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3
  • Food3.5
  • Service3.5
  • Value3
  • Ambiance3
  • Reviews15

Shanghai Chinese Bistro

1124 Alberni Street
Vancouver, BC V6E1A5
Tel: (604) 683-8222
Neighbourhood: Coal Harbour
  • Cuisine: Chinese, Shanghainese
  • Price: $$ ($15 - $30)
  • Reservations: Accepted
  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner
  • Hours: Mon - Thu: 11AM - 11PM, Fri - Sat: 11AM - 12AM, Sun: 11AM - 11PM
  • A reputable Shanghainese restaurant located in the heart of downtown. Fresh noodle maker on site.

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 15 of 15 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Solid choice for Dim Sum downtown
By cherrybomb143 of Surrey, bc (218 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, January 4, 2009 - 11:53pm [Dine in]

Came here with some coworkers for lunch.

Good dim sum. Not the best I've had but very good compared to the few choices downtown. Ingredients were fresh and the pieces were well-made. The only issue I had was some items, like the lo bak goh especially, were "overly" fried but I suppose maybe others like it crispy?

Great service. We were greeted professionally and all of the staff spoke both English and Cantonese well. We interacted with a few different servers and from the looks of it, managers (in suits) and all were friendly and eager. Tea was refilled promptly and we never had to leave the lid off to indicate that we needed a refill.

All in all, not a bad choice at all for dim sum downtown. It's not cheap (think Kirin or Sun Sui Wah prices) but reasonable for what they serve, the service and where the serve it.

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Great Dim Sum
By bordercollie of north vancouver (268 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, January 4, 2008 - 6:47pm [Dine in]

The Dim Sum is fantastic, the food was hot & quick to arrive at your table. I would suggest making reservation, due to this busy & popular place. I love the steamed pork & garlic vegetarian roll, both very tasty.
My complaint about the service, we kept getting asked "if we're finished?" We didn't feel they want to give you time to digest or order another dish, as they wanted a quick turnover. This is something everyone should be aware that service is quick, as you feel pressured to hurry you out.

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Decent food. Great Service.
By foodfanatic of South Vancouver (286 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, September 1, 2005 - 3:10am [Dine in]

Not many similar cuisine to be found in the downtown area. Shanghai Bistro is a good medium. But for regular Chinese dimsum, you'll need to go downstairs and a little ways up the block to Kirin for proper dimsum. Shanghai Bistro is, as its name indicates, more of the Shanghai variety of dumplings and tantan noodle offerings at higher prices than what you can find for less and better outside of downtown, but still decent enough here. They've managed to keep up with the quality of service for the many years they've been opened in this location. Good work!

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A Little Overpriced
By nelliebobellie of Downtown (69 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, August 28, 2009 - 12:45pm [Dine in]

Our "Ladies Lunch Bunch" decided to try dim sum yesterday and headed over to the Shanghai Chinese Bistro. The location is nice & close to our office, so we figured we'd give it a try. In comparison to other dim sum places close by, the online reviews for this place seemed a bit better.

We were seated promptly, as I had made a reservation the day before. As we were seated, a server came by with a pot of tea, which was piping hot. Between 7 of us, we chose a few of the dim sum dishes (shrimp dumplings, stuffed eggplant, spicy wonton, stuffed green peppers, deep-fried tofu and sticky rice) and two noodle dishes (shanghai fish cake w/ seafood & veggies, fried noodles with shrimp, scallops, octopus & cuttle fish) The octopus was VERY rubbery and not enjoyable at all. My favourite dishes were the fish cake and the stuffed eggplant. I'd never had fish cake before and wasn't sure what to expect, but it was quite tasty.

We all thought the food was good, but the prices are higher than most other dim sum restaurants we'd been to. Average was about $5.00 per dim sum plate, with only 3 or 4 pieces. The bigger dishes were $13.00 each. I would go back, but with fewer people (ideal is 4) so that each plate you all get to try something. With the 7 of us, we ended up ordering 2 of some dishes, but for others we just cut the pieces to share. Not the best, as some of the pieces are small and you don't get more than a taste.

