Shopping Mall eats
- Food Tourist Mar 18, 2005 02:02 PM
If you had to eat at a mall, which one would you choose and why?
I had to eat at Bayview Village today, and was disappointed by the lunch special at Yenching. Too many peanuts and not enough meat in the Kung Pao Chicken; Canadian-style breaded "fish" balls in red "sweet and sour" sauce; and bland bean sprouts on rice for $7.50. The many Chinese customers seemed happy but they weren't eating the daily special. I avoided Oliver and Bonacini because of their high prices, but maybe I would have been happier there.
I used to love eating at Savoia (Marche-style Italian) at Sherway Gardens years ago.
What is the best food at Pacific Mall, Sherway Gardens, Yorkdale, Ikea, Hazelton Lanes, etc.?
At the Eaton Centre you can nip outside to the Trinity Church (at the entrance just north of Mr. Greenjeans) for their soup and sandwich specials. Homemade and always fresh. (and cheap to boot!)And in the summer you can sit outside at the cafe's tables and chairs
re: keane fan
Are you thinking of Sierra Grill? It's not really new.
It's main feature is a salad bar that's well worth a visit. Full of lots of lovely things, many fresh or lightly marinated, rather than slathered with mayonaise as in many salad bars. Try the soups, the chef has a heavy hand with the salt sometimes, but otherwise, they're very good.
The rest of the menu, on the other hand, I can't be bothered with. They don't even manage to get white rice right and they couldn't grill a chicken breast to save their lives.
With that list, you can't really compare shopping malls. For instance, Pacific Mall is run very differently from traditional North American malls and has far more of a focus on food. You will do much better there than at a mall like Yorkdale.
There are lots of recommendations on this board for places in and around Pacific Mall, but I'd like to put a vote in for Satay Rio, which serves Chinese/Malaysian food. My girlfriend, who moved to Malaysia for much of her youth, finds this restaurant's dishes quite authentic.
DJ,The Korean place is my favourite too! Whenever I went to Fairview Mall,The Taste of Korea would be my only "food-stop".I used to have their chicken bulgogi at least once a week. The sad news is that the business is no longer there. They closed down couple of months ago and I am still dying for their spicy chicken bulgogi
My vote for mall eats ("normal" malls) ...
- Cajun place in the Sherway Garden food court
- Carribean place in the Dundas Mall food court (north end of Eaton Centre in the lowest level)
Chinese malls in the north end in general has very acceptable food. My vote goes to ...
- Fresh hand made noodles (regular noodles or "shaved" noodle pieces) in the Pacific Mall Cultural Village food court
- Fresh hand made dumplings in the First Markham Place food court
- Taiwanese pork chop rice in the Metro Square food court
(I used to like the curry place there as well, but I think the store has changed hands.)
No matter what mall you're in, avoid "Bourbon St. Grill" like the plague. (warning: at Vaughan Mills it is called "Kelly's Cajun Grill").
This is the biggest joke of any GTA restaurant bar none. There is no such thing as "Cajun fried rice", and their self-proclaimed "World Famous Bourbon Chicken" might as well be called "Chicken balls with red sauce". The food looks like it was borrowed from Manchu Wok (ugh).
Put simply, this is very bad Chinese food*** with Cajun-sounding names to try to fool you into thinking you're getting Louisiana cuisine. It's crap.
***the chain is owned by a Chinese guy in Florida. Ain't nothing Cajun about it.
Dong Bei Wang / Fill Your Own Restaurant
4300 Steeles East, at Kennedy (in Markham)
second floor, unit F5
(in Heritage Town section/look for colorful Chinese wall murals)
"Food stall in a chaotic suburban food court offers top-notch northeastern Chinese street grub that's both filling and fiery. As handmade noodles fly through the air, questions about this unique food get gladly answered by thecheerful and theatrical family owners. Best: spectacular spicy shredded pork over thick, made-to-order noodles in deeply flavoured beef broth; multi-directional Tung Bak La Pi salad - wide rice-noodle ribbons layered with raw carrot-and-cuke julienne, crunchy peanut-like soy bean sprouts and wayward slivered beef in a deliciously hot mustard oil vinaigrette, garnished with fresh coriander sprigs; ethereal steamed or crisply fried Tung Bak pork dumplings; a trio of vegetable dumplings - empanada-like turnovers, really - packed with scrambled egg, garlic and chopped Chinese greens; and while quarter-size flat Pan Cakes are hellishly greasy, their doubly deep-fried (!) tofu and nutty soy sprout toppings are pure heaven. Complete meals for $8 per person, including all taxes and tip."
Pacific Mall: Toronto Star wrote about "Dong Bei Wang" on 2nd floor food court:
"When noodle-making is an art... There's acrobatic beauty involved in creating Dong Bei Wang's spicy shredded pork soup with hand-pulled noodles. Order a bowl you'll see.
The freshness of these silky smooth specimens makes one stop and ponder the dubious worth of dried noodles.
