New(ish) Restaurant Reviews: Tim Ho Wan & Granville Pasadena

Don’t you love a weekend where you get to try new restaurants? It was one of those Saturday’s for me, and even better, I got to visit new restaurants with friends I don’t get to see very often. The first stop was Tim Ho Wan, the Michelin star rated dim sum, which newly opened in Irvine.

Tim Ho Wan

Location: Irvine
Pricing: $$$ (for dim sum)
Points of Charm:

  • It’s a rare occasion when I can’t come up with at least 3 points of charm for most restaurants. The only thing I really enjoyed was their BBQ Pork Buns. They achieved a perfectly flaky outside crust, filled with savory, sweet pieces of BBQ pork inside. I typically don’t order BBQ Pork Buns at dim sum, but these are definitely worth trying.

Other than that though, unfortunately, there wasn’t much else to write home about. We ordered some more unique items like their shrimp toast, which was over-fried and really oily. We also got the standard favorites like Har Gow, Shu Mai, and radish cakes. The former two were fine, but not any better than other dim sum restaurants. The radish cakes only came with two pieces and were flat and rather sad looking. Given that it’s a 1.2 – 2-hour wait and the dishes run about $5 – $7 a pop, it was a disappointment. If you’re ever in the area, maybe call in and order some BBQ Pork Buns for pick-up.

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Granville

Location: Pasadena
Pricing: $$
Points of Charm:

  • The rooftop is probably the biggest highlight of this location of Granville. It’s almost like a mini LA-Eataly. I heard it’s great for happy hour, but unfortunately, we didn’t sit up there because LA still thinks it’s winter.
  • The interior of the restaurant is also beautiful, with two floors and bar shelving that is reminiscent of the library that the Beast built for Belle. The second floor has a large table that looks great for a special occasion or a large group dinner.

As much fun as it was trying new restaurants this weekend, it was unfortunate that neither had much to rave about. For Granville, I give it two points of charm instead of my usual three. Although there’s a pretty extensive and interesting cocktail menu, two out of three of us who ordered cocktails didn’t enjoy our drinks. The Ginny Hendricks seemed a bit like kimchi water, where none of the ingredients really fused together. You’d get a random bite of strawberry in one sip, and a jalapeno in the other. The Medicina mezcal cocktail was okay but forgettable.

The menu is your standard “American” fare with a selection of appetizers like Mac n Cheese, a list of salads that were not particularly appealing (like Thai Ginger and Caesar), and a selection of burgers and sandwiches. It’s like a fancy Panera Bread.

All in all, it’s a beautiful restaurant and is perfect for grabbing a drink on the rooftop and for when you’re in the mood for sweet potato fries or Mac n Cheese.

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