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Sep 26, 2009 11:29 AM

Dim Sum

Where is the favourite place for dimsum downtown these days? I live out of town but I like to slide in for a good session.

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  1. The dim sum at the Grand (inside doubel tree hotel in mississauga near arirport) has always been praised here from what I read.
    I've also been there and it was a pleasant experience.

    8 Replies
    1. re: BamiaWruz

      No, the dim sum at Grand is not always praised here and it is not located at downtown. I have been there too, its dim sum is not up to par and getting worst. Lai Wah Heen is at downtown, a much better choice but more expensive.

      1. re: skylineR33

        Oh really? Good to know. The last time I remember reading about Grand everyone was really raving about it.

        Can't say how good it was because it was my first dim sum experience and only since then. Sad to hear about it getting worse though.

        1. re: skylineR33

          What is your favourite dim sum place in the GTA skyline?

          1. re: haggisdragon

            Most of the dim sum place are not very consistent in Toronto with my experience. I do have a good one at Casa Imperial, Yang's and Lai Wah Heen recently. I do agree with others that Lai Wan Heen's dim sum is not as good as before though especially with its high pricing.

              1. re: haggisdragon

                And Yang's is considerably less expensive than the other two.
                Roughly speaking you will spend $20 pp at Yang's, $30 pp at Casa and $40 pp at LWH.

              2. re: skylineR33

                Did Casa Imperial changed dim sum chefs at all? I know the dinner chef had left for Emperor.

                1. re: Royaljelly

                  I am not sure. But the dim sum I had in there is pretty good a few weeks ago.

        2. My wife and I stumbled into a very pleasant place the other day in Chinatown East on Gerrard. I am trying to remember the name, but failing. Now, I am a Yum Cha fanatic, having lived in Hong Kong for a decade. My standards are pretty high and since I arrived in Toronto the only dim sum I had enjoyed was at the Shanghainese place in Splendid China Tower on Steeles. This little place was the real deal, though...apart from the alarmingly friendly service. Even the trolley ladies were lovely. Are they putting ecstacy in the Pu-er?
          I do not care for fancy dim sum palaces. I like mine down to earth and tasty. This place covered all the bases. The staples such as Hargow, Siu Mai, Fungzhou, Wo Tip and Beef Balls were all superbly done, occasionally with a twist. There were some unusual dishes as well. What really impressed me was the Hargow skins, which are a test of any dim sum chef. Every example I have had in TO so far has either beein too mushy and fallen apart or been way too chewy. This place has it just right.
          Other points for not automatically bringing me a fork and serving me jasmine tea, which I hate.
          My only concern is that having found this understated gem, my wife noticed a sign in Chinese in the window stating that it is up for slae, which is a worry. I hope the new owners keep up the standards and the happy staff.
          I just remembered, it's a couple of doors up from another dim sum place called Pearl Court. Still can't remember the name. Anybody?

          11 Replies
          1. re: munchieHK

            I suppose we are all talking about cantonese dim sum here. I found the cantonese dim sum at Hi Shanghai (the one you are talking about which serves Shanghaiese food) is mediocre at best. There are much better one up North. And fancy places can also be good and tasty.

            1. re: munchieHK

              I was at the Shanghai place called Hi Shanghai at the Splendid mall a few months ago. The dim sum selection was divided between Cantonese style and Shanghai style. Given their name, their specialty is probably not the Cantonese style (which we mostly like and ordered), but I thought it was decent enough....although the selection was somewhat limited to some of the basic items, and the taste was a bit different from some other Cantonese dim sum places in Toronto. Interesting place!

              1. re: munchieHK

                I will have to wander down there and look around, thanks for the tip.

                1. re: munchieHK

                  Let me qualify my previous statement for the sake of the hair splitters amongst us. When I said I enjoyed the dim sum at the Shanghainese restaurant, I was referring to the dim sum I had THERE, which obviously were Shanghainese dim sum. I am not comparing apples to oranges. The restaurant refers to the as Shanghainese dim sum and I see no reason to quibble. Having said that, they do offer a few Cantonese items and we found nothing wrong with the two we tried. They do not have trollies anyway, which takes them out of the running for best traditional Cantonese dim sum right from the start. I did find their Shanghainese dim sum to be excellent and I stand by that.

                  1. re: munchieHK

                    Good that you clarify here because everyone here is referring to cantonese dim sum when saying dim sum, your first post did not specify that and Hi Shanghai serve both type. Having that said, the Har Gow and Cheung fun I had at Hi Shanghai is pretty bad even for Toronto standard. The Har Gow skin is mushy, the shrimp has strange taste and rough, obviously the shrimp is not prepared right with bad seasoning, size is again too big which is pretty common in Toronto. Cheung Fun skin is thicker than the skin of my foot, the texture and everything is wrong.

