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Need Asian Resto suggestions for weekend in T.O.

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Hey all. I'm heading down to Toronto from Ottawa with a friend for a weekend to catch a Raptors game. While we're there, we want to experience some great Chinese food (since Ottawa sucks lol). I've already decided that we're definitely having hot pot once, and dumplings (xiaolong bao) once.

I just need some pointers on the best places to go for those foods, plus dim sum and any other can't miss Chinese restos. I don't want to spend TOO much money (I'm a student), but other than that, I'm open to any suggestions. Oh, and I also looooooove greasy spoons (no idea why).

My friend and I are also Chinese. Not sure if that makes a difference.....

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  1. Rol San for Dim Sum on East side of Spadina, just North of Dundas. Good dim sum at reasonable prices. It does not matter that you are Chinese. Agree that Ottawa sucks. (for Chinese food). Also check out New Sky (also on Spadina, one or two blocks north of Rol San) for a Cantonese supper.

    3 Replies
    1. re: T Long

      While I agree that the dim sum at Rol San is decent, especially considering the neighbourhood, the non-dim sum food at Rol San is quite bad.

      Best real Chinese food is definitely no longer in Chinatown. Fantasy Eatery, especially if you can speak some Chinese, is the place I bring people that want good Chinese food and can only go to one restaurant in TO. I believe it is mentioned in other threads as well, Midland and Finch area (but you need a car).

      1. re: echeng25

        I really disagree with the Rol San recommendation. I realize it's hard to get good dim sum south of Finch, but if you can't try to get uptown. The most enjoyable dim sum I've had this year was at Casa Imperial. That said, the last time I went, it wasn't amazing. Perhaps an off day, but still better than Rol San, imho.

        If you must stay downtown, I like Pearl restaurant in the Queen's Quay terminal building. I haven't been in more than a year and it's pricier than uptown joints, but offers a great view of the lake if you can get a window seat.

        1. re: foxymoron

          I really stand by my description of Rol San as Good dim sum at reasonable prices. I would agree that Casa and Pearl may have better quality and presentation, but the difference is not that dramatic to justify the significant cost difference imo. The big difference is in the restaurant settings or environment which is what you are mainly paying for (and I often willingly pay for this when I dine out). Rol San is a step up from many on the Spadina strip (I think E-pan is better, but the selection there is limited.) Remember that the OP described him(her)self as a student on a limited budget.

    2. Are you limiting yourself to downtown? Asian Legend on Dundas has good xiaolong bao (although overall it gets mixed reviews), and Mother's Dumplings on Huron is a good for any other sort of dumpling craving.

      I'll leave it to the experts around here to suggest places in the 'burbs - better options than downtown, if you're willing to venture out to Markham, etc.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Wahooty

        No, I will be driving, so anything in the GTA is fair game.

        1. re: Koenig86

          Check out reviews by Charles Yu and Bok Choi on this board. They are both very knowledgeable and generous in sharing their estimable expertise in Chinese cuisine and are some of Chowhounds greatest resources.

          Much of the best food you are looking for will be in the Hwy. 7 and Steeles area near the DVP.

          Good luck and have fun, you may not want to return to Ottawa!!

          1. re: garlicandwingnut

            Don't forget to check Skyliner33's posts as well. His knowledge of Chinese food in the GTA is nothing less than encyclopedic.
            http://www.chow.com/profile/62525

            1. re: Googs

              The danger in naming great Hounds is the ones you forget to name.
              Skyliner33's contributions are enormous and excellent.
              My apologies Skyliner!!!

            2. re: garlicandwingnut

              Thanks so much garlicandwingnut. I really appreciate the referral.

              Royal Jelly is another to add to that reading list besides skylineR33 of course. Aser's got great suggestions as well, as does Chester Elegante, and erly.

              What type of cuisine are you looking for, Koenig86? There was mention of hot pots in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/568605
              I also did a recent taste test of a bunch of xiaolong bao's, but haven't had a chance yet to type up the results. I only sampled about 4 though, but hopefully I can get that up and it'll help you out.

              Fantasy is a great suggestion for the budget conscious. You can easily dine for under $15 a head. Their lunch specials are $5 and include two courses. Here are some photos for now and some of their lunch menus: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-... I'll be heading back to dinner there later this week or next and will provide more photos if I can of certain unique dishes.

              Aser has a great list below of dim sum around the city. Another one I'd add for vegetarian fare is Lotus Pond in Scarborough (Midland, just south of Steeles). Grand is near the airport if you're flying in and is a personal favourite of mine:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/557688

              I used to frequent Keung's for congee and such, but they've gone quite downhill as of late - but they open late in case you have a craving. They're also very cheap and you can leave spending less than $10 a head.

              Here's another thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/544953

              Hope that helps for now.

              Cheers and Happy eating!

        2. dim sum: these are all higher end, expect to pay $20 per person at least. LWH is much more expensive than the others...

          casa imperial/casa victoria/full house (same ownership group) - markham
          yang's fine chinese cuisine - richmond hill
          empire court - markham
          lai wah heen - downtown
          grand chinese cuisine - mississauga
          graceful vegetarian (veg dim sum) - markham

          1 Reply
          1. re: aser

            I had a few friends living in TO recommend me this place called "The Perfect Chinese Restaurant". I tried to eat there the last time I was in TO, but the parking lot was packed, as was inside the restaurant. I later learned that they also do not take reservations. Is this a place worth lining up for?

          2. Thank Googs and Bokchoi for the compliment. I think you can can't go wrong with the suggestion here and the threads pointed out by BokChoi. For hot pot, Dow's (Commerce Gate at Leslie/Hwy 7) is pretty good. I just tried it last week. It is All you can eat (we only have AYCE at Toronto, so if you want Hot Pot, there is no other choice) with lots of variety. No fancy stuffs but the stuffs they include in there such as marbling thin-cut beef, drunken chicken wing, hand made beef/fish/squid balls, various veggies, wonton/dumpling ....etc are pretty good. There is a long line-up in the weekend, so it is better to make a reservation in advance.