By Danny M. at 2013-01-27
This place has been here forever and don't ask me why I haven't come here sooner for their hotpot. I am asking myself that same question and I am afraid to admit that I live by here and I eat in Chinatown frequently. Anyway, no more regrets because I will start coming here for hotpot in the future.
This place was recommended by my cousin and upon arriving, the place was pretty empty on a Saturday night, which usually isn't a good sign in Chinatown. The outside looks old, but surprisingly the inside is completely different from what you would expect. It is pretty nice for an older place. We came here with 6 people and were seated in a big comfy table that had extra room, which is always nice.
The hotpot broth we got were the Szechwan Spicy Soup and the Herbal Soup because it was recommended by my cousin and the server also recommended us it. We ordered pretty much almost 3/4 the menu the 1st round lol. The broth itself is really good and more importantly, the sauce and beef was the best. Things to try here are the sliced beef brisket, fish balls, fish tofu, fish fillet, tofu puffs, shrimp balls, dumplings, udon, and all the veggies! I wouldn't recommend the shrimp because they have shells and that takes too much time IMO. In general, everything was so good.
Now the only thing I didn't like about this place is that although it is AYCE hotpot for $17, you are somewhat limited. You get 3 appetizers per table and it will come with the amount of people you have per appetizer. We ordered the Hsia Long Bao (steamed pork dumplings with soup aka Xiao Long Baos), Scallion Pancake, and Crispy Spring Roll. The dumplings and the pancakes were really good, but the spring roll was just blah. Also, some items, if you want second servings, there is an additional charge for them per table. So if you wanted second round of fish tofu, it is a $3 extra per table on top of the $17 AYCE fee. There are like 5 items out of the whole menu that has this additional charge though, so it really isn't too bad.
By Diana G. at 2013-01-27
My guy and I were in chinatown deciding on what to eat and decided to come here for the egg rolls. Eh....
Egg Rolls - They were okay this time, but there was no homemade mustard sauce like last time. Just those package one that looked like they were starting to go bad.
Shredded Chicken - I've learned my lesson, will not order this besides from Hong Min. This should have been called Onion Chicken. It was so salty and the onions were barely cooked. YUCK!
Combination Egg Foo Young - My guy got this and didn't think it was all that great. I tried a little of the gravy and wasn't impressed.
Brought the leftovers home just to see if they agree. My brother tried the egg foo young and said it wasn't good. We threw the rest out.
Don't think I'll return!
By Selena L. at 2013-11-16
I wouldn't recommend coming here for anything other than hot pot.
By Vina O. at 2012-06-21
My husband and I came here with a groupon. We live very close to Chinatown and have dined at several of the restaurants here. I have to say that Cantonesia is probably one of my least favorites in the area. We ordered the Mandarin pan fried fish fillet cooked in sweet ginger sauce, moo shoo pork, beef skewers, and taro milk tea. You could tell the fish was not fresh. And it did not taste "fried" at all. It was like soft pieces of fish smothered in sweet sauce and sesame seeds... something I could have made at home, probably even better.
Beef skewers were chewy and slightly dry, taro milk was waaaaaaaay too sweet. The only thing that we enjoyed was the moo shoo pork w/ the rice paper and plum sauce. It was a generous portion that was well executed and could be easily split among 2.
Overall, I'd never come here again. There are so many better restaurants in Chinatown that are cheap too.
By Ebs B. at 2010-04-07
Hot pot all up in da' house! My friends know and understand that I'm a germaphobe and hot pot with many people is probably not my thing. So, to combat my germ issues, i decided to go with only one other person which definitely worked out. Instead of sharing one broth for the hot pot, the restaurant was able to divide the broth into 2 sections in the pot.
Vegetarians note: All of their broths have a meat base, so if you want to boil your vegetables, you'll be using plain water which we all know lacks flavor.
The 15% off Yelp coupon does not work on the hot pot, but they did take 10% off for us.
After reading Jennie T.'s review, we didn't get ice cream :( Aargh!
Summing it up, it was okay. Though looking at the rest of the menu, I definitely want to go back and try their other selections!
By Jennifer Z. at 2013-01-11
**Review only for Karaoke Downstairs**
Stopped in on Christmas for karaoke after dinner- the other karaoke establishments in Chinatown had all been booked. The karaoke rooms are downstairs in the basement and it seems they have two separate rooms- one small and one medium. Obviously not the best environment or sound system but decent song selection- including English, Chinese, and Korean songs. Electronic system to choose songs was easy to use, but otherwise the place resembled someone's basement...and not a nice one at that. Some tables and chairs along with what seemd like a home entertianment center with wire mics and speakers.Open till 2 am and for the "medium" room, it was $35/hr. note tax, drinks, and 18% gratuity are all extra!
