Best Upscale Chinese 2012


Silver: Sea Harbour |  Bronze: Kirin |  Honourable Mentions: Bamboo Grove & Golden Paramount

A competitive (and contentious) category, given the range of high-end Chinese restaurants that dot our city. Long-standing winner Kirin was usurped this year by Jade Seafood (Gold), which epitomizes the restraint and focus on key ingredients that define superior Hong Kong kitchens. “Dishes like crab with mixed mushrooms and shallots, or Grandfather chicken, succulent with gentle soy smokiness, have a simple sophistication that all Cantonese restaurants aim for.” At Silver winner Sea Harbour, “The use of more herbs and specialized ingredients raised the cooking to another level and produced deeper and wilder flavours.” Kirin (Bronze) remains “the absolute standard bearer of high-quality, Vancouver-style Cantonese cuisine”; local ingredients are given gold treatment and dim sum menus change monthly to reflect seasonality. (See our Lifetime Achievement Award, page 72.) Honourable Mentions to Bamboo Grove, a traditional chop suey house featuring some of the finest and most expensive food and wine in the city (go for caramelized black vinegar pork spareribs), and Golden Paramount, an elegant little room that turns out sought-after Hong Kong-style Chinese food like fresh oysters air-dried to concentrate their natural brininess and pan-fried with a touch of sweet soy.