Kirin Mandarin Restaurant has extravagant and tasty offerings during the evening and well crafted dim sum during the day. At the downtown location, parking can be a challenge.
Located in downtown Vancouver, Kirin Mandarin Restaurant is within walking distance of most major hotels. Established in 1987, this magnificent restaurant, with its three-story high ceiling and giant Kirin statue on the wall, has received numerous acclaims over the years.
I went here with a group of 5 on Sunday. They take reservations here which is why we came; turns out it wasn't super busy anyways especially for a Sunday just before noon. They just finished renovating the front and it looks pretty good. The first thing I noticed when we were seated was how cold it was. I guess it was pretty cold (for Vancouver) yesterday so maybe they were having heating issues, not sure.
Anyways, on to the dim sum. We ordered a bunch of dishes including the usual dumplings, pea tips, fried tofu, and a bunch of other items. All of them were very good. The quality is definitely high. The only issue is that they are definitely not cheap. The pea shoot tips dish was over $20. Wow. (It was very tasty though.) The total bill came to just under $100 plus tip. Definitely not cheap but, as I said, the quality is high.
It took about 30 minutes to get the dishes rolling but once they did, they pretty much all came one after the other. Overall, an enjoyable food experience but a little on the pricey side and they could turn up the heat a little.
I can't believe that I haven't yet written a review on this restaurant. I have been there countless times over the years, and have had only one disappointing experience, but there were unusual circumstances that time, so they can be forgiven. Otherwise, this restaurant consistently delivers great quality food at deserving prices, at lunch and at dinner. I will have no hesitation recommending it to others or returning to it the next time I want to have Chinese food downtown.
They've since gone downhill after being absent for several months, we decided to return for an overdue mid summer visit. It was not a positive experience.
6 of us were crammed into a tiny table (sure, 2 of us were elementary grade kids but they too needed a full sized chair!) located at the lower level of the restaurant. We were told the mid sized round table across from us was reserved. About an hour later, an old couple totalling TWO ppl were seated there. They must be regular enough... there were only 2 table settings so they weren't expecting more guests. In the meantime, while our table was crammed with food & later required a separate stand next to my seat to place some of our dishes, those two were still casually sipping tea on their mostly empty table...
More recently, last month, I figured they're due another trial... could have been a bad day, busy and all, and it wasn't the usual cheery manager who led us to that tiny table & refused us the larger one. Albeit, our server was one of the usual ones we got before. Well, this time around, other than the same bunch of managers in suits, the rest of the servers & bussers changed! There were more women around & the guys who used to be there nearly every day (as we've dined there on weeknights & weekend day & evenings) were absent save, maybe, one. I know they do sometimes have the servers help out at the busier locations (Richmond, etc) as they've told us in the past, but I can't help but wonder if maybe they all quit... maybe. But in either event, service was slow to absent & forgetful when we did get it.
It's no longer the same experience. I find no reason to return except maybe after the Shangri-La is up & running, I'll be back to see if they've gone back to the good old days of superb service w/ quality food though not as much variety in dimsum options, what they offered, they did well enough.
I went around 1pm on Friday, and my first impression was loud. As I walked in, saw many tables everywhere, and found the tables where close together.
My server was polite, friendly and helpful with her suggestions. I didn't see her very much during my meal. I ordered the Guylan in oyster sauce, steamed prawns & bbq pork.
I did like the steamed prawns & bbq pork, it was hot, fresh, great taste. As for the guylan in oyster sauce, was disappointing, since the sauce was on the side and didn't find it had any flavour. I was better off going to Hons for that dish.
The place, service and food was okay. If you're bringing people who are hard of hearing, or want to converse, this place is loud.
We went there for an early lunch and ordered the set meal for four. Service was fairly fast, except for the dessert, which took some time to arrive. Teapot was filled promptly. The food was well prepared in taste as well as in presentation. We enjoyed our lunch very much. We will be back.
I haven't been to this location of Kirin for at least a year now and came for a friends and family dinner. There were a lot of items unique to this location of Kirin on the menu and we decided to do order randomly rather than do the set banquet dinner for our group of 11.
Food: Awesome. Best abalone, rivaled only by another restaurant on Granville, known for this delicacy. We also had the king crab three ways - I liked the spices used in the hot and spicy rendition but thought the garlic king crab was not garlicy enough. The coconut rice in crab shell was very flavorful though. Beef tenderloin was so tender it literally melted in my mouth. Peking duck, seafood and geoduck with veggies, and several other dishes were consistent in quality and all very good.
Service: Excellent. Attentive and professional with no delay or lull between dishes. Plates cleared frequently and hot towels presented were hot (as opposed to some places where it's warm or cold) Our server ended his shift half way through but came to wish us a good evening before he left. His replacement server was just as good.
Ambiance: Used to look pretty nice but the decor is getting dated and in general the restaurant looks a little worn out. Not the best looking but I hear from the manager they're renovating in a few years.
