Palette Tea Garden, San Mateo



Palette Tea Garden, San Mateo

Solid Dim Sum in Hillsdale Mall of all places!- Why did we dine here? – Palette Tea Garden is from the team behind top rated Chinese restaurants: Koi Palace and Dragon Beaux.

An outpost of Palette Tea Garden opened previously in San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square, and is called Palette Tea House. Menu looks identical.

We ate outside during the Covid 19 Pandemic.  They may or may not have inside/outside dining available, check with them.

Be sure to read:

Insider Tip – Dim Sum all day long

Cuisine – Cantonese Chinese
Location – San Mateo Hillsdale Mall
Opened – 2020

Service – Palette Tea House service was decent. On our last visit in Summer 2022 service was sluggish probably due to understaffing. No surprise during the Pandemic. We later got takeout at the end of 2022 and they forgot an item.
Verdict – Palette Tea House is a beautiful restaurant with upscale modern Chinese food. The restaurant is access to all, English is spoke, there is a mix of races, etc. Instagramable cuisine for all!
It is a work in progress, go to their sister restaurants if you care about food quality instead. Come here if the decor, food aesthetics, location, and cocktails are more important. $3 Covid sanitation fee.

The leading Chinese restaurant in the area include HL Peninsula, Koi Palace, Dragon Beaux and Grand Harbor.

18% service charge automatically added.

Is this restaurant worth a 5 minute drive? Yes. 30 minute? Maybe. 1 Hour? No.

Palette Tea House Signature Dishes – Dumplings, XLB, Peking Duck

Palette Tea House’s Menu for lunch, has a mix of dim sum and cooked dishes. Far fewer dim sum dishes that most spots. Dinner has some dim sum items available.

Website Palette Tea House Menu

Palette Tea House Food Picks:
Jasmine Green Tea ($1.50 per person) is real deal. Quality stuff.

Palette Tea Garden San Mateo shrimp dumplings

Lobster Ha Gow ($6) or lobster shrimp dumplings were very good. Far better than the one we had in San Francisco. Cute dropper of lobster oil.

Crispy Typhoon Shrimp dumplings ($8 for 5) are deep fried versions of the classic. yum. 9/10

Crispy Curry Beef Puff ($8.50) are medium sized ham sui gok with mostly classic filling, not much curry. Solid. 8/10

Rainbow Prawn Crepe ($10) was good with quality prawns. Pretty good sized. Interestingly there is some cheese in there. 8.5/10

Lotus leaf unagi sticky rice ($10) is an amped up version of the classic with abalone, chinese sausage and more. 8.5/10

Crispy Impossible Mapo Tofu ($20) is very good. Hard to believe it is not beef. 8.5/10

Abalone Longevity Noodle ($28) is expensive but has real abalone on a bed of egg noodles. Well done. 9/10

Half Peking Duck ($38) is a beautifully plated dish. Thin skin with precut duck chunks. Daikon, cucumber, scallions and hoisin sauce for packing into thin crepes. A lot nicer eaten in restaurant than takeout. 8/10

Palette Tea Garden San Mateo rice daikon xo cucumbers

XO Radish Cake ($9) was also well done with home made xo sauce on top. 8/10

Cucumber & Avocado ($7) is also a good dish for vegetarians.

Palette Tea Garden San Mateo chow fun

Wagyu Beef Chow fun ($24) was good but not super. Cooked fine, meat quality was average. 7.5/10

Palette Tea Garden San Mateo roast squab

Roast Squab ($16) was freshly fried and still juicy. Well done. Removed from menu on Summer 2021 visit.

Vegetarian Red Rice ($15) is a must get for vegetarians.  Whole grain rice with golden raisins. Removed from menu on Summer 2021 visit.

Cauliflower Fried Rice ($17) was new on our Summer 2021 visit. We opted for no eggs.  It was a solid version. 8/10

Palette Tea Garden San Mateo Lobster noodle roll pea shoots

Pea Tenrils ($18) were cooked just fine but a TINY portion. 8/10

Palette Tea Garden San Mateo bluberry mochi

Blueberry Mochi Balls ($6.50) was a nice variant of the classic. Fresh and hot with crunchy bits. 9/10

OK: (Order if you like this dish)

Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)

Do you agree with our review? Have you found other similar restaurants that are better?

Restaurant Map:

Overall Rating: (Very Good 2.5)

Come Back?

Food Rating: (Very Good)
Service Rating: (Very Good)
Atmosphere Rating: (Very Good)
Value Rating: (Good)

Guide: 0 = poor, 1 = Below/Average, 2 = Good, 2.5 = Very Good, 3 = Excellent , 4 = Extraordinary

Alcohol:Beer, Wine

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