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Great Authentic Chinese Rest uptown?

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We used to go to this restaurant at Kennedy/Hwy 7, geesh, forget the name, but it's changed hands now - used to be right next to a bakery - ok, that's not much help is it? Name fails me:( You could pick several dishes for a set price and the cash stand and roast duck set up was in front to the left as you walk in. There was also a higher raised area towards the back of the restaurant for seating. Ok, I'm babblling on - obviously don't want to go back to this place - unless it's changed hands again.

Looking for a nice, clean restaurant anywhere in Scarborough, Markham, North York, Richmond Hill area that has authentic Chinese food (chinese soup, etc). Most places have the best dishes written in Chinese - unfortunatley, unless I go with friends/relatives that can read, I'm out of look.

Any recommendations would be great!

As always, thanks fellow Chows!

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  1. Szechuan Legend - 3280 Midland Ave

    This spot is VERY authentic, clean, busy, and offers some of the most delicious Chinese food in Toronto.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JonasBrand

      Just a note, the OP mentioned "pick several dishes for a set price" which is only popular among Cantonese restos. But since dragon did not specify a regional cuisine, this might well be a good suggestion.

      1. re: Teep

        Hi Teep, thanks, you're right, I was looking more for a Chinese restaurant that has steamed fish, chinese soup, etc.

        Jonasbrand: I've been to Szechuand Legend, thanks. I believe it has more of a Shanghainese type cuisine, not quite what I was looking for, but thanks.

        1. re: red dragon

          Dragon, then it would help if you specify Cantonese, which is "Southern Chinese". Szechuan and Shanghainese are "Northern Chinese"

    2. Hi Red_Dragon,

      By focusing only on clean restaurants - you may be limiting your choices, unfortunately! (LOL) Many of the best tasting Chinese restaurants require you to get your hands dirty.
      My go-to favourite for Cantonese Chinese Dinner (make sure you only go for dinner, their dim sum, IMO, is inedible) is Ruby Chinese Restaurant. It's located in Woodside Mall at McCowan and Finch in Scarborough. The price is reasonable and the portions are large. The decor leaves something to be desired, but I just go for the food. My favourite dish there is their Lotus Leaf Steamed Fried Rice (here is a take-out food shot of it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...), but their dishes are all pretty consistently strong, especially their vegetable dishes (try their King Mushroom vegetable dish), and fish maw soup. I prefer Cantonese cuisine, rather than Szechuan, so all of my recommendations will lean towards the former rather than latter.

      My favourite place to go for Congee and super cheap weekday lunches would be Fantasy Eatery (near Midland and Finch - 3320 Midland Avenue, Scarborough). $5 will get you some Pay-Dan Sow Yook Jook (phonetic translation), which is preserved duck egg with lean pork congee, AS WELL as Gon Chow Sam See Haw (3 veggie Fried Rice Noodle). It's one of my favourite congee joints in the city - and at $5, you cannot really beat it. Unfortunately, this menu is only in Chinese. Try ordering by phonetic translation - though if I remember it correctly, it's #7 for the congee lunch set meals. I would have to put a disclaimer on it that the place appears to have been decorated by a marble-happy 5-year old, and it is certainly not the cleanest place. However, the weekday lunch special is great value. Another fave would be the Ruby Restaurant I mentioned earlier - but only for their Noodle Soups and congee. For $5 you can have a tasty Noodle Soup with either Roast Pork, Roast Duck, Soya Chicken, or Roast Chicken on top with a few slices of veggies. Their broth is one of the strong broths I've had in T.O. Another winning lunch dish they have is their Fresh Fish Congee, which is served at the front of the restaurant at a service stall (approximately $4.50). The menus for these items are in English, and the congee, you can walk straight to the front of the restaurant and point to it yourself to order.

      Many people also seem to like Casa Imperial, though I would have to say that I am not particularly a fan. The decor tries hard, but it really needs to be updated/refurbished IMO. It's located in the old Devonsleigh restaurant location at Steeles near T&T at 4125 Steeles Ave). A better, choice would be at Hwy 7 (8500 Warden Avenue) at the Hilton Suites named Empire Court (I neglected to bring my camera that time). Their dim sum is a bit higher class than your average joint, with prices to match. The decor is quite pleasant though. Spring Villa at 7301 Woodbine Ave, Markham, is another decent choice. It's clean and the food is above par.

      Bean Curd Roll: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
      Veggie Dumpling: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
      Soup Dumpling: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
      Lotus Leaf Sticky Rice: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
      Egg Custard Bun: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
      Eel Pastry: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
      Vermicelli: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...

      Another favourite of mine would be Lotus Pond Vegetarian Restaurant. Their dim sum is one of my favourites in the area - especially if I feel like vegetarian fare. I have made another post elsewhere on chowhound, but here are some photos of their dim sum:
      Curry Patty: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
      Veggie Dumpling in Soup: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
      Bean Curd Roll: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
      The restaurant is very clean and the service is efficient and friendly. All menus are in English, as well, a couple of the waitresses speak English very proficiently. Click on my name to find my other Lotus post with photos and a discussion by other Chowhounders.

      To be honest, I hardly go to these restaurants because I find myself always heading out West to the Doubletree (near the airport) for Grand Chinese Cuisine. I'll try to make a big post about it later this week (haven't gotten a chance to write up a big review yet. Here's one picture of the calamari: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775... and the veggie dumpling: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775... ). It's been my favourite dim sum place for the past year, and whenever I feel like dim sum, it fits the bill. However, it's not in the area that you mentioned as a criteria. If you ever get a chance to make it out there though, I highly recommend it. It's on par with Lai Wah Heen (IMO - though I'm sure others would say Lai Wah Heen is a tad better. Here is a photo of Lai Wah Heen's
      crab tart: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
      egg custard tart:
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
      ), and is about 20% cheaper.

      Let me know how it goes.
      Cheers and Happy Eating!

      48 Replies
      1. re: BokChoi

        Another one to check out is Maple Yip (4227 Sheppard Avenue East). I've only been there a couple of times a few years back and wasn't too impressed, but many others have said they love it there. Maybe it has since gotten better (?). It's in the back of a small strip mall in Scarborough.

        1. re: BokChoi

          Don't get me started on Maple Yip. We wasted one of our three dinners in Toronto over there. We could have gone to any restaurant in First Markham Place on Highway 7 (including the food court) and done better. Over there, Diamond Banquet Hall would be my first choice, and I do like Casa Imperial though it's a little pricey.

          1. re: Chandavkl

            I agree on Maple Yip. Food can be had at better places, and at better prices.. perhaps more bang for the buck.

