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Nov 23, 2009 11:37 AM

Crown Prince Fine Dining - New Chinese Restaurant in North York

Has anyone tried this new place yet? I had mentioned this place earlier.... I peeked in today during lunchtime (it was full although not quite packed), on my way to pick-up takeout from another favorite place Elegantview just a block away. It seems to have had an impact on Elegantview, with Elegantview promoting free tea and low prices at dim sum time and suggesting no tips necessary on meals to hold onto its customers. I confirmed with the staff that Crown Prince is a new sister to Casa Imperial and Casa Victoria. The new place will be on my list to try out, but wondering if anyone can comment on how it compares to its sister establishments.

3601 Victoria Park Ave, Toronto, ON M1W, CA

Casa Imperial
4125 Steeles Ave E, Scarborough, ON M1W 3T4, CA

Casa Victoria Fine Dining
8601 Warden Ave, Markham, ON L3R0B5, CA

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  1. I have tried both dim sum and dinner. The $1000 dinner set (for 10 people) is very good featuring individual urn of "nice quantity" shark fin, good quality abalone, good roasted piglet ...etc. However, the normal a la carte dinner there is only so-so, we tried the roasted pigeon, tea leaf shrimp, shrimp roe sea cucumber ... mediocre quality and not cheap.

    Dim sum is not good, it is cheaper that the other 2 Casa, but the quality also not as good, not recommended.

    However the environment is really nice as a classic decorated Chinese restaurant in Toronto, the best in its kind.

    3 Replies
    1. re: skylineR33

      Thanks....v. good info. How does it's dim sum compare quality/price to the Emperor in Richmond Hill?

      1. re: T Long

        Emperor is better for a la carte dinner and dim sum from my experience. I know atmosphere is not important for you, but just want to point out in term of environment, nowhere can beat Crown Prince - however I don't quite understand why some of the table there is not balanced ... they should get better tables after investing so much in decoration ! But Crown is still new, hope they will get better.

        1. re: skylineR33

          Thx again. For the record, I do put value in the whole dining experience, including decor, etc. Regret any misunderstanding there. Yeah, I also noticed that there seemed to be reasonable space between tables, unlike for example at the Emperor.

    2. We tried dim sum here this morning and agree w/ Skyline on all counts. The place looks like it was designed specifically for wedding banquet (has the stage, ballroom dance floor, etc). Lots of glittering gold & glass, big chandeliers, and some funny looking art on the walls as well (like a Chinese verson of Napoleon in caricature, in 6'x6' glass!).

      Here's 2 photos of the interior. It's a bit deceiving, since the ceilings seem much higher in person than in the photos.

      Service was good, but they probably could use a few more waiters once it got busy (I knew one of the waiters and she gave us 10%, cash payment only).

      Here's a scan of their dim sum menu:

      We had the following dishes (w/ photos):

      - Iron Buddha tea ($1.20 per person): not as good as other places we've had (i.e Yangs, LWH, etc


      - Sticky Rice ($4.80, 3 pieces): came wrapped in both lotus leaf and wax paper (redundant), tiny piece of yolk, overall boring

      - Steamed Crab & Shrimp Dumpling ($5.80, 4 pieces): best dish we had, very plump, juicy and flavourful. Skin about the right thickness. Topped w/ some spicy XO sauce. RECOMMEND!!

      - Baked turnip pastry w/ Wine sauce ($5.80, 3 pieces): overbaked and pastry was not intact (they cut it like a cap and fill it). Had a much better Eel version at Spring Villa.

      - Deep fried octupus tentacles ($5.80): liked the thin rice crispy web than the octopus. Better version at O'Mei.

      - Pan fried beef rolls w/ BBQ sauce ($4.80): good presentation, wrapped around enoki mushroom, but the thinly sliced beef was rather tough and sauce was bland.

      - Steamed vegetarian bun ($3.80, 3 pieces): I didn't eat it, but my kids loved it

      - Sweet egg yolk paste layer cake ($4.80): a decent thousand layer cake dessert

      I haven't tried dim sum at Casa Victoria and haven't been to Casa Imperial in awhile, so I can't compare.

      Crown Prince Fine Dining and Banquet
      3600 Victoria Park Ave.
      North York, ON
      M2H 3B2

      4 Replies
      1. re: Royaljelly

        Love the photos Royaljelly. We wondered about the wax paper sticky rice as well.

        We went to it last month (some kinda weekday promotion, $2.50 on all dishes selections before 11AM). "All"meaning S/M/L of course. Atmosphere is great, actual food is better than Casa Imperial (that place serves a lot of re-heat food by noon time on weekdays). As a side note, Casa Imperial washroom is not well maintained. Gross. Never dim sumed at Casa Victoria.

