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Dining in Markham?

I'm taking a business trip to Toronto in early June. I'll be staying and working in the Markham area. Any suggestions for good eats in that vicinity?

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  1. Can you specify what vicinity you'll be (major intersection) since Markham covers a lot of territory. Also, will you have access to a car? What kind of food do you prefer and will you be writing off all of your meals (i.e is price an issue)?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Royaljelly

      I'm staying at the Hilton Suites in Markham, 8500 Warden Avenue.

      Yes, I will be on an expense account, but I'm not entertaining clients on this trip. The personal guideline for Toronto is about USD$50 per day...not a huge sum. Going slightly over the guideline (say 25%) isn't a problem, but exceeding it by more than that is frowned upon.

      I'm mainly looking for dinner suggestions. I'm sure I'll grab breakfast and lunch on the go.

    2. You're close to First Markham Place (just E of Woodbine on Hwy 7), which has lots of good chinese restuarants. Peaktop has good BBQ meats (try the suckling pig if they have it), seafood and other cantonese dishes. They have one fried rice dish that very light and almost as good as the one I had in the ultra expensive Lai Wah Heen downtown. Ding Tai Fung is shanghainese style cuisine, better for lunch (try the shao long bao).

      The Host (fine Indian restuarant) also has a very good weekday lunch buffet that's well priced, but flavours are a bit milder. If you want something a little spicier, you can try Jaipur.

      Some very good Vietnamese style curry crab at Saigon Star. Great with these little fresh baguettes to soak up the sauce.

      Towards Hwy 404/Leslie just north of Hwy 7 there's more of those large chain restaurants like Alice Fazooli's, Jack Astors and such, which I don't frequent at all.

      Just south of there, also a newer complex of restaurants include Bombay Bhel (some people like it, but I found it pricey), Brix Napa valley & Baton Rouge.

      Down south towards Steeles/Warden - there's Casa Imperial fine chinese. I've only tried dim sum, not dinner. Also Sam Woo at Bamburgh Circle (not the BBQ one, there's 2 places there called Sam Woo), also good fancier chinese food and good dim sum too.

      Celestial Court just W of Woodbine south of Hwy7 (opposite Costco) has good fine chinese, as well as Ambassador on Hwy 7 for dim sum.

      1. Which cuisine are you mainly looking for ?

        1. Empire Court inside your hotel has great chinese food, but not cheap.

        2. Lots of good chinese restaurants on Hwy 7 around your area. Drive a bit west to First Markham place, most of the chinese food there are ok to pretty good like Diamond for chinese food, Mei Long Noodle for noodles (their Taiwanese style beef noodle soup is one of the best in Toronto !)

        3. Japanese food - go to Julibee square (a bit west from First Markham place), Miyabi has authentic Japanese dishes and Akasaka for Teppanyaki and Fusion style Japanese food.

        4. Close by to Julibee square is O Mei, where you can have great Chinese food again there, try out their "budda jumps over the wall" soup, it is very tasty !!

        5. For Italian food, pub and some other international cuisine, go to Main Street, it is a street with small boutiques, restaurants and pubs, it gets quite a big crowd at night ! It is located at Main and Hwy 7 which is a bit east from your hotel, turn north when you hit Main street and you will see it.

        I think all of these should fit into your price range.

        There are fulls of nice chinese restaurants on Hwy 7 and Steeles and Casa Imperial suggested by Royaljelly is highly recommended on Steeles for dinner !

        Hope you find these recommendation helpful !

        6 Replies
        1. re: skylineR33

          skyline, I haven't tried O Mei before.. what kind of regional chinese do they serve? Any other dishes you'd suggest that's good?

          BTW, purplescout.. for a lot of the chinese places, if you can go with 3 or more people it would be ideal. That way, you could order more dishes to try, rather than just 1-2 courses. Otherwise, you could just doggy bag the left overs for your breakfast/lunch the next day!

          1. re: Royaljelly

            O Mei serves Cantonese cuisine mainly on the seafood side. I suggest you try their "Budda jumps over the wall" soup which is very tasty yet not very expensive, it is like ~$30 per person but the ingredient is good.

            Their fish dish is very good, don't know the english name of their famous dish, but the cantonese name is "Gum Dor Bowl". It is some of the most fresh fish I have ever eaten.

            The scallop with XO sauce and mango is also very nice. Lobster and huge king crab (10lbs but seasonal) is very nicely cooked, if you have a table of 8 ppl to share, it is perfect.