            1. re: jennjen18

              Mind listing the places that have both better food AND better prices than Maple Yip? There are definitely places that are better, but the cost is higher. There are definitely also places that are cheaper, but the food isn't as good.

              1. re: kwong

                The Fantasy Eatery at Finch/Midland for one. Also, Tanchikee on Hwy #7 would be another. Both cheaper than Maple Yip but fairly similar food quality. The restaurant on Finch just east of Bayview ( same plaza as Maxim ) is pretty good too.

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  Fantasy Eatery does have better food, but I find the portion sizes are smaller, which makes them more expensive.

                  Where along Hwy 7 is Tanchikee? I'll try it out the next time my parents come by.

                  Regarding the restaurant in the Maxim plaza:
                  1) Is it better than Maple Yip?
                  2) Is it cheaper than Maple Yip?
                  3) What is the name of this place?

                  Are there any other examples of places that are both better AND cheaper than Maple Yip?

                  1. re: kwong

                    I dont think Fantasy Eatery is expensive at all, really. If you're going with a buddy, it's perfect. In fact, you're not paying for food that you're not eating.. most dishes are under $10. Although from what my mom tells me, all dishes have gone $0.50 up due to inflation! But still, I think that Fantasy Eatery satisfies what youre looking for, though it doesn't have set meals, you could easily make up the set meal by ordering a la carte, which isnt expensive at all.

                    One of my favourites is the eggplant olive and minced pork pot.. it fills the whole rectangular styrofoam container, and comes in at just $10 or so. It lasts me for a week, even. I mean, if you're talking about going to the Grand or something like that, why not try this little eatery?

                    1. re: jennjen18

                      I don't understand what you mean when you say "why not try this little eatery" because I have tried it already. In fact, the eggplant hot pot dish is one of my favorites there too!

                      1. re: kwong

                        Umm, i was responding to the OP... sorry to confuse.

                    2. re: kwong

                      If you find Fantasy Eatery, one of the most reasonably priced good Chinese restaurant expensive, then I'm not sure what to recommend to you?! Any cheaper and I'm sure food quality will be compromised by the use of inferior ingredients!

                      Tanchikee is at the corner of Chalmers and Hwy7

                      The restaurant in the Maxim plaza is called 'Sun Star'. Food, depending on dishes ordered can be very good. On average, price is cheaper than Maple Yip, but again it depends on what you order!

                      A typical Cantonese sweet and sour pork ( Gool Lo Yoak ) cost around $20 in higher end restaurants, around $10 in O'Mei and Maple Yip and only $6 in Fantasy Eatery/Tanchikee. Any place charging cheaper than the latter and the restaurant has to lose money!!!

                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        Hey Charles, I was waiting for you to give Sun Star a try... did you order their roast pigeon? My friend who lives in Toronto (but travels to HK a lot for good food) recommended the place to me. I haven't had roast pigeon in GTA too often, so I can't compare it to other places. Did you also come across any other good dishes? I found their sweet & sour pork to be a bit lacking in sour tanginess that I look for.

                        Here's an older link I posted about some of the other dishes I tried there.

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/496588

                        1. re: Royaljelly

                          Hello Royaljelly! Eating out with the baby yet?

                          Tried out Sun Star again tonight. Finally have a chance to order their Roast Pigeon. It was good. Pretty moist meat and crispy skin. However, at $18, its a bit overpriced. Prefer Full House version instead. However, we did ordered two 'stunningly delicious' dishes. One is Braised eggplant with Enoki mushroom in oyster sauce. Simply prepared but ultra tasty. The other dish was Wok fried mixed mushrooms, scallions and fillet of veal. The 'wok-hay' was phenomenal resulting in the veal cooked really tender and delicious . The oil-poached crispy free range chicken was also very good. Fairly good value too. Only slight disappointment was the fried beef and water spinach with fermented bean curd. The gravy was a bit too watery.

                          Five dishes including the pigeon was only $60 including taxes! If 'Kwong' is looking for a 'value for money' place with tons of more expensive optional fresh seafood, this is good candidate!

                          1. re: Charles Yu

                            Where are Sun Star and Tanchikee located? Thanks.

                            1. re: caitlink

                              Sun Star is at 636 Finch Ave.,E, between Bayview and Leaslie
                              Tanchikee is at NE corner of Chalmers and Hwy7

                            2. re: Charles Yu

                              One more thing I would like to add about Sun Star is the huge selection of fresh seafood that were listed on the black board. I'm not sure whether everything is available but its mighty impressive!

                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                Back to Sun Star... for those of you that love fatty pork (and my wife is killing me, ordering it almost every other meal we eat out), they have a version that's thinly sliced (about 1/2 cm) and cooked in a shrimp sauce. Very flavourful (in fact, I having some as left overs now as I type this report). It's not the usually soft mushy fat that other chinese fatty pork dishes serve (I usually spit out the fat after a few bites). This one was a slight bit chewy in texture.

                                The other dish that was gobbled up quick was their small deep fried white fish, beautifully crisp and well seasoned.

                                Hey Charles, I did take my new born there too... the place is nice and loud, so most people didn't notice her crying at all. :)

                          2. re: Charles Yu

                            I don't find Fantasy Eatery expensive. I think it's very fair pricing. I'm just saying that I feel I get more for my buck at Maple Yip. I guess the whole discussion on Maple Yip is off topic anyways since the OP seems to be looking for great food, regardless of price.

                            I guess I'm just reacting to the posts saying that Maple Yip was a waste of a meal (which it would be if money is no object), and to the one that says that other places have better value (I'm sure there are some, but I can't imagine there are a LOT because the price performace is pretty darn good at Maple Yip).

                            Anyways, in case I wasn't clear, my bottom line is:
                            Fantasy Eatery is great, and it's better than Maple Yip, but I find it to be SLIGHTLY less cost effective.

                            1. re: Charles Yu

                              Hi Charles,
                              Found your Authentic Chinese uptown recommendations here and wondered if you could recommend some of your downtown favorites (or a recent thread).

                              1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                Sorry to say, but, apart from Lai Wah Heen down town and Lai Toh Heen mid-town, IMO there is NO restaurant downtown ( especially Cantonese ones ) that comes remotely close to the good ones in Scarborough, Markham, Thornhill or Richmond Hill.
                                Swatow is OK but for stirred fry or soup noodles and other quick 'one plate meal' dishes

                                -----
                                Lai Wah Heen
                                108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3, CA

                                Lai Toh Heen
                                692 Mt Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S, CA

                                Swatow
                                309 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E6, CA

                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                  This is the same story in most every North American Chinese community--the good stuff has migrated to the suburbs, the center city pales by comparison. That's just the way it is.