By Marc J. at 2012-01-29
Purchased a groupon for Cantonesia...and the food was edible. I was impressed w/ the portion size/price, but couldn't help but wonder what the food was meant to taste like as my dumplings were extremely bland. I was also disappointed with the slow service...to the point where I got up to ask for the bill.
If you're starving and just want to stuff your face and be full, this is the place to go. But don't expect to leave having enjoyed a delicious Chinese meal.
By Carol K. at 2010-02-24
Every year, we do a Chinatown "pub" crawl and hit up 4-5 places during an afternoon. This is no small feat as while there are many places that serve alcohol- few of them have a separate bar that you can sit at and drink. Cantonesia is one of the few.
While I can't speak for the food here, the small bar, located in the back , will be happy to serve you Tsingtao beer all afternoon long. Ask for anything more complicated and you may run into a bit of a language problem but after some coaching, you can probably get what you want. We did- but it took us leaning over the bar to try to find the tonic for the gin and tonic that was ordered.
Once the staff caught on that we were there just to drink- the beers were quick to come. They wanted to accomodate our group and kept offering to get more bar stools. Here's a hint, if you go- know that there are only 7 so once you hit that number- the rest of your party will be standing.
If you drink here, you will probably have to use the restroom which is another intereting experience. Walk down the stairs as you will find the restrooms in the basement. Not any place I'd want to spend any time- but certainly functional if not a little creepy.
The front door opens hard, they sometimes don't open on time (this seems to be an issue around Chinatown) and communication is a bit of a challenge. But if you want a bar to cozy up to in Chinatown- Cantonesia fits the bill nicely. Maybe next time I'll give the food a try!
By KELLIE K. at 2011-07-06
Like a welcome wagon of comfort food, those two words are still there, enticing you to come inside:
This time, this sign is printed.
The bartender was super friendly and even let us plug in our poor, dying phones (those check-ins drain the batteries!). We sat at the bar and watched the giant TV and drank some lovely cocktails. Good stuff, though still not strong enough for my taste.
See you again on the next whirlwind tour, Cantonesia!
By Erika G. at 2009-03-06
Trailing out of Chinatown after our whirlwind tour, "Bar Open" was what lured us into Cantonesia for a nightcap (neither one of us own cars, people, we're not driving!). The restaurant cleared out immediately after we sashayed up to the bar, though. A dead Thursday night. The cocktails were well made, but didn't have that extra artistry that Won Kow so lovingly provides. The bartender was cute and chatty, though, and we caught up on news on the GIANT TV on the wall.
Review for bar area only. A couple places on my list that I'd return to before this place, but it did have a bar you can actually sit at if you're so inclined, which I always like.
By NARDO Q. at 2012-03-07
This place has some delicious Shrimp/Lobster sauce (its a bisk type of soup), it might not look very good but wow does it send your taste buds dancing. We went for my brothers wifes birthday - it was four adults and two children (under 3 years old). We ordered the "Dinner for 4", well we all ate and had A LOT to take home. It was a little expensive but we ended up with a dinner for 6 and lunch for the next day for 3 (two adults and a child). Their s/c or service charge, was a little high but we went with a Groupon so ended up paying total 80 (36 for the groupon and the rest for the meal and drinks). Also, forgot the mention that for drinks we had the Asian something something - under the Sangria section in the drink menu. WOW, delicious! It is a must.
On a funny note, the people who went with me and myself are Mexicans and we were drinking Sake, the table next to us were all asians and they had Coronas. What a wonderful city we live in, huh? Awesome experience.
MIGHT BE BYOB, CALL TO MAKE SURE - they do have a full bar though.
By Jennie T. at 2010-01-26
This was where I had my first hot pot in Chicago last year. I remembered that I had a good experience and so I organized a hot pot dinner here last week. The food was pretty good save the frozen vegetables... I was surprise to see how frozen the winter melon was. Then I remembered that that was my experience last winter too.
I enjoyed the assortment of dipping sauce ingredients. I think this place has the best variety of ingredients for the dipping sauce.
The $15.95 all-you-can-eat hot pot also comes with 3 appetizers of your choice (go for the Shanghainese dumplings-- they're delicious!) AND ice cream for dessert (vanilla, strawberry or chocolate --- they don't have my favorite red bean ice cream).
The place is a little empty -- this tends to worry me about new places but I like it because when places are packed (like Mandarin Kitchen), you'll leave the restaurant smelling like the food you ate.
And as Tiff H. noted, the bathrooms are scary so I suggest saving room for more dessert afterwards at Saint's Alps Teahouse just around the block.
Oh, and discounts and coupons can't be used for all-you-can-eat hot pot. Bummer. I was hoping to apply the current 15% off for yelpers when Tiff and I went.
