Mimi, Rose Cafe or Hanoi 3 Seasons
I've wanted to try each of these restaurants for a while. Which do Chowhounds like the best? I haven't been eating poultry or meat lately- but I still eat seafood. Which restaurant has the most vegetarian and/or seafood options? Are there any particular dishes I should try at each of them?
Are there any other worthwhile Vietnamese restaurants in Chinatown East?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
Mimi is much better than Hanoi 3 Seasons in my estimation. If it's pho specifically you are after though, the best pho in Chinatown is hands down Que Ling. It's a shack (don't be put off!) on Bolton just south of Gerard at the side of the school. Bolton is the first residential street east of Broadview. They also make great bun bo Hue, and banh cuon. Aside from the food, the shack experience (and the clientele) makes it the closest thing to authentic pho joint feel to anywhere in Toronto. I feel like I'm back in VN.
Rose Cafe for the bahn mi take out and the steamed pork bun (say yes when she asks you if you want the bun heated up).
Mimi's for the do-it-yourself platters -- Can't remember what it's called on the menu, but order the assorted with the shrimp wrapped around the sugar cane. The platter comes with the rice paper wrapper that you have to wet down then roll up with the herbs, vermicelli, lettuce and assorted meat. It's great participation food and fun.
Hanoi 3 Seasons for the La Vong "bun" or the ginger chicken dish (check the special board), plus of course, the conversation with Hai (sp?).
We have been to all three. Rose (as another poster mentioned) isn't really a restaurant; they have the banh mi sandwiches but on the occasion when we bought them the bread was stale. Mimi has very good bun (the rice noodle dish with grilled meat on top), I think it must be because they put a nice assortment of fresh herbs in a lot of other places don't have, but the pho there is very average. Hanoi 3 Seasons we had a couple of dishes, a pho and the cha ca. The cha ca was interesting, different from most other places but neither dish was especially great.
Haven't been to Rose Cafe, and am not as crazy about Mimi's as most people (based only on how they do bun however, cause that's the only thing I've tried. I think Joanne Kates agrees with me that their spring rolls suck but I know her credibility is low on this board - as possibly is mine :)
What I can offer is that Hanoi 3 seasons specializes in Northern Vietnamese, which is apparently unique in Toronto. They have Cha Ca fish and a spicy clam appetizer which I have enjoyed. The spicing (often including tumeric) is quite different from other Vietnamese places. The NOW review explains it pretty well (and mentions some other seafood dishes).
It's a great place and I wholeheartedly recommend trying it but I have realised it doesn't satisfy MY vietnamese craving.
We didn't enjoy our meal at Hanoi, but possibly it is because it is not what we are accustomed to.
I thought it was pricey as well.
The plus was the friendly service.
I only remember one dish being awful, which was an appetizer made with canned clams.
If you want a veggie treat it is well worth going over to 668 which is 668 Dundas.
I am embarassed to say, as we go there often, but I have forgotten if the owner is Vietnamese.
Perhaps someone has a better memory.
It is my favourite vegetarian in the city. We actually prefer it to Lotus Pond (which is of course Chinese, and not what you are looking for).