                                  1. re: Charles Yu

                                    FYI, a new Casa "chain" restaurant is opening downtown, at Bay and Irwin, where 5th Elementt used to be. Of course how good it will be remains to be seen. Looks like it's nearing completion.

                                    -----
                                    5th Elementt
                                    1033 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3A5, CA

                                    1. re: Teep

                                      A correction, the new restaurant is Crown Princess - a sister restaurant to Crown Prince, and not in the Casa family. The confusion came from the fact that its Chinese name has 3 out of 4 characters the same as Casa Victoria. There is a disclaimer on the Casa sites that basically says that their chain only consists of C. Victoria and C. Imperial.

                                      Some reviews of Crown Princess are here
                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/669292

                                      -----
                                      Crown Prince
                                      3600 Victoria Park Ave, North York, ON M2H 3B2, CA

                                      1. re: Teep

                                        Crown Princess - 3 Blocks South of Bloor on Bay

                                        -----
                                        Crown Princess
                                        1033 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3A5, CA

                                        1. re: Teep

                                          I think this is referring to my reviews. I've been to Crown Princess a few times since they opened (working on my VIP discount status!). It's very good compared to other options downtown, but that's because the other options aren't very good. There's a big gap between Lai Wah Heen and everything else ... I normally just go to Bright Pearl for cheaper dim sum with big groups, or LWH for a special occasion.

                                          I don't think Crown Princess is as good as options on the Hwy 7 strip, in terms of both quality and price, *yet*. From their menu and from brief conversations with the staff, I get the impression that they want to work on the high end, more innovative market that Lai Wah Heen targets (i.e. bolder flavour and texture contrasts, more varied ingredients), but it's probably fair to give them a few weeks before passing judgement. This location does not have a history of successful establishments.

                                          As an amusing aside, the local Chinese store owners are really, really excited. Perhaps borderline bubbly.

                                          1. re: Underdog Rally

                                            IMHO, there are no more 'Great' Chinese restaurants on the Hwy 7 strip anymore! If I have to settle for one, I'll choose 'Judy's Cuisine'.for Cantonese and 'Northern Dumpling Kitchen for Northern cuisine. Both inside Time Square complex. Others are pretty mediocre, run of the mill, often 'over-rated' establishments.

                                            1. re: Charles Yu

                                              If not Hwy. 7, where?

                                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                                All scattered!
                                                Brilliant in Markham, Maple Yip in Scarborough, Emperor in Richmond Hill, LTH in midtown, LWH in downtown....etc. If you don't mind settling on just one specialty - Giant Lobster 4 ways, then Hwy 7 do have one - O'Mei

                                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                                  Thanks, Charles. Getting my list ready for my next visit to Toronto. Had a great meal a few months ago at Lai Wah Heen and agree that Judy Cuisine and Northern Dumpling are excellent. Maple Yip is a puzzle. Went there a couple of years ago based on board recommendations and ordered the set dinner, which had been a successful tactic at Casa Imperial. It was very disappointing--no better than what you can get in Los Angeles Chinatown. (By point of reference, food quality in LA Chinatown is comparable to Toronto Chinatown.) Indeed, Mrs. Chandavkl scolded me for wasting one of our three Toronto dinners there. Even if it is in fact superior, the boss will never let me set foot there again!

                                                  -----
                                                  Lai Wah Heen
                                                  108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3, CA

                                                  Casa Imperial
                                                  4125 Steeles Ave E, Scarborough, ON M1W 3T4, CA

                                                  Judy Cuisine
                                                  550 7 Hwy E, Richmond Hill, ON L4B3Z4, CA

                                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                                    If you are from LA, I would suggest that you make a trip to Hwy 7 O'Mei and give their Giant Lobster 4 ways a try. Nothing like that in the US, be it LA, SF, Seattle or NYC!!
                                                    BTW, it is no longer relevant to compare Chinese food in 'Chinatown' with each other since nowadays, all great establishments have all moved to the outskirts. Toronto and Vancouver are prime examples. Food in China town are usually 'outdated' and mediocre.

                                                    1. re: Charles Yu

                                                      Hi Charles!
                                                      I respect your views a lot and always look forward to your reviews, alerts and opinions. Your photos are always a highlight of scouring these boards! But as a "Low "Wah Kiu" Chinese, most of my extended family and I prefer an old fashoined Chinese family meal (soup de jour or "Lai Tong", several dishes comprising various meats, seafoods, vegetables, tofu and steamed rice. An occasional meal or banquet in a "white linen" suburban restaurant can indeed be a treat. But for us, the old fashioned meal is a staple- hearty, satisfying, filled with "wok hay" and reasonably priced. It has always been our experience in Toronto's Chinatown (I'm 60 years old) that different restaurants have different special dishes, and we tend to go to restaurants when we are in the mood for particular dishes. Overall, the quality might not stack up to some good suburban spots, but the satisying of cravings for certain dishes is enough for us to make the trip to certain Chinatown restaurants. Having said that, i look forward to your highly informative postings on these boards.

                                                      1. re: Charles Yu

                                                        Clearly the same in LA and SF too.

                                        2. re: Charles Yu

                                          Thanks Charles,

                                          I don't mind traveling for a good meal. They have all been added to my high priority "Must Visit" list. Thanks.

                                        3. re: PoppiYYZ

                                          Also FYI, Regal (same as the one on Hwy 7 / Bayview) is open where Ruby used to be @Finch/McCowan. Went there once on a weeknight. Not bad but the place was mostly empty. Many set dinners. Worth a try.

                                          1. re: syoung

                                            Regal Chinese Cuisine @ Finch/McCowan

                                            -----
                                            Regal Chinese Cuisine
                                            1571 Sandhurst Circle, Unit 107, Scarborough, ON M1V 1V2, CA

                          3. re: BokChoi

                            Wow, what a detailed reply. I will print this out to read on my lunch hour. Thank you so much.

                            Well, there is a "reason" why I choose cleaner restaurants having had many ailments which are against policy to post here. I have a sensitive stomach and weak immune system, so I choose cleaner establishments. Not quite possible in eating outside, I should be the first to know, but I try not to put my health at risk when eating at places where I've come home and not felt well.

                            I absolutely love your pics and share a passion for photography with you! I've been known to carry my bulky camera with me when eating out, to share with friends and relatives who absolutely love food!

                            P.S. I've tried Ruby Restaurant and Spring Villa many times before.

                            1. re: red dragon

                              Thanks for the compliments, red_dragon!

                              Have you found any restaurants that are along the same lines as Ruby for dinner? I'm on the lookout because I find many other restaurants are a bit salty and overflavoured for my tastes. I tend to like more bland foods (cantonese "tsing" phonetic translation). In Hong Kong, I didn't seem to have a problem finding things that suited my tastes, but here, I tend only to stick to a few tried,tested and true venues. I do not enjoy heavy sauces, or usage or MSG or cornstarch to thicken sauces - any recs?

