Food: ordered a variety of dishes and some were good and some were on the not so good side. There was a soup not translated (the first on the menu) and it was just vinegary and nothing special. Drunk chicken was good, pan fried buns were overly doughy and not enough meat, shanghai noodles were good, special fried rice was interesting with the sauce on top so not bad, deep fried rice with sweet and sour sauce was disgusting (looked like manufactured bright red nuclear goop), beef with onions was okay and ribs with honey were good. There was no complimentary dessert at the end of the meal.
Service: Absent and it was difficult to flag someone down. Long line ups but since we had a reservation, we didn't have to wait. After some spilled tea, a waitress did change the overly large plates that were making the table cramped and difficult to maneuver. We were given hard wooden stools as they ran out of chairs. Staff were terrible at directing people at the door - throngs of people just stood in the doorway making a cramped restaurant even worse.
Value: Large portions but too bad the taste was missing. Again, no complimentary dessert that other restaurants offer.
Ambiance: Cramped. We had our chairs pushed several times. To be honest, I've been at worse hole in the wall joints with more space than this place.
Overall, I would never return to this place as there are other Shanghainese restaurants with far superior food and service in Richmond. Definitely not the top as the name suggests. Hasta la vista Top Shanghai!
When Top Shanghai first opened back in the day, their food was amazing! I didn't even mind the super insanely long wait. The past 3 times I've tried to go there, it was a crazy zoo! I think it was a relatively quiet Monday night, but the place was packed as usual. I took a number and waited patiently. There was no one in line with me at all. I saw 2 tables of 4 finishing up and after the extremely rude waitress told me that she didn't know how long the wait would be, I just assumed I'd be the next one for one of those tables. But no, someone "with a reservation" got those tables. After another 10 minutes, she still couldn't tell me how long. It was ridiculous! Then by the time the next party arrived, it was clear that they too didn't have a reservation, but got seated before me! Did I miss the passing of some kind of money between her and the waitress? Alternatively instead of taking wishy washy reservations, they should just seat in order of arrival, and know how long the wait is and communicate that to their customers, rather than be snotty about it. I agree with a previous post that they shouldn't be called Top anything. You're better off going to Shanghai House or Shanghai River. The food and service is way better!
The food at Top Shanghai is quite good. I loved their potstickers and soup buns. The crispy rice was very tasty too.
But the service is weak, even by the lower standards I use when dining at chinese restaurants (its a truly rare chinese restaurant that boasts excellent service).
This place is very busy (and noisy), and if you show up without reservations, be prepared for a long wait. They're good, but not so good, that it's worth waiting 45-60 minutes for a table.
The best Shanghai food around, and I live in Burnaby just to go to this restaurant. If you like spicy food, they have a large selection of food that would most likely fall into your liking. Personally, I enjoy their hot and sour soup, the large is actually really large! If you can speak canto or mando, you will have no trouble speaking with them.
This restaurant is located in the Save on Foods mall, and has plenty of free parking, which is not so easy to find in Richmond. There were only 2 of us, and after waiting about 10 mins we were asked to share a table with 3 other small parties. It wasn't something we'd normally do but since we were hungry we sat down. We got handed an order sheet written only in Chinese...neither of us read Chinese but the servers were all so busy we did our best to order according to the menu. Our food arrived fairly quickly. The juicy buns were good, only one of them had broken and leaked out the juicy goodness. The Chinese donuts were disappointing, very small and not too fresh tasting. The onion pancake was really oily, and you only get one. We also ordered the vegetarian pastry just to try it. They forgot our order, but the waiter was polite when we told them and promptly told the kitchen. When they arrived however, they looked neither vegetarian nor pastry like. They were fried dumplings filled with what looked like crumbled meat and bits of veggies. On closer inspection, we decided that it was probably some sort of fake meat. Not something I'd try again.
Besides the juicy buns, the rest of the dishes were nothing special. The closeness of the tables and lack of English made me uncomfortable enough to probably not return. There are other Shanghai restaurants around I'd rather spend my money on.
