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Grand Chinese Cuisine – Amongst the finest dim sum restaurants in Toronto (lengthy review + pics)

I eventually had enough time to post a review about Grand Chinese Restaurant. I know it has been mentioned before on CH, but I thought my additional review would be a valuable addition to this forum. It took a long time to compile all my thoughts, reviews and photos over the year and a half since I happened upon this restaurant near the airport. The only reason I went was actually because I was dropping off my SO at the airport last spring, and I liked the look of the signage in-front of the restaurant (strange reasoning, but I am glad I stopped in for a bite).

Based on taste alone, I cannot believe that this place is ½ empty all the time. This may partially have to do with their poor location choice (out West) where there is a smaller Chinese community. However, even though I live in the east end of Scarborough, I have been going almost weekly to Grand for dim sum for over 1.5 years, and will continue to go there for many years to come, as long as their quality is maintained at the highest echelons of fine-dining dim-sum in the city.

Throughout my years in Toronto, I have been sorely disappointed in the dim sum offerings. Sure, Toronto dim sum is amongst the cheapest in North America, but as far as quality is concerned, there are few that have elevated themselves above mediocrity. Lai Wah Heen has been the one restaurant to have separated itself from the pack and has led the way in terms of nouveau Asian cuisine. Their dim sum is both imaginative, and tasty. But where else is one to turn if their pockets are not lined with gold?

That is where Grand fits the bill. I find that the prices at Grand are about 20-30% cheaper than LWH, but the quality is almost matching (and in some ways, surpasses). Each restaurant has their fortes, and I respect each dim sum chef for their specialty items. Both restaurants are special occasion dim sum places that do require you to dig in deep, but for $16 + tax/tip, one can be VERY satisfied with a luxurious dim sum meal at Grand. Each time I have dined there, the bill has come out to less than $20 a head, unless you go famished. If you pay cash, they will give you a coupon to use at a later visit ($2 for each $20 spent). As well, they also offer a ‘specials’ coupon such as a free “goon tong gow” (seafood dumpling in soup), or Tiger Prawn fried noodle ($9.99 for 4 large pieces of shrimp – minimum # of diners = 4) for use on your next visit.

Their teas are exceptional and very fragrant. Like LWH, they pride themselves in sourcing high quality teas. The teas do not possess the bitter aftertaste of some lesser teas, and many have a beautiful golden colour. Their Jasmine tea is amongst the best I have had in the city. As well, their “Teet Goon Yum” is another success.

Over the years, they have bestowed a bit of extra knowledge to me in passing, as the restaurant is almost always 1/2 empty (In its earlier days, I found my table to be one of only about 3 tables on the weekend during prime dim sum hours). I have had a kitchen tour (they have a BBQ centre right in the restaurant itself – though I found their suckling pig to be quite below par the one time I tried it) and I found the facilities immaculately kept (this is VERY comforting that the kitchen is operated like a first class restaurant and not like some of the back-alley kitchens I've seen in operation at some other the other lesser Chinese restaurants). They are affiliated to Big Mouth Kee (lower end Chinese restaurant), Dragon Dynasty (their medium range restaurant) and finally, Grand fills the shoes for their high-end offering. Their Master Dim Sum Chef even trained the dim sum chef for Casa Imperial for 6 months before he left to head up the kitchen there (in my opinion, the Casa chef should have stayed a bit longer to pick up some additional tips). Their largest client is none other than Cathay Pacific. They provide catering for the dim sum for first class passengers. If that doesn’t mean something to you, then I don’t know what will.

I can go on and on about the scrumptious dim sum dishes they offer. Some favourites of mine over the year include:

