Living in the NW of the city doesn’t generally afford us a vast array of ethnic dining options, we normally would head elsewhere to get whatever it is we’re looking for. One exception to this would be Dim Sum, and while it may seem a most unlikely menu item to find in suburbia we have the option to enjoy this food close to home because of T.Pot China Bistro. Although technically in the North East at 9650 Harvest Hills Boulevard it’s close enough to blur the line. The name seems a little odd and the place certainly doesn’t resemble a bistro in either appearance or menu so we’ll just chalk it up to marketing.
Advertising on the outside of the building proclaims boldly that the best dim sum in Calgary can be found within and while I would never claim that any one place is the absolute best, the number of people and especially those of Asian descent who line up mornings and most notably week-end mornings to enjoy it certainly speaks volumes as to it’s popularity.
The restaurant is divided into two distinct sections as the names imply. The larger side is where the dim sum is served and has a good Chinese menu for the rest of the day. Also there is a large dividing wall in this part of the restaurant and T.Pot uses this area to rent out for formal dining events such as wedding receptions. The per plate multi course menus offered for these events are very interesting and can be quite pricey ranging from $60 to well over $100 per guest. Nancy and I had given some thought to doing this for a wedding banquet but just couldn’t get around the $6000 price tag for our small party.
The second part of the store is the Cafe H.K. which offers a menu inspired by the food from several different Asian countries and is very much like those found at trendy restaurants in Hong Kong. A wide variety of seafood and noodle dishes as well as curries and rice items can be found that will certainly tempt the adventurous and with the large selection should allow those who enjoy it to return and sample their food many times without ever getting bored.
Nancy and I have been to T.Pot for brunch on a number of occasions and really enjoy the food. once you are seated you are in the midst of the organized chaos that is a busy Chinese restaurant, the noise level may be too much for those looking for a quite breakfast but the energy is something Nancy really enjoys, and reminds me of busy places in foreign countries where I’ve dined and thus I can easily cope.
On our latest visit we ordered a selection of the dim sum that while I’d love to mention item by item I cannot spell the translations and the literal names are quite long and descriptive. Besides the selection is HUGE and we’ve by no means ever ordered enough at one sitting to even come close to evaluating each dish. We have however dined here enough to give a good idea of the general quality of the food.
We’ve never had a complaint about the food at T.Pot, it’s always been hot and fresh with large serving sizes and while the service is not always up to our desired level I’ve found that to this point lackluster or not it has never actually affected my dining experience as a whole enough to warrant any overly negative remarks. The Cafe H.K. side is a somewhat different story. While they too have always served us good hot and fresh meals that tasted great and made us wish to return and try the next item on the menu, the service here is definitely on my short list for some of the worst in Calgary. We’ve waited ridiculously long times for our orders to be taken and have sat eating partial orders while the rest never arrived until we went and asked about them, it’s also quite common to not receive your beverages until halfway through your meal.
It’s difficult for me to say that you need to think twice about dining on either side of this restaurant because of the service since I go back over and over again due to the good food and thus ignore this unfortunate problem. If you are the type that finds poor service can ruin your entire meal than perhaps you should think twice but if you want to enjoy very good dim sum and the vast array of unique dishes from a Hong Kong style menu than I would suggest you give this place a try, and besides fore-warned is fore-armed.