400-180 Keefer St., Vancouver – Website
Date of Visit: July, 2017
Floata has quite a presence on the web and I made a point of noting it as somewhere I wanted to try on my recent trip to Vancouver. It is situated in Chinatown, had a pretty good set of reviews, and sounded great. Unfortunately, my visit not only left me unimpressed but a little disgruntled…
The premises are huge and, for me, a little austere. Only one section was open and it seated easily a couple of hundred guests. There was another section to one side not being used and, I think, another one behind a set of accordion doors on the other. Decoration was minimal and the white table cloths and formal attire of the all-male wait-staff made it all seem cold. The service was brusque, if formally correct, and not at all welcoming.
What surprised me was that, though billed as a ‘seafood restaurant’, the actual seafood dishes comprised only about 8 selections of a small and disappointing menu. It consisted chiefly of the sort of things available in any westernized Chins restaurant even down to having a ‘Chow Mein’ section and that old stand-by, Honey-Garlic Spareribs. I asked if this was different from the regular weekly menu (it was a Sunday when I visited) and I was told that was the same. This turned out, as I discovered to some annoyance after my meal, not to be completely accurate…
Anyway, the regular entrees were specified as being for four so I chose instead from the brief and rather uninteresting appetizer menu. What subsequently annoyed me, as I left, was that I saw a dim sum ordering menu on the table near the entrance. Nobody bothered to mention this to me (despite my specifically asking about the menu), just as nobody bothered to provide me with a beverage menu until I asked about it after my first dish.
Peanut butter dumplings – The menu gives no hint of what this entails but it turned out to be large pieces of shrimp in a loosely wrapped wonton skin. The sauce was basically light soy with a faint hint of peanut butter and sesame that was rather insipid. Something (anything) would have enlivened this a little but even the usual soy and chili oil were not provided at the table. The dish wasn’t bad… Just irretrievably mediocre.
BBQ pork in Honey Sauce – This looked like Char Siu in a light glaze but it tasted very much like ham with a slight hint of five spice powder. It might have been acceptable if it had been more than lukewarm but it was ultimately just a feeble effort.
This place was very expensive. I can appreciate that the surroundings and staff represent a lot of overhead but, for the money, I expect something better than I can get at any cheap, westernized Chinese restaurant anywhere in Canada. The service was not great and the whole experience disappointing. I give the place a 1 out of 5