        Will go back for sure. Wanna try out dinner menus.

        3 pix of the place
        1 pix of the favourite dish we had, some kinda pasty with crusty top and meat inside?

        1. re: manytwos

          Went this weekend. Having tried all the places now. Emperor, Yangs, Grand, Dragon Dynasty, Paradise, all the Casa's, I would have to say Crown Prince is now my new favourite.
          Prices are good. The grading is much more generous than others. Do not have to pay XL for hargow etc.
          My parents used to have their own restaurant. And they loved the steamed sticky rice, the stirfried sticky rice. Beef balls, har gow and the cow tripe. I like it when the tripe is not too overcooked.
          Everything we tried this week was hot and very tasty. I would have to say my top three are now Crown Prince, Emperor and Paradise.

          1. re: caitlink

            We went today sunday morning, before 11am prices are $2.80 all dishes (except fancy stuff). Really enjoyed the sweet n sour crispy wonton skins (big huge things), also the shrimp rice roll, and shrimp dumplings were decent this time. Overall better dim sum than the first time we went.

            1. re: Royaljelly

              that's good to hear - though I don't think my fam will be back quite yet. We also didn't think the dim sum was very good on our first outing...

      2. Anyone been by Crown Prince at dinner? Do they serve dim sum at the dinner hour?

        I'm also interested in seafood (apparently they do have live lobster) but am looking to see what other CHers think of their non-dim sum options. Sounds like Elegantview is cheaper, but we're looking for nice ambience tonight.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Olivia

          Food (Dim sum, dinner, banquet) at Crown Prince is average in Toronto standard. No surprise, mediocre, above average pricing with a typical good "Chinese" atmosphere is how I describe it.

          1. re: skylineR33

            skylineR33, I should have listened to you! I'd say the food was slightly above average, but the service, although friendly, was totally inept.

            Our food took forever to arrive, and then our main courses arrived at oddly staggered intervals, with one dish we didn't order arriving. We thought our last dish had been forgotten about, and then it arrived as we were going to ask for the bill. So we asked for it to go--but there's no way all of it made it into the take-out container (i.e. some of it got dumped!). Additionally, changes in beverages did not warrant a fresh glass.

            The decor in itself is AWESOME (I kept thinking of Scarface), but I will not return.

            1. re: Olivia

              Had the same experience.
              Dishes out of order.
              Soup after two mains.
              Crazy mixed up service.
              Also overly attentive.
              Plates were continually changed.
              Once while I was still eating off it.
              The food was decent, and they tried....too hard.
              At least we had some good laughs and comic relief.

              1. re: erly

                This constant plate changing is becoming the norm amongst the so called high-end Chinese restaurants in town. Its great if the timing is right and the process is discrete. Its a must if dishes ordered are crustaceans, bone in poultry and whole bone-in fish! However, like yourself, I have had my plate 'confiscated' with food on it. Especially irritating when sometimes I like to save the best for last!!

        2. Finally got around to trying out the dim sum at the Crown Prince. Went at 10:30 am to take advantage of their early bird special (SML for $2.80 if ordered before 11:00), and the place was already packed. Took a number and waited about 10 minutes for a table. I thought the quality was fine, perhaps slightly below Casa Imperial levels, but no complaints especially given the price we paid....(our bill for 5 came to $55. taxes and tips included). Definitely will return. Interestingly noticed an announcement that they will be opening a downtown Toronto Branch on Bay, a few blocks South of Bloor. This will be close to the location of Dynasty on Bloor, so perhaps there will be 2 good choices soon for dim sum lovers in that part of the city!!

          21 Replies
          1. re: T Long

            We have returned to Crown Prince several times since our last visit.
            The Menu has changed for the better.
            The Pink clothes have disappeared.
            The service is still attentive, but not overly so.
            I prefer Emperor, but for those of us who live below the 401, and sometimes can't face the eternal Rush Hour Traffic, it is a good option.
            They serve a Roast B.B.Q Duck that is delicious.
            We complimented them on this dish, and they explained that the Duck is twisted first, and then cooked.
            Crispy Skin, and very tender meat.
            On another occasion tried the Peking Duck (yes it is Fried) not just Roasted, but it was very flavorful.
            We enjoyed it more than the Emperor version.

            1. re: T Long

              Yup, they are going into the old 5th Elementt space (1033 Bay) as well as taking over the old grocery/convenience store spot. It has been papered up since 5th Elementt closed a while back. Not sure when they are opening though as it doesn't look like there has been much progress the past few months. However, I think the place is actually called Crown Princess - slight variation on the name, but I think it's still part of the Crown Prince family of restaurants.

