour is a standout. As an improvement from many Chinese restaurants, it has some good draft beer, wine, and cocktail options.
As a somewhat more upscale Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto, I believe the prices are reasonable, but if you are comparing to a good "hole in the wall" Chinese restaurant in, e.g. San Jose or Sunnyvale, it is more expensive. Certain dishes such as Peking Duck or a whole fish are not inexpensive but are consistent with what I expect for such dishes. The weekday lunch specials are a good deal, in particular because they come with soup.
Having been going to the restaurant since it opened, and having known some of its staff from other area restaurants, I know the staff is generally terrific - attentive and warm hearted. New staff seems to be well trained and accommodating.
In short, Mandarin Roots is a great Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto.
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