I came here for dinner on a Friday night with 2 of my girlfriends. We had a reservation but we still had to wait about 20 minutes or so.
The restaurant is super busy and they try to fit as many tables in the restaurant as possible. There's actually a table right by the entrance/waiting area so whoever walks by could easily brush against the person sitting there. I felt bad for the people sitting at that table. We didn't get that table, but we got the table closest to the bathroom. Seating wise, it's very cramped and I felt uncomfortable as the walking paths are very narrow.
Service was typical of a busy chinese restaurant, but the wait staff is a bit cocky IMO. When we asked them for recommendations, they made a lot of sarcastic comments.
Despite the bad service and uncomfortable seating, the food is really good which is why the restaurant is so busy. They have a wide variety of unique dishes and the portions are quite big. We ordered 3 dishes and we had leftovers. Special mention to their Xiao Long Baos which is one of the best I've had.
Would I come back? I am torn. Their food is good but everything else sucks. Maybe I'll do takeout.
Not sure about the other reviews for this place but IMHO this is probably the best for Shanghainese as you can get ! Top notch for Siu Loong Bau and crazy busy on weekends for lunch. Prepare to wait if you're going for lunch or make a reservation. Food is excellent, service and ambience is decent !
We have been here quite a few times and each time this place is packed! If you don't make a reservation you can expect to wait several hours so you might as well eat somewhere else.
The service is slow and probably due to the fact that they are under staffed. However the food is good and the prices are reasonable. This is one of the reasons why it's so packed all the time and why I frequent this place more often than not.
This is one of the better Shanghai restaurants to eat in Richmond.
I've eaten at Top Shanghai twice and both times, the food was fantastic. I love their juicy pork dumpling. I like how they put thin slices of daikon underneath the juicy buns, so the dumplings don't break when you picked them up.
After reading all the old reviews, I was not expecting good service at all. I just went for the food as I was craving xiao long bao. Surprisely, the service was good.
I didn't rate the ambiance high because I didn't like how the restaurant had cramped all the round tables together so closely. There was no square tables at all to seat 2 to 4 people. Overall, the restaurant is quite clean as well as their washroom.
Will return for their xiao long bao.
Top Shanghai is my favorite Shanghainese restaurant in the lower mainland by far.
The restaurant is not elegant or high-end, and you shouldn't come and expect it to be. The place is in a small strip mall on no.3 road, so it's quite cramped. The doorway doesn't have a lot of room, so often people are crammed at the entrance trying to get a seat. The place is ALWAYS packed and noisy any time I go, but you won't hear me complaining. It's no different than most Chinese restaurants.
If you're going to Top Shanghai, go for the food and only the food. The steamed juicy buns are unbelievably good. I'm from Shanghai, and only at one place in Shanghai have I had better. Other favorite dishes are Szechuan beef noodle soup, fried rice with dried scallops and egg whites, crispy chicken in soy sauce, crispy rice with soup on top.. I could go on and on. If you're interested in trying something very different, I'd recommend the cold cut mutton. It may be an acquired taste, but it won't be like any western methods of cooking lamb you've tried. Everything is also really cheap! It's so much better value (and taste) than Shanghai River without being pretentious.
The service at the restaurant really isn't horrible. The waitresses are just overworked due to the constant busy volume, but I've never seen them be rude. Ordering in Mandarin / Cantonese / Shanghainese will probably help a bit for them to get your orders right or get the bill to you faster, but even in English I've never had any real problems there. Table sharing is sometimes necessary unless you always go with large groups, but they don't force you to share a table. If you don't want to, then they will let you wait until a smaller table frees up.
It's a great restaurant and there's good reason it's always so packed. Try going at non-peak times if you're trying it for the first time.
Great food...not the best (Cause I've been to China/TW/HK, and I've really experienced the best). But very good compared to other shanghainese restaurants in the lower mainland.
All their dishes are fairly decent, and you can't go wrong with their signatures.