• Pan Fried Turnip Cake – delicate and beautifully presented. My must have dish each week
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Grouper Rice Noodle with Baby Snow Pea Leaves – the best rice noodle roll in the city (IMO). Tasty, sweet, and mild. Fish is never overcooked and is nicely flaky and firm to the bite.
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Cod Baked Pastry in Thousand Layers – a favourite of many. Succulent fish morsels inside each soft shell that is never grease-laden. For those that are a fan of the Spring Villa eel version, this one (IMO) far surpasses it (however, I prefer savoury to sweet) – excellent pepper spicing
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Egg Tarts with Swallows Nest dusting – soft custard that is not super firm. Luxurious dusting of swallow’s nest – though I cannot say it adds to the taste of the dish.
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Sweet Roulade of water-chestnut and olive – a refreshing palate cleanser
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Chicken and Shitake Dumpling – a beautiful dumpling that has sharp herb flavours and excellent texture
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
inside: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Vegetarian Dumpling – simple excellence
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Steamed Chicken with taro, king mushroom, and fish maw wrapped with bean curd – amazing each time. Excellent taro that adds a textural element to the wrap
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Seafood deep fried dumpling wrapped with corn-based crust served with consommé - an unexpected corn-sweetness. Light, even though fried.
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Ducks’ tongue consommé jelly – amazing appetizer that I use as an amuse bouche to activate my saliva glands
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Deep Fried Lobster rolls with a sweet, light yogurt dipping sauce (on my last visit, they altered this to mayo – I really hope this was a temporary change and that they simply ran out of strawberry yogurt)
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Pumpkin with pork bun – amazing and sweet. Immaculate bun texture. Best bun in the city that I have so far discovered
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
closeup: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

Of course, they also have their classic dishes:
• Har Gow – fresh, large shrimp pieces
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Siu Mai – Very light and not oily, nor heavy with pork taste
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Deluxe BBQ Pork bun (my favourite in the city and I generally do not like BBQ pork buns in general, but I will eat this one without hesitation) – it has large chunks of recognizable pork pieces and a mildly sweet sauce
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
inside: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Deep Fried Squid – consistency is key, and they have it covered. Crispy and light.
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Deep fried dumpling with shrimp and pork (‘Ham soy Gok’) – hardly any oily residue
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
another: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Deep Fried dumpling with pine nuts and duck – a variation of the ham soy gok. I prefer this version as it is lighter and more subtle in flavour
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Grand Egg Custard bun (“dan wong”)
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Lotus leaf wrapped sticky rice
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
inside: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Ice Cream (black sesame + deep fried pancake)
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Ice Cream (ginger + deep fried dumpling)
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Chicken feet with XO sauce
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Goon Tong Gow (Seafood Dumpling in Soup)
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Deep fried egg custard bun
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
inside: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Prawn rice roll (with corn)
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Shrimp Spring Rolls
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Pan-Fried dumplings (“woh teep”) – tasty and excellent use of herbs
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Mushroom Rice Roll
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

Unexpected finds include some imaginative dishes:
• Foie Gras deep fried dumpling (a touch oily for my tastes
)photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Fish-shaped fruit jello (a touch bland, but great to look at
)photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Mushroom Foo Jook Goon
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Grand Scallop Dumpling
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

Discontinued items include:
• Grand flaky pastry (not sure if they have it still – best to ask
)photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Rabit-shaped Dumpling Sweets
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Assorted Dumpling
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Black Sesame Puffs
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

They also have a smattering of cooked dishes from their regular menu, some of which I have tried, but admittedly have returned to the dim sum menu because that is their forte. Their dinner menu used to be so much more varied and exciting, but they have had to tailor their dishes to more conservative clientele due to the lack of popularity of their more avant-garde offerings. I really hope once they take off that they will once again expand their menu and allow the chef to really show off his creativity and flourish. Right now, there is no point for me to drive 40 minutes to the West-end for something I can get much closer to home.
• Truffle fried rice – excellent dish, but I prefer the dim sum
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Spare-ribs in black bean sauce on soft rice noodles (dim sum dish, but prepared by the dinner kitchen team) – a tad bit oily for my tastes. First time I had it, I was blown away. Second time, not so much.
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Sautéed fish on baby bok choi
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Crispy Chicken done two ways
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Lobster Dumplings
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Lobster Udon in broth
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Grand Mushroom Casserole
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Soup Selections
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Egg with tofu – silky smooth and so incredibly light in flavour. An excellent dish.
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Fried Tofu with Veggies
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Miscellaneous Fried Treasures
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

The Special offers include:
• $9.99 Giant Tiger Prawns on Fried Noodles (noodles were weak, but the shrimps were juicy, tasty and expertly cooked)
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
single serving: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
• Free Seafood Dumpling in Soup (“goon tong gow”)
photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

Photos of the restaurant itself
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

Menus (all menus in English as well as Chinese
)• http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

