Ningtu serves Mandarin and Shanghai cuisine.
Our usual weekend dinner gang was craving Shanghainese food, and we decided to gamble on this place based on the DH reviews. The restaurant was kind of crappy inside and not clean, including the unpleasant w/c. Undaunted, we decided to stick around, since the place was packed and we figured that meant the food was good.
We ordered off the 'set dinner of four dishes' menu, which offered lots of choices. We had: eggplant with pork and chilies, gai lan with beef, roasted half chicken, and Szechuan green beans. The meal also came with a complementary shrimp in peanut sauce appetizer. We also had some rice and both steamed and deep fried Chinese bread. Overall, it wasn't awful, but the gai-lan dish was way too salty, the eggplant dish was overcooked and mushy, and the Szechuan green beans were burnt, so we had to send the beans back for a do-over. We also were appalled that little bottles of Tsingtao beer cost 5 bucks each. At least the chicken and the prawns were okay.
Surprisingly, service was good throughout the meal. As for value, it was too pricey for the quality of the food. I think we will look elsewhere for our next Shanghainese meal.
Since a lot of Shanghai dishes are based around buns, dumplings, noodles, etc.--basically flour/yeast intensive items, this place actually manages to pull it off quite well. There are those that prefer thinner skin on their dumplings and those that prefer thicker. Sometimes it's region-dependent whether you're more used to the Northern or Southern China cuisine, other times, it's simply a matter of preference. At Ningtu, they seem to lean towards the thicker skin/dough type which I normally would not have been able to appreciate except that they do it well without giving off a raw-doughy taste and texture.
I can't say there are any exceptional dishes but neither are there any that are less than solid. All tasty and all well-prepared.
So far no where beats the soup dumplings (xiao long bao) at Northern Dynasty on Alexandria Rd. in Richmond--but that's for another review.
Nowadays when dining out I generally use the Dinehere.ca as a reference. The Ningtu has a fairly good rating so I gave it a try. We were noticed right away and seated immediately. Tea was promptly served. Everything was downhill from then on. After looking at the pricey menu for about 5 minutes we knew what we wanted. We waited and waited for non existent service. After waiting for 15 minutes we decided to leave. Guess what? 3 waitresses come over. I explained that the service was so bad that we were leaving. One of the waitresses then said "did you ask for service". WTF. First time I ever walked out of a restaurant. Walking back to my car I noticed another Chinese restaurant but that's another story.
Okay, so what are you expecting from a place like this? It's a cheapo greasy Chinese restaurant. (Okay, maybe not so greasy, but you get the idea...)
Not too worried about my health here, it seems passably clean I guess. The service that night, well, I guess they're running a little short-staffed, but efficient enough that I can't really complain.
The food? Well, the soup was a big miss. It was some crab thick soup, liberally populated with huge chunks of canned mushroom. It's not good to start off on the wrong foot as that kind of sets the tone for the rest of the meal. Luckily, that was the low point. High point might have been the special duck that everyone orders (honestly, might be worth a visit just to sample that) and the "8 treasure rice" for dessert. Everything else in between? Well, passable, but I wish they would stop using all that damned canned mushroom in everything!
It's got a decent menu, good prices, now if they could only clean up the restaurant a bit and try using some quality ingredients, maybe put more care into the food, they may have a winner.
I won't tell you to stay away from this one, but I'm hesitant to recommend it either. The quality just isn't there. It might, just might, be worth a quick visit for the couple of dishes I mentioned before... but only if I couldn't find it elsewhere.
I love their steamed buns, fried shanghai noodles, sticky rice with pork floss stuffing, soy bean curb, soy bean drink, drunken chicken, it's all really tasty. Very clean room. Nice people. Amazing hot sauce. For good Shanghai food, this place is top notch.
My family (and relatives) and I have been regular customers for over a decade. This restaurant has been here for a long time too. We've eaten many times here for lunch and dinner. After the last 3 times of eating here (dinner, dinner and lunch) (last saturday for lunch being the most recent), I have to give this place a lower rating reflecting their current food quality.