              1. re: bluefirefly

                The announcement in Chinese did indicate the name of the new restaurant would be the Crown Princess (although the English translation came out the Crown Prince). As others have already mentioned, the decor including the table settings of the Crown Prince is quite impressive. Also the place is non-cart although they have the space to accomodate this service if they ever choose. I understand their supper hours are still relatively quiet in contrast to the busy dim sum lunch business.

                1. re: T Long

                  This place opened today (big opening party last night). I've been pestering the construction guys every few days for updates. If it's even halfway decent, I'll be there every weekend. What more could I ask for than dim sum at my doorstep!? They've also set up a patio, which I have to admit is a bit novel for me, but I like the idea of outdoor dim sum service.

                  Also, what is it with Chinese banquet halls and ugly carpets? Do they actually go into a carpet store and say "Give me your ugliest carpet, in bulk!" Is it a sign of authenticity? Even worse, each chain seems to have it's own ugly carpet style (i.e. Ambassador Group)!

                  1. re: Underdog Rally

                    woo! thanks for the update! been wondering about this place lately...

                    1. re: jlunar

                      Crown Princess Fine Dining - On Bay, 3 Blocks South of Bloor

                      Crown Princess
                      1033 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3A5, CA

                      1. re: T Long

                        Has anyone tried Crown Princess' dim sum yet?

                        Crown Princess
                        1033 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3A5, CA

                        1. re: phoenikia

                          Probably next week-end at the earliest for me....hopefully someone else will be posting a heads-up earlier. If it's anything like the Crown Prince, it will be comparable to the Dynasty on Bloor....which is to say pretty good for mid-range Dim Sum. Also I wonder if there will be any early bird pricing like at the Crown Prince or some other opening specials.

                          Crown Princess
                          1033 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3A5, CA

                          1. re: T Long

                            walked by today at 6pm and only one lonely old lady on the patio. seems the new windows they put in are a bit rippled so hard to see in but did not see many people inside. It may be a soft opening because there are no big banners or anything announcing the opening. The patio is different to say the lease very ornate metal work but in a copper / brass colour that is unusual..

                            1. re: chowspotting

                              Made my first trip this morning, and was more than satisfied. It seems that the goal of the restaurant is fine dining. If you'd ever visited 5th Elementt, you're in for a shock. The restaurant itself is opulently decorated, and makes pretty good use of what has always been an awkward space (one main room + three wings). Both the dim sum and main menus are fairly compact, and the staff said they would be changing a few details seasonally.

                              Overall, the quality and price was fantastic for downtown, but not quite comparable to what we could get uptown. The dishes were pretty good, with ingredients similar to what I'd expect at LWH , but execution closer to a place like Dynasty. The price point was, surprisingly, lower than Dynasty, and would have been even lower if we had arrived before 11 am for the early bird special ($3.10 per dish).

                              Some examples:
                              - Har Gow comes with really nice whole shrimp
                              - There is Goose Liver & Caviar Siu Mai, but no regular Siu Mai
                              - More veggies, colour and texture contrasts in dumplings than what I've come to expect downtown (i.e. Rice noodle wrapped spring roll, Rice noodle wrapped sirloin beef with choy steamed in the roll instead of on the side).

                              Given that they've only been open for ~24 hours, I was pretty impressed at the quality of the food preparation and the attentiveness of the service. This was an incredibly smooth opening. I think this restaurant will fill the gap between LWH and other Chinese offerings downtown nicely.

                              Summary: If you live near Highway 7, it's not worth the visit. If you're stuck downtown with a choice between Rol San, Dynasty and Lai Wah Heen... you're better off at Crown Princess. Expect to average $4-6 a dish and $10-15 a person. It's not cheap, but it's better than the alternatives (which sounds a bit lame as I write it).

                              Crown Princess
                              1033 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3A5, CA

                              1. re: Underdog Rally

                                Thanks for your great post...sounds like an interesting place.

                                1. re: T Long

                                  Yeah I'm keen to try it now, and I like the sound of an early bird special.

                                  1. re: childofthestorm

                                    For clarification, in most dim sum places, if an early bird special is before 11:00, that means your order has to be placed with the wait staff before 11:00 to get the early bird prices and the early bird fixed price (normally the regular price for Small dishes) will apply only to the dishes classified as Small, Medium, and Large. Meaning XL,XXL, Sp(ecials) etc dishes are not included .

                                    1. re: T Long

                                      I've now been to Crown Princess twice (taking advantage of the "you were serious when you said you'd be back tomorrow!?" discount), and I think I need to upgrade my previous comments on the food. My comparison to Dynasty was unfair, since so far Crown Princess has proven to be of much higher quality, for cheaper. The dishes were much better today, and I get the sense that their goal is to provide less traditional dim sum for a slightly different audience than the uptown branch.