                              The restaurants I've suggested, though not very pretty, they seem to be very clean. But you never know unless you inspect their kitchens! (of which I only had the opportunity to view Grand's immaculately kept kitchens in the Doubletree - as to be expected!) I have never had a problem at those restos and I have been going for over 8 years now...

                              Lotus is a safe clean choice. They are actually one of the nicer, cleaner Chinese restaurants I've been to. Here are some more pics that I posted today
                              Seaweed Roll: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
                              Stuffed Tofu: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
                              Pak Choi Dumpling: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
                              Crystal bun: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
                              Silver thread loaf: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...

                              Cheers!

                              1. re: BokChoi

                                Hi Bokchoi, haven't found or tried a Chinese Restaurant yet, but I will many choices, thanks to you. As for Lai Wah Heen, a bit out of our price range and it's downtown. I've tried Casa Imperial, but only for dimsum, pricey, but good. Think I'll give Ruby a try, have only been there for dimsum, but like you said, it's better for dinner. Some restaurants are like that. Our favorite dimsum place is Dragon Dynasty on Brimley/Huntingwood, but we didn't like their dinners. Thanks again for the suggestions and all those photos! Making me hungry, it's 8:30am and I'm at work, but wishing I could have some of those delicous foods that you took pictures of!!

                                1. re: red dragon

                                  BokChoi, red dragon: Your posts sound like you both have quite a bit of experience with the N. Scarborough area. Interested in your opinions about the two Sam Woo's on Bamburgh and the Elegantview at McNichol & Vic Park. I've enjoyed the dim sum at Elegantview and prefer the Sam Woo BBQ at supper over Sam Woo Seafood as it's less pretentious, but I find all 3 places good stand-by's.

                                  1. re: T Long

                                    Thanks Red Dragon - hope you like the food recs. Dragon Dynasty is actually the sister restaurant of the other restaurant I recommended – Grand Chinese Restaurant. The chain has 3 related restos - one low end (Big Mouth Kee at Hwy7), one mid range (Dragon Dynasty), and finally Grand (the high end located near the airport). I don’t really have dim sum at any other location besides Grand, except when I feel like vegetarian – and that is when I head over to Lotus Pond.

                                    T_Long, I would have to say that I have not given Sam Woo that many opportunities to fully be able to judge them. Nor have I ever tried Elegant View to be honest. I would have to say from my experiences at Sam Woo for dim sum that I have been very disappointed and find their ingredients a bit lacking and the techniques used a bit more rudimentary than what I am accustomed to. But I know that it is very popular and I am sure for good reason. I am just not a fan, that is all. Of course, I am comparing this to higher end (read: more expensive) dim sum, so I am sure that’s not level playing ground either. I just find that I am willing to pay more to get that extra bit of excitement when I dine. Others may not find it justifiable. How do you find their dinner? Would you consider Elegant View to be very light in flavour and use only the freshest ingredients? I would be interested to try it if it were. I am always on the lookout for a new standby favourite. My dining companions are often not as adventurous, so it may take some convincing… any tips on dishes to try?
                                    What's good to try at O'Mei, Charles_Yu? Some acquaintances tried it on an earlier occasion and told me to avoid it – but maybe they just sampled some bad dishes?

                                    1. re: BokChoi

                                      BokChoi: I consider Sam Woo Seafood a decent place overall, maybe mid-range compared to say Grand, Casa or the Lai Wah's at the higher end. For me Lai Wah Heen is the best and I will spend the extra dough from time to time to go there for the dim sum, but I shy away from the other high end places for food only considerations because the cost-enjoyment factor is not there for me...so for most dim sum cravings, I will go to the mid-range places. That said, I prefer the dim sum at Elegantview slightly over Sam Woo Seafood. Another "mid-range" place that I liked recently was at the Legend at Glen Cameron in Thornhill...very basic, but well executed.

                                    2. re: T Long

                                      Hi T_Long,

                                      I wouldn't say I'm a food expert though, just a food lover! I've lived in Scarborough/Toronto for over 20 years and have tried so many places. We eat out alot.

                                      As for Sam Woo (at Bamburgh Circle), it used to be a favorite of my parents and grandparents, and we ordered BBQ meats from there all the time for our get togethers. In my opinion, the place went downhill and is not that clean, haven't been back in ages. It might have changed hands or changed in general since then.

                                      I think I've only been to Elegantview once, and it was awhile ago, so sorry I can't comment.

                                      Everyone's tastes and preferences are so different though, so I try to respect that. I would certainly think Bokchoi has had many more experiences and her/his (I don't know Bokchoi) pictures are amazing!

                                      The other problem is knowing restaurant's names!! People refer me to them, saying it's on this corner and that corner, but what's the name???? LOL. And I don't want the Chinese name, I can't read Chinese!!

                                      Well for now, our favorite dimsum place remains Dragon Dynasty and I'll be trying some other places for "dinner" so I'll be sure to post. You'll find a ton of reviews here!

                                      We were going to Asian Legen for a long while and even had the VIP card, but that went downhill, so we started going to another Shanghainese place behind First Markham Place. Sorry, name fails me right now. I'll try to remember and post back here. Well, that was going great, and then they must have changed cooks or owners, food was going downhill as well as portions.

                                      Edited to add: Restaurant is called Ala Kitchen, it was great when it opened, but again, in our opinion, went downhill. We were sad to see that happen as we were going once a week, haven't been there in months.

                                      I tried Asian Station (is that the name) in the plaza beside Pacific Mall, geesh, I'm not doing well with names today. It was ok, more on a referral from a teenager, so our tastes were not the same.
                                      Edited to add: I think it's called Market Village? Geesh, I live nearby and can't remember the name - a sign of aging :(

                                      Used to go to Congee Wong/Queen a LOT, and now we go to Congee Star, a lot farther for us but one one the co-owners, Sam, is great! Speaks perfect English and when I tell him "less oil, less salt," I get exactly that!

                                      Hmmm, what else can I recommend??? I'm at work, so I'll give it some thought and keep posting.

                                      Happy Eats in the meantime!

                                      1. re: red dragon

                                        Thanks for the compliment, once again, red_dragon. T_long, I will give those places a try - do you have any fave dishes that you can recommend to me? That way I make sure I order the best dishes, as I find many places have 'specialties' that elevate them above the masses.

                                        I must try Lai Wah Heen again. It's been quite a few months since I've last dined there. It's hard to work into my schedule since I only have time for dim sum once a week, and that is usually taken up by Grand! LOL. But I will admit that Grand has slightly dimished from their glory when I first started dining there over a year ago. The chef told me that other restaurants are poaching his staff (the head chef at Casa trained under the Grand head chef for a few months before being lured away). Hopefully they will pick it up again soon!

