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Sep 5, 2008 06:01 PM

Back to the Mandarin

I haven't been there in years but I went last night (Y&E) location because we had just finished a movie. Now, nobody here (including myself) pretends for a second that this is haute cuisine. But since the last time I went (6+ years ago) things have improved tremendously. I will tell you that really the best part is that there is a bit of everything... it is incredibly frustrating to go to an upscale restaurant and find out one person in your party doesn't eat seafood so he orders a caesar salad for dinner -- or that one person in your party doesn't eat starch because of a low carb diet and so beef carpaccio for dinner... I think I have to change my mind about this place. Don't rush out for the best food in the city--but taking the family out (especially kids) can sometimes just involve something inexpensive and simple.

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  1. It's a very servicable place to go eat. You aren't gonna get the greatest food you've ever had. But I've never been there and thought it was anything less than good.


    4 Replies
    1. re: Davwud

      i had to chime in on this one...

      My mom went to a wedding over Thanksgiving last year and so we were left on our own. My dad's solution? He took his grown up kids and their spouses to the Mandarin last year for Thanksgiving dinner...(i should have picked up the gauntlet and attempted turkey at my place...) My impression: I honestly felt ripped off. I thought it was expensive for what you get...

      Servicable options to Mandarin - Hot House Cafe; Il Fornello; Jack Astors; Eastside Marios; or even Buffet King....

      Thank god Mom is staying in Toronto this Thanksgiving...

      1. re: Apple

        I haven't been in years and years. At least 10. I used to go the Y+E one all the time. I've been meaning to get back there. Friends have also reported they have upped their game so to speak in recent years. Not that I would ever demand that of Mandarin. I go in knowing full well what I want and what I am in the mood for. And I don't ever recall leaving unhappy. I look forward to making a return after many years. Soon. Thanks for the report! Bring on the chicken balls and fried drumsticks, daddy’s a comin’ home!

        1. re: Apple

          Listen I wouldn't have gone but a the person who took me -- this was his choice and he was extremely happy. I don't think anybody has said that this is the best food in the city. But you can walk around and try some lemon this and deep fried that with whatever sauce and onion rings with a side of roast beef with dumplings pizza and yorkshire pudding. Things you never even knew you would eat, such as the curried who knows what. This means a lot to some people.

          I once went to a hugely upscale restaurant and brought two guests who ordered and ate as little as possible because a menu with 5 choices doesn't appeal. This was my fault and I was terribly embarrassed. So go to the mandarin, not because you are trying to tease your palate with frozen buffet food but because for $12 everyone can get something he likes.

      2. The Queensway location is far and away the best of the bunch. Everything is always fresh and not left sitting around. It is also prepared well in most cases. Y&E is second to this location. After that, do not bother with Finch/Dufferin or Woodbine Ave. they just throw the stuff out there and let it sit.

        2 Replies
        1. re: deelicious

          I haven't been to the Mandarin in over 3 years.

          HOWEVER, you can't argue with their success.
          I have seen their sales numbers, and they are averaging over $5-Million/location!!!

          1. re: danthediner

            If you do venture back...only go to The Queensway at Kipling. Light years ahead!

        2. We had an anniversary dinner at the new one in Newmarket tonight and so far so good. I guess with it being new, they want to make a good impression but I noticed them removing bins when the food wasn't all gone. So they were trying to keep things turning over.


          1. Mandarin is just great for dealing with kids IMO. For some reason that I can't remember, Mandarin has become our familes annual Chinese New Year dinner tradition, I guess a lot of that due to the fact we have a lot of little kids/infants eating. I pretty much just eat prime rib/beef ribs as I never eat those anywhere else.

            1. I hear the brampton location is the one to goto, it has a larger buffet and is the test kitchen for new dishes, so there is more variety.