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Jul 11, 2007 05:54 PM

Malaysian between Toronto & Markham, Food at Inniskillin?

Hello, just doing a 3 day stroll thru your lovely area... I've been mad craving authentic Malaysian as I'm seriously lacking in that department in Washington DC. Is this something I can find here?

And I'm definitely hitting up Inniskillin. I know it's a more touristy area. Wondering if you guys know if there's a restaurant attached or what I could otherwise hit up. Breakfast/brunch-y. THANKS!

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  1. I can help with Malaysian.
    My favourite is South Asia Malaysian Cuisine (3380 Midland Ave Unit 19) - a family run "eating rather than dining" place north of Finch in a strip plaza running west off midland (you'll miss it first time!). I'm usually the only Occidental in the place! has all the usual dishes (including laksa - which incidentally isn't a favourite dish of mine, although the one here is pretty good as laksa goes).
    Haven't visited the restaurant at Inniskillin for years, so can't help there. The restaurant was in their barn, but several corporate changes have left me way behind what goes on now.

    10 Replies
    1. re: estufarian

      For further up north, I second South Asia Malaysian Cuisine as well. The only other decent Malaysian place would be WAY up north on Major MacKenzie (Restoran Malaysia) which is a little more upscale but has more variety.

      1. re: Royaljelly

        It's not THAT far up north. Especially if you're in Markham. Depending where in Markham you're going it might be a 5 minute drive away...
        It's on Major MacKenzie drive at Bayview Ave. which is only a couple of miles from Markham so if you're up here keep the possibility open...

        1. re: Royaljelly

          I'll disagree and say that South Asia is not the best of offerings for Malaysian cuisine... but just a little south east South Asian is "Gourmet Garden". Do a quick search here on the boards for it and you'll find that its Malaysian fare is much beloved by ChowHounders here. IMHO it's the best the GTA has to offer.. though I do prefer MataHari for certain dishes ... like Rendang!

          1. re: vincechan

            Others have recommended Gourmet Garden to me too - it's already on my list to try.

            1. re: vincechan

              Agree with you on South Asia. Thanks to CH recs, GG is my new fav place to get Mala food.

          2. re: estufarian

            heading up to South Asia Malaysian Cuisine tonight. just a heads-up, it's gonna be moved up the street to midland and mcnicoll (the NW corner with the RONA, starbucks).

            1. re: blitz

              just got back from South Asia Malaysian Cuisine and boy was it good! family-run joint, wife running the front of house with her boys and her malaysian husband cooking in the back. we ordered one of the set dinner combos which included rice, tom yam gong soup, hainese chicken, sauteed king prawn w/ samba sauce, malaysian beef brisket, and belachan shrimp with green beans. got a side of satay skewers too. the wife really took her time to explain all the dishes and sauces. she was even nice enough to include free black glutinous rice w/ coconut sauce. bill came to <$60 (4ppl). overall very attentive service and good food. the move should hopefully get 'em some much needed exposure.

              1. re: blitz

                I've just spend four days in Singapore trying out S'pore/Malaysian food at hawker food centres such as Lau Pa Sat, Newton Circus, Holland Village...etc . As well I also tried out real Malaysian food at the Keppel Club. Guess what? Comparatively speaking, the food from our Toronto's own 'Gourmet garden', 'SE Asian' and 'Restoran Malaysia' are NOT TOO BAD!!!

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  I'd just like to add that I'm a long-time fan of SE Asian - and now an even bigger fan of Gourmet Garden (despite its ambience). Both are (or have been) worth the drive from downtown. And although I 'know' that there are some spectacular other Asian places in Markham (and North) it's generally not worth my effort to visit them because I can still get 'decent' versions downtown. But I haven't found satisfactory malaysian downtown (even on Baldwin St).
                  Is it authentic - I don't know. Is it tasty, fairly priced and sufficiently different from the other downtown fare to encourage me to drive that far - without question.
                  Now, if wetnose (or anybody else) can lead me to a better alternative - just great. I'm waiting!