No surprise, then, that this unassuming kiosk has already earned a decent measure of noodle notoriety from Martin Yan's Chinatowns on Food Network Canada and Now magazine's Best of Toronto roundup in 2003.
And yet this five-year-old northern Chinese noodlery is still far too unknown in a city where Chinese food lovers generally gravitate to dim sum, Cantonese and Szechuan joints.
Hand-pulling noodles requires a certain degree of dexterity and acrobatic skill. Knife-cut noodles, meanwhile, are shaved with a knife from a ball of dough, producing a thin-edged, thick-centred noodle.
Hand-pulled noodles are called "hand made noodle" on the photo menu board and, because they're the most popular, are also listed as #1. Noodle soup with greens and either chunks of beef, spareribs or spicy shredded pork costs $5.50.
Knife-cut noodles are dismally named "special noodle" or #2 and $5.50 buys a soup as described above.
WARNING: Dong Bei Wang is hard to find and poorly marked. It's Unit F5 in the south end of the 2nd-floor, Heritage Town food court. Look for a tiny sign that says "Fill Your Own" and colour menu flyers identifying it by its English name."
I don't like the big Chinese restaurant on the 2nd floor of Pacific Mall (Golden Regency Restaurant??), across from elevator. It's a big restaurant so it gets very noisy. The food is average/nothing special. The prices are kind of high.
Market Village (Kennedy/Steeles), next to Pacific Mall:)
- City Inn (near Steeles front entrance). Good to excellent food. Pretty decor. Waiters speak English. Fancy presentation. Attention to detail. Prices are higher than a typical Chinese restaurant. Dim Sum until afternoon (no dim sum carts) or order regular dishes.
- Great Khan Mongolian Grill (near back entrance of the mall/ outside the mall)
- Shanghai resto near Mongolian Grill is good (better Shanghai food at First Markham Place). Pretty decor, nice people.
- Graceful Vegetarian (back of the mall/outside of Market Village/near Mongolian Grill, Curry Art Supplies, etc/around the corner at the end of the block).
- Satay Rio is not bad/average.
- Dim Sum food stall in the food court is pretty good (har-gow, shrimp dumplings, deep-fried shrimp wontons). Avoid ordering the steamed white crepes
At Sherway Gardens, in the food court, there's a place called New Orleans Creole. I LOVE the jambalaya. I recommend that place to anyone. That's my favorite mall eat.
Had a surprisingly good egg noodle soup with veggies and dumplings at Cultures at Scarborough Town Centre on Friday. They have a split counter - Cultures and some asian Noodle outfit. Everything is made before your eyes and they provide hoisin, chili sauce, etc... as garnish. You can choose from egg or rice noodles, veggie, meat, or two different types of dumplings thrown in. The broth was excellent. I will return!
I realize I'm resurrecting an old thread, but I was at Pacific Mall today and was sorely disappointed with the food at both Shark's Fin City (dry BBQ pork, lacklustre chinese broccoli with strangely pungent oyster sauce) and Fortune Court (limp green beans with decent spicy beef) in the upstairs Heritage Town food court. Luckily, Pacific Bakery offered bags of 5 buns for $2, which I'll enjoy for lunch tomorrow. Across the hall, Korean walnut cakes (4 for $1 or 15 for $3.50) filled with red beans were very good (as good as Bloor Street Koreatown). Nearby, hot-off-the-griddle red bean cakes (6 for $4) were a satisfying blend of sweet cake and unsweetened red bean filling.
I'm still taken by Dixie Park Centre in Mississauga(Dixie north of Eastgate), the all-time sleeper Chinese food court destination. Indeed, the food court IS the main attraction in this big brick box whose retail shops open and fold on a monthly basis.Yogi's Noodle's is my fave but most are quite good and function more like HK stalls than mall franchise eateries.Not spectacular but very good and very affordable. I've done far worse in some Scarb/Markham hole-in-the-wall joints.
In a situation like this, where the restaurant is located in a mall, perhaps ask for what their Chinese clients usually order? Short of phoenix claws, I don't think yo can go wrong there.
I was at Yorkdale recently and got a panini and salad from Cultures. Chicken, sundried tomato and bocconcini panino, mango salad, and a lentil salad for about 7.60 including a drink. I was disappointed with it. The mango salad was okay (they use fat cat mangoes, not altulfo), and I found that while the lentil salad had good flavour, it was quite undercooked. I liked the flavour of the sundried tomatoes in the panino and the texture of the bocconcini, but the ingredients were only in the top half of the panino and the rest was just bread.
We later walked to Shopper's Drug Mart and there was I believe they call it an Urban Market? I would have much rather grabbed a freshly cooked sausage and bun ($3-$4?) there, or a sandwich made with fresh, crusty bread, italian cold cuts and antipasto for about 4.50+tax. They also had other freshly baked products etc.
So at Yorkdale, maybe just avoid the food court and check out the Urban Market first.