Estea Beverage Club on Alexandra Rd in Richmond

Updated: 22nd Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

We found a new place for eating out last weekend which we like a lot.

We had stumbled upon Estea many months before when we were in this strip mall on Alexandra Road. We had forgotten about them until I came across them while researching for new places to go to. We had covered so much of Richmond that we are finding it harder to find new places.

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Estea is a really good find. The biggest problem with Estea is the location. Although it is located on Alexandra Rd you do not know it because it is hidden at the back of the strip mall (where Mongolie Grill is). It actually fronts Alderbridge Way but you can only access Estea from Alexandra. I thought Estea would do much better if they have a signboard that fronts the busy Alderbridge Rd.

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The dining area in Estea is cavernous and can seat up to 200 people. They have wifi here and we see young teenagers using notebooks. Coupled with the decor and the name of the place (Estea Beverage Club) tells me that this place is intended to be a place for youngsters to hangout.

We were there in the afternoon and the place had just about 10 customers in all. It does look empty but I remember when we first passed by Estea during dinner time, it was absolutely packed.

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We love the menu and the way it is laid out. I think you like that too. It is a very big colorful spread with lots of delicious looking pictures of their popular items.

Estea is a Taiwanese style restaurant. I am saying that because the menu has pictures of Taipei and the Taipei 101 Tower.

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Let’s start with the simpler dishes. Arkensen chose the Scrambled Egg with Shrimp on Top of Rice. It’s a simple dish and reminds me of “wat darn hor” which is basically the same except that it’s with rice noodle instead of steamed rice. $7.95.

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Estea’s individual dishes came with two sides — celery and daikon. We like the combination … the daikon was very soft, warm, spicy while the celery was served cold and crunchy.

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Nanzaro on the other hand wanted the Chicken in Chili Sauce with Peanut. It seems like Nanzaro is trying to outdo his brother and had this more “adulty” choice. They have this sibling rivalry thing going on now. They battle over everything … including who ordered the better food.

Like the earlier dish, this one also has the same two sides of daikon and celery… plus … it also includes a bowl of dessert soup (sweet potato and yam) and steamed rice.

It was really spicy hot. Nanzaro accidentally bit into a piece of dry chili and he said the heat is coming out of his ears. This young guy can take chili but when he said this is hot, it is. This is $7.50.

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Suanne and I decided to order dishes to share. We ordered two between the two of us. The first one was great. It is simply called the Lamb in Szechuan Style and cost $10.95.

Although it did not look spicy but it was … and we like it.

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It is the dried chili that make it so. Although I can eat it just like that when having Szechuan, I tried one here and left the rest untouched. It was simply too hot.

What makes it so hot anyway? I don’t think it’s just the seeds because they removed most of the seeds already. I hope to learn of the secret to predict how hot these chili are. Anyone?

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They also have these rooty looking things. I am not sure what it is. Suanne thinks it is called “sun yaw”. Can anyone tell us more about this uncommon vegetable/root and the use of this in Chinese cooking?

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The other dish we ordered to share is the Pork Stomach with Sour Vegetable Soup. We ordered the large one which cost $10.25. It was excellent for the cold winter day.

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It was a little spicy (from black peppers) and sourish. I like having the soup with rice. Although the bowl is really large and enough even for three people, there are not a lot of pig stomach. Wished there were more.

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Their bowls and cups are kind of fun. It’s in odd shapes. Overall, the servings are big which we appreciate a lot.

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The bill with tax came to $41.63. They accept cash and debit cards only. I paid with three $20 bills and guess what the waitress asked me. She asked if I needed the change! What does she think? She thinks I am going to tip 50% of the bill? I think it is rude to ask if a customer wanted change … they should just assume that the customer would want the change.

Other than that, we like Estea and will definitely come back again. We like the variety of food, the colorful menu, the food was good, the prices are reasonable.