Biggest downside here is the service and ambiance...the actual service once you get a seat isn't bad...but its the organization while waiting for a seat that is horrible. Before you get a seat, you have to fight over the other dozens of people trying to budge in line. If you go during off peak hours though, this won't be an issue.
The Ambiance...well...its cramped...its very loud...you get the idea...
Overall worth it for the food!
Food: Had Tan Tan Noodles, which tastes like they got some peanut butter, thinned it out with some water, and then put it on top of some noodles as a sauce. Not exactly tasty. Also had Red Bean Paste Steamed Buns, could taste that they were frozen before (i.e. not fresh) as bun was hard and chewy and middle was still a bit cold. Onion pancake was a so greasy that there was actually a pool of oil collecting in the middle of the pancake visible as the dish was put on our table. Pancake texture was also off, chewy like rubber.
Service: none, not even when you walk in: no one asks you if you want a table and for how many. Bad even for a Chinese restaurant of this kind.
Value: prices are ok but not really worth it for the quality or the portions.
Ambiance: maybe the best thing about this restaurant but that's not saying much. Place is cramped. Diners in small groups frequently have to share one big table with other small group diners.
Not returning and not recommended.
I've been to both the Shanghai River and Top Shanghai--I would not return to Shanghai River unless I had to because of the pretense that SR puts on (as a high-end establishment) and makes their customers pay for more than the bill--customers have to suffer their service with attitude and all-round poor service.
Top Shanghai does not purport to be fancy. You will find here delicious food and "efficient'" service, at good prices. We've never found service to be rude, but rather customers who just because they are in a high-volume inexpensive restaurant, they treat the servers in a certain manner.
The unfortunate part about Top Shanghai is that they have VERY FEW 2-person tables. Most likely you will need to share tables, or prepare to wait! This restaurant may not be for everyone, but there nothing wrong with their food or service.
The Top Shanghai restaurant has some of the best vegetarian steamed dumplings (probably has lard in it) and steamed buns I have. There's no doubt about the authentic and genuine recipes. However, prepare to receive the worst service in the world when you come here. When I walked through the doors, you will be standing in the midst of 15 ppl who are also waiting for a spot. The hostess ignored me unless I fought your way to the front.
Knowing this place is packed, we ordered as soon as we sat down. We ordered Chinese doughnuts and soy milk (they are supposed to complement each other). However, the doughnuts came first but the soy milk was missing, even though we've requested it THREE times from different waitresses. Who, by the way, just needs to scoop the soy milk out of a boiler. So the doughnuts became all cold when it was supposed to be eaten together with the soy milk. It didn't come until I walked to the kitchen entry and requested for it from a busser (fifty minutes after the doughnut).
We ordered take out near the end of the meal. We kindly reminded the waitress once about it, after ordering, fearing she might forget since it's so busy, but she yelled "You SAID SO ALREADY!" in response. After waiting for another twenty minutes, they delivered the bill, and the waitress forgot to mark down the take-out order. When we asked how long it'd take to make the take out congee she forgot, she yelled "thirty minutes". Frustrated, we decided to just get the bill, and leave her a small tip of $.70 on a $20 meal. As she walked away with the money tray, she looked at how much tips we got, and said to her peer, "oh, these people had a $20 dollar meal but only left $.70 in tips." (in mandarin). I wanted to say to her, it was lucky you got a tip at all, when you yell at your customers for something they did wrong.
This place is always packed and even when you do make reservations during the weekend, you're still probably going to wait 15-20min for your table.
FOOD: The food is really good and authentic here, we always order the crab with soybeans and rice cakes, the shanghai dumplings, the drunken chicken, and their soups are really good too.
SERVICE: Unfortunately, this IS a chinese restaurant, so the service can be very poor, and the servers can be even worse at this restaurant.
VALUE: GREAT value for your money, we usually have about 8-9 people when we go here and it can be under $150 and that's including ordering crab.
