Ala Kitchen (阿拉廚房)

Food Journal (fragments in Nov) – 1

November is the most uneventful month of the year. In this month you also get the least sunlight. In addition to the calories from food, I also run on solar energy. i.e. I’m more energetic when there’s sunlight. All these account for the reason why I haven’t been actively blogging in the past 30 days. I know there’s THE Remembrance Day, and one of my friends gave birth to a baby boy, which really added some color to this November. There’s the US Thanksgiving – but this year I didn’t go to the States.

Tried serveral places this month, and would like to share with you. A few of these places were trialed more than once. I think that way the feedback would be more fair.

1. A La Kitchen (阿拉廚房) that is located on the new area beside First Markham Place. They have commercials on the Chinese radio – saying that they are offer new style Shanghainese food. It was a Friday the first time I was there. The location is convenient – didn’t need to fight for parking like what you have to do everytime you go to First Markham Place. Two persons – we had to wait a bit. The waitress was relatvely polite compared to some other popular small restarants.

The design was nice, with the red and the bamboo steamers. I’m really tired of the Asian Legend-like decor.
Ala Kitchen 1

The first time we only order a Steamed Pork Dumplings 小籠包 (4), a Fried Egg White with Scallop 賽螃蟹, a Fried Shredded Fish 苔條魚柳, and a steamed bread 銀絲卷. Overall the food was good.

So, the 2nd time. Also a Friday. As usual we go out for lunch together. Suddenly I thought about Ala and there we go.

It was quite difficult to order for a group … and it usually takes a long time to order individually for the group. So, we saw that 6-person combo and we decided to go for that plus another bowl of noodle and 3 steam-cases of steamed pork dumplings.

Usually, if we were elsewhere, a 6-person combo + the other dishes should be more than enough for 9 people. But I think this place’s portion is “normal”. So, the portion was a bit tight (felt a bit sorry for the group -_- failed to notice this.)

First of all, we had the cold appetizers. Not bad.
Ala Kitchen 2

Tofu seafood soup – not my favourite. Next time I would go for …
Ala Kitchen 3

Steamed Pork Dumplings – not bad either. One of the colleage ordered a hot and sour noodle 酸辣湯麵 but it wasn’t good… kinda bland.
Ala Kitchen 4

Then, here are the main dishes – Beef with green onion 蔥爆牛肉
Ala Kitchen 5

Chicken 醬爆雞丁 – Very tender, but at the same time can’t taste much chicken taste.
Ala Kitchen 6

Sweet and sour fish fillet 糖醋魚片.
Ala Kitchen 7

Veggie Dish 冬菇毛豆素雞 – I like the beans – very soft (綿).
Ala Kitchen 8

Last but not least, there was a pork dish 鎮江排骨 (I think they put too much soy sauce 老抽). For $88, you get all these (excl the steamed pork buns) – i.e. a soup, an appetizer, 5 main dishes, 1 fried rice and a dessert (pan-fried red bean pastry 豆沙鍋餅).

Overall, 9 person, we paid $14 each after tax and 10% gratuity. I would say… Next time I would go for something else, not the combo. The dishes in the combo are not outstanding. I think I’d give it one more chance…

FYI: Markham Ala Kitchen 阿拉廚房
Unit 18, 21 Fairburn Dr., Markham
Tel: 905-946-7990
Free delivery for orders over $25 (cash, before tax)
*Not sure about the delivery area

15 thoughts on “Ala Kitchen (阿拉廚房)

  1. Yup, they also claim that they can “customize” the taste of food… in the commercial. So you’ll feel like home. Not sure how that works though.

  2. yea, i heard that on radio too. at first I thought it’s a new fusion of chinese food.
    but i don’t see anything that can let me “customize” the food. not even “add more spice” kinda thing.

    I didn’t know it’s a shanghai food place, from radio, I was thinking it’s a “canteen” or cafeteria style, so that’s how you can apply the customize on the food.

  3. I had been to there 2 weeks ago too, the food are pretty good, but I hate the fact that, one order of 小籠包 only have 4 pieces….. Most of the other restaurants have 5 pieces….

  4. I have been there once. The food was good. The dish is looking stylish and the restaurant itself too. Overall we had good impression, when my daughter and I were there had our dinner. However, I got one dish that I can’t remember the name of dish. The taste was not fresh. After the dinning, my daughter and I got very sick. My daughter was vomited. I hear the place is new restaurant. It is unbelievable with un-fresh good in such short period of time. I will never go back to this place any more.

