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Mar 25, 2009 12:35 PM

Best "real" Chinese downtown TO?

My husband and I will be staying downtown next weekend and we really want to have authentic chinese one night. I have read alot and notice that Asian Legend seems to be popular... is this authentic or just the same old thing you'd find in every city??
We do like schezwan and I also love some good Peking duck (who doesn't?) but it's not that important. Any help would be great. Thanks!

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  1. I spelled "szechwan" wrong! oops.

    1. If you can afford it, Lai Wah Heen would be the place to go, albeit for Cantonese as opposed to Szechwan. I've had the Peking duck for two and it was terrific. But it is not for the faint of wallet...however the impeccable service really goes a long way towards softening the blow.

      I don't think you can find good Szechwan in the downtown core, since I started making treks to the 'burbs nothing else will do.

      Not really a fan of Asian Legend...

      8 Replies
      1. re: childofthestorm

        Yes, I am aware of LWH and it's affect on the wallet. This is actually why I ended up posting on here, to avoid going there! lol We're doing an expensive night the next night.
        Any other suggestions??

        1. re: Jenni_Bee

          Asian legend on Dundas is what my Chinese friends like and I love it...Miranda

          1. re: Jenni_Bee

            Xam Yue does good seafood for downtown chinatown. I'm a fan of their black bean razor clams.

            1. re: Jenni_Bee

              All along the Spadina strip you can find authentic Chinese cuisine from different regions. Asian Legend is particularly good for Northern style dim sum all day. For Cantonese meals, where you order main dishes plus rice, E Pan is a personal favourite. Big Sky and Taste of China are also good. (Do NOT go to Lee Gardens though.) Peking Duck is a Northern dish but most Cantonese restos serve it as well, I've had it many times at E Pan.

              1. re: Teep

                I'm puzzled by the dislike for Lee Gardens. My only complaint with them would be how crowded it can get when busy. Their prices are a bit higher than E Pan (also my favorite on that strip), but the food is quite good. It's relatively clean, and the service is normal. Also its seems its liked by both non-asians and asians. I think they are a good example of Toronto's excellent Cantonese cuisine.

                1. re: T Long

                  It used to be our favourtie but it went downhill. The last straw was when we ordered the "pan fried black cod", it came out with a thick batter (like fish and chips). Granted that was a few years ago, maybe they've picked up again, but with other great choices around, why risk it.

                  1. re: T Long

                    I agree - it's gone downhill... Too expensive for the quality, IMO. But they do have one dish that I'll go back for - Golden Tofu Balls. Yummo!

                    1. re: redearth

                      This is probably what is called Pipa Tofu, which is found in most Cantonese restos. Don't usually order it so can't tell you where there are good ones.

            2. Swatow or King Noodle (both on Spadina just north of Dundas). Swatow is a bit of a dump and features food that's a cross between Cantonesse and Szechwan. Very popular, as is KN (nicer decor but just as hectic). E Pan is probably the "fanciest" in Chinatown (ie modern decor) and not that much more expensive.

              Never understood the popularity of Asian Legend. V. average imho.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ChalkBoy

                Swatow and King serve good noodle dishes. Their dinner entrees aren't that great.

              2. On chow i never see Hua Sang on baldwin mentioned. It's a fave for when my richmond hill Cantonese fiends are "forced" to eat Chinese downtown :)

                Their specialty is double lobsters done in either black bean sauce or garlic and ginger. Anything they throw their black bean sauce on is good. Their lobsters, clams, and razor clams are kept live in a tank until serving.

                1 Reply
                1. re: CoffeeAddict416

                  I second the recc of Hua Sang. I've always enjoyed it, and not only are there lobsters great, everything else is too. It's usually filled with mostly Chinese families, which I take as a good sign. We've had a dish of sauteed Chinese greens -don't know what it is called, but they make it great! Their eggplant is wonderful - it comes in a pot, with minced pork, garlic, etc and the eggplant is incredibly soft and yummy. I also enjoy their cantonese chow mein, and their singapore style vermicelli noodles. The only dish I haven't liked there is the General Tso chicken - only ordered because my son wanted it, but I found it overly sweet and goopy. I find their prices quite reasonable too, with very large portions.

                2. In the downtown Spadina corridor the best bet is New Sky (Cantonese).

                  Asian Legend is a corporate chain and offers only standard fare, the one exception being AL's soup dumplings which are tasty.

                  For the best szechuan in Toronto, you'll want to head north to Szechuan Legend (no relation to AL).

                  New Sky
                  353 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2G3, CA

                  Szechuan Legend
                  3280 Midland Ave, Toronto, ON M1V, CA