Kim Tao Hot Pot

Kim Tao is a hotpot restaurant located in Richmond Hill with mixed reviews, mainly focused on the poor service. After my recent visit, my thoughts are mixed as well. On one hand the food was good quality and there were lots of elements included in the set price. On the other, service was inconsistent and they were understaffed. The two almost cancel each other out and to be honest, the service wasn’t rude or inefficient and relative to other Chinese hot pot places, not too off the mark.

Atmosphere: We had a large group and ended up seated at 2 round tables in the centre of the restaurant. The dining are was well ventilated and there wasn’t much steam built up inside. Paper and laminated signs covered the walls advertising specials in English and Chinese. The space felt worn and a little dingy but was clean and consistently full.

Service: My main gripes with service were the lack of care and inconsistency. Every server was friendly, but it didn’t make up for these two faults. First the lack of care. When ordering dinner, each table has an option to add a cooked dish (ie: rice pot). Our table only received one order form to select soup base, even though we knew we’d be getting three pots. So we tried to figure out how to place the form and then forgot to order our cooked dish, the server didn’t prompt us at all. At the end of our meal, it took a good 20 minutes to get our bill.

Second was the inconsistency. Either there was no one to refill the pot with stock, or they refilled it twice within the span of 5 minutes. This was the same for refills on the pitchers of plum juice or iced tea. Then there was the food portion. Unlike any other AYCE place, Kim Tao always brought more food than we ordered. We’d order 5 plates of lamb and at least 8 would show up. One serving of tripe was ¼ of a plate on the first order but turned into an entire plate for the second order. I didn’t understand how their order sheet translated to serving size.

Food: Where Kim Tao did deliver was the food. They had a great selection of sauces, peanut, garlic, cilantro, chili, satay, everything you could ask for. The broth selection was also decent and I liked how satay was non premium choice. I also loved that pitchers or plum juice and iced tea were complimentary and refills were provided. This was a big plus for me.

All of us chose the non seafood course and even then, squid and octopus were available. The selection and quality of hot pot ingredients was one of the best I’ve been to with tripe, fresh fish/beef balls, pork rind, gluten, all sorts of noodles, blood, seasonal vegetables and so much more. There wasn’t anything I found missing and for $20.99, it was a good deal.

Dessert of mango sago was also complementary but I found it watery and could’ve skipped it. Overall, with a little patience, Kim Tao is worth a visit based on the food and value.

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Kim Tao Hot Pot on Urbanspoon

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