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Help re: dim sum in Markham

Howdy. Long-time listener, first time caller. Hope you can help.

I've got a friend coming from Vancouver this weekend who is staying in Markham and I have promised to take him for dim sum on Sunday.

My problem is that while I know lots of spots for good dim sum downtown, I barely know my way around north of Bloor, let alone any good restaurants up there. (Well, except the szechuan place at Markham and Steeles, which we spend half-an-hour driving to up the Don Valley because the food is so so so good.)

Anyone have any good suggestions for where to take someone for great dim sum in Markham, somewhere near the Hilton Garden Inn on Commerce Valley Drive East (I don't even know where that is)?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. There are a ton of great dim sum places in Markham - much easier though if you speak the language though. The area you're looking at is Leslie Rd and Highway 7 which is great location for chinese cuisine. I recommend Golden Court Abalone Restaurant which is one block west of Leslie on Hwy 7/West Beaver Creek. Look for a huge yellow sign. Food there is fantastic. Also try Dun Huang which is right at the corner of Leslie/Hwy 7 on the 2nd floor of the TimeSquare plaza. Very high end dining. Beautiful interior decor. Another place is a little east on Woodbine Ave just south of Hwy 7. I cannot recall the english name of the restaurant but it's next to a car dealership on the east side. Hope this helps!

    1 Reply
    1. re: mme_chowhere

      Dun Huang has closed down for a couple months now and is vacant.

    2. I don't have any specific recommendations, but as mme_chowhere mentioned, the good news is that there are plenty of great Chinese restaurants a stone's throw away from that hotel. But I'm just a bit curious, did your friend request dim sum? Personally, I've found the Chinese food to be better in Vancouver.

      1. Whats the name of the Szechuan place...all I can picture is a No Frills on one corner and nothing on the other 3 corners.

        1. look up any dim sum thread on here and the best of the best will all be based in Markham. Nothing downtown can even compare, save Lai Wah Heen. That is a different type of dim sum all together.

          Casa Imperial (my personal fav, warden/steeles formerly devonshire place)
          Full House
          Golden Court
          Empire Court
          Graceful Vegetarian (yes veg dim sum)

          It's pretty hard to find "bad" dim sum in Markham. The competition is so fierce, any place w/ less than good quality simply doesn't last. Be prepared for a long wait, especially Sunday as every Chinese church goer seems to end up at dim sum around 12:30-1pm.

          1. If you have only one chance for Dim Sum then just head out to Casa Imperial on Steeles/Warden. Remember to make reservation!!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Charles Yu

              There are some great choices of dim sum above. The new Casa Victoria (Warden and 7) is also good, same dim sum menu as Casa Imperial. However, I found the dim sum quality of Casa Imperial/Victoria, Full House has gone down a bit .... not too sure, hope this is temporarily due to the new opening of Casa Victoria as they are all owned by the same group.

              1. re: skylineR33

                + 1 on the decline of their dim sum. It hasn't been the same for me as well...maybe it's a temporary thing

            2. I second the recommendation of Empire Court. It's in the Hilton Suites on Hwy 7, so it's a short drive from the Hilton Garden Inn. More innovative dim sum than Ambassador (which would be my 2nd choice in that neighbourhood). It's a popular place, so I'd call to make a reservation, and I'd try to go closer to 10:30 than noon.

              If you want to drive a little further, I agree with other posters that Casa Imperial at Warden and Steeles is great. The portions seemed to be on the large side, so you might find you can order less dishes at Casa Imperial than some other dim sum restaurants. The har gow were good, but they larger than I expected, approximately the size of a golf ball. I would avoid the buddha veggie bun, which was extremely bland.

              I was disappointed with the vegetarian dim sum at Graceful.


              1. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and links to old threads! I'm looking forward to dim sum delights on Sunday!

                re: why dim sum in Toronto and not Vancouver -- yes, yes, you've asked the right question! The Chinese in Vancouver is much better - as is most restaurant food generally. I'm from Vancouver but live downtown T.O., which is why I still don't know my way around Markham - which is silly, because the various Asian cuisines are my fave. My friend didn't ask for dim sum, but we always do dim sum in Vancouver, so I figured, hey, he's staying in Markham, there's great dim sum in Markham, let's do it. It was a good excuse for a foray into the heart of Markham, which will just open up new vistas.

                re: the name of the szechuan place: There's no English-language signage, but if my memory serves me right the place is called Ba Shu Ren Jia. It's not at Steeles and Markham (sorry, my mistake), it's just east of Kennedy on Steeles, in one of those little plazas with a fish (ie, aquariums) store, an all-you-can-eat sushi place, maybe an appliance store. There's also a doughnut shop across the street.

                Thanks again!

                7 Replies
                1. re: jennefer

                  I am not that familiar with Vancouver, you mentioned Vancouver has much better chinese food than Toronto, so what would be the chinese restaurant in Vancouver that serves better dim sum than Lai Wah Heen of Toronto downtown ? regardless of price.

                  1. re: skylineR33

                    I agree LWH is the best in TO in my opion, however, there are more than a handful of LWH in Van. If you go out to Vancouver for dim sum, their prices are at least double what we charged here.

                    1. re: pokerdan

                      Wow, more than a handful, I read from the Vancouver board is a different story. Do you have some names ? Double the price of LWH ? You mean like $10 for a single premium Har Gow ? Are you kidding ?

                      I was at Kirin one time, find the dim sum very good though, it is a few years ago, price is not too bad, from my memory.

                      1. re: skylineR33

                        The best person to judge my opinion is those who are from Van and try Dim Sum in T.O. They will find themself lucky enrough to have a very high standard Dim Dum resturant there.

                        I am not saying their price is double the price of LWH. In average, Van have more dim sum places charging the same prize as LWH than T.O.

                        I might wrong since I left Van for 9 years and the last time I visit there is 3 years ago. Maybe ask the board what is the average charge per person for Dim Sum in Van compare that in T.O.

                        1. re: pokerdan

                          I too would like to know what the average dim sum prices in TO are. Other than a general belief that LWH is probably the most expensive, I find quite a spectrum of prices elsewhere, in part because of the "early" or "vip card" or "ad hoc good customer" discounts including waiver of tea charges which can swing prices dramatically for the same restaurant. For simplicity, could stick to the "regular" prices...as an example, Sam Woo Seafood's regular prices are $2.50, $3.50, and $4.50 for S/M/L dishes respectfully. I think Sam Woo would be at the higher than medium scale of prices for dim sum in the GTA. Anybody else recall what they are paying at other places??

                          1. re: T Long

                            When I've gone to Ambassador, Empire Court, Casa Imperial or Cha Liu, it's usually roughly $20-$25 per person, including tax and tip.

                            When I've gone to Scarborough Grand, Rol San, Sky Dragon, Pearl Court (not recommended) or Forestview, it's usually somewhere between $12 and $15 per person, including tax and tip. I haven't tried any of the more economical places in Markham recently.

                            I don't remember the exact prices of the S/M/L dishes- we usually just divide the bill by the number of people eating, so I often don't get a good look at the bill.

                            1. re: T Long

                              Add 30 cents for the S/M/L at Casa Imperial/Victoria.

                  2. Actually there's a pretty good dim sum place right beside your friend's hotel.

                    Right beside the Hilton on Commerce Valley is a plaza. There's a Taiwanese bubble tea place called Go For Tea on one side and a restaurant called Tang's Cuisine on the other. I've only been to Tang's on weekends but they have set price for small, medium and large items and an alright selection. Their pastry and noodles (the white kind) are among the better.

                    The pricing is not cheap but not expensive: a three person morning dim sum could go by under $30.