          2. re: skylineR33

            Second O Mei! Their house specialty - Wok fried jumbo lobster, alone, is worth the trip! However, make sure to check the prices. This is one restaurant that one can spend a bundle due to their attractive selection of exotic sea foods, all at 'market price' ( live Alaskan King Crab, Live Spotted Prawns from both BC and Florida, Giant Geoduck clams, Live French Turbot....etc)

            1. re: Charles Yu

              I remember over 15 yrs ago when I first moved to the area, my mom took us to O Mei. Pops threw a sissy fit in there because he felt the menu was too chop suey. We left before we ordered.

              My old man is a stickler that's for sure. I've never been back as a result. Perhaps I am missing out?

              1. re: aser

                15 yrs ?? The place has changed chef several times and has renovation.....

                1. re: skylineR33

                  that's a given, I just haven't gone back. Can't exactly pin why? I just thought it was an amusing anecdote, hence I brought it up.

                  I will go soon ok?

          3. Near the hotel, about 4 or 5 lights towards east on Highway 7, there's a street north of highway 7 called Main St. A quaint little street with little shops and a few different restaurants to choose from. Restaurants ranges from steakhouses, italian, french and pub food. If the weather is nice, you can opt for the patio and enjoy the weather.

            1. Lotsa good (and bad) eating out Markham way.

              Start at Ground Zero (Hilton Suites), insert Tums/Nexium/Pepcid, etc. and begin working your way through this list of 883 restaurants (addresses and map links included) that are within 5 kilometers (about 3 miles) of your hotel: http://foodpages.ca/?SearchDD=1&l...
              . Report back when your belt expands three notches!

              1 Reply
              1. re: GeoNit

                The website is quite outdated like some restaurant has been closed down (eg. Ho Su has been replaced by "little fat lamb" chinese hot pot on Hwy 7)...

              2. You have to try JIMMY CHAI KEES huge shrimp wonton at Hwy 7 Near Bayview avenue. Get the basic wonton soup and noodles (wonton mein) - sub 5$ add homemade chili oil for the ultimate snack.

                1 Reply
                1. re: fatonhenry

                  mmm.. i second Jim Chai Kee wontons!

                  For exact location, it's at a plaza on the northwest corner of West Beaver Creek Rd and Hwy 7.... Same plaza as Wasabi (it's probably the easiest place to spot) and then it's just down a few stores with a yellow sign.

                2. markham/richmond hill has the best selection of chinese food in n. america.

                  the major concentration of chinese food in the area are the following plazas/malls....

                  First Markham Place - woodbine & hwy 7
                  Times sq - leslie & hwy 7
                  Jubilee - leslie & hwy 7
                  Peachtree - kennedy & hwy 7
                  Pacific Mall/Market Village - kennedy & steeles

                  best dim sum - ambassador, golden court, both in jubliee plaza.
                  best shanghainese - 3 6 9 (peachtree), shanghai xue yuan (thornhill, yonge & glen cameron).
                  best chinese bbq - peaktop (1st markham), kum hong (420 hwy 7 e, just west of jubliee)
                  best vegetarian - Graceful Vegetarian (Pacific Mall/Market Village).
                  nostalgic fav - Magic Wok (kennedy & 14th) dinner only, order seafood.

                  Overall, it's really hard to mess up w/ most chinese places in the area. They all have to be at least decent because the market is very competitive.

                  I would stay away from most Japanese places. They're all owned by Chinese, not really authentic. There are only 3 Japanese owned places in the area.

                  Miyabi - Jubilee
                  Inaho - east of hwy 7 & leslie
                  Hama - Pacific Mall/Market Village

                  The only fine dining establishment in the area is Terra, which is on on Yonge south of hwy 7.


                  4 Replies
                  1. re: aser

                    Kind of disagree of some of your best choice.
                    ie. Casa Imperial and Full House (the place above ZOD) are the new star and the best for dim sum nowaday in that area, ambassador has really go downhill.

                    There are other fine dining establishments like La Reserve which is actually at Richmond hill (Leslie and 7).

                    1. re: skylineR33

                      well that's why this board exists, everybody has their picks.

                      I haven't been to either casa or full house. I haven't heard much about full house but the casa reviews I've heard have been divided. I will like to try both.

                      I forgot about La Reserve. The main point is that fine dining isn't the best option in the area, stick w/ Chinese food. I'm sure we can at least agree on that.