By Judy L. at 2010-12-21
This review is based only on their karaoke rooms and drinks. Never dined there. My friends and were were in a KTV mode on night and originally planned on going to Sakura or Sunday at Three Happiness. We saw the sign outside Cantonesia marketing their new karaoke rooms and decided to give them a call. In fact, calling them is the first thing they advise because after we walked in, we ran into another door with a sign (or piece of paper) that said "For KTV, please call..." We thought it was a bit shady at first and guys got all giddy thinking calling meant you would have special friendly "female singers" to accompany you while you sing just like they do in mainland China. Turns out, they only have 2 KTV rooms and calling ahead insures you will get one.
The price is $25 per hour, which is the cheapest to sing in a VIP room in Chinatown on a weekend. Since it's the cheapest, don't go in with high expectations. The karaoke rooms are situated in the basement area, where it's dark and dank and also caused me to fear cockroaches and the like. The rooms are spacious with the smaller room able to seat 8-10. We peeked into the larger room and it's HUGE, definitely able to seat 15-18 comfortable, although I don't know if it'll meet the fire safety hazard rules.
It seemed all the furniture in the rooms are from Ikea and the walls are paper thin. Definitely ask if there is another party there before you book or else you will proceed to have a screaming/singing match. If you're not picky about where you sing and just want to focus on the company and your singing talents, then Cantonesia isn't a bad option for a cheaper night out. Go elsewhere if are picky~
By Eric M. at 2010-02-12
Even with a coupon, it's overpriced, room is creepily painted black, food was, at its best, average, service was inconsistent.
Was it the worst restaurant ever? No. But that's about the best thing I can say about it. They really tried on some dishes, but things just didn't quite come together.
I think, basically, they're a tourist trap because of their location right across Cermak from the Chinatown gate.
By Debbie L. at 2010-02-15
ABSOLUTELY NOT. This experience today is what made me create a Yelp account so that I can inform everyone of the experience I had today.
I'm not a picky customer, I am EXTREMELY understanding, so I was expecting slow service today on Chinese New Years, and growing up accustomed to Chinatown service, I understand that I'm not to expect top notch service. I didn't expect to wait an hour for an order that we never got, and watching 2 people that came in after us be served food. The only thing that was served to us was a coke, which we paid for before we walked out. I was tempted to not pay it, but I'm not that rude of a customer.
First off, the lady was rude and gave us an attitude when we weren't ready. Ok, I let that go because it's busy, and she's having a rough day.
Secondly, my friend asked for tea. 15 minutes later, still no tea and we ask again. We still did not get the tea we asked for.
After more than an hour of a wait with still no tea or food, we leave. We were absolutely disgusted with the service, and was quite embarrassed as everyone was being served but us. The waitress "apologizes" to us and blames the chef for her negligence.
I absolutely REFUSE to come back. My bf, friend and I know better than to make this horrible mistake again, we we hope that everyone is aware of the horrible service that they could have at this restaurant.
By Ryan G. at 2009-06-05
Stopped in while cruising Chinatown, drawn by pictures of food outside the glass door which was also adorned with a hand-drawn sign that read "pull hard." What was I getting myself into...?
The lone waitress dropped her cleaning supplies on another table (which were still there by the time I left) and led me to my table. The place was empty. The bar girl and 2 owner/manager/chefs huddled around the HDTV showing the NBA finals. When the waitress gave them my order, they literally sprang to life, like they didn't even know I was there.
The bar was in clear sight of me so I couldn't help but observe the bar girl make my Strawberry daiquiri - observe her overfill the glass, watch some spill over (which she didn't bother to clean) and bring it over, only to have more spill over when I attempted to move my straw. $3.50.
My scallop appetizer arrived - pan-seared scallops on a bed of lettuce with a hot sesame-lemon-honey sauce. The scallops didn't taste like anything and were watery on the inside (probably frozen). I almost wanted more sauce to give it some kind of flavor but didn't bother eating more of the watery things. $12.
My main arrived - Hot Scallion Beef with onions and steamed rice. It was OK, no different in quality than my local Chinese (Tom Lee's) but I wished I was eating their version because I would only pay half there for the same thing I was eating at Cantonesia. $11.
The decor looked OK, but upon closer inspection I saw electrical panels hanging from wires on the wall and dirty/deteriorating wood next to the stairs leading to the upper dining area (was there really that many people here at one point to need an upper dining area?).
I asked for the check and went down to the restroom, which was in their basement, as was a a strong musty smell, that led to the freezer door. Outside of the restroom, boxes and excess stuff was strewn about. Inside the restroom was a mess - it hadn't been cleaned in days, smelled of urine and had expletives carved over the entire stall door (and that was the outside of the stall).
Cantonesia - over-priced, sub-par Chinese restaurant with a full bar that fails miserably and doesn't even bother keeping it clean. Stay away.
