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Rol San vs. Bright Pearl

malyshka Jul 19, 2007 10:30 AM

One more question :)

For dim sum (around 1:30-2pm on a Friday afternoon) in the downtown area, which would you choose Rol San or Bright Pearl? We've been to Bright Pearl, not too impressive, but perfectly OK... but I just found out about Rol San and it seems to have better reviews. Has anyone been to both? Can you recommend one over the other?


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  1. skylineR33 RE: malyshka Jul 19, 2007 10:52 AM

    Why not Lai Wah Heen or King Garden ?

    8 Replies
    1. re: skylineR33
      malyshka RE: skylineR33 Jul 19, 2007 11:00 AM

      mostly due to price (as we're going to be eating out all the time), as well, from what I've read it's not as "authentic"... but I don't know, haven't been there myself :(

      from the posts here I gathered we'd be looking at $30/head for lunch, no?

      1. re: malyshka
        skylineR33 RE: malyshka Jul 19, 2007 11:11 AM

        LWH is absolutely authentic, they have a list of traditional dim sum. They also have another list of specialty/new wave dim sum which you can find similar things in many high end Hong Kong place.

        But LWH does not have the pull-cart thing, if people consider that traditional or something that they feel like seeing when having dim sum, then they don't have it.

        You are about right regarding the pricing at LWH.

        King Garden is also pretty good (but I have not been there for a while). Again it is authentic and cheaper than LWH.

        1. re: skylineR33
          malyshka RE: skylineR33 Jul 19, 2007 11:19 AM

          I haven't heard about King Garden, where is it?

          LWH is mostly a price issue, there will be 5 of us, and I'm not too keen on spending $150 for lunch (are tips/taxes extra, or would that be included in the $30/head)?

          Otherwise, would you not recommend Rol San or Bright Pearl?

          1. re: malyshka
            skylineR33 RE: malyshka Jul 19, 2007 11:31 AM

            King Garden is located on King street opposite to Roy Thompson Hall.

            Really depends on what you order, but with $30 to $35 including tax per persons, you will have a satisfy meal at LWH

            I just prefer LWH and King Garden over the other two. Usually I have dim sum at Richmond hill area, but if I go downtown, these are probably the two I will go to.

            1. re: skylineR33
              malyshka RE: skylineR33 Jul 19, 2007 11:36 AM

              ooh, if you can give me recs in the Richmond Hill area, I'd be much obliged... (as this is where I live, and would normally go (if I knew of any places for sure)).

              1. re: malyshka
                skylineR33 RE: malyshka Jul 19, 2007 11:44 AM

                - Full House on Hwy 7. (medium price)
                - Casa Imperial at Warden and Steeles. (more expensive but less than LWH)

                There is also a newly renovated restaurant called Spring Villa at Woodine and N. of Steeles, I have not been there after the renovation but there is a report on this board that it is really good and cheap. My experience there before is pretty good, but as good as Full House and Casa though.

                Please note that Full House and Casa are very busy. Make sure you make a reservation, you will still need to wait even you make a reservation...

                1. re: skylineR33
                  Apple RE: skylineR33 Jul 19, 2007 05:49 PM

                  I second Spring Villa - I haven't been since the reno - but I've been going for years. Solid, consistent. Authentic.

                  1. re: Apple
                    Royaljelly RE: Apple Jul 26, 2007 09:36 AM

                    Here's the link to Spring Villa


                    If you want to get the Sunday morning discount (all dishes $2.50, including the XL priced ones), you really need to get there before 10am or expect to wait 15-20 mins for a table. I'm not sure if they take reservations.

    2. HarryLloyd RE: malyshka Jul 19, 2007 10:56 AM

      second lai wah heen.


      1. b
        bluedog RE: malyshka Jul 19, 2007 11:23 AM

        Back on topic (malyshka didn't ask about LWH), the two are very different: BP (as you know), large open room with carts. RS: two smalelr cramped rooms, and you order off a menu.

        I find that BP tends to have more choice, and the occasional special dish that is "interesting", but I still prefer RS as everthing is made to order, the prices are very reasonable and its good quality. Expect to pay $8-12 head.

        Be sure to show up early or be prepared to wait: there is often a line-up out the door by 12. One tip is to check the backroom lineup. For reasons I don't get, the fornt and back room have separate lineups.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bluedog
          malyshka RE: bluedog Jul 19, 2007 11:37 AM

          we're planning on going around 1:30 or 2pm (I just cannot get downtown before that time, and my guests will already be there - CN Tower)

        2. pinstripeprincess RE: malyshka Jul 19, 2007 11:25 AM

          try something different! forestview!

          during the weekdays you'll be hitting their happy hour at either $2 or $2.50 per plate. really really really enjoy it and cannot stand bright pearl... i'm finding rol san too much of a hit or miss these days and i love the forestview atmosphere much better.

          8 Replies
          1. re: pinstripeprincess
            malyshka RE: pinstripeprincess Jul 19, 2007 11:38 AM

            I'll have to look this up as well... where is it?

            1. re: malyshka
              pinstripeprincess RE: malyshka Jul 19, 2007 12:10 PM

              the original review from last year-ish is here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/33293...

              and the address is 454 Dundas West

              1. re: pinstripeprincess
                childofthestorm RE: pinstripeprincess Jul 19, 2007 12:23 PM

                It's carts, right? How are the washrooms and general state of cleanliness? That is one problem with "authentic" that tends to really gross out my wife. But I'm intrigued, might try it this weekend.