Trust me, this restaurant is an amazing addition to the Toronto Chinese Dim Sum Culinary Scene. I can only hope that their dinner offerings can one day match their dim sum, but alas, it has recently been a disappointment for myself, family and friends. Our first dinner meal there was amazing. They particularly do their fried dishes excellently - very little trace of oil left on the items. Excellently spiced with very little reliance on salt. However, in spite of their missteps in relation to their dinner meals, I implore you all to give Grand Chinese Cuisine a try and see if you enjoy it. I really hope they make it in the high-end dim sum market, because if they did not, I do not know where I would have to go for my dim sum fix each week! Once again, I stake my reputation on this as amongst the finest dim sum restaurants in the city. For the price, the experience is amazing. Though I must warn, the tastes here are much more subtle than your typical dim sum restaurants, as they use minimal amounts of salt, oil, and sauces. Instead, they rely on usage of herbs and spices to flavour their dishes. They also refrain from utilizing MSG as they use the freshest and best ingredients that do not require the additive to enhance the flavour. All items are made to order, so no carts. If you have a refined palate, then this restaurant will surely stand out from the rest. If you, however, prefer copious amounts of value dim sum, then this would not be the recommendation for you. I have had some dim sum-eating friends that have told me that they do not really taste the difference in quality, though they do notice it is less oily and salty. But to each their own and I respect that. They are perfectly happy eating at a cheaper Chinese restaurant and all the better for them to be able to save the additional premium. I, however, have tried Grand and cannot go back. I do concede however that they had a moment of lapse in quality back in November/December of last year. I was told this was due to the fact that a number of kitchen staff had left and they were short men, thus requiring them to retrain new hires during the busy holiday season. I almost even stopped going as I definitely saw a slip in their performance. However, as of late, I have been nothing but impressed with their service and quality – though service has notably stumbled in the past year compared to their earlier days. They have their kitchen staff well trained again and I feel confident in my recommendation. This is partially why I have held off on such a thorough and glowing recommendation for so long. I wanted them to develop consistency in their performance before I put my reputation on the line. I hope they do not prove me wrong and make me eat my word.

So, if you have always felt that the dim sum was lacking in Toronto, then you should give Grand a try. If you have ever felt that you wanted to try LWH, but it’s a bit on the pricey side, then try Grand. If you like LWH and wanted a bit of variety, then give Grand a try.

The quality is matched only by LWH in the city, and is comparable to the better dim sum places in HK (though not at the top – but beggars cannot be choosers). But for this side of the Pacific and at these prices (never mind the cost savings of a plane ticket to HK), I will be most happy to settle for Grand Chinese Cuisine - one of the BEST dim sum places in T.O currently.

Go with an open mind, and an empty stomach and you will not be disappointed. I surely hope they will not slip in quality once they become a famous and popular establishment, nor raise their affordable prices. May they always be the affordable alternative to LWH.

Cheers and Happy Eating!

655 Dixon Road, Etobicoke, ON, M9W 1J3 - near the Toronto Pearson Airport (conveniently located for out of town diners – though not so much for the rest of us in Scarborough

)

Mon - Fri: 11am to 11pm; Sat - Sun: 10am-11pm

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  1. Holy Hannah, this may be a contender for longest and most comprehensive CH review EVER! I did go for dinner last late fall with my family and we quite liked it though it didn't wow us. The place was almost empty but service is excellent and atmosphere is quite elegant. This is a good reminder to go for dim sum! I love details, so will consult this carefully before going back. Good work, BokChoi! I think they even validate parking.

    1. excellent review. very comprehensive. i've added this restaurant to my "favorites" links.

      yes, other than lwh, i've had a hard time finding a higher end dim sum place that has the food to back up its atmosphere.

      22 Replies
      1. re: afici0nad0

        Hope the review can be of some assistance, and glad you enjoyed reading the post, afici0nad0 and Food Tourist.

        Yes, they validate parking as well, good reminder - just bring in your parking pass to the restaurant and they stamp it.

        Cheers and happy eating!

        1. re: BokChoi

          Awesome post bokchoi!

          Do you think this place might be good for us to host our baby's 100 day party? Last time we did our son's dinner at Full House, and while the food was good, we just weren't wowed by anything particular dish or service (and I even had a friend attend, who's uncle is the owner of the chain!).

          1. re: Royaljelly

            Hello RoyalJelly,

            Thanks for the kind words. I do know that Grand has some private rooms, but I find they might be a touch claustrophobic. I have never been in them, but sometimes they have left the door open – the room seats about 40 persons I would say. Best to call them to find out. I would definitely recommend trying the food first to make sure you enjoy their dim sum before setting up a huge party – I am sure you will not be disappointed though. I think it is quite a novel idea to have dim sum instead of a traditional dinner-style event. Please let me know what you do decide upon and if you need any further information. Congratulations once again.