Since November 2012, (and most recently last week), their very popular and previously excellent hot&sour soup has gone downhill. So bad. You can tell it's not prepared with the same effort or "heart", the flavour is really basic-literally SOUR oh boy and SPICY oh hot. No more in between flavours. The consistency is too watery. There's no more colour to it. It's like they've diluted a concoction made only once a week....(you get what i'm saying) price is the same, still killer cheap, but it's not even worth ordering anymore....I hope this comes back. ($7)
Meh what is there to say. Everything is so mediocre and below average now.
Previously, I have given Ningtu 4-5 stars on dinehere and urban spoon, because they bring decent quality for the price, good value, and hearty food. The service is kind and always smiling. The owner is a kind, hard working lady.
I've tried many many of their entrees and small dishes. The crab with lin goh is vastly overrated. I'm happy they won award(s) for it but I don't understand why.
Two things that are still consistent:
I love their deep fried doughnut. It is EXCELLENT and special here. Almost always. If you appreciate a good DFD, you'll know what I mean. (Shanghai style though, not hong kong.) $2.80 for an order.
Also, my beloved dessert balls. I don't remember what they call them. You have to order a dozen each time. $15 for a dozen of bliss. Deep fried egg white puffs with pink sugar sprinkled over them. With red bean filling ($13) $2 extra to add fresh sliced banana to the filling.
p.s. don't ever order XLB. never was a fan. gross unless you like thick skin and mushy, pink pork (aka baking soda)
I've had many good memories eating here, and recommended this place to many people, and introduced their (previously excellent hot/sour soup) to many...I hope this place stays, but that their previous standards return.
Excellent restaurant specializes in Shanghai style food. A family run business with excellent value and overall consistency in food quality and fast service.
I have been a customer of this restaurant for many years and have no complaints or any unsatisfactory experience.
Good value for lunch and dinner. I usually go for the dinner for 6 or 8 option and it works out about $15 per person for dinner.
The hot and sour soup and crispy rice are my favourites.
Highly recommend anyone who wants to try something different than Cantonese style chinese food.
I had the 4 dish combo with a party of 5. Chose the prawn and tofu soup. The prawn was so fishy.... it was obviously frozen ones. Almost to the point it was freezed fried. I almost had to spit it out. The soup tasted foul also. More or less just soy sauce and corn starch. Had the sweet and sour pork. This is so salty. This is not shanghainese style at all. The only dish was the smoked duck. Even the white rice was disgusting. I hope this place close down soon.
Ningtu is a Shanghainese restaurant but it also serves southern dishes you find at Cantonese restaurants. The service was extremely quick and the place was completely packed for mother's day, there were still people waiting when we left at around 8:30PM. One of our servers spoke English but I'm not sure about the other ones. We ordered the 6-dish set meal for $75.00 which arrived almost all at once within 15 minutes (making for a crowded table).
The set meal also comes with rice, stir-fried prawns, and soup. We ordered hot & sour soup which was decent except that it was a little heavy on the sour side which I generally dislike but other people at my table were amenable to (they usually drizzle red vinegar on their soup anyways). The prawns were not bad. We also ordered honey garlic spareribs which were surprisingly not oily, sticky, or dense, like it usually is at other restaurants. A nice change unless you LIKE them sticky, oily, and dense. The most interesting dish available at Ningtu in my opinion is the crispy rice ("guoba"), served with a clear sauce/broth containing bamboo shoots, ham, peas, and shiitake mushrooms. I don't recommend having the server pour the broth over the crispy rice pieces at the beginning since that will make them soggy, mix it in your own bowl. Other dishes we ordered were beef with bamboo shoots, a fish and bean curd dish, pork with celery and cashews, and bean curd with green beans; the order listed here being my order of preference.
The restaurant itself is quite bare but clean and bright; the exception as always at Chinese restaurants being the washrooms. In general the food was quite good and the 6-dish set menu meant we spent less than $15 a person.
Friday's the day that DadaMao provides the vittles - but he doesnt cook, so we usually head off to a restaurant. This time it was Ningtu - seems as if the menu has been updated with a larger variety of food and a slight price increase. Service was prompt. Restaurant was 3/4 full. We had the fried chicken with sauce (not bad, but way too much ginger and no cilantro), preserved vegetable, shredded pork with rice cakes (again, not bad, very traditionally made, but a bit greasy) and MiniMao's favourite, Crispy rice with assorted meat (it's a bit ecletic for us, but she likes the rice, ham, peas, bamboo and chicken) $32 with tips.. hopefully the increase in prices should pay for some improvements to the decor/bathrooms!
