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Sep 4, 2009 11:52 AM

Five days in Toronto from Chicago... best (foodwise) dim sum?

Hey there! I'll be in Toronto 9/10 - 9/14. What is your recommendation for dim sum? Thanks!

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  1. what part of town are you staying in? will you have a car/transportation. You may get plenty of responses with either Lai Wah Heen or restos in Markham. You may search this board using the box above and enter dim sum.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ingloriouseater

      Price doesn't matter.
      Location doesn't matter.
      Ambience doesn't matter.
      Service doesn't matter.

      Based on taste, solely, where is the best dim sum?

      1. re: FoodieInChicago

        Price doesn't matter? Then I'm with cots below - Lai Wah Heen all the way. Comes with nice ambience and good service to boot. I was even impressed by the house tea.

      1. re: aser

        If you're downtown, give Pearl Harbourfront a try. It's right down on the lake and has both cart and menu dim sum. Don't miss the hockey pucks. (It is, however, slightly pricier than your typical Chinatown option.)

      2. Lai Wah Heen. Seriously, if all you care about is having the best, then that is the spot. There is nothing that compares to it in Chicago or even NY.

        5 Replies
        1. re: childofthestorm

          Lai Wah Heen is on for dim sum! What about Yang's, Regal Palace, Casa Imperial, Ambassador, Emporor??? Which of these have the best Peking duck? Dim Sum all day long? Cart service?

          1. re: FoodieInChicago

            Cart service is a sentimental relic more than anything, pretty much all high end restaurants use order sheets now, HK included. None of the restaurants listed offer cart service.

            My fav of your bunch for dim sum is Yang's, their scallop/xo sauce rice roll is top notch.

            For peking duck, Charles mentioned there's a special on Monday at Emperor.


            1. re: aser

              I had my usual ' lobster' dinner at the Emperor yesterday. Though the Peking duck was not on special that night, there were at least 3 tables around us ordering the bird. A sign and confirmation that the duck was prepared fine and worth eating even at the normal price of $39 two ways!

              1. re: Charles Yu

                I was at Emperor last night too! Having the lobster of course. I was wondering if you were there. While I was savoring the sweet lobster meat with wonderful bits of crisp garlic, I was thanking you in my head for such a great discovery!

            2. re: FoodieInChicago

              Sounds like you're going to have some great dim sum! The thing I like about dim sum with cart service is that sometimes you see things that you might not have otherwise ordered form the menu. It's a different experience, and if it's something you are set on, I would recommend Dragon Dynasty or Pearl Harbourfront. While Pearl Harbourfront doesn't have the authentic edge of the two, it offers a beautiful view of the lake and Toronto Islands.


          2. How many different dim sum meals do you want? Start with Lai Wah Heen, and if you need more than that, let us know. Or, you could visit LWH more than once, if you felt you wanted to try more of the menu.

            1. No, No, No, stay away from Pearl Harbourfront. I bet all of you recommending it are caucasian? It's a freaking tourist trap. Expensive and average at best. You're paying for the view. It's like recommending CN Tower 360.

              Same goes for Lai Wah Heen, yes the place has nice ambiance and decor but the food is also average. I'm from Vancouver, right now I find it actually has some of the best chinese food even compared to HK. The closest I've found in Toronto that could compete on Vancouver's level is Grand out by the airport. I haven't tried Yang's or Casa though. If you want good dim sum go where the Asians go.

              7 Replies
              1. re: sbug206

                You must be kidding. With my many years of experience in Cantonese cuisine and dim sum and have tried some of the best dim sum and Cantonese cuisine restaurant of the world in Hong Kong such as Yan Toh Heen, Lung King Heen, Fu Sing, Tang Court, Fook Lam Moon, Lei Garden ..... Lai Wah Heen's dim sum is the most comparable to HK eventhough not quite on the same level. You can tell this by just looking at the basic dim sum such as Har Gow. Grand's version has a layer of thin oil applied on top and this is the way they make the wrap smooth. Cheung fun at Grand is also lacking, it is too thick with the wrap and it becomes sticky too soon, good cheung fun is not supposed to be this way. Another example is the abalone" Grand treasure box" tofu "specialty" dim sum . It is a thick corn starch sauce with some kind of low low quality dried abalone which I do not consider to be abalone at all ! Only people who has not tried abalone will find this satisfied. This is just to name a few, I can still go on.... On the other hand, I do not find these problem with LWH's dim sum. LWH's dim sum is 'overall' the most consistent and elegantly done in Toronto and best in term of quality, innovation and presentation to be found in Toronto, period. You should also tried Yang, it is better than Grand.

                To say Grand's chinese food compared to HK is a pure joke, probably only people who has not tried real chinese food in HK will say this !

                1. re: sbug206

                  To say that Pearl Harbourfront is a tourist trap is, to some extent, true, in the same way as 360, as you point out. In fairness, I never said it competes with the more authentic and higher end places being bandied about, but it offers cart service and a view, as well as food that is tasty for those who aren't looking for specialties like lobster 25 ways, hehe. Everybody has their own tastes and wishes, and judging by how packed it is, many enjoy it. Friends of mine who grew up in Hong Kong eat there regularly. You may have different tastes, but you can't tell them they're wrong.

                  The OP asked about cart service, and in my opinion, eating dim sum at a restaurant with cart service is fun and worth trying. Do you have any alternatives with cart service?

                  1. re: Full tummy

                    The OP asked for the BEST dim sum foodwise. Not because it has a good view. Cart service is definitely not found at high end quality restaurants any more. Yes it's tasty but there are plenty that are better and less expensive too. It's pretty obvious Pearl Harbourfront doesn't cater to chinese by default when plates and forks are set on the table.

                    1. re: sbug206

                      I'm puzzled as to why you think the Pearl having forks easily available is any kind of reflection on their food. Surely you are not suggesting that you have to be of Chinese origin to know and enjoy good dim sum! Pearl may not be the best (my vote is for LWH), but I think it is a solid enough contributor to the Toronto food scene....and I appreciate a good view when I dine (somehow adds to the experience).

                      1. re: sbug206

                        Actually, if you read down a little, the OP asks about cart service, after having received many recommendations regarding the BEST. So, let's not get too petty about this.

                    2. re: skylineR33

                      Totally agree with skylineR33. LWH's dim sum is the closest one can get in Toronto that has the 'HK feel'. Afterall, the chef was from HK's Peninsula Hotel's Spring Moon Restaurant! Grand's 'presentation' might be fancier than most 'Markham/Richmond Hill' establishments. However, IMO, Yang's, Emperor, Regal Palace all serve better quality dim sum than Grand. I stress quality NOT variety!
                      Lastly, Yes! STAY AWAY FROM PEARL HARBOURFRONT!! Dim sum 'rough with an edge'!

                    3. re: sbug206

                      sbug206, please disregard any recommendations I have made in previous posts for Yang's, Casa Imperial or Empire Court- I'm a chowhound of mediterranean and central european descent, so by your logic, I clearly do not know anything about dim sum or good chow. I'd hate for you to end up at a Chinese restaurant that makes food that Caucasian chowhounds appreciate and enjoy ;-)