Wild Rice offers farm to table Chinese cuisine served in a chic setting blending the traditional and modern.
Five of us went to eat here the other night and we were all so surprised at the lack of flavor and seasoning in almost every single dish. The gyozas were boring, boring, boring. They were gummy little pockets of dough with flavorless filling (both the shittake mushroom ones and the lamb ones). We also had several other appetizers and main courses and they were all pretty flavorless. Seriously, we had more flavorful Asian food at almost every food fair in a mall. Generally, Asian food is anything but boring and flavorless. The only that was remotely "okay" was the Kung Pao, but I think that was partly due to the fact that it just had a little bit of flavor. I would certainly not order it again. Actually, we will not go back for sure.
This was our second time here, the first time was several years ago and we couldn't remember why we hadn't been back. Ah, I guess we remember now! It wasn't very good—end of Story. On top of that, the place was dead, yet we couldn't get a reservation until 7:30 p.m or 9:00 pm - say what? Guys, you have not tables to serve.
On top of the bad food, the service was not much better. Actually, to be fair, it started out pretty good. But then we very politely mentioned that seasoning was lacking in most of the dishes that we had tried so far and that was pretty much the last we saw of our waitress. We couldn't eve get a glass of water after that. We had to actually call over another waitress to order our second bottle of wine.
Therefore, due to the bad food + bad service + bad atmosphere, we give this a making of poor!
Literal translation is "not a good deal!" So sad, this place has so much potential! I love the decor & ambiance; very stylish & chic but unfortunately a few things don't add up. I've been wanting to try Wild Rice for years now. Even finding them in the entertainment book wasn't incentive enough to go - the location is kind of out of the way and it's hard to find parking. Anyways, I came across a Groupon this year, so figured my hubby & I would go for dinner on our date night. Friday night was packed & I was thankful that I made a reservation on Open Table (100 points yay!) I do wonder if it weren't game night, would it still be busy? So we got seated upstairs which was really nice cuz it was cozier. Service was prompt and we pretty much ordered the food right away, since we don't normally like to pay an arm & leg for drinks. I imagine that this would be a good place for drinks and "small bites" before or after a movie or a game. It has that hip vibe of a good place to hang out. The Braised Pemberton Beef on noodles was delicious & cooked well, but the portion was tiny. I didn't think $17 for that dish was reasonable at all. The duck duo was done very nicely; good flavors and presentation, but wow, also very tiny for $18! After our tiny meal, the server came to take our plates & asked if we wanted more food. We politely declined & asked for the bill, and she looked surprised. I think if the portions had been bigger and priced reasonably, we may have considered ordering an appetizer, but all their "dishes" & "plates" are appetizer sizes if not smaller. So yea, we felt like it was pretty "wun bun." Food was good, but too pricey. If anyone does end up here on a movie or game night, make sure you have deep pockets. =)
With the area around the restaurant improving, visited on a weekend. Streets felt a bit more safe. Sat at the bar as all tables were reserved. Had the wonton soup - very good with a rich broth, squid - nice big pieces and tender, kung pao chicken - good portion with nice peanut type sauce. Great service at the bar, perhaps due to the owner being the bartender/server. Overall a nice place with good ambiance.
I'm not a big fan of asian fusion because it's never fails to disappoint. However, I did enjoy the food I had here during a private party in the upstairs loft. There was a good varierty of tapas type selections. Amongst them, the very delicious chinese ravioli. So I was pleasantly surprised at the food served here.
Prices are on the high side averaging about high-teens and smaller portions. Be prepared to shell out for a full meal.
The ambiance is not what you would expect from the scummy area. Tasteful decor all around - the 2 private areas do give off a more cozy feel compared to other seating in the restaurant.
I'm glad I got the opportunity to try it!
I have been to this restaurant many times and have always enjoyed the experience. I can understand the wildly varying reviews previously submitted, as this restaurant offers very creative dishes with very creative flavours. In fact, after reading the menu, you often cannot predict what your dish will look or taste like. If you expect, say, typical Chinese flavour or typical western flavour, then you may be disappointed, but if you have an open mind, you will often be amply rewarded. To me, the presentation and flavours of their dishes are always excellent, and the service superb. I particularly like their ahi tuna, AAA Canadian beef, duck, seafood hot pot, and sablefish. Even though portions are not very big, the price is not very high either for what you get. Very good selection of tea and wine too. All in all, excellent value for a unique dining experience, even though their business has been so good since opening that the uphostery is looking a bit tired now. Remember that they don't take reservations, and in the evening, you often have to wait quite a while for a table.