You probably don't recognize the name but give this restaurant a try. I've had both lunch and dinner here on numerous occasions and what you get is solid. The food comes out FAST (sometimes too fast) and is good quality. Some of my favorites are the hot and sour soup, spicy szechuan green beans with minced pork, steamed dumplings, and the chicken served with the dark vinegar. The place is usually packed at lunch on the weekends so don't get there too late. One of the better shanghai restaurants in the city.
I went to this restaurant with friends on my birthday. Food was really good, some of the dishes are very unique. They also do the staples well.
Drinks were reasonably priced. Our food came out very quickly.
The only downsides were the service (it was impossible to get a drink) and the decor, although what do you really expect?
There is a sign that says "cash only"- this is not true- they accept debit.
I would definitely go back there again, and recommend it.
Had an opportunity to go recently for lunch again. It was as good as I remembered it. Both times we had a table full of young kids and we were very well treated.
Food was great. Not too greasy which can be the case for the shanghai fried noodles and fried rice cakes. Juicy Buns (Shiao Long Bao) were excellent. So much so we ordered a second round. Tan Tan noodles were just ok... have had better but other items made up for it.
Friends that we went with said very good things about dinner too so we may just have to try that real soon.
We went to this family style restaurant for lunch. We chose the Shanghai Style Dim Sum items.
1. Sticky Rice Roll with preserved vegetable, Chinese donut and pork sung. This roll is made right away and not pre-made like some of the other restaurant, The cruchy taste of the preserved vegetable and the Chinese Donut balance off the chewy of the rice.
2. Braised Beef Noodle Soup - the Beef is stewed and it melts in your mouth, the noodle does not get soggy (Thin Shanghaines noodle) and the soup stock is unbelievable mixed with lots of flavor.
3. Beef Xiao Bang - Its like a sandwich with the bun part made of of flaky dough dipped with lots of sesame seeds and the marinated cold beef is stuff inside with some spicy pickle cabbage. Once you bite into it, its crunchy and soft at the same time and the spicy pickle gives it a mild heat.
4. Hot Sweet Soy Milk - we asked for less sugar and its tasty and help to absorb all the carbs we were eating.
The dishes comes out vey quickly so if you are on a time crunch, this is a perfect place for lunch.
They also sell handmade rice noodle (Shanghainese Lin Go) for you to buy for home.
The decor is an East Side Family Restaurant but the food and the courteous service is Outstanding.
Next time I will try the crab with the Farva Beans and Noodles under. The people at the next table had it for lunch and they say it was really good.
This is a great place to take the family to for a decent "home style" Chinese food.
It took us a few visits to get used to the very fast service. The dishes kept on coming - in fact, too quickly. Even when you ask them to slow it down a bit, the kitchen just crank our these fabulous dishes at warp speed.
Once you get over how fast the dishes arrive, you can really enjoy some of the most taste foods in Vancouver.
We tried their various dinner packages. All very good. It is not "fancy" dining, but it is great tasting food.
The price point is incredibly inexpensive.
The food is addictive. We go there at least once a month, if not more.
It's hard to find a decent Shanghainese restaurant in Vancouver. Richmond has a number of excellent choices but sometimes I'm just not up for the drive nor the wait.
I've been to this restaurant a number of times since I was first introduced to it a couple of years ago. The food is quite good and not that greasy.
I always order the Shanghai rice noodles (chow lein go) and the fish maw and crab soup. The soup is very good although I don't really understand why they put frozen peas into it?! It doesn't make it seem very authetic afterwards. I don't mind too much though, as it does not take away from the soup itself. The steamed pork dumplings are pretty good but not as juicy as I'd hope. Potstickers here are also try-worthy.
Ningtu is truly a neighborhood restaurant. The decor is a bit dated, but customers come here for the food and not so much for the decor. This place is usually hopping and I can understand why. This is the first Shanghai restaurant I've ever tried the fried rice bowls. They're like unsweetened rice crispies squares with savoury sauce poured on top. I thoroughly enjoyed it although it is definitely a sharing dish.
The servers are all very nice and they don't rush you out the door after you've finished your meal. It is helpful if you speak a bit of Mandarin if you want some help deciding between dishes you want to try out when conversing with the servers.