                                        1. re: red dragon

                                          Hi Red Dragon: about Sam Woo BBQ....not sure if its changed that much over the years, but my sense is that it has been pretty consistent over a long period of time, like well over 20 years. In its early days it stood out because there was not much competition for that quality of food, but with time that has changed. As for cleanliness, I would put it down as mid-range...a description which fits most of the better mid-range Chinese restos...Btw, I judge cleanliness mainly from the state of the washrooms.

                                          1. re: T Long

                                            I shouldn't really give a fair review on Sam Woo since I have not been there in perhaps 15 years or so, but I do recall fondly, it being a family favorite.

                                            LOL, that's one of the things I look for as well, clean washrooms! I'm apalled when I see the liquid soap dispensers empty!!! I've seen servers use the same washrooms - yikes! Some people might comment that what you don't see won't hurt you, or you'd never know what goes on in the kitchens (actually I do), but with my sensitive stomach, I do try to be more careful.

                                            Here's something funny to share with you. When we try a new place and after I feel ok the next day, my husband says, "ok, that's a keeper." LOL

                                2. re: BokChoi

                                  I was notified that one of my links from above was not functional.
                                  Here is the Ruby Lotus Fried Rice Takout:
                                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...

                                  So far, my favourite fried rice in T.O. Would like to hear some others' favourites.

                                  Cheers and Happy Eating

                                  1. re: BokChoi

                                    Uploaded some new photos of Ruby Chinese Restaurant's lunch specials.
                                    Fish Congee: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
                                    Soya Chicken Noodle Soup: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
                                    BBQ Duck Noodle Soup: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
                                    Pan-fried Taro Cake: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775... ($2 a plate on weekdays

                                    )

                                    Cheers and Happy Eating!

                                    1. re: BokChoi

                                      Hello BokChoi!
                                      I'm sorry to pour cold water over your 'Ruby Restaurant' recommendation.
                                      Had a banquet style dinner there last weekend. Some of the food was borderline pathetic. We had a whole roast suckling pig whose skin was not only 'not crispy' but it was actually chewy and tough!! Almost all the seafood dishes ( prawns, scallops, lobsters ) have sauces/gravy that are overly starchy! Al in all a bad Chinese food experience!
                                      FYI, Dragon Dynasty, a block down on Brimley has much better tasting food! Though a touch more expensive.

                                      1. re: Charles Yu

                                        Hello Charles Yu!
                                        I am sorry to hear that you did not have a good experience there. To be honest, I do not frequently have their banquet meals there as I usually only go with a smaller group <5. But of the times I have gone there for large group banquets (weddings, large birthday parties, social functions) they were definitely sub-par to their usual performance. I usually order off their regular a la carte Chinese menu and it has never really let me down (except one time - don't go on a Thursday, they mentioned the chef does not work that day and that was the one time I did not have a good meal there). Every restaurant has some solid dishes. Here are some recommendations that you can hopefully try next time if you ever return:

                                        - deep fried fillet of sole with crispy bone + pan fried yu kuw (fish pieces) with snow peas (the skin and bones a crisply fried and the fish pieces are juicy. The snow peas are crunchy and there is no starchy gravy anywhere to be seen)
                                        - snow pea leaves with ling jee goo mushrooms or jun jee goo (they are excellent in their braised veggie/mushroom dishes) with minimal sauce
                                        - doong gwa joong (winter melon soup). Excellent soup with a light and sweet broth that is only $18 if you go in a group over 5 ( I hardly get to order this because I usually go in a small group)
                                        - sew gai (roast chicken) or their yow gai (soya chicken)
                                        - finally their lotus leaf steamed fried rice (fried rice that is baked in a lotus leaf wrap upon completion). Excellent rice dish. Best in TO that I have found.

                                        I have been to Dragon Dynasty and I did not enjoy it the few times I have been there as much as Ruby. But each restaurant is entitled to have off days. Dragon Dynasty is one of the better ones in the area IMO. I found of a couple of days that they were exceptionally salty though, but it could have been an accident on their part. It is one of my more frequented restaurants (top 5 in the area), though I would not think of it as one of my favourites.

                                        I am shocked that the suckling pig was off - as their bbq is usually spot on. Their skin is normally very crispy and very little fat. Each day their bbq is done fresh. I have never had a 'chewy' nor tough suckling pig - but I do not order it often. I usually only have it on the 'ping poon' dish with the mixed meats.

                                        Another note that I should have warned you about - their seafood is not the strongest. On my photo site I have noted that their calamari and shrimps and scallops are sub-par, but did not transfer that info to CH. Apologies. As well, I tend to avoid seafood dishes at restaurants because I find most Chinese restaurants use frozen seafood, unless it is whole fresh prawns or fish. As well, a member of my party has cholesterol problems, hence we do not order those dishes (shrimp/lobster) as well so I could not cover that angle.

                                    2. Interesting no body mentioned about O'Mei on Hwy#7 so far. One doesn't have to order the Lobster. Rest of the menu is pretty good too.

                                      12 Replies
                                      1. re: Charles Yu

                                        Charles, I've had referals from many of my Caucasion co-workers? I thought the food was more Canadian Chinese (S&S Pork, Cantonese Chow Mein, etc), or do they have more authentic offerings?

                                        I see it all the time when I drive by ... Like BokChoi, I've had advice to avoid it as well? Perhaps it needs to be given a chance ....

                                        1. re: red dragon

                                          I tried OMei dim sum on Hwy 7 twice based on charles recommendation. I found it to be a good value for the quality of ingredients and flavours. Mind you, we didn't try anything too fancy like you would get at either of the Casa's, LWH or the Grand, but it's good for "solid' quality dim sum.

                                          I used to go to Sam Woo at Bamburgh for dim sum quite bit as well, but that was before we discovered all the other higher end places. Now we don't even bother, but I'm sure it's busy simply because of all the local patrons living in the area (all those condo's). Don't get it mixed up with the other Sam Woo on the opposite end of the same shopping plaza, which sells BBQ meats and more simple Cantonese fare.

                                          Elegant view we've also gone a few times over the past few months. The first 2 times we enjoyed it, especially during the off peak hours and the good discounts (going back again to get our free bag of rice). But lately I've been getting bored with their selections, maybe I just need more variety.

                                          I still have to make it out to The Grand and Casa Victoria one of these days since I've yet to try them.