Estea Beverage Club on Urbanspoon

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  1. The prawns with ‘wa tan’ sauce on rice looks delicious!

    kang at Londoneater.com

  2. Was the waitress kidding? You paid $60 and the bill was $41.63! If you dont want the change, she’ll be getting $18.37 tip! hahaha

  3. Mmmmm, food looks good and the decor is inviting. I like modern, calm and minimalist space. I’ll definitely check them out sometime.

    Re: waitress comment. I hear that more often than I care to, esp. when the actual bill + a reasonable 15% tip is well under the amount of money I hand to the server. In this case your server may have simply tried to be polite in asking even though it was obviously gauche of her to ask. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, Ben. Next time just say “YES !” 😉

  4. This is a really nice post, and the pics give a great pic of the restaurant! Such nice dishes too.

  5. Those “roots” are bamboo shoots.

  6. wow I remember when Estea was just a bubble tea place. I use to go there all the time back in the day. It looks like it got renovated because the decor looks much more modern and now they actually have real food on their menu too instead of instant noodles? haha I wonder if the one in burnaby is like this too now.

  7. The food and the drinks are very good, especially their beef noodle soup.

    The only thing I have to complain about is their service. Estea has very poor service(I mean it) and almost every time I go there I receive some sort of bad service.

    If the servers change their attitudes, then maybe I will stop going there for takeouts and actually dine in.

  8. I work as a waitress in another restaurant.. Asking about “do you want change” part is just to get through things faster and the major part is that the waitress probably HAD FORGOTTEN what the total of your bill was, considering that there are many other customers.

    1. Hi Jen,

      No excuse. I worked as a food server before too. As a customer now, and if I don’t get my change back, I will not only remember which restaurant it was but I will also tell my family and friends which restaurant it was that practice this. It happened to me very recently. I will not be giving them my business in the future. By the way, I am a generous tipper and I frequently eat out.

      1. That irks me big-time too. It’s even worse when they don’t ask and they don’t return! Which restaurant was this?

        1. Hi Mo,
          I don’t mind telling… It’s the (new) Golden Swan at East 37th and Victoria Dr. in Vancouver. I say new because it’s been under new management since early January 2011. It’s too bad the original owner did not take back the restaurant name and sold it along with the restaurant. The Golden Swan Restaurant had a certain reputation (good!) and a cachet attached to it when dining there. Anyway, my mother and I were waiting a good 15 to 20 minutes for our change. It was about 25% to 30% remaining, if left as tip money. The waiter who took our money not only never came back with the change, but it seemed the whole restaurant dining staff avoided our table after we paid. We never had a chance to see our change even though we never said “no change necessary” and anything to that effect, and sat waiting for our change. After sitting for a period of time, we got up and left. As an aside, there were no familiar faces from the old management, and the wait staff (including management) appear very young.

          1. Lucky we brought our bill to the actual manager at the til. Try giving not getting back 50% of your money back. Worse was the managers were laughing about it. They didn’t care that I could understand them. This was at Floata by the way. I make sure we have exact change and if not, I try to remember to bring the money to the managers directly. But sometimes we do forget.

          2. i find that when it’s less than their desire amount of tip, they do bring it back for you to add more!

  9. I’m a waiter and my personal rule for asking change is when it is around 10-15% of change left, and they put lots of coins in the bill, to let the servers know they don’t need the change. Other wise, I would never ask for change and just give them their change.

  10. So, I was at a friend’s house and we decided to order delivery from Estea. They took 2 hours to deliver our food to us. However, that was not even the problem. When I opened my food package, there was a lot of hair breaded into the chicken wings.
    I then phoned the establishment to get my food replaced. They then refused to deliver me new food unless I waited another 2 hours (equaling a total of 4 hours since I first ordered. Of course I declined. They said I had two options. One, go and pick up the food myself. Two, get food from them another night. To this, I replied that in the first place I wanted delivery because I didn’t want to leave home. However, they should pay me back for the tip I gave to the delivery guy and pay me for my gas. Suffice to say they refused.
    Never ever going back. Enough said.

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