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May 12, 2008 06:00 PM

Sea Hi Famous Chinese Restaurant

Does anyone know anything about this place? Eaten there etc.?

All I know is it's been around a very long time... I think I ate there once over 20 years ago (I remember nothing). I am also pretty sure they serve (only?) kosher food.

So it's more than 50 years at the same location and never once updated the decor??

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  1. Bump. I'm curious too.. used to drive by there all the time but never visited... thoughts?

    1. I think that information is inaccurate, it has not been at that location since the fifties. It was first on Dundas, west of Bay in the original Chinatown. It was closer to the mid 70s when it moved to the present location. And no it does not serve Kosher food. It would only be able to serve chicken beef and vegetables, since most of the ingredients used in Chinese cooking would be forbidden. My recollecton of the food was very mediocre westernized dishes. There are previous threads on C.H. if you do a search.

      1. Something eerie about Sea Hi and its longevity. I probably haven't had anything from there in close to 10 years, myself. But it most certainly is not kosher.

        Two dishes I recall are won ton soup and and a dish with chicken wrapped with bacon. I always loved the won ton soup. There was a platter of some sort my parents used to get as well which was tasty. Just bear in mind that this is not authentic Chinese food by any stretch- it's very much American Chinese food circa 1950.

        The other notable thing with Sea Hi is that it's huge inside and yet whenever we did eat there, it was virtually empty. I don't know if anything has changed in the last 10 years but somehow I doubt it.

        1. I ate at Sea Hi when I first moved to Toronto, which was in 1970. My impression was that they had been at the same location for a long time way back then. (Leslieville, are you sure you aren't thinking of Lichee Garden?)

          The food was never real Chinese food and was never kosher, though the clientele was virtually 100% Jewish, at least during the seventies. It certainly is eerie -- it was always empty in the seventies as well. They may have been busy on Sunday nights, the traditional time for otherwise kosher Jews to, using some mental calisthenics I never understood, somehow rationalize eating Chinese.

          I can't remember the last time I ate there, but I did look inside in the relatively recent past. Everything looked as I remembered it and, yes, it was almost empty.

          2 Replies
          1. re: embee

            Okay I am willing to concede I am partially wrong! The confusion occured because there was a Sea Hi Restaurant on Dundas Sreet. When it closed in the late 70's I assumed that was when it moved to Bathurst street. I am not confusing it with Sai Woo or Leechee Gardens. It was on the South side of Dundas further along, Not as close to Bay street as the other two, and not as fancy as the others. PearlD. mentions it in a previous thread from last year that Embee was included in. Strangely enough, has it listed on Dundas, but with no further info about it. I only ate at the Bathurst location once about 15 years ago when I was dragged there by friends and it was less than memorable! How it is still there I have no idea, particularly since it's client base has mostly moved to Thornhill, and the neighbourhood has become progressively more Orthadox which it certainly wasn't in the beginning. I am hoping that PearlD. will join in on this thread to confirm her memories!!!(and vindicate mine somewhat!)

            1. re: Leslieville

              I don't remember the previous Sea Hi thread but I believe that you are right Leslieville...I am almost certain it was on Dundas Street (West of Bay )before it moved 'up north'(that's what we used to call anything north of how times have changed!) to Bathurst of the 'famous waiters' not sure but perhaps he was an owner, was "Danny" who went on to be a 'partner' in "Sam the Chinese Food Man" on Yonge Street. Back to Sea Hi... I have no idea how it stays in business since that area is pretty much 'Orthodox" at this always had a strong Jewish presence ...I spent my Primary & High School days around Bathurst & Eglinton...I think my family ate at the (Bathurst Street location) Sea Hi only once and certainly as an adult I've never been back...we always went to "Chinatown" that time ate Cantonese style...the Nanking or more rarely Lichee Gardens, the very famous #12 Elizabeth Street or a place called "Hop Sing" which was on Dundas as well but decidely 'downscale' compared to the other .....then.....Paul's Deep Sea opened and the rest is history...opened the door to the many different styles of Chinese cuisine that can be found ALL over Toronto....we are indeed lucky to have so many choices in our City and Suburbs...

          2. Wow... that is really really strange... they aren't kosher but they are in the heart of Toronto's Jewish orthodox? and they have been in business longer than any other restaurant in the neighborhood that i can remember... but always empty??

            1 Reply
            1. re: abscissa

              i have been driving by that restaurant for 20 years now...and it always seems empty. I take it, they own the building and are waiting for the right offer and presto another condo will go up. Its definetely not kosher....and I have never met anyone who goes there.