                                          1. re: red dragon

                                            Hwy7 O'Mei has a whole menu plus 'specials of the day' that are as authentic as any dishes you'll find in Hong Kong and/or China! Your aforementioned 'Canadian Chinese dishes' are just 'side-show' to augment and try to satisfy 'uneducated/caucasian palates

                                            BTW, two other 'not yet mentioned' worthwhile' restaurants to consider are 'Dragon Boat Cuisine' on East Beaver Creek Road and Legend in Thornhill, corner of Glen Cameron and Yonge. Very good food.

                                            1. re: Charles Yu

                                              You mentioned above that not just the lobster is good at O'Mei. What specials would you recommend or have you enjoyed there? I'm headed that way this weekend.

                                              btw, your "uneducated/caucasian" comment...you should be more careful with your wording.

                                              1. re: grandgourmand

                                                Here are two threads out of many which have extensive coverage on Omei for you to reference, they are not most recent, but the points there are still valid :

                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/428036

                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/487995

                                                I just visit Omei for their 4-way Giant Lobster recently and it is still as good as before.

                                                1. re: skylineR33

                                                  Thanks, skyline.

                                                  Hey, you had mentioned authentic sichuan (e.g. Hot Spicy Spicy) in another thread...what should I order? That's another destination in the near future.

                                                  1. re: grandgourmand

                                                    I would recommend Chongqing Spicy Deep Fried Chicken (重慶辣子雞), sliced pork in garlic sauce (蒜泥白肉), Shu zhu spicy sauce fish/beef (水煮魚/牛), Tea smoke duck (樟茶鴨), Ma Paul Tofu. Some of the dishes are pretty spicy. Hope you find them ok !

                                                2. re: grandgourmand

                                                  Hello Grandgourmand. Many thanks for your cautionary comment. I'll be more careful! Absolutely no intention to offend anyone! Thousand apologies!
                                                  I guess I'm just trying to convey the fact that the 'main authentic' menu has indeed a lot of dishes that uses 'pungent' ingredients such as salted fish, preserved meats and vegetables, fermented bean curd and shrimp paste etc, To the uninitiated, these might actually smell and taste a bit offensive. ( In fact, in last weekend's Toronto star, there was an article written by one their travelling correspondent who warned visitors to the Beijing Olympics to 'specially AVOID' delicacies like Stinky Tofu. This is one-sided reporting IMO. For, to some of us Orientals who had been exposed to these sensation, we find the smell adictive and the taste and texture of the morsels simply out of this world. But, for first-timers the sensation could be unfamiliar. Not unlike Blue Cheese and/or anchovies. ). Anyways, for what ever reason, almost all authentic Chinese restaurants do offer a special ' westernize chinese food' section for those who are less adventurous.
                                                  Now, back to O'Mei's signature dishes. I personally like their version of the crispy free range chicken. If available, I find their Geoduck sashimi, at $68 a bargain, since normally it costs $98. Just love the sweet taste and crisy/chewy texture of the clam. Some of their casual 'home-cook' dishes like Steamed minced pork pattie with diced Chinese mushroom,water chestnut and dried cuttlefish is very tasty. The addition of some minced dry shrimps into the minced pork/preserved olives mixture raises the normally ordinary fried string beans dish to another level. Even something ordinary like stirred fry beef with Chinese brocolli was very well executed.
                                                  A word of caution! Do check the market price of 'Special of the day recommendation' by the owner/wait staff to avoid potential shock when the bill comes ( including yje giant lobster )

                                                  1. re: Charles Yu

                                                    No worries.

                                                    Thanks for the advice. How many people does Geoduck sashimi feed? I recognize it's one dish, but for sharing purposes, I'm curious.

                                                    1. re: grandgourmand

                                                      I've eaten the Geoduck dish when dining with a party of five. Last time, about a month ago, we were a party of ten and there were more than enough slices to go around for seconds and thirds. The presentation is one big platter with the sliced morsels spread over a huge ice-dome.

                                                      1. re: Charles Yu

                                                        Hi Charles, I once ordered the Geoduck 3-ways, and it is ~$100 for 3.5 lbs. Even the guy there said it is top quality and show us the live geoduck before cutting it, I still found it a bit expensive, so I did not order it again. Is the $68 a set price for a plate, and it does not go by weight ?

                                                        Hey grandgourmand, here is a picture of the geoduck (for the sashimi and the hot pot course), it gives you a idea of what it's like.

                                                         
                                                        1. re: skylineR33

                                                          I was told by Ringo the owner that for this week, they have received a special large quantity consignment of Grade A clams. As such, they can offer each of them at a special $68 fix price to their customers. It'll be one way only, either hot-pot or sashimi style.

                                          2. From my other post a few days ago regarding Grands Chinese Cuisine. Also, I found some of the dinner set at their sister restaurant Dragon Dynasty is exactly same as Grand but with a cheaper price. Or course, the money goes to the service at Grand I guess ...

                                            Grand's dinner is poor with some dishes average at best. Had one of their most expensive dinner set a few months ago which features "One Head" abalone. But found out that it is a ripped off as it is no way the size of even a "three head". It is cooked very rough with not enough time, the taste of the broth is not infused into the abalone at all, leaving it like eating rubber. The other dishes are average at best. The last course fried rice is some of the worst fried rice I have ever eaten, it is as dried as eating a piece of boiled chicken breast, I think they over burnt it.

                                            After that we had another 10 courses dinner in there which is also very disappointed, especially with the steamed sea bass which is over cooked to the point that the texture of the fish is even worst than frozen fish.

                                            The decor of it is not comfortable with its low ceiling and no window.

                                            Wedding in there is a no-no with a hugh problem in leaving the parking lot afterward, without even mentioning the food. How do I know ? I have been invited to a wedding in there before, took me 20 mins to get out of the parking lot.

                                            Dim Sum at Grand is still good, but not to the standard of Lai Wah Heen IMO, but cheaper.

                                            BTW,

                                            ElegantView is a good choice for casual dinner. Omei is a great restaurant for seafood.

                                            15 Replies
                                            1. re: skylineR33

                                              Do not worry skylineR33 - I am not recommending their dinners. But thank you for clarifying that, just in case some unsuspecting chowhounder heads out that way for dinner...

                                              1. re: BokChoi

                                                I still think best authentic cantonese dinner would be Casa Imperial. Excellent service and the lobster, and steamed fish came out perfectly cooked. My parents are retired restauranteurs and even they were impressed.
                                                I tried Maple Yip last month based on all the reviews. Found it to be good but maybe I was expecting too much.

                                              2. re: skylineR33

                                                This forum is driving me crazy with the technical problems. SkylineR33, can you tell me if Elegant View is the one on the corner of McNicol and VicPark? I've been there a long time ago for dimsum, but not for dinner? What would be some dishes to try?