            Given how much I have eaten here, it is no surprise that my review turned out as long as it has - considering the length of my other reviews about places I have gone only one or two times. I am glad I could be of assistance. Please enjoy.

            Cheers!

            1. re: BokChoi

              The private rooms aren't bad, we had one for my grandmother's 80th birthday party. A bit sterile but nothing that a few fresh bouquets won't fix. The service was excellent. The wait staff were extremely efficient and discreet. Almost on the level of the Splendido servers. Each communal dish was beautifully displayed and then whisked off to be divided up quickly and served. It made for a very pleasurable eating experience, a rarity at my family gatherings!

              1. re: fickle

                Hi Fickle, your grandma's party was for dinner, I presume?

                1. re: Royaljelly

                  Yes it was. We had 2 tables of 12 in one of the private rooms. My aunt took care of the menu so I'm not sure if it was a set or if she selected each course. I'll try and post some pix when I get home tonight.

                  1. re: fickle

                    Photos would be great, thanks fickle. Glad to hear you had an enjoyable dinner experience at dinner. The first time I discovered Grand was actually at dinner. I was mesmerized by the food (only ordered two dishes that meal to see what they could do) so I returned promptly for their dim sum. Have not gone anywhere else for dim sum since (except for Lotus when I feel like vegetarian dumplings). Went back a couple of times afterwards for dinner, but was quite disappointed, especially with their suckling pig.

                    Please let us know if you know what menu items your aunt ordered.

                    Cheers!

                    1. re: BokChoi

                      Here are some pix. Can't remember all the specifics unfortunately. I just remember the scallops were fantastic and that's usually a good indicator for me. If they don't cook it to death, than dinner will be edible!

                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/30680102...

                      1. re: fickle

                        fickle, their fried fish done two-ways looks just like the one I usually have at Ruby's Chinese restaurant. I wonder how much this version was - was it good? The one at Ruby's is about $14 for 1/2 a fish. Enough to feed about 4. A fantastic deal and I order it very often.

                        Great pics. Thanks.

                        1. re: BokChoi

                          Hi BokChoi,
                          Sorry, I don't know the price. The aunt picked and the aunt paid despite the customary fake fighting for the bill at the end of the meal.

            2. re: Royaljelly

              Hi Royaljelly, I have been to Grand Chinese Cuisine for wedding banquet and dinner before and the food there is mediocre at best just for your information. I have more details in some of the post before.

              I am not sure how big your party is, but you have make sure they cover the parking for the whole night as Grand only validates it for 3 hours and only give out 6 parking slip that covers the whole night for the wedding party. Because the banquet dinner is longer than 3 hours on the night we went, almost everyone has to pay something like $3/per half hour. As a result, everyone has to wait in line for like 30 MINUTES because of all these confusion (as everyone think they don't need to pay for parking and there is only one attendent in the parking booth for payment) before getting out of the place. So watch out !

            3. re: BokChoi

              We finally made it for lunch today. After a wait to be seated (the place was half-full), server brought us forks, knives and...we stopped her and said we didn't need them and assured her that we are Chinese (well, one-quarter and one-half, but still true in both cases). I call this "spring roll" treatment when servers assume I want to eat the safe, Canadian-friendly menu items before I even order. It's annoying and results in a slightly lower tip.

              When asked about our drink order, I asked if there was a selection of teas. She mentioned a few choices such as oolong, jasmine, black...so I chose oolong. Then, for reasons unknown, two pots of tea arrived. When questioned, they said we had ordered both (oolong and Teet Goon Yum - which I only know because it was written on a sign on the teapot lid for some reason?!) and they took back the Teet Goon Yum, which now I regret not trying.

              Incidentally, we were charged $4 for "tea/condiment" (presumably $2 per head). At the start, when my dining companion learned that we would be charged a condiment fee (I thought it would be $1.50 total) he immediately sent back the mustard/hot sauce dish that had just arrived, because it looked as though someone had already been poking around in it with chopsticks!

              Service was really spotty and not at all the high calibre I experienced at suppertime one year ago. (Maybe they were offended by the return of the messy condiment dish?!) Near the end of our meal, they were pulling up carpets, moving tables immediately beside us, and bringing in flowers, presumably for a wedding banquet.

