An Unexpected Discovery: Urban China

A few weeks ago, my Dad asked me for my opinion on two new-ish Chinese restaurants downtown, looking for an evening venue: Bird’s Nest of Beijing (10425 100 Avenue) and Urban China. I haven’t yet been to Bird’s Nest (though I had heard that their dim sum was fairly reasonably priced), and though my only experience at Urban China was a mixed one, some people have enjoyed their dinner menu. As the occasion would include some family friends in from Vancouver, I thought it would be a great opportunity to show them a restaurant that showcases the new wave of Chinese establishments in Edmonton.

With about ten tables full at the dinner hour on a Friday night, it was busier than I expected it to be. I still love the decor, all dark furniture, clean lines and red accents. And how could I forget the aquariums?

Amanda finds fish tanks shocking

My parents decided on a twelve-course set menu, which, at Urban China, will set you back over $200.00. For the most part, our group enjoyed the meal, though my Dad thought that the portions offered were on the small side. Standout dishes for me included the spicy fish (still crispy on the outside, but flaky on the inside) and the Chongqing style beef with spices (no lie, the tender pieces of beef set my mouth on fire, but it was worth it). Amanda and my Mom loved the steamed tofu dish with olives and ground meat.

Spicy fish (we have no idea what it is actually called – darn the food blogger who doesn’t write things down)

Chongqing style beef with spices

 Steamed tofu with olives and ground meat

Malaysian sizzling pork neck

Famous Chaozhou duck

XO sauce with green beans and salted meat

Haka stirfry

Service was steady throughout the night – it seemed someone was always on hand to refill our empty tea pot, or take away dirty dishes. However, the best part of the visit had nothing to do with the food or the staff – it was our discovery of the tiny televisions set into the mirrors in the bathroom. Urban China really should have been included in the Journal’s recent list of “upscale” restrooms.

Hockey night in a restroom?

I’d recommend Urban China if you’re looking for authentic Chinese food in a clean, modern setting. Just don’t forget to check out the restrooms, too.

Urban China
10604 101 Street
(780) 758-1888

10 thoughts on “An Unexpected Discovery: Urban China

  1. Yeah, they do have some pretty good food! haha, and yes their bathrooms are quite impressive with the tv’s. We actually went there twice over the May long weekend when my parents were in town. Seems to show that it’s the ‘best place’ so far in town for Chinese food, worthy of showing to guests! Oh and as for their dimsum, equally good especially when it’s fresh on a Saturday morning at 10am. Give it another try!? Or perhaps as @acanadianfoodie suggested we should try for a mini-foodie meetup for dimsum nearing the end of summer?

  2. Yah, I think the western decor and feel extends to portion sizes and prices… though definitely doesn’t have that usual “dingy” quality of chinese restaurants.

    My favorite thus far in town is The Red Phoenix on Kingsway across from the Royal Alex. Great peachy shrimp, cream of corn fish, chicken drumstick stuffed with sticky rice…. And reasonably priced.

  3. Thanks for the review. We’re going there for Father’s Day dinner and weren’t sure what we’re in for!

  4. Lillian – I wasn’t so impressed with their dim sum, but we went towards the end of lunch hour. I’d be willing to give it another shot – and a foodie dim sum date sounds like fun!

    Eva – I’ve never tried Red Phoenix, though to be honest, we don’t actually go out to Chinese restaurants that often. I’ll keep it in mind, as it’s not that far from my office.

  5. The bathrooms look spotless. How can the food here possibly be any good??? Every oriental knows the quality of food in a Chinese restaurant is inversely proportional to the cleanliness of the washroom…

  6. Tofu and meat in the same dish? I know tofu doesn’t *have* to be a vegetarian dish, but that seems odd to me. I’ll have to try it sometime.

  7. This is great to know Sharon. We’ve been thinking about checking out Urban China for dinner since we like the dim sum there. I remember thinking those TVs were pretty crazy when I was there too.

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