                                                I could try and look back for your info, but again, this freezing and spinning issue is driving me crazy.

                                                TIA!!

                                                1. re: red dragon

                                                  I went for dinner at Elegant View last night (I'm like you red dragon, I only tried dim sum before), had the baby sea cucumbers with veggie (my first time eating it - nice and slightly chewy, nice light sauce), the deep fried mango chicken (very westernized dish, too sweet for my liking), grouper pieces with sour veggie and clear flat noodle, and a fried rice with scallops, egg and asparagus. They also give free soup and dessert (red bean). Overall pretty good, a bit pricier but you do get bigger portions and better ingredients. Total bill after taxes was $61. They have some 2.88 lobster special but we didn't try it.

                                                  1. re: Royaljelly

                                                    Thanks for your review and feedback! Glad you enjoyed it. I've never tried sea cucumber before. I've also never tried beef tendons until about a year ago, when someone told me it was good for joint pain. Depending on how it's made, it was very delicious. I liked the way they made it at dimsum (Dragon Dynasty) - couldn't get enough of it, until I got sick of eating it.

                                                    I will certainly keep Elegant View in mind.

                                                    Have a good weekend!

                                                  2. re: red dragon

                                                    Yes, that's the one which has a red color tone. Their price is not cheap when compare to others like Fantasy Eatery and Tanchikee.

                                                    ElegantView's sweet and sour pork is good. A good sweet and sour pork is not an easy dish to make, the one at ElegrantView is quite good. The mushroom wok-fried beef is also a very good dish in there with good wok-hay. Strongly recommended. They also have a daily seafood list, but watch out some of those fish items in the list is not in the "live" form, don't order those, make sure you only order 'live' seafood from there if you want to eat seafood there. Their steamed "live" scallop with either the black bean sauce or garlic is very nicely done if they have it on the daily "seafood" list. I find it better than the one at Maple Yip.

                                                    Steamed fish, lobster (not the $2.88 deal) is so-so. They have the 8.88/lb weekday lobster deal, but quality cannot be compared to places like Omei. I have tried the $2.88 lobster, actually it is good with such a pricing, you will have a few bite of lobster meat !

                                                    1. re: skylineR33

                                                      HI SkylineR33 - I absolutely love S&S pork, one of my standard items when I go to a Cantonese style restaurant. You're right, I haven't tried too many places that can "get it right." I think the type of pork is important. I've had it at places where the pork tastes like a cheap cut, awful tasting. Other times, there is too much fat, or it's too sweet, etc. Glad to hear this dish is good at Elegant View. I'm very particular about my seafood, with Chinese restaurants, never know where the fish is coming from and how fresh it is. Same with lobster - most times it's water logged.

                                                      So, only order seafood that is on display in the aquariums right?

                                                      Thanks for your feedback!

                                                      1. re: skylineR33

                                                        Hi skyline, how did they serve their $2.88 lobster? I didn't ask for details at the time. The grouper "pieces" in noodle was not bad in terms of freshness (we were wondering if it was live or previously frozen). At least I didn't notice any of the fishiness that I get at some chinese restos.

                                                        I always bring my 2.5 yr old son to look at every chinese resto's fish tanks (he demands it), and I recall that ElegantView did have a pretty good stock of choices (some lobster as massive as the ones I saw at Omei).

                                                        Reading about sweet n sour pork reminds me of how my my parents used to request the sauce be put "on the side", just to maintain the crunchiness at the end of the meal. That's what I had to deal with growing up with both parents that were restaurant cooks.

                                                        1. re: Royaljelly

                                                          Hi red dragon,
                                                          The seafood tank in Elegant View is a bit congest, I think they need a bigger one, haha. Variety is good like what Royaljelly said. It just that they have quite a good selection of seafood and they mix the frozen one with the 'live' one in the daily seafood list which maybe confusing for some people so I just point it out ...

                                                          Hi Royaljelly,
                                                          Yes, the lobster is massive at ElegrantView, but they can only do it one way, for multiple way, you will have to pay more "production fee". The $2.88 lobster is for half of a small lobster, which can be done in different way, like with maggie sauce, ginger and onion...they will ask you how you want it done. I think for a ingradient in noodle, the freshness of the grouper pieces are fine. But in some of their specific fish/seafood only dishes, they use "frozen" which they do it pretty bad, it completely shows the "frozen" taste of the fish/seafood.

                                                          1. re: Royaljelly

                                                            I had S&S pork from Elegantview for take-out today. They asked if I wanted the sauce on the side....saying many customers request this....

                                                          2. re: skylineR33

                                                            Hey skylineR33, have you been to tan chi kee lately? Has things changed?

                                                            It used to be one of our regular eats but earlier this year, we went there to find the usual family owners gone and they only had two waitresses serving the floor. Two! Service was obviously poor and slow but we felt so bad for the two girls. We've been scared to go back since.

                                                            1. re: tksh

                                                              My last time to Tanchikee is in June. Food is still as good as before But yes, there are only 2 to 3 waitresses serving and service is very slow, we also feel bad for the waitresses. But I think the low price and quality of food worths going back.

                                                              1. re: skylineR33

                                                                The girls there are actually pretty nice (especially to our son) when it's more quiet (we usually go at odd hours). I really like their sweet n' sour pork chop (sometimes served w/ strawberrries), good balance of vinegar and more darker red sauce than the usual orange sauce like other canto resto's.

                                                                1. re: Royaljelly

                                                                  S&S Pork with strawberries? That's very unusual. What other items have you had at Tanchikee?

                                                                  1. re: red dragon

                                                                    It's been a few months since I've moved south of 401, so I haven't been back since probably march or so. But dishes I recall having a few times were the ox tail hot pot, a fried rice that was served in a large ?bamboo shoot like vessel (taste was ok). The seafood dishes were just so so.

                                                      2. Ugh. On a recommendation I read earlier on a post, I tried Le Chine up at Hwy 7 and East Beaver Creek last Sunday. All I can say is - what a disappointment. Not impressed - and for $80 for two ppl, one would expect amazing Chinese food (since I can often have something great at a fraction of that price. Unfair, I know, to be willing to pay less for great Chinese food, but I judge based on market rate). Granted I had the shark's fin soup meal, which upped the ante - the taste was way off IMO and was bland and unseasoned (and I usually prefer bland. Now THAT is shocking.), except the sharkfin soup, which tasted a lot like "street style" shark's fin soup (heavy beef base) with generous amounts of shark's fin, but was exceptionally salty. Good note was that the ingredients were fresh....? And they never skimped out on the more expensive ingredients...?

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: BokChoi

                                                          Yes, agree that food at La Chine is strong flavour and salty. But it is quite good on some of them.