Our server was friendly and although we waited about 5-10 minutes for him to come by to take our order, he did come back regularly to clear plates and refill our teapot. He also brought us complimentary dessert, which was the mango pudding - surprisingly quite good. I believe it was about $5.00 on the menu, which seems a bit much for pudding, but it was quite nice.

I think if I was going for dim sum again, I'd walk a little further to Hon's where the value is a bit better and the food there is really good. I don't think I've ever left Hon's still feeling hungry, as was the case yesterday.

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Shanghainese at it's best!
By KitsKid of Kitsilano (70 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, December 8, 2008 - 8:32pm [Dine in]

Came here for a business luncheon. Lots of variety on the menu. Fairly priced and generous portions. The service was excellent; attentive and friendly. The food was fresh and flavourful and came out piping hot. From what I hear there is an amazing Noodle Maker that hand makes the noodles; unfortunalty he was out of town, the noodles we had were great, I could only imagine what the Noodle Maker's taste like.
We had a variety of dishes; the one thing I didn't like was the Mongolian Beef; but others thought it was delicious; I found it overly fried but that's the dish I guess.
Overall a great time, would definalty be back.

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Love the Food, Awesome Service!
By janetj of Vancouver (4 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - 12:13am [Dine in]

Shanghai Chinese Bistro (SCB) is definitely my favorite dim sum place in town. However, if you are looking for a cheap dim sum place just to grab a bite, them this is not your joint, there are way more places that would serve much cheaper dim sum than SCB.

My husband introduced me to this restaurant 5 years ago when we first met and I have been hooked ever since. He's been a 10 year customer with them.

Their food is top-notch, great quality and very authentic. Don't write them off just because they are in downtown Vancouver, but they sure beat many dim sum places in Richmond and other areas. A lot of the other places focuses on giving huge portions but neglect the overall quality, but SCB's portions are very reasonable and the quality is definitely there. I highly recommend their hot and sour soup and mango pudding, very very yummy.

Then, their service is phenomenal. They are cordial, speaks fluent English, Cantonese, and Mandarin, and are always filling our water glass or tea cups. Super attentive. Unlike some other Chinese restaurants, it really is nice not to be afraid that you may be yelled at if you ask for something, or feel that you may be troubling the waiter as with some of the other places, the waiters always look as if they are super busy. What makes them more special is that they really do remember their customers. For example, one time my husband and I told them that we are going on a vacation, the next time we went to the restaurant again, which was at least a month later, the waiter asked us how our vacation went.

The restaurant decor is clean and tidy. Nothing fancy but no complaints for sure.

When my husband and I want some comfort food, or after a few weeks of traveling, we very often visit SCB for some good old dim sum to welcomes ourselves back home.

Love this place, love their food, and love their people!

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Good for Downtown Dim Sum ...
By darrenkadish of Burnaby, B.C. (46 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - 3:09pm [Dine in]

There are not a lot of choices when it comes to dim sum downtown. I use to work down the block from this restaurant years ago, so when it came to dim sum, Shanghai Bistro was the place to go.

I made it downtown for lunch today to meet a couple of co-workers and noticed that each and every staff member at Shanghai Bistro are the same ones that I remembered years ago. Not much turn-over in staff (a good thing I would guess). The food is good and the service is even better. I had one of their juicy dumplings and the "juice" squirted all over my sweater. As I was wiping it off with my paper napkin, a manager brought me over one of those white "steamed" napkins (I didn't even ask for one), but he obviously noticed me wiping my sweater down, so was nice enough to bring me a hot steamed napkin.

We ordered 8 dishes, but my favorite ones were the spicy wonton, prawn potstickers and pea tips with garlic. Yummy!