                2. re: blitz

                  I think I'm ordering the wrong items. I've tried 4 lunches from South Asian Malaysian Cuisine and none of them anywhere near authentic. They taste more like Hong Kong-style bastardizations of Malaysian dishes.

                  Can anyone suggest an authentic dish here? I'm willing to give this place just one more try...

            2. I don't know much about the area between Toronto and Markham, but if you're willing to come into Toronto, there's a really wonderful Malaysian restaurant called Matahari Grill:


              5 Replies
              1. re: vorpal

                I've also been to Matahari. Suffice it to say that I live MUCH closer to Matahari but still go to South Asia.
                Matahari is a much nicer location and is somewhere you'd feel comfortable taking your mother (South Asia is sort of a greasy-spoon). However the service is really slow and the food is dumbed-down malaysian for western palates. Nothing wrong with it - it's just the white bread version. And costs 2-3 times as much!

                1. re: estufarian

                  I'm still a newbie to Malaysian food (I'm trying to expand my SE Asian cuisine beyond Thai and I've loved the nyonya style dishes at Matahari)... It's too bad that South Asia is so far away from me or I would check it out in a heartbeat.

                  BTW... I'd also love to get into cooking Malaysian food, but the ingredient availability seems low here in the GTA! There are certain things I haven't found anywhere.

                  1. re: estufarian

                    I realize the OP has probably already come and gone, but I really must comment on this. Being Malaysian myself, I have to defend Matahari as not being dumbed-down. Matahari is quite specifically Nyonya Malaysian food like Vorpal said which is different from say Melayu Malaysian food or Indian Malaysian or Chinese Malaysian. In my extended family's opinion, Matahari is where we go when we need a fix but can't be bothered to cook ourselves. I don't know your background with Malaysian food and one man's meat is another's poison, but PLEASE do not accuse Matahari of being dumbed-down. For the clientele that they have it is actually surprisingly how authentic they are. And I as a Malaysian am proud that our cuisine can hold up in this location downtown!

                    1. re: ravenous

                      Thanks for the explanation.
                      I'll definitely give it another try armed with this new information.

                      1. re: estufarian

                        Just a suggestion: go for the kari laksa, chicken kapitan or char kway teow (not sure how they spell it there). But those are pretty dead-on. Also the kueh dada, I think they call them pandan pancakes. The durian ice-cream is to die for..but that is personal taste. The price is unfortunate I must admit.

                  1. The place people were talking about on Major Mackenzie is called Restoran Malaysia and it is very good, my family friend frm Malaysia likes it alot and feels its the closest to authentic as she's had in Toronto. I've heard that it's not as good as it once was since they renovated/expanded, but I think it's still quite good.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Wil

                      It is a complete shame how few decent Malaysian or Singapore restaurants we have in GTA. Traveled to Vancouver and other US cities all the time and they have higher quality restaurants than our 'world-class' city of Toronto.
                      Good Thai and Chinese but too few good quality Malay/Sin restaurants here.
                      Been to all of them and sorry to say in general the food is more for western and 'locals'.
                      I feel the best is small take-out/eat in around Brimley and Sheppard. Cheap and Good and friendly service.

                      1. re: kie

                        I usually go to Restoran Malaysia. Where is Gourmet Garden? What should I order there?
                        Recently went to Penang and loved curry mee, laksa (shrimp noodle) and the pork bone soup (had it for breakfast everyday) and ended up wasting the hotel buffet breakfast.

                        1. re: caitlink

                          You'll find lots of info on gourmet garden on chowhound. here is a link to the address:;...

                          Very different atmosphere from Restoran Malaysia...its a small fast food court in scarborough shared by 4 or 5 fast food stalls.

                          I've only been to RM once but I very much prefer gourmet garden.

                          1. re: szw

                            Thanks. Brimley and Sheppard - is this in the Chinese mall second level foodcourt?

                            1. re: caitlink

                              No, it is a small separate one-story building whose sole purpose is being a food court.

                    2. Can't answer your question about the restaurant at Inniskillin, if I could just throw in a suggestion, visit Stratus for a tasting next door.
                      Stone Road Grill is good in NOTL