Chinatown Addition: Emperor’s Palace

Emperor’s Palace, the newest addition to Chinatown, mirrors Urban China in many ways. Clean and modern, they are both a part of a movement towards the kind of restaurants Vancouver (and Calgary, to some extent) already have down pat. We’re always looking for new dim sum places, so it made sense that my first two meals there were for just that: I checked out the restaurant once during the lunch rush on a weekday before Christmas with Dickson, and again a few weeks later for brunch with Mack and my family to celebrate Felicia’s birthday.

Emperor's Palace

Interior

The restaurant is gorgeous, with bright yellow and red tones. The crystal chandeliers help lend the room a touch of elegance, though what really captured my attention was the stunning floor-to-ceiling glass wine case facing the dining room. As with Indian restaurants such as Origin India trying to encourage diners to pair wine (instead of the requisite beer) with their cuisine, perhaps Emperor’s Palace is trying to do the same with Chinese fare? (something that others are attempting elsewhere in the world.)

Emperor's Palace

Wine case

The high-backed chairs were visually appealing, and comfortable to boot, but unfortunately, did take up a lot of space, which prevented carts from going between some tables. This wasn’t a problem when dining with my family, but at a small table with Dickson at the rear of the restaurant, two tables stood between us and the aisle. As a result, the verbal exchanges between us and the waitress were a bit comical – we were nearly shouting to be heard above the lunchtime din.

The only other notable occurrence with regards to service happened with my family – a server leaned into our table, and in Cantonese, offered us a plate of fried shrimp wontons – “a dish that white people like.”

Emperor's Palace

Shrimp wontons

The food was a mixed bag on both occasions, with portion sizes far from generous. The shrimp dumplings were all right, but they had paper-thin skins; my preference is a thicker shell. The pork dumplings, another dim sum staple, were disappointing – too chewy. The BBQ pork buns were perfectly shaped and browned, but the bread was dry and unappealing.

Emperor's Palace

Shrimp dumplings

Emperor's Palace

Pork dumplings

Emperor's Palace

BBQ pork buns

The temperature of the dishes also varied (albeit better at brunch than at lunch) – the rice wrap with BBQ pork, for example,  was served to us lukewarm.

Emperor's Palace

Rice wrap

But we were surprised by other dishes – the spring rolls, for example, contained no filler, only shrimp. Hot and crispy, the skin was decidedly light in colour, and not the deep brown characteristic of a bath of old oil. A dumpling with pork, peanuts and chives had great texture. Rolls made of dough and sticky rice were new to me, delightfully garnished with what we took to be greens and egg. I also thoroughly enjoyed their custard tarts – but then again, I’m a sucker for warm custard tarts!

Emperor's Palace

More dumplings

Emperor's Palace

Pretty rolls

Emperor's Palace

Custard tarts

My sister and I both have a bit of a Chinese restaurant restroom fetish, but I’m sure I’m not alone in having a negative connotation of dive-bar restrooms in association with Chinese restaurants. Emperor’s Palace joins Urban China on the short list of nice washrooms, with lovely azure bowl sinks.

Emperor's Palace

Women’s restroom

As a whole, though the décor is fabulous, the dim sum was only average. That said, flipping through their dinner menu (a huge, cardboard book), I think it would be worth a try, with options like squab and geoduck available.

Emperor's Palace

Dinner menu

So go for the decor, but as far as dim sum is concerned, don’t expect to be blown away.

Emperor’s Palace
10638 100 Street
(780) 757-2288

16 thoughts on “Chinatown Addition: Emperor’s Palace

  1. Sharon, I heard a rumour that this restaurant imports frozen dim sum from Vancouver! Restaurants that serve heated frozen food don’t deserve anyone’s patronage.

    Not sure how to investigate this but I would like to know…

  2. My sister and mom went to this (I was feeling sick the day they went so I didn’t go). They did leave some leftovers for me and I have to say it wasn’t good. I had the beef balls the flavour wasn’t good..the texture wasn’t quite right either. My feedback from my mom and sister was quite the same from yours-beautiful decor, but don’t expect the same from the dim sum.

  3. Hmmm….I’m not sure I’ll be trying this place. The decor looks and sounds lovely, but for me, food quality is most important! I’m partial to Golden Rice Bowl and Mirama, but maybe that’s just me. I’m impressed your family tried something new…my family are loyal to the above 2 places I mentioned 🙂

    PS: I love what the waitress said to you guys. Classic.

  4. I love the little comment about “a dish white people like.” On a somewhat related note, I was at Dynasty for dim sum once and a friend of mine (who is half-Chinese but looks white) wanted chicken’s feet.

    He saw them a few tables over and got excited. When the waitress avoided our table of mostly white people, he called out and she looked so surprised that the white people wanted to eat chicken’s feet.

    I thought about it afterward and realized that I had never had the option of trying them until that day, because the waitresses never bothered to bring them around to my table!

  5. I’m not a big fan of dim sum in Edmonton. When you’ve experienced dim sum in Vancouver and California, you get spoiled. If we do go for dim sum, it’s usually to Cha for Tea Palace, mostly because of the one-of-a-kind baked bbq pork buns and because there’s hardly ever a wait for a table or food.

    I’ve been to Urban China a couple of times for dinner, but not dim sum. The jury’s still out. The decor is nice, but the bathroom (at least, the men’s) was colder than a deep freezer.

  6. a – I’d like to know as well!

    FoodieMcPoon – sorry to hear you missed out trying some place new (even if it is average). I’d be willing to give dinner a shot though – you?

    Ellen – my parents are usually up for anything :). My family are fans of Golden Rice Bowl too, though!

    Adam – yeah, the assumption really shouldn’t be made; glad you were able to try them finally!

    Buddha Pest – never been to Cha for Tea; it’s on my list, as is the renovated Beijing Bejing (too many restaurants, too little time).

    And nope, I think the women’s restroom at Urban China was as cold. When hockey’s on, though, we can endure the extremes…

  7. Hmm, now that could be something different!
    I highly recommend going to Delicious Delicious. My parents are a fan of that place and they are highly critical of Chinese food.
    Perhaps the next foodie meet-up should be for dim sum? If so, I will be in! 🙂

  8. The server’s comment regarding the dish being one ‘white people like’, is comical. I guess my husband and I are not the norm when it comes to white people orders. 😉 We frequent Jumbo for dim sum and love the look on the server’s faces when we order ginger tripe and curried squid.

  9. Urban China’s women’s washroom has tvs in it as well? Wow, definitely uptown. But, that’s the irony … beautiful washrooms, but as cold as the outside temp.

  10. While I’m on the topic of washrooms in Chinese restaurants, kudos to the new restaurant, as well as Cha for Tea Palace and Golden Rice Bowl for putting in nice washrooms.

    Now, if only one of the better Chinese restaurants in Edmonton … Sai Woo …. would renovate their washrooms.

  11. Amanada – and it wasn’t dim sum!

    FoodieMcPoon – I did see your post about that place! It’s on the ever-growing list…

    Dajana – keep on ordering! There shouldn’t be such judgments at the dim sum table!

    Buddha Pest – doubtful that the renovations you want to happen will! But I know it doesn’t necessarily keep me from patronizing restaurants…even though it should!

  12. i got kidnapped when I went to emperors palace with my Chinese church and I had to hitchhike home after escaping

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s