  5. Carole and “My God”… sorry to hear about the unpleasant experience that you had with these places. I know… it can be quite disappointing when things like that happen. Sometimes, I just hope that we don’t get sick from eating out. That’s all. After eating out so many years, I think I appreciate home-made food more and more. Hopefully, in the near future I can cook more and share that with you guys. 🙂

  6. I’m so glad you reviewed this restaurant Marz! I’ve passed by this place a couple times, but never ate in it. I’m going to try it next weekend…

    too bad Carole had a bad experience. she sounded a lot like this person too (scroll down to Arina–she reviewed the Din Tai Fung restaurant)

    i don’t know, i just hope it’s not some random person making bad comments about restaurants O_O

  7. Hi KC,
    Hope you’ll like the restaurant. I’ve visited quite a long time ago – not sure if the service and food quality has changed :p Give it a try!

  8. Very upset after first visit

    Nothing tested like Shanghai cuisine,
    Some dishes just came from the cans.
    Price unreasonable high.

    Not recommended.

  9. Went to this restaurant on a good friend’s recommendation.
    Met an old friend there too..looked pretty busy.

    The meal smelled funny when served. I thought it smelled of bleach or some form of cleaning detergent.

    Didn’t feel that bad that night but the next morning, I was very very ill and started to vomit. By lunch time, I had vomited three times. I couldn’t go to work that day and was sick for another two days.

    I don’t know why they would be so negligent and wonder what they think it is that they are in business for.

    To confirm, a few days later, the friend that I eaten with saw a big dead cockroach at the bottom of the takeout-out container that we got for the leftover pork dish we couldn’t finish.

    Simply unbelievable.

    I will definitely look into getting someone to officially look into this.

  10. Best Shanghai food, just like in the 70’s to 80’s; the kind that best shanghai food possibly be found in Hong Kong. If that is your taste buds, this restaurant is for you.

    Family of 10 went there for the first time because that place has always been packed [long line-up’s] every other time we drove by. So, we got there super early this time.

    Completely surprised by the taste. It’s truly authentic according to our parents who are born in Shanghai. The new Shanghai food known to current younger generation now is “confused” fusion food.

  11. Ha! I’m at work now & is searching for ALa Kitchen…your page came back as the first hit! Good job ar Ma!

  12. My family, boyfriend and I decided to try this restaurant on new years eve as recommended by a family friend. We usually order a set menus for the party number as it makes ordering easier and usually ( and let me emphasize on this “usually” word) better value than ordering separately and house specialties items are sometimes included.

    The set menus was 98 dollars for what seemed like a pretty good deal with soup, appetizer, 5 entrees, rice/noodle and a dessert. Typical set menu at a Chinese restaurant! HOWEVER, when the dishes arrived, WOW it was the SMALLEST PORTIONS I have ever seen in a Chinese restaurant. The dish sizes were the size of a side plate with only the noodle dish maintaining the size of a real plate size. I was so disappointed by the portion size that I waved down the server to literally ask him why in the world were my 5 entrees SO SMALL that it looked like a side dish.

    Two servers came and both had inconsistent answers while one said that it was just the plate and not the content that was small. (which is BS because we are not blind and the content was clearly 60% of the actual full size.) the other server said that it was smaller and then my mother became so angry and asked them why did you not let us know that the portions would be smaller?

    I have never been to a restaurant that had set menu entrees smaller than the normal menu dish. It was appalling. The dinner was set for 6 ppl and we had 5 ppl and we were NOT FULL. I have never been to a Chinese restaurant and not been full. The other sever told us to order more if we were not full and I just told them to leave us alone as they have already pissed us off enough.

    But no, THEY DID NOT STOP AT THAT. They decided to make us even more angry by bringing in the dessert while we were still eating the SMALL entrees in attempt to kick us out faster. We got our food around 650 and by 730 we were out the door and this was not voluntary either. This was a the result of the dishes being so small that we finished it so fast and the fact that they stuffed the dessert in our faces while we were peeved. We could not take it anymore and had to get out.

    I had the worst new years eve dinner ever yesterday. I hate this restaurant so much that I will do anything to convince people not to go.

    Also, the food is SO SUBPAR that this fact alone does not warrant a first visit, let alone a second visit.

    Worst 135 dollars I have ever spent in my life. We still tipped because we are not cheap. We just wanted good food with good company and the first was destroyed by this stuck up restaurant.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.