AMBIANCE: The restaurant is not huge, but it's very cramped b/c they maximize the space they have by having way too many tables and chairs, and their entrance is really tight.
We come here regularly, b/c they have great food at a great price, despite the bad service. The servers know us now and they treat us o.k.
Used to love this restaurant. Good food,good price,decent atmosphere,but,
lately staff may be overworked and stressed out. Service is ranked amongst the worst in town. Thought I would give them another chance the other day. Went in early around 5:15 PM. (thought at this time of day, we would'nt need a reservation) Restaurant was empty except for 2 tables. Table for 2 ?...Waitress looked at us and said....all tables have reservations for 6:00 PM...you will have to wait till they are done. Wow, I know we would be done by 6:00 PM. We turned around, wallked out and will never return again. I'm sure I am not the only one who feels this way.
This is one of the rudest restaurant service I have got for decades. The host basically brush you off at the first greeting. The service was slow, very slow. The food in itself was okay but the "Hot and Sour Soup" is very disappointing. It tastes like water with droplets of vinegar and pepper.
They put my group in a table, cramped in between the other table, where you cannot move nor get out of your seat without bumping into other people, nevermind getting into your seat in the first place. During our dining period, we saw people crowded around the smaller table right at the entrance, with armpits right above the diner's head.
When we are paying for the bill, the server came back and said, minimum $50, cash only. I wouldn't mind so much if she said it in a nice way. The way she present it, it's more into this minimizing tone. At the same time, I am well aware of the fact that it is against the rules to impose MINIMUM CHARGE, as stated by Visa on ANY transactions, regardless of value. In another words, they are doing something forbidden, and being rude about it. I do think they deserve a complaint to Visa, and let them handle them.
Final words, if you like being bullied, cramped into a tight space, being left alone and just wait for your lucky server to come by, this will be a place for you. For all of my friends, we will NOT recommend them to set foot into this place.
When I go out to eat, I would expect a certain level of service. Otherwise I might as well stay home. The food here is OK, but not enough for me to come back again. The service is terrible. The waitresses, like all the previous reviews, are generally very curt and borderline rude. I had to share my table with two other parties. If the place is as small as this one, then they should not put in so many big 8-10 people dinning table. Since there are so many other better restaurants in Richmond, I don’t need to suffer through the bad service for a meal.
Do you miss the feel of eating in a cafeteria in a communist country? Then a trip to "Top Shanghai" is a must. You visit with start with being ignored by a surely hostess, who adverts your glance while walking by you four times. After finally getting their attention, you are placed on a waiting list, with wait-time time estimates that varies, depending if one of the "regular" customers should walk in before you are seated. Should this occur, you are mysteriously bumped down the list, on some false pretense of an "earlier" phantom reservation. The food is decent, when you are ultimately seated, but you can never shake the feeling that the staff feel like they are doing you a favor by serving you. There are NUMEROUS Shanghaiese restaurants in Richmond, and frankly, the food's comparable in most. My bet would be for a visit to "Shanghai River" on Westminster and No. 3 Road, where the service is MUCH more in line with expectations. "Top" Shanghai? Only Tops in the Bizzaro world.
Over an hour to get all of our food. They took our tea pot away half way through lunch to refill it. Or at least I thought that's what they were doing. It never came back. Should have sent out search and rescue. No one really came by our table at all over the course of a couple of hours.
Beware, when it come to paying the bill, ALL THEY CAN FOCUS ON IS THE TIP. When I said I wasn't a going to leave a tip, they suddenly showed up at our table. Finally, some service. Oh wait, it was only to ask for a tip again. When I told him about our problems, all I got I was a half hearted, "we're busy". No apology, no real explanation, nothing. When he figured out that he was t getting a tip, he gave me THE FINGER. Yes, a very classy person. Wonder if he learned that in ESL. Oh wellie sure they have enough business without me ever returning. But if you look at other review sites, their sucky service is well noted.
You can find other places with just as good food but with much better service. Please let this place die.