It gets pretty busy at lunch, so it's always a good idea to hit the restaurant before noon or after 2 pm.

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Gone downhill.
By Chasiubao of Vancouver (24 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, February 20, 2011 - 11:01am [Dine in]

This used to one of our regular go-to places for Shanghainese food downtown. But this place has gone downhill and we likely won't be returning. Especially since there are far superior choices very near by.

Food: No longer as good as it used to be. In fact, some of the dishes appeared to have been changed to suit western palates. We were a party of four, one of us is sensitive to MSG and we requested that they hold off the MSG. Clearly this made a difference because flavours of each dish were definitely very bland. The chili wontons used to be a favourite - filled with mostly shrimp and some pork and the dish would be lined with spinach and then topped with a spicy chili and garlic sauce garnished with chopped spring onions. This time around, the wontons tasted ok but filled with mostly fatty pork, the chili sauce tasted watered down, no spring onions and no spinach. The classic shanghai fried rice noodle was burnt, somewhat bland and very oily. The steamed soup dumplings (another past favourite) was not what it used to be - no soup in the dumpling and the pork filling was bland, uninspiring and left much to be desired. Seasonal vegetable dish was basically stir fried veggies. Braised beef brisket in clay pot was meager - there was hardly any beef, not much flavour and the pot was basically filled with boiled iceberg lettuce! Towards the end of the meal, we were all feeling very unsatisfied and as a joke, we added an order for sweet and sour pork and it was fantastic - the bright orangy red sauce was sticky sweet and sour, the pork was deep fried to perfection! It was exactly what you would find in a Chinese-Canadian chop suey type of restaurant. For dessert, we had the dumplings filled with sweet black sesame paste in a ginger broth - this tasted good, was authentic and probably best part of entire meal.

Service: This is one of the very few Chinese restaurants where you find decent service - we are all too familiar with the poor service (no service) levels at most Chinese restaurants in GVRD. Servers are generally attentive and food arrived quickly.

Value: Prices are quite a bit higher than average and the portions generally smaller but that used to be justified by superior service and high quality of food. But now that food quality has definitely deteriorated (or was it because of no MSG??) the high prices cannot be justified.

Ambiance: Again, most of us don't go to Chinese restaurants for ambiance. This place used to be one of the nicer Chinese restaurants with an upscale "bistro" feel targeting the downtown crowd. The view has improved significantly now that construction across the street at the Shangri-La and Market restaurant are completed. But the decor has been unchanged since the 1990s and is looking very dated and tired. The carpets are old and dirty and the entry way could use some freshening up.

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We are regulars
By Chicklet of West Vancouver (21 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, January 2, 2006 - 12:49am [Dine in]

We go there at least once a week. The kids are all at UBC and we get to see them once a week with a Shanghai bribe. Week-end dim sum a la carte is fresh and fabulous. The hand made noodles ( shredded pork with spinach is great) accompanied by deep fried silver thread roll is awesome. The curried beef brisket is succulent and not to be overlooked. Tonight I had the spicy noodles with eggplant which caused disappointment. ( A little heavy on the hoisin sauce.)
An unexpected dessert which is TRANSPORTING are the poppy seed dumplings in ginger soup[. The "soup" is a sweet ginger infusion and the dumplings explode in your mouth. Not to be missed ! If you are a regular expect the fur lined red carpet treatment.

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Great place for lunch colleagues
By scaly of Vancouver (10 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, November 22, 2007 - 3:30pm [Dine in]

Two of us just had lunch there.

It took us awhile to decide what to eat .. the waiting staff were very patient with us.

We finally ordered two items from the dim sum selection .. green onions pancake and green pepper stuffed with shrimp. We also ordered the Singing Chicken(which the staff explained to us that it meant the sizzling noise made the serving dish is opened), rice and green tea.

We thoroughly enjoyed the food and service was great (as mentioned above they let us take our time to decide what to order even though the restaurant was full).

