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Oct 31, 2008 10:47 AM

Dim Sum virgins- something inexpensive?

Hi all

I am taking out some dim sum "virgins" tomorrow and we decided on Grand Chinese since we live West End and it has received great reviews. I have only been before to Pink Peal (?)at Harbourfront and a number of places with Chinese friends in North York so I'm at a loss.
I am wondering if Grand might be a bit too pricey for newbies? It's compared close to LWH which I know can be up there in cost.
Any suggestions from Hounds if there is something better priced in West end or failing that something inexpensive near a major highway exit we can drive to.

Thanks in advance!!

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  1. Regardless of price, I think you should try dim sum at a restaurant that is considered to offer good quality...inferior quality would add another dimension to judging (i.e., don't like dim sum versus don't like bad quality dim sum).

    I don't frequent the west end but I've heard good things about Emerald in the past...that might be a bit cheaper.

    1. The Grand has certainly been promoted a lot recently on this Board. For something not as high end, much less expensive but still decent (comparable to Pearl Harbourfront), easily accessible from Hwy with good free parking, consider two places near Victoria Park Ave and McNichol (north of Finch). They would be Elegantview and Empire Oriental Cuisine (formerly New World).

      3 Replies
      1. re: T Long

        Hi T Long, Do Elegantview or Empire Oriental Cuisine have carts or are they menu based?

        1. re: jillybean38

          Actually, both do both. When its busy, they bring out the carts and you order from a menu when its not. Carts come out more likely on the weekends.....with Elegantview more likely to be busy than Empire. Hope that helps.

          1. re: T Long

            That's excellent news - thank you very much! I know purists on this board dislike carts but it's a novel way of serving that entertains my kids.

      2. Grand is expensive compared to run-of-the mill dim sum places, but not in absolute terms. When I went, it was about $100 (with tax & tip) for 5 people, and we ordered a LOT of food (too much, maybe). You'd spend about the same per person at most casual restaurants, but it's true that you could feed 5 people for half as much at many other dim sum places.

        1. ciaociao1, I didn't realize that Grand would be mentioned at all in the thread started with the words' something inexpensive' - so I didn't know to put my two-cents in.

          If you look at Grand as a 'restaurant' and not a 'Chinese dim sum' restaurant, it is not expensive at all. In that I mean, many people have the mentality that Chinese dim sum should be in the price point of $10-15 a head, all-inclusive. In Toronto, we have the luxury of having pretty decent dim sum at those price-points, however, I would not necessarily want to introduce my friends to some of the places I've been to as 'first time dim sum eaters'. I recently took some of my own 'dim sum virgin' friends to Grand and they were quite amazed. Whether or not they could tell it was much better dim sum than the regular jaunts they will later go to, I am not sure. Sure, they would miss the textures of the cheung fun wrappers, and dumpling wrappers' highlights, but they would definitely think they were tasty treats.
          I recently spent $90 for two at LWH, whereas a typical lunch for 3 that I have weekly at the Grand cost me $60.
          I have had Pearl at Harbourfront once, and it was definitely pretty good relative to other options in the city, but it is quite pricey.
          I would say go to Grand. It is my favourite place in the city right now for dim sum, hands down. The price is excellent, and the quality amazing. It has a great variety of flavours and textures as well. Do read the thread on Grand to pick the 'best dishes', as I have sampled almost everything and narrowed down their strongest suits. I beg you to not drive across the city in search of dim sum when you have some of the best in your own backyard.

          Do let us know what you finally decide on. Hope this post comes in time as I noted you are going today! Perhaps I will see you there. I am sure it will not disappoint.

          I do hope you enjoy!