                                                          However, do you mean the shark fin broth is beef base ?? I have never seen or heard shark fin uses beef broth, whether it is in Hong Kong, mainland China or North America, probably you mean chicken and pork base broth ? I can't imgine shark fin and beef goes together.

                                                          I also had shark fin soup at La Chine before but it is not the "street style" that I had.

                                                          1. re: skylineR33

                                                            I was actually quite shocked that they used such a strong base as well. I would have preferred a light chicken-based broth, or a filtered mixture with a touch of pork – but this one was definitely heavy and had a beef-y flavour. It reminded me of street-style shark’s fin (at Dragon Dynasty) except instead of the vermicelli, they had giant chunks of overly-braised shark’s fin. The shark’s fin quantity was impressive, but it was over-braised for my taste. It ended up being mushy, instead of having the firm bite that I like. It’s really about the texture when it comes to shark’s fin for me, because honestly, I do not think shark’s fin itself has much in the way of flavour. I was shocked also to see strands of actual meat (pork) in my broth – like they forgot to put it through a fine sieve and just scooped it up from the bottom of a giant stock pot that had been sitting over a flame for 10+ hrs. There were also giant globules of fat on the surface. Not very classy, IMO. Should not a high class restaurant skim the top of the soup before serving it? At least remove enough so that it does not look like I am consuming an oil slick. The grouper was quite nice – large, fresh chunks of fish. The veggie accompaniment (sugar snap peas) were also well done and sweet. But I was not impressed with their lack of seasoning and usage of herbs. Maybe it was just an "off" day?

                                                            1. re: BokChoi

                                                              There are different kind of shark fin dishes, like double broiled or braised ... strong broth base (not salty) for shark fin is normal. Still puzzle by the beefy flavour that you had, did you mix up with the taste of Jin Wah Ham ? Also, it is normal to have pork in the broth if those are Jin Wah ham. What colour is the pork ?

                                                              Where is your favourite place for shark fin in Toronto or HK ?

                                                              1. re: skylineR33

                                                                The soup base was extremely salty in this case. I am not sure which version you had, or if they had changed the recipe since, but the version I had was heavy, dark, oily and had pork meat at the bottom of the bowl. The soup was also cloudy and reminiscent of an overboiled beef/pork broth. The pork was not any ham I had ever seen (ie there was no way I could confuse the meat with ham) - the pork was the same type that I usually find in my "on the house" soup at Fantasy. I don't mind consuming pork bits in my "on the house" soup, but I do mind it a bit when it is combined with an oil-slick-of-a-soup for $20~30 a bowl. Sorry for berating this dish, I am merely trying to emphasize my displeasure. It is certainly not the WORST shark's fin soup I have ever had.

                                                                Here is a photo of the soup: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...

                                                                The colouring is not quite captured here, as I enlarged the aperture to allow in more light as the day was overcast. This has given the soup more of a golden glow than it originally had.

                                                                I have had double braised soups in HK, but their shark's fin was still 'al dente'.

                                                                Which places serve the best shark's fin soup you have ever tried?

                                                                The strange thing was that the fish and the milk tofu dishes were underseasoned as opposed to the soup.

                                                                1. re: BokChoi

                                                                  I had shark fin soup at La Chine a couple of times. I find the quality quite good with it's pricing, but a bit too salty like what you said. From the picture, I recognise the soup base, let me tell you the soupbase does not have any beef in it, it is a chicken and pork soup base. Shark Fin soup never involves any beef, at least from any restaurant that has a little knowledge of shark fin. La chine does not provide top of the line chinese food, but I am pretty sure they are well aware of this. The strong taste that you have is from Jin Wa ham, a kind of ham that give the strong flavour to the soup base, also the meat you find in there are over-cooked Jin Wah ham as well.

                                                                  There are many different kind of shark fin, some of them are not al dente, but still good, like those small one that attach to the soft membrane as a whole piece, it gives you a sticky feel on it. Al dente does not always means good, some restaurant does not cook the shark fin with enough time to let it absorb the taste of the soup base, this always leave the shark fin "al dente", this can also treat the patrons because it looks like there are more shark fin in the bowl as the shark fin are not as scattered into the soup.

                                                                  $20 to $30 a bowl shark fin is not considered expensive at all, top one in HK charges $80 or up. LWH charges $98 for a plate of braised shark fin soup. Also FYI, some top places in HK which serves chiu chow style shark fin, which is a very strong flavour one with thick and dark colour premium broth, uses lard as a important ingradient to bring out the aroma and intensify the flavour of the dish.

                                                                  "Braised" - 紅燒 and "Double boiled" - 燉 are two cooking technique in chinese cuisine, there is nothing called "Double braised".

                                                                  Try Regal 16 in Richmond Hill, it serves some of the good shark fin in GTA.

                                                                  1. re: skylineR33

                                                                    Sorry on the typo, I mean :

                                                                    ... this can also "cheat" the patrons because it looks like there are more ..., not "treat".

                                                                    1. re: skylineR33

                                                                      Hello skylineR33 et al.,
                                                                      On the subject of sharksfin. Just to inform you all that Regal16 on Spadina/16th Ave., has gone 'DOWNHILL'! Sharksfin was tough and way under cooked ( The double boiled clear broth version )! That was 2 weeks ago! Beware!

                                                                      1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                        oh really ?! Thanks for the head's up. I had their double-boiled "Phoenix swallowed" shark fin a couple of time before and it was great, hope it is just a off night for them.

                                                                    2. re: skylineR33

                                                                      Hi skylineR33. Thanks for the tip. I will try those out. I meant double-boiled last night when I typed up my report. Slip of the tongue (err fingers). I was not complaining of the price of the soup at all - I was willing to pay (since I had ordered it), but I was shocked at the poor quality of the soup. I was pleasantly surprised when I found such large chunks of shark's fin in the soup ( I did not expect that much given the price) - but it went downhill from there once I tasted the broth.
                                                                      I find that the most important part of the soup is the broth itself. If there is a poorly crafted broth, no amount of shark's fin can salvage it.

                                                                      Cheers

                                                          2. My family and I prefer Lucky Season Cuisine at Times Square plaza (Hwy 7 & Leslie). We go there for dinner every weekend. It's at the northwest corner of the parking lot, BETWEEN the entrance to parking lot stairs and an electronics store. On the other (ie. south) side of the stairway entrance is a bookstore, a lighting store (has glass displays), a chinese medicine store, etc. On the other (ie. east) side of the electronics store is the parking lot road and then a jewelry store (I think), etc.

                                                            We also go there for dimsum.

                                                            1. Congee Wong at Promenade mall is pretty decent. Great value for money. Everything I've tried on the menu is always delicious. Great service as well.