By magic g. at 2012-09-04
i've been here many times by now. love the food and the drinks, but ....
i've had a horrible groupon experience there this time around :(
i do understand businesses sometimes lose money on groupon, but ... if you don't want to honor it - don't offer it. then again, maybe it was just a "mistake" on this particular server's part (who's new) - JULIE
got the $30 for $60 deal and ... we did get there late (1/2 h before closing), but the groupon offered food & drinks, yet we were told "no more drinks". but hey, let's just get bunch of food then, right?
well, my math skills aren't what they used to be, but when i order 4 dishes at $6-8 each and few appetizers below $5, it still doesn't seem to ad up to "$62 dalla". so i politely asked for Julie to double check. she did and said, "yes correct - $62". well, then i asked for a detailed check with prices, so then i could do some paper math.
still didn't seem to add up to $62, so asked for the _2nd time_ while pointing at the bill.
"let me check" - & yes magically, this time around the total end up being $48 ... $20 difference!
we end up being offered "one more dish to go", but my love for this place has been scorched.
By Jef B. at 2009-08-25
We originally came to Chinatown for (1) shopping and (2) dim sum, hopefully at Phoenix. When we got our ticket at Phoenix we were told we would have a one hour wait. We didn't really want to spend all day in Chinatown, so we went searching for a lunch alternative. That was how we found Cantonesia.
Perfectly okay dim sum, nothing special. The place was dead and we were one of 3 occupied tables. Originally no East Asian people eating in the restaurant, all Caucasian. Then a young Asian couple came in.
The bathrooms downstairs are pretty scary but clean. The entire restaurant looks very run down. But I was thankful to get a quick lunch, and food is food. I agree with other reviewers that this place is way too expensive for the quality.
By Crystal P. at 2008-12-03
On my quest to eat as much meat as possible before I give it up again on new years, My brother and I went to Cantonesia. The inside is very sleek looking (you wouldn't guess by the outside) It has dark wood and nice hardwood floors. The waitresses were friendly and helpful and the food was good and Cheap (2 of us ate for less the 20 ).
We got twice cooked pork It was yummy and slightly spicy stir fried with cabbage and red peppers We could have used more rice but otherwise perfect.
We also had hot and sour soup and it was some of the best I have had!!
I also noted that they have really cheap drinks... so I am thinking pre game and dinner one night!
and they have a lot of vegetarian options... so after the ball drops I will be back!
By Vickie L. at 2009-07-26
Just ate here tonight, i am still stuffed! Inside is actually pretty nice, the floors are clean, and they have dark wood tables and chairs. It's not very big, about 15 tables, but it looks like the have a small upstairs area too. One of the waitresses greeted us and sat us as soon as we got there. One plus is that all of the wait staff spoke English pretty well. A lot better than some of the other restaurants in Chinatown.
The food came out very quickly. We started off with these small pork dumplings, it was an order of 18 dumplings for $9. They were steamed, not fried, so the wrappers were soft. Very tasty with a lot of meat inside, not a lot of veggies. For our main entrees, we shared the following: Clams with garlic & black bean sauce, Szechuan green beans, Peking Duck (1/2 duck) and General Tso's Chicken.
Clams - I've had this dish at a few restaurants in Chinatown, but this place had the largest clams I've ever had in this dish! They were humongous and plentiful. The sauce was tasty, but there wasn't as much sauce as I would have liked, and it was a bit thick, it felt like they didn't stir the sauce as much as they should have. But overall - wonderful dish.
Green beans - nicely cooked, shriveled well with a little black on them. Great flavor with a little bit of kick from the peppers. We got the General Tsos chicken because no one can really mess this dish up. The flavor was very good, sweet and also spicy, but wished they had cooked it a little longer so the breading was a little crispier.
Peking Duck - We got the 1/2 Peking Duck entree for $16. We got this instead of the dinner for 2 because we really didn't want the soup or stir fry dish, plus she said that they only served the skin with the wrappers, not the meat + skin. Whereas with the 1/2 duck order, they serve the sking + meat. We've had peking duck at about 3-4 different places in Chinatown, and everyone has served it differently. The waitress prepared each of us our duck wraps with the mooshu wrapper, hoisin sauce, scallions and duck (so 3 wraps total). Then she left the dish of duck with cabbage at our table to eat. She didn't leave wrappers, so I guess they only serve 1 wrapper per person, then you eat the rest of the meat as if it were an entree. So we were a little bummed. It was a decent duck, but really not too special.
Service - our waitress and the other waitress that helped her bring out the dishes were really really nice. Our waitress kept our water full at all times - I've never had as good of service at a restaurant in Chinatown than here. Check also came out in a timely manner and she wrapped our food up for us too.
So we are still on the hunt for the best Peking Duck in Chinatown. Any and all suggestions are welcome.