I finally decided to go to Wild Rice and see what all the hype was about because we were going to a movie at Tinseltown. (Sidenote: saw Sideways...great movie.) Overall, Wild Rice pretty much lived up to my expectations in that it was more of a place to go to be seen rather than to enjoy great food. I thought the food overall was good, with the potential to be great. The concept is fantastic but it just didn't deliver in overall flavour, ingredient quality, and preparation. However, the presentation was very good. The service was mediocre, there were long gaps between visits by our server. As we were leaving, we were surprised to see the hostess being snotty with a couple waiting to be seated.
This place is really small and noisy. The food is edible, but there's a difference between trying something new and succeeding at it. Some things don't need to be tinkered with. Value? Not really, considering where it's situated. You can choose from some better Asian restaurants in the vicinity and feel you've had a better dining experience by far.
I came here with a date last summer during the time they had the seasonal 4 course tasting menu for 25.00 per person. This was the first time I've been to this restaurant, and I enjoyed the clubby and trendy look and design of the interior - while trying my best to ignore the fact that there were likely crackheads and panhandler's loitering on the same block of the restaurant. Nonetheless, I felt it was incredibly cool and sentimental that the restaurant is opened right next to the old hotel where the owner's father used to work.
The 4 course meal we had, had its highs and lows. To me, it felt more like an hors d'oeuvres experience because each of the plates were just a little tiny for my tastes. I liked the salmon dish as well as the asparagus dish; but the last and 4th dish, the Wild Boar sausage with chutney, tasted like cold deli meat from Safeway with Fruit jam from Save on Foods. Although the food experience was fine, I couldn't help but notice that the theme was more Japanese than Chinese in their presentation styles and use of different textures. Then again, Wild Rice isn't your typical "Chinese" Restaurant either.
I went here recently w/the BF on a Thursday night after a two year hiatus from the restaurant.
We ordered the kung pao noodle dish, which is my bf's absolute favorite dish. I tried ordering a few different items but it seemed like everything I chose was not available, so I settled with some sort of fish ravioli.
The kung pao noodle dish was great (as usual) and my ravioli concoction was tasty..but where's the "chinese fusion"? I was really disappointed to see the changes made to the menu, as I REALLY enjoyed the menu items they had on there before.
The service is always pleasant and attentive here.
The value is not that great seeing as they've increased the prices gradually with no increase of food quality/portion/variety/etc. Furthermore, with chinatown only a mere steps away, you can likely get a lot more "value" out of a meal there. And as previous posters have mentioned, the drinks are expensive.
The ambiance is nice. Very chic.
Would I go back? Probably, for the kung pao chicken. Should you go? Yes, you should...try the kung pao chicken.
I came here a while back so maybe things have changed, but from what I remember (venison, a salad dish) there is absolutely no reason to return to this place.
Why no just eat chinese food for a reasonable price instead of dressed up chinese fusion which makes little sense and is expensive?
After reading so much about this place, decided to give it a try. I went with a friend for lunch and we ordered a noodle with BBQ pork, a beef dish, a side dish with endamame and a crab cake. Nothing to shout about.
Maybe I am not into fusion food, I do not see what's the big deal with this place. I had to order tea after lunch, because the food was way too oily.
Nice ambience and service, but food does not warrant my return.
I've been to this restaurant a couple of times. It's located right at the edge of chinatown by tinseltown. I really like the different teas and appetizers; Particularily the halibut congee. It's different from any other congee I've had before... but in a good way! We order it everytime.
The main courses I've never found that outstanding. The best by far is the kung po chicken with rice noodles.
This place is nicely decked out, an oasis of interior bling in a neighbourhood where posh is an anomaly and panhandlers await your entry and exit from the restaurant. It's a place that we've always wanted to try.
We reserved a table and were greeted at the door by a cold unsmiling hostess who actually stared down her nose at us. It is a pet peeve of mine when people who work in restaurants clearly display that they have better things to do than be bothered actually serving people. It'd be like a dentist playing solitaire on his laptop while drilling your teeth in between cards. This hostess was actually on her laptop at the bar with her back turned to the room designing some kind of web project while she was working.
Thank goodness for the server, who redeemed the evening with a bit of grace. She was fully awake and knew what she was doing. We ordered Hot & Sour soup, Peking duck wraps, Kung Pao chicken & Short ribs.
If fusion means that non-Chinese cooks are making Chinese food that they know nothing about, then Wild Rice has got that down. The Hot & Sour soup was not hot, just a little sour but it did not have tapioca starch in it to give it body, nor any seafood. It had some shitake and julienne vegetables in it and it was not disgusting, that's the best I can say. The Kung Pao chicken is supposedly the most popular dish. If that's really true, that is sad. The noodles are gluey and clumped together in a soggy mess. You have to hunt for the chicken. It cannot be considered even slightly spicy unless chicken mcnuggets are what you're used to eating. With 2 of us we were resorted to a "no you have it, I already had 2 pieces" negotiation on the chicken in that dish. Share with more people? I think not. The short ribs were tender and tasty and accompanied by the star of the evening, taro frites. Although the soup arrived first, our other "dim sum" dish came last, the Peking duck wraps. The presentation was the defining factor for this dish. They looked poopy brown, soggy and unappetizing and they were not hot. Chinese duck is one of my favourite dishes in the world. Whoever made this dish and calls it fusion should know what they're trying to fuse. If it's blech with blah, they've nailed it. We did send this back and they were gracious enough to remove it from the bill. We noticed there weren't any Asians at this restaurant in an area heavily populated with Chinese, and now we understand why. Chinese people are too smart to pay these kind of prices for bad food just because it's served in a designer setting. Come here to look good and be seen, not for the food or value...
