Family-style Chinese restaurant
If you, like me, don't care much about the ambiance or decor and only want great food, this is the place.
I have been here many many times, and the experience is always the same -- great food, especially their house specialties, but don't expect much of anything else.
Having read the previous reviews, you know their house specialties -- hand-pulled chicken salad, roast squab, BBQ duck, fish done two ways (soup and pan fried fish meat), baked tapioca pudding, etc. It seems like every table has these same dishes, and their food quality is very consistent through many years -- these dishes always taste the same at every visit, with no unpleasant surprises.
The place has close to zero decor, is jam packed every time I go there (with line-up outside), with tables placed as close to each other as possible, leaving little room for people to walk in between tables. Service is, well, what do you expect at a place like this? They will deliver the food to you, give you the plates/bowls you need, do all the standard stuff that is necessary, and that's it.
But the food -- that's what we keep going there time and again for. There aren't many other Chinese restaurants in town that can match what it does to your taste buds.
This is one of those hidden restaurants where the food is great but will lack the decor.
If you want good chinese food, then this place is for you. The specials are very good and other chinese restaurants don't make it as good.
The downside is inside is a bit rundown, so don't expect a fancy restaurant. Even without the needed renovation, they are busy and suggest making reservations before going on the weekend or Friday night.
A place to bring your friends and family to have a good dinner.
Koon Bo isn't a place I would go for regular chinese food, but their specialties are very good. Their hand pulled chicken salad is the best I've ever had, just the way I like it. Lots of jellyfish, pickled vegetables, and just the right amount of crispy stuff. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. They are famous for their duck and squab. Every time we go we have the peking duck 3 ways, with the tortilla like wrap, lettuce wrap and soup. Their smoked cod is also good, though the dish is on the small side. A must try is their baked tapioca dessert, but be forewarned, this must be ordered ahead. We had been disappointed a couple times when we tried to order it when we arrived only to be told they had no more. They only make a certain number and you need to reserve it ahead of time.
Service is not great, it usually takes a while to flag down someone for the bill. The restaurant is not large, so when it's full it gets very crowded and loud. They have mostly large tables, and only a couple of smaller tables so if you have 4 or fewer people you should still call ahead to reserve a table. The prices are on the expensive side, but if you order their specialties, it's definitely worth it.
I don’t like Peking duck as much as my wife; however Koon Bo is the exception.
They make the best Peking duck in town, very crispy indeed. When you order duck, they can prepare it three ways: they use the bones to make a soup plus veggies, the crispy skin for the Peking duck and the duck meat to make lettuce wrap.
They also have the chicken shredded salad with crispy wonton wrap pieces. This dish is out of this world. The roasted squab is also the best in Vancouver. No other restaurant prepares them so juicy and tender, and the skin is always crispy.
Whenever my family gathers for a family reunion, we always come to Koon Bo and we always order these items. They are the specialty.
Koon Bo is in the expensive side though; but once in a while is alright. Koon Bo is also very noisy and there is no room to walk in between the tables.
But who cares when food is great. Parking is not too great since it is located in an open mall on a busy intersection.
First of all, service was okay, there was no hostess to great us, and no one to sit us, until my mother frantically waved at one of the waiters. They cleaned up our plates once, and that was probably the only serviced we had.
Food- we ordered Fried spicy prawns, scallop and gai lan, house special beef tenderloin( the sweet and sour kind), smoked black cod, roasted squab and chicken jellyfish salad. The smoked black cod was the only dish that was good. The fried spicy prawns were too fishy, it seemed unfresh and the prawns are tooo small! The gai lan had lots of yellow flowers in it, so its old, and stringy, and did not taste like vegetables at all. The beef smelt too much like meat tenderizer, and the beef was overcooked and fatty, considering the dish is $18.95. The chicken jellyfish salad had too much fried crispy wonton pieces and too much chicken skin...it lacked the jellyfish and white chicken meat.
Ambiance-nothing special, it was actually kind of dark, but not in a romantic kind of way.
Value- not worth it, spent like $150 including tips for low-quality food and service. I can get better value food at chinese fast-food take out places. Also, they charge you $6 for a tiny pint of rice!!
Probably not going to go back, there are far more better chinese restaurants in the Lower Mainland
I am surprised that no one had reviewed this restaurant as it had been operating for years.
Many dishes are outstanding, including shredded chicken appetizer, roasted goose, seafood dishes. Not the cheapest, but consistently good quality.
This place can get busy, even for weekdays, so definitely make a reservation. Also, the waiters can be a bit standoff-ish, and the decor is nothing to write home about. Translation: nothing fancy, good for friends/family regualy dinner gathering.
I must say I am shocked, and appalled, that this place has won as many awards as it has, and that so many people have submitted rave reviews for this place.
It's unbelievable. I find it improbable that the night I decided to try this restaurant they managed to get everything wrong. This place is overrated. Horribly overrated.
So Koon Bo is supposedly famous for their hand-pulled chicken salad. Everyone seems to go on and on about this chicken salad. What's in it? Well, it's basically shredded cold chicken with jellyfish, special pickles, crispy noodles, and a small drizzle of an unknown red sauce with some sesame seeds. It costs $15.50 a dish. yes, you read that right. $15.50 for a chicken salad. Nothing special about it at all. I don't understand why everyone is so crazy about this chicken salad. Now to be fair, the pickles are made in-house and they are pretty good. That being said, it's definitely not worth the $15.50 and it certainly does not deserve awards or rave-reviews. This is Koon Bo's signature dish. Completely ridiculously overrated.
We also ordered the roasted squab. I hadn't had roasted squab for a long time, so I was looking forward to this, after the utterly disappointing chicken salad. The squab was roasted quite well. The skin was crispy and the meat was succulent and juicy. Great, I thought. Then I found out that each squab was along the lines of $16 apiece. Terrible value. The squab is good, but definitely not worth the price.
The other dishes we ordered were completely bland, uninspired greasy westernized Chinese food. The same stuff you can get anywhere else, but cheaper, and better. Terrible, and overpriced.
We spent about $150 and I can honestly say that I could have spent the same money at many, many other places for much better food.
Now, as uninspiring as the food was, the most shocking thing about this restaurant was the service. The worst service I have ever experienced in a long time. We asked one waiter for ice water (this was during the summer, and air conditioner wasn't functioning properly) about 5 times. He decided to ignore us. Not only did he decide to ignore us, he waved us off and turned his back on us the 5th time after he'd forgotten (or quite simply decided not to) bring us our water. This was completely unacceptable. I noticed this had happened to other customers as well as a man from another table actually went up to the bar/counter to get the water himself. What kind of restaurant is this? Our waitress took our teapot and we didn't see it again for 30 minutes until after having asked 3 times, I had to go to the prep area to ask for it personally until I got it back. I was so irritated and annoyed I wanted to sock the water in the face.
Quite possibly the most shocking experience I've ever had at a restaurant.
I don't understand where they get off charging such ridiculous prices for the horrendous service and terrible decor. It's dirty, cluttered, cramped, and extremely hot.
Why so many people recommend this place, I'll never know.
Be warned, this place is definitely a restaurant you ought to avoid, unless you enjoy being completely ignored and frustrated by the end of your meal.
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