                                      - My har gow yesterday was a bit dry, grainy and thick skinned. The Har gow I ate today was quite different... it was incredibly well seasoned, well cooked, and contained a bit of excess savoury broth (like a light xiao long bao).
                                      - The Goose Liver Siu Mai was delicious. It consists of the regular ground pork part, sitting on a shrimp, wrapped in a steamed, chewy wonton-like wrapper, and topped with liver and fish eggs. This was one of the most interesting bites of dim sum I've ever had in the GTA, . I really enjoyed the textures, the savoury filling, and the pâté aftertaste. Unfortunately, it's not part of the early bird special (it's XL), or it would be a steal. Picture attached.

                                      We've now been through 1/5 of the menu, and have found so far that the flavours and textures are much bolder than what I normally expect from dishes like these, i.e. more savoury broths, more complex ingredients, more contrasting textures in dumplings and rice flour rolls, even richer, more intense desserts. Judging from the weekend turnover, I'd say they're off to a pretty good start. I've attached some pictures of the inside, and the dim sum menu. Given the limited options for this level of cuisine in the downtown core, I'm really excited about this place, and hope that my experiences aren't just an opening weekend anomaly. I guess I'll find out in a week.

                                      And yes, there were a few people who indulged in the novelty of Dim Sum on a patio.

                                      Crown Princess
                                      1033 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3A5, CA

                                      1. re: Underdog Rally

                                        Underdog, thanks for your review.

                                        Can you or anyone else give me a 'beginners' intro to dining there?

                                        I am going to have Dim Sum at Crown Princess soon and I've never had Dim Sum at any restaurant before.

                                        Can you suggest a selection of Dim Sum dishes that might be a good way to introduce the neophyte to the Dim Sum experience.

                                        My GF is bit less daring than I am, so can you suggest some dishes that might help her ease in, and then perhaps a few selections that a veteran such as yourself considers to be 'not to be missed'.

                                        Can only 2 people go for Dim Sum?
                                        How many dishes would be ordered per person?
                                        Also, is Dim Sum typically served all day?

                                        Thanks in advance for any insights.

                                        Crown Princess
                                        1033 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3A5, CA

                                        1. re: BuddSugerman

                                          I think some of the "safer dishes" would be Har Gow (Shrimp dumpling), pork ribs in black beans sauce, and Cha Sui Bao (steamed BBQ pork Bun). For me, I usually look for steamed tripe, chicken feet, and Cheung Fun (a steamed shrimp roll in sweet soy sauce) when going for dim sum. Dishes ordered are meant to be shared, so total number of dishes will depend on your appetite. If in doubt, just order say 5 dishes and if that's not enough, just order more. Typically, a single dim sum dish will come in 3 - 4 portions, so an optimum # of diners would be 3-4, or 6-8 persons at a table However, it is totally normal and OK for only 2 people to go. Dim Sum is typically served only at lunch-time. My 2 cents...happy dim-summing!

                                          1. re: T Long

                                            When I bring newbies to dim sum, in addition to the har gow, ribs and cha siu bao that T Long suggested, I usually will order siu mai (shrimp & pork dumplings), some sort of panfried pork or veggie dumpling/potsticker, nor mai gai (sticky rice w goodies steamed in a lotus leaf), egg tarts (filled w a sweet custard) and jin deui (sesame ball filled with lotus paste), and a plate of gai lan (Chinese brocolli) w oyster sauce.

                                            The formula that I learned from another TO Chowhound is 2 dishes/person plus 2 for the table. You can always order more, as you finish the dishes you've ordered.

                                            1. re: phoenikia

                                              Hey, I just walked by Crown Princess on 1033 Bay Street near Wellesley. They had the opening flowers.. so its really new.

                                              Has anyone gone to that location yet?

                                              I was thinking that their business card is very much like Casa Imperial and decor.

                                              Chowhounders! Please review once you gone. If I go first. I'll let you know.

                                              Casa Imperial
                                              4125 Steeles Ave E, Scarborough, ON M1W 3T4, CA

                                              Crown Princess
                                              1033 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3A5, CA

                                              1. re: Chocaholic

                                                Look a few posts above -- Underdog Rally has gone several times already!

                                                  1. re: Chocaholic

                                                    Casa's sites have a disclaimer (in Chinese) that made it clear that the Crowns are not part of their chain.

            2. This is a little late, but is this place worth going? Anyone been there recently to add if Dim sum is worth it?

              Sister has a wedding there coming up on a weekday (why do people get married during a workday?) Is it cheaper to hold a banquet on a Tuesday as opposed to the weekend?