No Complaints: The Lingnan

It’s funny (and tragic) how it sometimes takes national bodies to draw attention to local institutions, but I found that this was the case with The Lingnan (10582 104 Street).

Food Network Canada chose the family behind The Lingnan to feature on their upcoming season of Family Restaurant, to begin airing January 2009. I saw the article in the Journal earlier this year, and noting the connection between the restaurant and Chicken for Lunch (Amy’s sons run the joint), convinced Mack to join me there for dinner on a random weekday.

Exterior

I had no complaints over the aesthetics of The Lingnan. The upstanding sign atop the building, eye-catching even two streets away, draws one’s attention to an area where a Chinese restaurant is a little unexpected, situated across from a dated business facility and behind an emergency response team office. Once through the (slightly shady looking) door, we were greeted by a cool, lush interior that we could not have predicted from the outside. Everything from the mirrored walls to the paneled ceiling was beautiful, even if slightly over-the-top. The high ceiling and open dining room made the space seem larger than it actually was, and afforded diners (amounting to about ten tables by the end of the evening) a sense of privacy. Although the restaurant is very obviously geared towards Western sensibilities (much like Blue Willow), I didn’t mind it because of their earnest, well-intentioned approach.

Dining room

The waiters, dressed in a “traditional” jacket (definitely over-the-top) were polite and surprisingly personable. After perusing the menu, Mack’s pick was his usual benchmark ginger beef ($12.50), while I was craving fried noodles. Though my original selection was a dish called “Crispy Noodles Chow Mein”, our adept waiter steered us toward the “Chinese Style Aristocratic Chow Mein” ($13.75, with shrimp). I guess I needed some instruction on reading the menu as it was exactly what I had in mind.

Menu

Drink menu in place of the more common Chinese zodiac (guess they’re really pushing the cocktails)

Mack’s Lingnan Pi Jiu with a hint of ginseng (brewed by local microbrewery, Alley Kat)

Before our dishes were brought to us, our waiter set up two metal plate warmers. Though a nice touch, we found them to be quite ineffective. At any rate, our food was out in no time.

Mack was quite happy with the ginger beef, noting that it was a “close second” behind Pagolac’s version. I found it pleasing enough – a decent beef-to-batter ratio and a tangy sauce that was slightly spicy. The chow mein was fine as well, with a reasonable quantity of shrimp included, and enough fried, crispy noodles to quash my craving. Mack didn’t like the soggy noodles in the centre of the dish, but I love the textural contrast and their sauce-laden goodness.

Ginger Beef

Chinese Style Aristocratic Chow Mein

The Lingnan, while offering nothing out of the ordinary in terms of solid Western Chinese dishes, does so in a clean environment and efficient manner.

Mack should pose like this in every picture

The Lingnan
10582 104 Street
(780) 426-3975
Monday-Thursday 5-11pm, Friday & Saturday 5pm-12am, Sundays & Holidays 4-8:30pm

8 thoughts on “No Complaints: The Lingnan

  1. While I’ve read no reason to avoid the place, I’m not getting any good reasons to go here either.

    So is ambivalence the general consensus, or would it be worth the trip?

  2. I’ve been going to the Lingnan for years, yet I’ve never eaten in. I’ve been getting take out from them since I was a kid living at home, and always enjoy it, but despite now living only a few blocks away I’ve still only ever gotten take out from them.

    Now that I see they have a custom brew from Alley Kat, I might just have to make a point of actually having a meal in the restaurant.

  3. Edward – you read my review right. The Lingnan is nothing special. Not worth a drive out, but if you’re in the area and are craving Western interpretations of Chinese food, go for it.

    Adam – they did seem to be doing a mean take-out business. Mack said the beer tasted “like any other” Alley Kat, but with a hint of ginseng.

  4. Mmmm fake Chinese food. I am Chinese and never heard of it untill foodtv. The word chop suey means random scraps. If you really want good food, go to Asian fuzion, shanghai grill, or cha for tea or others. There are 2 menus, one that is in Chinese/English of the other specials which are in Chinese only just ask the waiter to translate. It’s very good, but never written in English because non Asian may not be famiar with those dishes

  5. No ambivalence here. I recommend it.

    The Lingnan is a cut above in terms of decor, service, and overall “personality.” They have some truly outstanding dishes — my personal favourite is the AMAZING Beijing-style eggplant. And, the dry spicy chicken is nicknamed “crack chicken” for good reason. Tell your server the sorts of things you like, and get him/her to suggest dishes.

  6. rumor has it that the restaurant is moving to St. Albert  OR is opening up another restaurant there, is this true?

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