                    For the Shanghaiese "crab roe" xiao long bao, obviously no hairy crab used (which is expected in Toronto) and I hardly found any crab roe in there, the skin is way too thick !

                    1. re: skylineR33

                      I'm glad that you specified that this was what you experienced and didn't present it as an inarguable truism, because that would just be arrogant, wouldn't it? Your experience and mine were markedly different and if the volume of happy diners in there that day is anything to go by, most people seem to be more than satisfied with the food there. Different strokes etc...

                      1. re: munchieHK

                        Ditto about The Grand in the DoubleTree hotel in Etobicoke.

                        Went there a few weeks ago and it's still pretty darn stellar. To each their own. We know we all have differing opinions. Just giving some comfort to BamiaWruz and Pears that they're not alone.

                        1. re: BokChoi

                          I agree, Grand is my husband's and mine's favourite dim sum restaurant!

                          We love it so much, we're taking our friends this Sunday to share with them the amazing dim sum we get there.

                          1. re: sasgirl

                            I hear it's getting quite packed. I had thoughts that perhaps I might need to start making reservations! I guess word of mouth spreads quickly for good performers, as you've supported with bringing your friends. Which reminds me, go try this dessert: . it's amazing. Best version I've had in Toronto so far.

                            1. re: BokChoi

                              Oh really ? Not on a week day though. I was there on a weekday for dim sum recently and there were only 3 tables occupied.

                              Dinner is different because of the wedding season. There was 4 wedding banquets on a Saturday in one of the wedding I attended ( the main dining room, and 3 other banquet rooms). The food is the worst banquet food I have ever had in my life right from the first course. The skin of the whole Roast Suckling Pig is not crispy and thin, but a piece of thick rubber, this is not acceptable. Any chinese supermarket has better quality that it.

                              1. re: BokChoi

                                Yum. That's my favourite dessert there. So delicious!

                  2. High end - LWH! Make a reservation.
                    Normal pricing - Rol San on Spadina. Its fresh and fabulous. Prepare for crowds though.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: deelicious

                      I second Rol San(no carts) and Golden Pearl (carts) across the street. People have dissed the Pearl here on CH, but I have had nothing but good food and very friendly service (I've been a regular for about 8 years) I especially like the turnip cake cooked to order (Lo Pa Ko) and their curried cuttlefish is my fave in the whole city!

                    2. I had dim sum at LWH just this past monday and found it quite mediocre at best (for the steep prices). I'll do a detailed review of what I had on a later post (gonna do a write up of all the chinese places I took my parents to in the last 2 wks, I'm so chinese food-ed out). I also confirmed w/ my friend, who's parents go there so often they get free tea, that they changed dim sum chefs and the quality is not consistent anymore.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Royaljelly

                        All I know is LWH changes it's chefs for the dinner and the dim sum chef is not changed. I have been to dinner after the dinner chef changed and the quality is ok, price is at par with Yangs and other upscale one uptown. There are also some positive report with dim sum at LWH recently on this board, but thanks for update on your experience.

                        1. re: skylineR33

                          Hi skyline, I wonder if my friend meant the dinner chef changing, rather then the dim sum chef, since I did recall seeing the ad and photo of their new dinner chef in one of those chinese newspapers recently.

                      2. I notice that you live out of town, so what qualifies as downtown to you?

                        To Torontonians downtown typically means Spadina area or Gerrard East. Sadly, the Dim Sum in these areas is (in IMHO) not terribly good, rarely better than fair and often awful. Lai Wah Heen is an exception but quite expensive, a bit formal and not very traditional.

                        If I were an out of towner looking for a Dim Sum fix I would be camping out at Yang's, Dragon Boat, Emperor, Ambassador (maybe) and others in the Hwy 7 area. These places serve good to exceptional Dim Sum at reasonable prices and appear to be very clean.

                        Dim Sum from the Grand / Dragon Dynasty empire has not impressed me in the last year or two.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: sumdumgoy

                          I live in Collingwood but used to live inTO. I visit often and do things downtown thus my interest in grabbing a bite there. Downtown is south of bloor to me. I like the speed of dim sum and will try just about anything. Been meaning to hit the Yangs on the way out, heard good reports on it.

                          1. re: sumdumgoy

                            I find the dim sum in Richmond Hill and Markham on par with downtown (Queens Quay and Spadina - can't say for Gerrard East). While each place may have a standout dish, generally it is similar in quallity - in my (many) experiences.

                            It's all Rev. Moon's fish and shrimp in the end.