We noticed there are an unusual number of positive reviews on this restaurant and they all seem like they were written by the same person, one liners with no details... hmmm, interesting is all I can say.
Stylish place that feels more like a bar than a restaurant; definitely not for romance. Drink menu is more extensive than 'Tasting Menu' - use that as your guide. Chinese Ravioli were delish and beautifully sauced....but $18 for 5 medium ravioli?!? Kung Pao Chicken was delish and quite substantial for two. All in all, overpriced but convenient pre-movie at Tinseltown. Next time would do drinks and Kung Pao only.
We went to Wild Rice on Saturday night. We didn't have a reservation, but were able to get a table, which surprised us. We tried the green papaya salad, which was fresh but pretty bland and uninteresting. Next was the Kung Pao chicken, which was supposed to be spicy, but was instead quite bland. It was also mostly noodles and very light on the chicken. We also tried the Salmon, which had a nice flavour, but was way overcooked. I have always liked the ambiance of the room, but given the quality of the food for the price I doubt I will be back anytime soon.
I was very unimpressed when they sent the busser over to serve our food, and he spilled vinager into my beer as all the dishes almost slid off his tray. He didn't apologize and just took off with our food, and we jsut sat there looking at each other. I then told our waitress, and she was so lacking the ability to deal with my complaint. She was quite rude in telling me that there's no way that vinegar can fly into the tiny beer bottle opening.
Okay, so did the food make up for it? NO WAY. We ordered some game meat, elk and wild boar, but it was served covered in BBQ sauce and hoisin sauce. I know this restaurant falls into the fusion category, but the chefs really should learn that the Chinese cook their meats straight up, no thick sauces or gravy, as with any real ethnic gourmet, whether it be french, italian or asian. Real chinese chicken is served white. Not covered in sweet sour sauce.
I really hope someone at Wild Rice reads this, because you guys really suck (except for the bartender). I will never go back.
Firstly...having the outside menu situated right behind the door is silly....felt like I would be slammed into by a swinging door from a departing customer.
Met by a very gracious server…. who really was very nice….then the food - Yikes
The food....expensive, small portions and mediocre at best. Can't believe $11.00 for some very flavourless dry white rice and a few bits of chicken (really tiny amount of chicken) (made a substitution from pork). Bill came and tried to charge an extra $3.00 for the sub....WHAT. Had another noodle dish $19.00 which included the $5.00 surcharge for BBQ Meat"S". When asked what the meats where, we were told it was pork...I asked why the menu was plural suggesting that there was more than one kind of meat, and was told normally it would be duck as well, but they were out....when I asked if the duck breast dish on the menu was sold out, we were told no, and it was too expensive "darling" to but that kind of duck on the noodle dish as a sub....REALLY. Considering the amount of BBQ pork meat that was added for the $5.00 was tad amount to a few I mean a few (6 or 7) very small thin slices I can't imagine a bit of duck would bankrupt them...btw no hint of reducing the price for no duck...LOL.
After some confusion with the bill etc....could not wait to get out of there fast enough...It was a Friday night place was quiet...maybe owners should take that as a hint that something is no longer right at Wild Price.
What a great looking room, right out of Wallpaper, nice tunes, and sexy staff. Cocktails are all too sweet and focus on pretty colours rather than showing off the booze. Wine list is the best in the Gastown/Chinatown hood although chill Winston and Salt have more by the glass. Food is mediocre at best and dessert shameful.
I've never been a big fan of fusions, and this place didn't help. I found the food portions small and tasted funny. This may have something to do with my dislike of sweet food. The waitress was very attentive and explained every dish to me but I simply don't like the food.
We had an ahi tuna/spring roll as an appetizer; duck trio and bacon wrapped bison as main course. They were all very good. I recommend the duck trio (duck thigh, duck consomme and duck breast w/risotto). The consomme is clear and rich in flavor, meat is tender, and the risotto is filled with chinese mushroom aroma.
Downside is the menu has too many phonetic chinese words (we have no idea what it means even though my GF and I are fluent chinese). Dessert menu was unappealing.
But overall, it was a really good dining experience in a casual and contemporary setting!