              Okay, on to the food. I liked it better than most of the Spadina Chinatown options, but it was far from perfect.

              "Deep-fried duck foie gras, minced pork & shrimp, wrapped in wafer paper" was the worst item of the 9 we tried. Greasy (left a patch of oil on my plate) and misnamed - the foie was merely liver. Not recommended.

              "Crunchy garlic shrimp roll" was the second worst. No real flavour to the minute amount of shrimp in the narrow "spring roll". Definitely no hint of garlic. I can't understand the high price for what is basically 3 long, narrow, ordinary spring rolls. Came with an average sweet 'n' sour dipping sauce and 3 sticks of raw peppers.

              Har gau were average with slightly overcooked shrimp pieces.

              Grand scallop dumplings were interesting but chock full of cilantro to which I have a personal aversion. My companion found them acceptable.

              Now, on to the better items.

              Deep-fried tofu filled with whole abalone braised in supreme oyster sauce was one huge piece but perhaps too subtly-flavoured, though I think subtlety is needed when the key ingredient needs to shine. I don't have much experience with assessing abalone quality so don't have a definite opinion on this one, except to say I wouldn't get it again.

              Pan-fried bun with minced pork & pumpkin in black bean garlic sauce was indeed tasty because of the bun itself, though the filling was lacking in quantity and flavour.

              Pan-fried turnip cake with chinese sausage definitely needed more turnip and more sausage. However, with a bit of the accompanying hot condiment, it was quite tasty.

              "Duck's tongue & matrimony vine embraced in a crystal consomme pudding" was the highlight of the meal. Slightly salty and savoury, with perfect texture and accompaniments. Innovative (to me, at least) as I have only had plain (but very tasty nonetheless) duck's tongues in the past, at places like City Inn.

              For dessert, "red bean paste pancake with home-made sesame ice-cream" really hit the spot, with a nice juxtaposition of crunchy, warm pastry and cold black sesame. We devoured it.

              We didn't try any items from the "Summerlicious" dimsum menu.

              Would I return? Yes, for a couple of reasons -- including rats on Spadina and proximity to home. My companion disagrees and would rather eat at Dragon Dynasty (where we were also given the "spring roll" treatment a couple of years ago!) Okay, I know the rats issue has been cleaned up (check DineSafe site) but the food at Bright Pearl and Forestview is still subpar in my mind. As for comparisons to Lai Wah Heen, I last ate dimsum there nearly two years ago and remember it as perfectly executed but lacking in excitement or oomph. So, there's no perfect dimsum in Toronto, but it's still fun trying them all and comparing.

              We paid by credit card ($50 plus tip) and did not receive any coupons or promotions.

              1. re: Food Tourist

                The management team of Grand in last summer is not exactly the same now as they left to opened up another restaurant in the same plaza of Lion City in Mississauga.

                Regarding LWH, What do you mean by lacking excitement ? I think LWH is the best place in GTA to find excitement in dim sum with its long list of innovation dim sum both in taste and presentation. The dim sum list is also changed from time to time. The subtleness of its dim sum brings out a good balance in taste with different ingradients used without exaggerating the taste of it. Items like mini baked puff, perfectly baked with jin wah ham and shrimp, wrapped around with a rich ham sauce which is not found anywhere in other dim sum place. Vegetarian truffle roll, which sat on a bed of tender pea shoots in a premuim soy based sauce which a nice scent of truffle. In overall experience, where else can you find better excitement in dim sum in Toronto ? Any example ?

                1. re: skylineR33

                  I've been at least twice for dim sum at LWH, but not recently. The first time blew me away. The second time was still really good (no flaws like too much grease or poor texture) but lacked "spirit" (which I refer to as "oomph" on this board). I remember it was January, there were 3 of us including a visitor from Quebec, and I walked out a bit regretful that I had made her go there and pay such high prices.

                  However, knowing that the menu is changed from time to time definitely reminds me that it's time to return. I've also heard that the Peking Duck has slipped in quality and preparation since I last had it at LWH over 5 years ago.

                2. re: Food Tourist

                  Thanks for the review Food Tourist

                  Yes, Grand, like all other restaurants, has strong points and weaker points. Glad you enjoyed the dishes that I recommended though! Perhaps on your next visit, you can try some of the other ones on my recommended list. My "recommendations" are my diplomatic way of saying "these dishes are worth the drive" - the ones left off the list are still good dishes, but were not stand-out IMO. They are still considerably better than the run-of-the-mill dim sum places dotted around TO (IMO). But they do have their faults.

