Restaurant: Floata Seafood Restaurant
Cuisine: Chinese/Dim Sum/Seafood
Last visited: May 6, 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC (Chinatown)
Address: 180 Keefer Street
Price Range: $20-30+
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: 1.5 (on this occasion, it moved up from my 1.1 from my last visit)
- Floata – Review/Visit 1
- Located in Chinatown
- Largest Chinese restaurant in Canada
- Started in Hong Kong
- Seats 1000+
- Formal Chinese dining
- Dim sum/lunch/dinner
- Popular for banquets
- Private rooms
- Karaoke available
- Catering available
- Free parking (Validation required)
Please! Seriously. Just take 1 second to actually look at the glass before bringing me a new one…*sigh*… it was a rough start to a dreaded dinner. It wasn’t the occasion, but the location that made me hold my breath.
Floata. I call it a venue more than a restaurant. From plastic bottle caps to plastic zip ties in my soup to caterpillars in my vegetables – see here… not once, but TWICE with the caterpillars. This place is in desperate need for some Kitchen Nightmares attention. It’s not even just the cleanliness or food quality that bothers me, but it’s the service. They don’t care! They shrug their shoulders or act like it happens all the time when these significant problems come up! I’m too weak to even keyboard smash my frustrations…
So how does a restaurant with poor food and service still survive after so many years? It’s because of this!
It holds 1000 people. I swear that’s the only reason why it exists… and for those who may not know anywhere better… I say that with a big grain of sea salt. I apologize if I’ve offended you, but it’s for your own good to invest your money in another restaurant. Chinese food is much better than this… as for the service… err… there is better than Floata, but not sure if that’s really saying a lot.
On this occasion the food was actually better than my previous experiences. Besides 4 dirty glasses, there were no bugs or random kitchen gadgets or general garbage in my food. On the other hand I still felt like I was 1/1000 pigs they were feeding and they make you feel like it too. With the “point at your plate and pass it over for me to change” service and food that speaks of incredibly mass produced, you almost feel like a paying prisoner. It’s quite shameful, but because it’s such a large venue there’s bound to be an unavoidable dinner here for some special occasion that seats 1000 people.
On the table:
- BBQ Pork, pork hock slices, soy sauce chicken, jellyfish and roast duck.
- Chinese “antipasto”.
- I really don’t know if all the meats are made in house, but it was okay.
- The BBQ pork was better than last time – see here, it was actually quite moist, juicy, tender, not too sweet, and well flavoured.
- The pork hock was pretty cheap quality and the roasted duck and chicken were very mediocre.
- The jelly fish was too soft and salty with a mild heat to follow.
- This is a Westernized dish and I’ve had it before, but this was a very poorly executed and presented version of it. Otherwise, it’s actually quite a good dish.
- It tastes pretty much like sweet and sour pork.
- I don’t think there’s actually any peaches in it, but it’s just the name for it and I think it refers to it’s sweet flavour.
- The quality of pork chops were probably grade Y.. for Y would you use this? Right, probably because it’s cheap.
- It was almost all bone or all gelatinous fat and you had to dig through it to find a piece that wasn’t bone, fat or incredibly heavily battered.
- The “honey peach” sauce for it was reminiscent of sweet and sour sauce made with ketchup and I didn’t want to even bother gnawing through the batter to get to the little bit of meat.
- The rough drizzle of mayo on top was not appealing and usually it does have mayo but it’s all sauteed together with the honey sesame walnuts.
- The candied sesame coated walnuts were good and quite fresh and I just ate those plain.
- Celery, jicama root, bell peppers, button mushrooms, shiitakes and oyster mushrooms sauteed with a little bit of sweet chili sauce and soy sauce.
- This was a whole lot of celery (cheapest ingredient) and there were only 2 button mushrooms.
- The vegetables were fresh, crunchy and tender and the mushrooms were juicy, but the Shiitakes were overcooked and like jello.
- There was some mushrooms, dried scallops (conpoy), shredded chicken, fish maw, green onions and a whole lot of corn starch to thicken it up and make it a “soup”.
When I can pick up my soup and eat it with chopsticks… I think that means it’s gluey with way too much cornstarch. It was super thick and literally the texture of bodily fluids when you’re sick… okay I kind of feel bad for saying that, but they should feel bad for making people actually pay for this.
- This was actually pretty good, but of course there is better than this.
- The boneless sauteed sole fillets were flaky, moist and pretty nice pieces.
- The deep fried sole fillets were nice and crispy and well seasoned with some chili salt and quite a bit of MSG.. which is why they were so good. I could see and taste the MSG, so I know for a fact it was there.
- The Chinese leeks are almost like chives.
- The vegetables are again a whole lot of celery, and then about 5 snap peas. Both were fresh, tender and crunchy though.
- An excellent version of this deep fried fish is at Red Star Seafood – see Deep Fried Sea Bass with Spicy Salt.
- The prawns were actually pretty good and nice and crunchy, but they’re obviously not sustainable and a couple of them tasted like dirt. Other than that, I liked them.
- It tasted like they were sauteed in more than just soy sauce, and it tasted like it was some sort of sweet and sour sauce or ketchup, it was very mild though.
- If it was ketchup, it’s actually not a bad thing, because the dish is often made like that. It could have just been some sugar though because it was a bit sweet.
- The braised duck was actually incredibly tender and falling apart. It was quite good although the sauce was gluey again.
- It was served with I think soy protein puffs, or “deep fried dough”, or soy gluten which was an unusual complement to this dish. They taste like chewy thick deep fried tofu skins, but they’re not crispy and somewhat soggy and spongy. It’s a common meat substitution for vegetarians, but since it’s touching the meat, vegetarians wouldn’t eat it anyways.
- The duck was rich and the meat was tender and the fat was too thick for my liking but it was ultra creamy and just melted away.
- Some of the spinach tasted a bit dirty, but I was happy with the presentation because cutting off the stems meant lower risk of finding caterpillars and bugs, unlike last time.
- Yes, you saw that correctly. It was a 4/6! This was actually very good!
- The skin was crispy, the meat was juicy, and the brine it was marinated in soaked all the way to the very bone.
- The fried rice was fried nicely and actually okay.
- The BBQ pork pieces were pretty crappy though and most of them were just leftover fatty chewy pieces. It didn’t add any sweetness to the rice which it should.
- The baby shrimps were crunchy but there weren’t many and there were hardly any scrambled egg bits too.
- They were a bit wet for my liking and there was some sauteed mushrooms and green onions.
- The noodles were soft and there was good soy sauce flavour, but it was also quite standard.
- These noodles are actually deep fried first before being sauteed so they’re unassumingly rich and indulgent. You wouldn’t be able to tell since they’re not crispy.
- Laughing Sesame Balls – 3/6
- I’m not sure if these are made in house as a lot of places order them in.
- The sesame balls were quite fresh with a nutty flavour and crumbly texture, but the middle was moist which is unusual. It was good though!
- Almond Cookies – 4/6
- I thoroughly enjoyed the almond cookies here whether they were made in house or brought in.
- They were crumbly, tender, nutty and sweet with what seemed like a glaze on top and they were incredibly moist for a dry cookie.
- These were noticeably nuttier than normal and almost tasted a little bit like peanut butter cookies. I like!
- They were very fresh and I ate three of them!
- I was so excited to not get red bean soup.
- I actually like this coconut sago dessert. For once it’s a Chinese dessert that I do like, but they made it so poorly.
- This was so watered down and it was almost just water and sugar. There was barely any sago, coconut milk or taro root.