Value: Hard to rate but I gave them 4 stars because they do have featured dishes on special (beef tenderloin was one of them for just 10 bucks) to offset some pricier menu items. The crab and abalone were a little pricier than other restaurants but the quality is unmatched - this is where the chef's skills really shine and I thought it was worth every cent. Also, complimentary dessert was included (I know, a lot of Chinese restaurants do this - but it was a GOOD dessert that I would even pay for: roasted walnut sweet soup with sesame filled dumplings.) We also received complementary roasted nuts as appetizers in the beginning. No corkage charge. Entire dinner for 11 was under $900 before tip. Keeping in mind the drinks, 2 king crabs and abalone, I think the price is very reasonable given the quality.
Would definitely be back especially for banquets and celebratory dinners.
have been to Kirin many times. This is the first time to the downtown location though I used to live two blocks from here. have heard that this location is not as good as the Cambie/12th location. Now I know why.
went there with a business client. parking is hard to find. and the underground parking is hard to get to. only validate for one hour parking. the next hour was $5. this location is set in an office setting. looking up you see glass windows with blinds and offices. kinda weird for a finer dining chinese restaurant. the spacing of the tables are a little tight and offer little privacy.
went in for lunch and ordered some dim sum items. also got some congee. the congee was palatable but have had better at many other places. there were not any highlights to the food that we had ordered on this day.
i'll prob stick to the cambie and 12th location for now.
After my last disappointing dim sum, I decided to try some place "safer". I was not disappointed.
The food was good and service outstanding. You know the chef take pride in their food when the porridge is this good. Also, it is nice to have dim sum in a quiet room for a change. If they "modernize" the room like Prima or Wild Rice, it will be my ideal Dim Sum place.
However, there is a price to pay for all these. I would probably only need to pay a small portion of the price to have the same meal in one of the Dim Sum places in Richmond. But the room will be noisy and crowded and food not as fresh.
This by far is the tastiest dim sum one can get their hands on in the downtown core. All the items are served pipping hot. The menu items are pretty standard for kirin. I used to love their little pork dumplings (xiao long bao) but something has happened to them-- and not in a good way. The portion is now smaller and all the dumplings are broken so that there is no 'soup' inside. Granted it is more expensive than Victoria, but it is well worth it since everything comes out hot & fresh. the service is trypical of a chinese restaurant but must give them points for trying. Ambiance is alright, like a previous reviewer, it is like sitting inthe hallway. It's weird to be sitting inside a building 'courtyard' and have office windows looking out directly to the restaurant. All in all, great dim sum in the downtown core
My friends and I wanted to enjoy a big Mandarin feast, so we decided to give Kirin a try.
Food: One reason we chose this place was that they had Peking Duck, and it was tremendous. All of the other dishes (crab, soup, others) we got were of good quality and quite tasty. I was happy to get the quality I expected. The menu is big, with many options for picky eaters. The one downfall is the small options of alcoholic drinks available.
Service: Kirin is very good about spacing out the dishes, and we were never rushed. We were given plenty of wet cloths and the servers were very patient about explaining the many dishes on the menu.
Value: For the food we got, and the amount of time we spent, it was a great value. Most above-average restaurants and chains would cost us about the same, yet this type of food is a bit more special than your average place.
Ambiance: As a previous reviewer put it, the place was COLD! It is very clean and upscale when you walk in the front door, and I found it pleasantly quiet enough to have good conversations in, but turn up the damn heat!
Overall: If you want good quality Mandarin food, I'd recommend Kirin. The Peking Duck is certainly worth it.
I am bemused by the bad reviews of Kirin. I see that, for some people, bad experiences began with an overlong wait. On the service front, I will only say that I was treated well by friendly waiters.
But the Dim Sum! It is from a menu (not a cart) and so comes out freshly made for you. The rice noodle, so often gluggy from over-steaming as its whirled around on the cart - is firm. The filling is delicious. Fresh seafood, delicately seasoned.
The other reason why this Dim Sum joint has it over all the others (including the celebrated Sun Sui Wah - which is, in fact, a slightly up-market Pink Pearl) is the XO sauce. This chili-garlic-shrimp sauce is amazing. I also order soy sauce with fresh green chillies in it.
We've also had dinner at Kirin. It is good, fresh and consistent. But while dinner is good, dim sum is great. Avoid the queues and get there at 11 - 11:30am. It's the best time for yum cha anyway.
We've been here about twenty times and Kirin is now our favorite spot for dim sum. Everything is cooked to order and the quality and freshness of ingredients are always evident. The restaurant is spotlessly clean and service is prompt and attentive without being overbearing. Five choices with tea for two comes to a bit over $20 before the standard 20% tip. Highly recommended.
Great dim sum, and solid service, and I'd go back any day. But it's weird -- every time I go there, they try to seat us in the little downstairs area by the door, and we have to ask to sit a bit upstairs where it's warmer, cozier, and more crowded. Is it us (a couple of 30-something Asian women)? Do we not look like we want a sit-down meal? The whole feel of the restaurant, in fact, is a bit like sitting in the middle of a hotel lobby or an indoor courtyard of an office building -- which, I think it is. Whatever -- for a bustling, Chinese banquet vibe complete with dim sum carts, we go to Sun Sui Wah. Kirin has hotter, slightly cheaper, and somewhat fresher food, and it's walking distance from home. I'm not complaining.
my husband and I went to Kirin for dim sum today. it was a horrible experience. First they escorted us to a tiny table that was placed in between the 2 kitchen entrances right in front of the fish tanks. Why would they think that was acceptable? They forgot 2 dishes from our order, they gave us an incorrect bill, it took them 20 mins to get the incorrect bill to us, they charged us 15.00 for a plate of veggies that is priced at 5.00 on the menu (they weren't busy today). UNACCEPTABLE.
