Dinesty is a restaurant in Richmond that serves a surprisingly wide range (schizophrenic even) of regional Chinese cuisine, some presented with a slightly modern twist. Despite the terrible pun a poor misguided restauranteur mistakens for a restaurant name, a tip from friends assured us the food is actually pretty good.

(Top to Bottom: 1. Dinesty handcraft food for your tastebuds. Many similar gems appear throughout the menu. 2. Stir-fried Rice Noodles. Good, but not as good as Auntie’s.)

We arrived just after 5pm, so the kitchen and staff appeared to be just settling in and the crowds were noticeably absent. The dining room looks expansive, well spaced with contemporary interior design — a nice change from most Chinese restaurants that take their interior decorating cue from restaurant fire sales and court-ordered auctions.

Although there were a number of entree-sized dishes, Dinesty offers a fair assortment of tapas-like dishes, so Case and I decided to try out a variety of smaller dishes. We started off with Bean Curd & Spinach: finely minced bean curd gently tossed with stir fried spinach, served cold. The dish had a nice texture and was flavourful, with distinct hints of sesame oil.

(Top to Bottom: 1. A big window allows voyeuristic diners to see what’s going on in the kitchen. 2. Ancient Oil Fish, hopefully doesn’t mean recycled oil was used to make this dish.)

Case insisted on the Stir Fried Rice Noodles, which were similar to those that my Auntie makes: super thin rice noodles fried with julienned carrots, mushrooms and cabbage with garlic and sesame oil. Not as good as Auntie’s, but a pretty good effort nonetheless.

Next, we ordered something called Ancient Oil Fish — methinks something got lost in translation on that one. Pieces of white fish are poached in oil infused with what looks like whole pieces of habanero peppers. The fish is moist and has absorbed some of the spicy goodness from the peppers. No fear, it’s not as spicy as it looks unless you’re foolish enough to bite into the actual pepper to find out what it tastes like. Ahem.

(Left to Right: 1. Refreshing guava juice. 2. Coconut Tapioca dessert.)

For dessert, we had a Coconut Tapioca with caviar-sized tapioca swimming in a creamy coconut pudding. It was light and extremely refreshing, yet mildly sweet.

Our meal came to $30 including tax and tip, which we thought was pretty decent. The food overall is pretty solid, but don’t bother expecting stellar service — it was lackluster at best.

Perfect for: A contemporary twist on regional Chinese dishes.

The Details

8111 Ackroyd Road, Richmond

Dinesty Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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