                  Curious as to which dim sum places you would think are better than Grand in Chinatown though, as I have never found one. But I would be happy to try one.

                  LWH has been inconsistent for me as well. On my first visit, it was not very good and I could not figure out why it has developed such a reputation. My second visit was better, but still not worth the price tag. Then I went my third time to give it a final try (last week), and I was very happy (though much poorer as a result!) with my meal and found it exceptional. Because of this performance, I doubt I will add it to my go-to list as I do not want to pay $45 a head a leave unhappy. But to each their own.

                  Cheers!

                  1. re: BokChoi

                    Yes, it is expensive, but no doubt LWH is the most consistent dim sum place in Toronto already FYI. There is no place that has 100% positive review or consistency in this world includes any of the stars restaurants.

                    1. re: skylineR33

                      Re the above comment that "no doubt LWH is the most consistent dim sum place in Toronto already FYI"

                      : ) Are you insinuating, skylineR33, that no one can suggest that LWH may not in fact be *gasp* the most consistent dim sum place in Toronto? I say 'bravo' to all the Chowhounds willing to express opinions that might not be consistent with the status quo, in spite of the fierce defences offered by some of the old guard on this board.

                      1. re: Yum2MyTum

                        Hi Yum2MyTum, it is just that it is quite obvious that LWH provides very consistent dim sum. It can be used as a dim sum standard in Toronto, regardless of its high price. I actually find it misleading and unfair in a way to say LWH's dim sum is considered inconsistent. To me, it is like saying Splendido's service is not consistent, whether you like it or not. If LWH's dim sum is considered inconsistent in Toronto, where can one find consistent dim sum in Toronto, whether you appreciate the taste of it or not ?

                    2. re: BokChoi

                      I haven't found any exceptional dim sum in Spadina Chinatown but enjoyed my one experience at Rol San last winter. I also enjoy Mothers Dumplings for tapas-style eating (I forget what that is called - I know it's similar to dim sum but different region?) I'd say the dim sum items in Markham are better than Grand, but I'd be willing to return to Grand to try the items you have highly recommended.

                      1. re: Food Tourist

                        I have heard good things about Rol San and Mother's Dumplings, but I have never been. From my impression though, I never thought they were considered 'gourmet' destinations - but I could be wrong! I have always planned on going to those places, so maybe I can see for myself the type of food that rivals the Grand!

                        I'm shocked that you found places in Markham better - which places are you referring to? It's closer to my house than Grand, so it would be quite helpful.

                        1. re: Food Tourist

                          Agree, Empire Court is on par with Grand if not better, Casa Imperial is close or the same in overall.

                3. Thanks BokChoi! I'm going to take my Dad there (not too much of a trek) because where he lives, the dim sum choices are a little sad. Usually he drives out to Scarborough for his fix.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: always_eating

                    I do the reverse commute and drive all the way from Scarborough. Hope you both enjoy it. Please let me know your thoughts afterwards.

                    Cheers!

                  2. What a comprehensive review, BokChoi!

                    I've eaten at Grand a few times for dim sum - although clearly not as many times as OP - and I've never failed to be impressed. My favourites include the cod baked pastry in a thousand layers (savoury perfection), Grouper Rice Noodle with Baby Snow Pea Leaves, the mushroom wrapped in tofu sheets, and the scallop dumpling.

                    Grand has definitely inspired a new love for dim sum in me. I would definitely agree with BokChoi's assessment: that the food is absolutely delicious, and the place is totally worth the drive. I might add that service is extremely professional and courteous, and the restaurant itself is very nicely decorated, for what it is.

                    1. Just to clarify, the dim sum is available all day? Or is there only the dinner menu from a certain time on?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Pincus

                        Thanks for the kind comment, Yum2MyTum. Good choice of favourite dishes.

                        Pincus, the dim sum is only available during lunch, unfortunately. I think it ends around 3PM, but you should call to be sure. Dinner menu around 5PM onwards - though I have never been too impressed with their dinner meals.

                        Please also note that the weekdays dim sum menu is a bit more limited than the weekend menu. I tend to dine during the weekends, so the menu and photos reflect that more diverse selection.

                        Cheers!

                        1. re: BokChoi

                          Amazing review! Looking forward to trying this spot!

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                          Grand Chinese Cuisine
                          655 Dixon Rd, Toronto, ON M9W1J3, CA