                      1. re: aser

                        absolutely !! basically there are only ayce(all you can eat) and chinese food up there and I prefer chinese food fior sure.

                    2. re: aser

                      Hello Aser,
                      Regarding O Mei, you are definitely missing out on one of the 'Best Kitchen' in the area. From simple home style dishes like Stir fried beef with Chinese brocolli ( Guy Lan ), Steamed pork pate with diced cuttle fish, water chestnut and Chinese mushroom, to exotic dishes like their House specialty- Jumbo lobster three ways and 'Buddha jump over wall casserole', most of their dishes excel!

                      Tutto Bene just south of Terra might not be a fine dining establishment candidate but there are quite a few of their dishes that can compete in taste with the best Terra can offer. These include a Grilled seafood medley with a lobster bouillabaisse broth, Blackened garoupa with caramalized pineapple coulis and lobster essence and a To-die- for Veal chop with a gorgeously intense red wine/port reduction. Definitely one of the best trattoria/bistro north of the 401!

                    3. Thanks for all the great suggestions. I LOVE Chinese food, so I will be in dining heaven. I'm really looking forward to the Jim Chai Kee wontons!

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: purplescout

                        Yes, probably you will enjoy the Jim Chai Kee wonton. Personally I like it, but some of my friend saying that the oversized wonton is too bulky and meaty. I guess it is a matter of personal taste. Let us know how you think later !

                        1. re: skylineR33

                          For a different style of chinese wontons, you can also try the ones @ Shanghai Wok. It's a small grungy looking place that's on 360 Hwy 7 just east of Bayview (next to Tan Chi Kee, which we also frequent as well). Their wontons are more "mainland" style according to my wife. Almost everyone who's eating there seem to order it.

                          They also do a very nice pan fried onion cake and deep fried whole fish as well. Only problem is that for evening dinners, the cook can't keep up with the orders and we waited for almost 45mins before we got our meal.

                        2. re: purplescout

                          I tried Jim Chai Kee tonight...it was okay but not great. That may have been in part because they were trying to close the place down, although it was only about 7pm. I liked the wontons very much, but the soup they sat in was really greasy and lukewarm. Looking forward to trying another place tomorrow night!

                          1. re: purplescout

                            I tried them yesterday as well (mid afternoon) and also found the wontons to be big, huge, full of shrimp, but not much else. It's like eating a massive "ha gow" dim sum (shrimp dumpling). The soup was completely bland and the noodle was very soapy tasting and too chewy. Aside from that, at least the boiled veggies were fresh (hard to get that wrong). My wife had their fish maw balls, which were even worse. I must say that I prefer the wonton's @ Kenny's noodles better.

                            1. re: Royaljelly

                              I'm with you Royaljelly, I never find Jim Chai Kee that great, I prefer shrimp dumplings or the wontons noodle soup at Kenny's.

                        3. I went to First Markham Place intending to have dinner at Peaktop. I was diverted, however, by the VIP Vietnamese Restaurant. I peered in the windows as I walked by and saw people eating delicious-looking bowls of soup and spring rolls, so I ducked in, too.

                          I had a great bowl of the House Special Spicy Noodle soup - - rice noodles, ground pork, several kinds of fish balls/krab, and a single shrimp, all swimming in a fabulous broth, slightly spicy, and heavily scented with lemongrass. As it arrived and the aroma of the broth wafted upwards, I knew I would be happy. The Vietnamese spring rolls were good, too, topped with some peanuts and chopped scallions.

                          After enjoying half of my huge bowl of noodle soup, I packed up the rest, paid my bill, and headed over to take a look at Peaktop. The sight of Chinese BBQ hanging in the window was too much to resist, and I got a small order of BBQ char siu pork to go. I tasted a piece and it was great.

                          I'm looking forward to breakfast tomorrow - - leftover noodle soup and BBQ pork! Good thing there is a refrigerator in my room.

                          That's it for my Markham adventures. I head back to L.A. at the end of the work day tomorrow. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and let me know if I can return the favor if you visit Los Angeles.

                          1. Well yes ... Markham has an explosion of asian food options but there are some excellent ... other than ... restaurants too. Unionville is just down the street and not only are there excellent restaurants, its a nice place to stroll before and after. I've had excellent meals at the ChopHouse (905) 480-0094. And the Blacksmiths Forge has great food but can be a little noisy. Try upstairs or their back patio. Lots of outside dining options to take advantage of our nice weather too.