My fiancée and I had the terrible misfortune of being swayed by reputation and price when we decided to part with $150 for a combination of desperately average food and woeful service at Kirin.
The restaurant is very beautiful; the decor is very pleasant and the carpets and staircase look warm and, upon entering, one certainly feels invited. If our meals had followed the standard of my starter - the shark fin soup - then we'd have been delighted. The soup was utterly sumptuous with a beautiful texture and a flavour to die for.
From then on things didn't just go downhill, they hurtled down to with an almighty crash. Our entrées - a balanced selection of meat and rice dishes - were unbelievably bland. I wondered if I had something wrong with my sense of taste until I looked up at the good lady, who also looked rather upset. Specifically, the food was hopelessly dry and the sauces oozed nothingness.
Even worse than the food was the fact that our waiter stayed within ten feet of our table for the entire time. I'm not exaggerating. He did not budge. When we were served, we were actually served by different members of staff. This one particular waiter watched over us from the moment our entrées were delivered until we paid the gargantuan bill.
It may very well be that we caught the restaurant on a bad day, and the other reviews certainly suggest this was the case. I can only vouch for my own experience, though, and mine completely ruined my Sunday afternoon.
Yup, have to agree with previous reviews on low star rating.
Having very much like Richmond & Cambie Kirin, recently had expensive dim sum with out of town guest and was severely dissappointed.
Food as not even as good as many East end dim sum joints. Good service, nice surroundings, that's it!...Most of all, way over priced for what you get.
Go to Victoria Seafood for downtown dim sum
As with my review for the New West location, I don't see anything spectacular about this chain of restaurants. For what I had, it is comparable to Hon's (on Robson). I guess we cheaped out. I think the only reason people love this place is this is the first Chinese restaurant they went to and it is good enough that they just keep going back, period. There are a lot of comparable, even better, restaurants around. Sun Sui Wah has the best pigeon/squab in town, also has nice Chinese-style beef (red sauce).
We finally decided to give this place a try one night seeing as how I have passed by so many times wondering if it was a good restaurant. Considering how long it has been open I assumed it had a good reputation. We came in on a quite night on the weekend. The restaurant is located inside the inner courtyard of an office building. Not very intimate but a classy setting. I noticed the other patrons were mostly oriental so I took this as a good sign. The menu can be quite intimidating as it is large and as I am unfamiliar with Chinese food I felt uneasy about ordering. I think I will return with an Asian friend next time. But I still managed to order a nice array of items, from Pork, some prawns, a bok choy dish, and of course Peking duck. Which was excellent. The corn soup I had was great too, lots of flavour. I just wished I ordered another bowl!
Service was good, nothing spectacular, but they did treat me with respect and courtesy as they did with my family.
I will be back, but I will bring someone that is more familiar with the menu and what to order next time
Service always fast and courteous, just a knotch below since we have to wave a server down. However, they are never too far or too few. Food is greasy and msg per usual, but ingredients and dishes platting is amazing and very creative. I love their fresh alaskan crab spot prawns, it was melt in your mouth fantastic.
I have been here many times with my parents who speak fluent Mandarin and Cantonese. Whenever I go there with my parents, we are treated with the utmost respect. It makes me ask my father if he knows them. The service is amazing when I go with my family, the food is always excellent and consistent. The food comes quickly and is of the best Chinese food I can get in Vancouver. At the end of a dinner, they always offer us dessert of our choice, it is complimentary, or so I thought.
I always rave about this restaurant to all my friends who are not Chinese. So I decided to take them. I do look young and so do my friends but we are in our mid-20s. I know how to order Chinese food but for the sake of my friends, I ordered in English. I went twice with 2 different groups of non-Chinese friends and they were both horrible. We spent 2.5 hours there unwillingly waiting for our food. Chinese food comes out all together once the soup and seafood dishes have passed. But this time, they came out one by one. I thought this was very peculiar having been here at least 75 times in my lifetime. I told the waiter that we were catching a movie in 1/2 hour, after the crab had arrived and left, giving them plenty of time to get the food out. We waited for what seemed, forever. We spent over $250 of food between 6 of us and I left very disappointed. I asked for dessert because my friends had never had red bean dessert always given at the end of dinner. The waiter told me that there wasn't dessert. I asked him "not even oranges?" that I had seen on other tables. He replied no. Everything had gone wrong and my previous raves about the restaurant was of course, not taken seriously. I don't think my friends have been their since. The food was good but I couldn't enjoy it because of my frustration. I had emailed the restaurant about my experience and he refunded my dinner. I was grateful for that but I felt really let down because it was one of my favourite Chinese restaurants. From now on, I am never going there again without my family.
Take what you want from my experience and act accordingly.