Looking for somewhere to satisfy your sweet tooth? In search of a decadent treat to help your troubles melt away? Richmond is abound with many options for great dessert and we’ve rounded up ten of the best spots in town to indulge. Go ahead. Live a little.
While its name may conjure up images of Willy Wonka and the burning desire to book the next available appointment with your dentist, Sugarholic Cafe (Unit 1008, 4151 Hazelbridge Way) inside Aberdeen Centre is much classier than that. It offers an Asian-inspired take on the English afternoon high tea service. For about $30 a person, you get your choice of tea, plus an impressive tower of cakes, tarts, mousses, macarons and other delectable goodies. If you’re not quite as interested in high tea, Sugarholic Cafe also offers a “honey toast” with such toppings as banana and chocolate, caramel, blueberry, and red bean matcha for about $10.
Snowy Village Dessert Cafe
Taiwanese style shaved ice dessert has been popular in Richmond for a great number of years, but one of the hottest new trends is the Korean version of shaved ice known as bingsoo. And a great place to have bingsoo is at Snowy Village (Unit 113, 8571 Alexandra Road). One characteristic that differentiates bingsoo from its Taiwanese equivalent is the consistency of the ice. The texture is more like fluffy snow, partly thanks to the milk added to the ice. Traditional toppings include red beans and condensed milk, but Snowy Village goes well beyond that by offering sweet rice cakes, green tea, soybean powder, cheesecake, Oreo, mango, strawberry and more. Bowls range from $7 to $12. While at Snowy Village, be sure also to get some taiyaki ($3.50 each, $10 for three), a fish-shaped waffle with your choice of filling, including custard or Nutella.
The Bubble Tea Shop
It’s hardly a secret what you can expect to find at The Bubble Tea Shop (Unit 105, 4651 Number 3 Road). It’s right there in the name. The bigger challenge, perhaps, is finding this humble little shop in the first place. It’s where you’d least expect it, in the parking lot below the Real Canadian Superstore. Maybe the location is apt, since that’s also where you’ll find local gem HK BBQ Master. The wide array of bubble tea choices (ranging from about $4 to $6) can be overwhelming at first — fruity flavors, milky teas, cold or hot, slushy or not… and that’s before you choose between pearls, coconut jelly, kiwi popping boba, aloe vera pieces and more — but then you also get to choose from Hong Kong style egg waffles (about $4 to $8) with your choice of filling too.
I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream. If you’re looking for a novel twist on an old classic, look no further than 720 Sweets (Unit 1121, 8328 Capstan Way). Located inside Union Square, 720 Sweets delivers its delicious soft serve ice cream with dry ice, resulting in an icy smoke effect that engulfs your bowl ($5.95). The ice cream is then further enhanced with your choice of toppings. For people who prefer a more subtle sweetness, the Matcha Madness with green tea ice cream, mochi, red bean, rice krispies and condensed milk is a popular choice. New on the menu is Moo-tella, a nutella-infused soft serve ice cream launched with the opening of the Richmond location. Try one today!
Leisure Tea & Coffee
The wood and brick interior of Leisure Tea & Coffee (Unit 1110, 8391 Alexandra Road) might not be exactly what you’d normally expect from a popular dessert place. It might feel more like a sushi restaurant or a German schnitzel haus. Look past the interior and you’ll find a healthy assortment of waffles, crepes and shaved ice (about $5-6). Try the assorted bean milk icy and add some pearls for good measure. Unsurprisingly, the wide selection of coffee and tea (about $4-6), including multiple brews of each both hot and cold, is equally impressive. Looking for something warm? Sweet soups ($5.25 with two items, $5.75 with three) like red bean tofu can also be served hot.
A fan of French-inspired pastries and baked goods? Want a taste of Paris without enduring the ten-hour flight overseas? Take the much shorter trip to L’Opera Patisserie (Unit 153, 5951 Minoru Boulevard) for more convenient access to the elegant indulgence of French macarons ($2 each). The pastries are impressive delicate, from almond croissants to traditional mille-feuille, from fruit tarts to a wide selection of cakes. They even have fancy chandeliers to add to the Parisian-styled ambiance.
What do you do when you have a craving for night market eats when summer is far away in your rearview mirror? If you’re looking for bubble waffles, head on over to Bubble Queen (Unit 1180, 8888 Odlin Crescent) on the McKim Way exterior of Pacific Plaza. The famous egg waffles (starting around $3.50) are available in a variety of flavours, including mango, taro, pineapple, sesame, and mocha, as well as with such toppings as Oreo crumbs, chocolate chips and even shredded dried pork for a savoury twist. While there, grab one of the fancier bubble teas (about $5+) with chunks of chocolate bars like After Eight, Bueno, Toblerone or Kit Kat.
As its name implies, Icy Bar (4940 Number 3 Road) serves up flavoured shaved ice in your choice of flavour and toppings ($7-12). And they certainly don’t skimp on those toppings with over 30 items for you to choose from. In addition to more common options like tapioca balls and standard mochi, you get more traditional toppings like peanut and kidney bean, as well as unique offerings like mango poppers and lychee poppers that literally “pop” in your mouth. You can also choose fresh fruit toppings like honeydew and watermelon. The crepe-like pancakes and sweet sticky rice are great desserts too, particularly the durian flavour if you’re into that kind of thing.
Located inside Excel Centre, Berry Good (Unit 1120, 8766 McKim Way) isn’t really about berries at all. Instead, the reason why you’d come to this cafe is to enjoy one of their cake and drink combinations (about $8-9). For that price, you get a beverage of your choice, like an ice chai tea latte or a white chocolate macchiato, plus a slice of cake. The small dessert restaurant changes things up with a new cake and cheesecake selection each day. Some days, you might find an earl grey cheesecake. Other days, you may be surprised by a green tea chiffon cake. Either way, if you like cake, you won’t be disappointed.
Excellent Tofu & Snacks
For the most part, this list of dessert places has focused primarily on more “modern” desserts, most of which are cold. For something more traditional, including many more hot dessert options, turn to Excellent Tofu & Snack (Unit 160, 4231 Hazelbridge Way), located next door to the hugely popular Lido Restaurant in Central Plaza. The star here is the authentic homemade soy pudding dessert ($3.50-$4.50), which you can get hot or cold. You can get it plain or with such toppings as maple syrup, red bean paste, mixed fruit, evaporated milk, young coconut meat or basil seeds. The soy-based focus continues with excellent soy milk ($1.50 plain, $4.25 with one mix), which can also be jazzed up with everything from grass jelly to barley.
Whether you’re looking to grab a bubble tea on the run or you want to spend an afternoon relaxing over high tea with a tower of fancy pastries, there’s a great dessert place in Richmond for you. There are also some great gyms to work those desserts off afterward.