                1. re: childofthestorm
                  bluedog RE: childofthestorm Jul 19, 2007 12:41 PM

                  I've been as well and liked it, though I thought the food was better at Rol San. General state of cleanliness seemed fine, though did not visit washrooms. If you prefer carts over menus, I prefer this to Bright Pearl.

                  1. re: childofthestorm
                    pinstripeprincess RE: childofthestorm Jul 19, 2007 01:04 PM

                    it's carts and i've never been to the washroom.... i previously was living right around the corner so i would have usually just left from/returned to home.

                    i don't know if it's just me but the freshness of rol san has been a bit questionable and the food overall much greasier. nothing had gone off or anything but a couple things had definitely gained the palour of going through the frier a few too many times or arrived dried out.

              2. re: pinstripeprincess
                DerekJeter RE: pinstripeprincess Jul 19, 2007 11:43 AM

                $2 / basket last time i was there. 3 of us got out with a $26 bill (tax & tip incl).

                Based on Pinstripe Princess' review last year I went to this place. Its much better than RS & BP. Best in Chinatown and very "authentic". They even have a guy selling chinese newspapers out front for atmosphere.

                Thanks PSP!

                1. re: DerekJeter
                  pinstripeprincess RE: DerekJeter Jul 19, 2007 12:11 PM

                  i'm glad you enjoyed it!

                2. re: pinstripeprincess
                  gloriana232 RE: pinstripeprincess Jul 26, 2007 04:49 AM

                  I recommend Forestview too! It's the place my family goes to for downtown dim sum ... the room is not too big, so carts circulate more frequently. It's got a great dim sum atmosphere -- loud and busy, but conversation is still easy.

                  I've found the food usually fresh. My dad loves getting the paper just before we go up the stairs (warning, yes, it's not very accessible).

                3. c
                  childofthestorm RE: malyshka Jul 19, 2007 12:06 PM

                  Just to simplify things before we put you on a flight to Hong Kong......

                  I like Rol San a lot. Bright Pearl is really not as good, but they do have cart service, which some people prefer. If I'm at Dundas/Spadina, I got to Rol San almost every time.

                  1. s
                    snoopyloopy RE: malyshka Jul 27, 2007 12:17 PM

                    Rol San is muchhhhhhhhhh better!! I've been to both regularly (I eat dimsum about 1-2 times a week on Spadina).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: snoopyloopy
                      deelicious RE: snoopyloopy Dec 26, 2007 09:56 AM

                      I agree that Forestview is great if you are looking for tradional dim sum with carts. But the food is no where near as fresh and well prepared as Rol San. I am a huge fan of Rol San but decided to try Forestview because of postings on CH.

                      Putting the food first, I give Forestview a thumbs down for over cooked and mushy chicken feet, Shui Mei wasn't served hot, the Haw Gow was pasty inside. The place was packed but not all dishes were fresh or hot. I don't eat all the fried stuff which seemed very plentiful at Forestview so I can't comment on that part but I would hate to think that they too were not hot!

                      Rol San is fresh and hot and so satisfying every single visit. Personally, I would never let the hectic place keep me from having the best dim sum downtown.

                    2. a
                      Atahualpa RE: malyshka Jul 27, 2007 07:55 PM

                      Rol San is much better than BP.

                      But, if I were in Richmond Hill, I be heading to Ambassador at Hwy. 7 and West Beaver Creek (near Leslie). There are lots of good options in Richmond Hill (Ding Tai Fung -- Shanghai style -- comes to mind). But, I end up going to Ambassador the most. Consistently good and friendly service (mind you I've been going there for about 8-9 years now and at least 6-10 times a year). If you give Ambassador a try, best items are: XO Noodle rolls, H&S seafood soup, Egg-custard buns, Curried Baby Cuttlefish, Ha Gow. . . .

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Atahualpa
                        Special_kk RE: Atahualpa Apr 11, 2009 07:03 AM

                        I'll have to check that out. I never thought about Richmond Hill

                      2. g
                        gps_shag RE: malyshka Dec 27, 2007 06:56 PM

                        The food at Rol San is pretty good, but I really don't like the cramped dark rooms. BP is so bright and open, with 30-foot (?) ceilings, and the food is also good - I'd rather sit in Bright Pearl for a couple of hours rather than in the dark at Rol San.

                        1. c
                          C.Jackson RE: malyshka Dec 27, 2007 07:32 PM

                          Rol San is way better then Bright Pearl

                          1. l
                            Lefty RE: malyshka Dec 28, 2007 04:59 AM

                            I have been to both in the past month.... BP has better food and is a more relaxed atmosphere with the carts ... at Rol San everyone is rushed.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Lefty
                              deelicious RE: Lefty Dec 28, 2007 07:29 AM

                              I dont find Rol San a rush at all. If you arrive at peak times it is a long wait and hectic but once seated I dont notice it anymore. I guess I just find the food to be so fresh and the quality so high that I would eat it standing up if I had to. The tastiest most satisfying dim sum downtown in my opinion. BP taste is not as delicate.

                              1. re: deelicious
                                somechick RE: deelicious Dec 28, 2007 07:47 AM

                                There may be a lineup at Rol San during peak times, BUT it is very well managed and you never really wait longer than 5 or so minutes..

                                the only thing I ever had a problem with there, is getting all of my food and eating except one or 2, then having to wait 10 minutes for the last 2 dishes...Other than that, I definately prefer Rol San. Forestview is good for the whole cart experience and I would go there over Bright Pearl..

                            2. s
                              Special_kk RE: malyshka Apr 11, 2009 07:02 AM

                              I've been to both and can say without a doubt that Rol San is cleaner, faster, fresher and tastier!

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