For weekday lunches I would recommend making a reservation .. which we had done even though it was for two of us.

One weak point was they don't have a Takeout menu and no web-site where you can peruse the menu so that it's easier to make a decision on what to eat.

Also the restaurant felt cold inside .. maybe because of the big windows which face the new Shangri-la Vancouver complex.

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We got Shanghaied!
By NRJacobson of Kitsilano, Vancouuver (1 Review)
Submitted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - 5:04pm [Dine in]

Last night, I took a group of five to Shanghai Bistro. It was a work dinner and, having been here once before, I figured we could get a pretty good meal at a pretty good price. We ordered some items off the extensive menu, where everything was priced between 12 and 18 CAD. We then asked our waiter for some suggestions of their best dishes. He recommended the crab and the fish, so we ordered both. When we got the bill, I almost had a heart attack. It was for 500 dollars! We demanded an itemized bill written in English, only to discover that the crab cost $258 and the fish $60! Our waiter had recommended two items which were wildly out of sync with the rest of the prices on the menu but didn't share this information with us. It seemed downright dishonorable to push customers to order something so costly without letting them know what they were getting into. I've never had this experience before. Even in expensive restaurants, they let you know what truffles or abalone or kobe beef costs per ounce before you order. When we questioned the manager, he kept reiterating that crab is very expensive but didn't explain the $60 fish. Finally, after a lengthy debate (in front of our colleagues), they knocked $75 off the bill. Even so, I couldn't help but thinking what a great meal we could have gotten for that kind of money when, instead, we got stuck with a huge bill of over $400 for a mediocre chinese meal all because we were shanghaied by a waiter who sold us the most insanely expensive items without quoting a price in advance. I will never go back here for as long as I live.

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A good downtown Chinese restaurant
By dkona2 of west vancouver (4 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, January 6, 2008 - 11:38pm [Dine in]

Good quality food and good cooking techniques at this restaurant, make it one of our favorite downtown Vancouver restaurants. For example, the beef and cilantro soup contains a exceptional tasting broth. All vegetables in main dishes are excellently cooked-a bit crunchy and not soggy. Likewise, meats and seafood are cooked "just right". Although much of the menu caters to tourists, non-menu items are available- particularly for vegetables such as gai lan and baby bok choy.
We enjoy the service- it is highly attentive. The ambience is good- in particular the lighting where the table is highlighted and you can actually see all your food.

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an OK DT chinese restaurant for social gathering
By blaw of Vancouver (15 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, May 17, 2008 - 4:21pm [Dine in]

Originally thought it is a tourist place but it surprised me. It is a traditional chinese restaurant in DT (where you dun have many options)

Pricing is ok (in this area), $21 for a half peking duck, which is surprisigly ok quality. Fish fillet with corn sauce is quite good and cost $17. Everything else is like a so-so, not too good but not too bad. But is ok if you need to have a treat to your friends in DT, as the decor is presentable. But it is definitely not a good family dinner place for chinese food.

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Excellent food and service
By sreagan of Yaletown, Vancouver (7 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 9:59pm [Dine in]

I have been to this restaurant probably a dozen times and have received great service all, but maybe once or twice. The waiters are very attentive and friendly. The wonton soup is absolutely awesome; the base is very tasty and the wontons themselves are fresh and good ingredients, not tough at all. We always order the Shanghai noodles with pork and it's very tasty as well. The black pepper beef is very tender and delicious. I would highly recommend this restaurant.

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Awesome Chinese food
By carolsims of West Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Friday, February 13, 2009 - 11:42pm [Dine in]

This is a great hideout in Alberni St. Awesome Chinese food, very tastefully prepared and excellent service. The restaurant has been rundown a bit but on Alberni st this is very reasonable, great portion sizes. Order a few dishes and you can share them well. The food is always consistent and so is the service. Great dim sums. Recently moved here. So I am going to be a regular.

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