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Dim Sum (Yum Cha) for Chinese New Year's Suggestions

c
Cfoodforthot Feb 9, 2010 08:34 AM

Hello,

Originally from Vancouver, I realized I've never done Dim Sum in Montreal for the last 5 years that I have been here. I wanted to take my friends out to celebrate Chinese New Year's but according to some here, the chefs keep changing around, and what was once good could be different...

Can anyone offer suggestions of wait time on CNY's as well as amount per person, (There will be 10 ppl) and is VSL better than in Chinatown?

Thanks.

  1. c
    chilipepper Dec 30, 2011 06:11 PM

    Speaking of dim sum and Chinese New Year ( Jan. 23!), there's supposed to be a new dim sum place on the top floor of the new Swatow Plaza. Aiming to try it; anybody else been?

    11 Replies
    1. re: chilipepper
      SnackHappy Dec 30, 2011 07:14 PM

      Holy crap! Has it finally opened? I was starting to wonder if it would ever happen.

      That building doesn't seem to be doing very well. I went in once to check out the stores and it was pretty sad looking in there.

      I'll try to go check out the place as soon as possible. For now, there's a web site that's pretty short on info: http://www.lecristalchinois.com/

      1. re: SnackHappy
        porker Dec 30, 2011 07:21 PM

        The G&D grocery in the basement is a hit. The sushi place on the ground level seems outrageously expensive. The shops are quite lame. Hope the top floor resto is good!

        1. re: porker
          SnackHappy Dec 30, 2011 07:36 PM

          I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the restaurant.

          Yeah, the grocery store is pretty nice and a welcome addition. Grocery shopping in Chinatown hadn't been the same since Kim Phat closed.

          1. re: SnackHappy
            porker Dec 30, 2011 07:41 PM

            I think G&D is putting the hurt on the smaller guys as well, but thats only my unresearched, baseless opinion.

            1. re: porker
              c
              chilipepper Jan 1, 2012 06:31 PM

              And I find they are disorganized and mismanaged: wilty veg, expired stuff, bleh.

        2. re: SnackHappy
          porker Jan 2, 2012 08:47 AM

          FWIW,
          we ate a family new years dinner at Beijing last night. I asked one of the managers if she tried the new place at Swatow. She said no, but 2 friends did eat there. According to her, dim sum for 2 people cost $58 "very expensive, its a high-end dim sum place, not for me."

        3. re: chilipepper
          j
          jay_81k Jan 2, 2012 09:50 AM

          My Asian buddy went to the one on the top floor of the swatow plaza yesterday and said its the best one in town. He said it was a bit pricey but great quality and from now on will only be going there for dim sum. I'll be trying it maybe next week.

          1. re: jay_81k
            j
            Jay528 Mar 18, 2012 07:06 PM

            I went there 2 weeks ago. The dim Sum was very good. Service was excellent, very attentive. the best service in any Chinese restaurant in Montreal. Spacious and relative quiet. The regular price is expensive, i.e Har Gow is $4.99, but they do have serveral daily special which were $1.99 to $2.99. In summary, it is 30%-40% more expensive than Kam Fung or Ruby Rouge. I would rather pay more than go to Ruby Rouge or Kam Fung.

            1. re: Jay528
              d
              Daiya Oct 6, 2012 06:07 AM

              Any recent feedback about the dim sum at Le Cristal Chinois on the top floor of the Swatow Plaza? Is it empty and quiet just spacious and relaxed?

              1. re: Daiya
                v
                vanierstudent Oct 8, 2012 09:07 AM

                Went there a few weeks ago, it was good but not great, and it was full.

                1. re: vanierstudent
                  j
                  Jay528 Oct 9, 2012 08:16 PM

                  Yes, your are right. I went there about once a month, the dimsum quality and service have significantly declined since opening. But I still think it is better than the others, especially the dinner dishes.

        4. c
          Cfoodforthot Jan 12, 2011 11:02 PM

          It's almost that time again!!! This year's dim sum, we decided to stick to Chinatown or as my friends affectionately call it, Chinablock. So Ruby Rouge or Kam Fung, or another place?

          8 Replies
          1. re: Cfoodforthot
            s
            saltnpepperwhat Jan 31, 2011 01:46 PM

            I hear there's a Dim Sum place near Angrignon that serves pretty decent dinner too, but I can't remember the name! Anybody knows about it??

            1. re: saltnpepperwhat
              v
              vanierstudent Jan 31, 2011 02:13 PM

              chez Ping?

              1. re: vanierstudent
                c
                Cfoodforthot Feb 4, 2011 07:34 AM

                is it any good?

                1. re: Cfoodforthot
                  v
                  vanierstudent Feb 7, 2011 08:47 AM

                  Never went to it personally, but some says its the same quality then most chinatown restaurant.

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/755841

            2. re: Cfoodforthot
              w
              wattacetti Feb 4, 2011 08:01 AM

              So where did you go to kick off the Year of the Rabbit?

              1. re: wattacetti
                nochainsplease Feb 7, 2011 01:48 PM

                Have been going, this past Sunday included, to Tong Sing, corner de la Gauchetiere and St. Dominique. Mon Nan is right underneath.

                1. re: wattacetti
                  c
                  Cfoodforthot Feb 20, 2011 06:40 PM

                  sorry for the late slow reply. We tried for Kam Fung actually, but due to the 100 or so people waiting and a notice of a 1 hour wait time, the hungry bunch opted to skip down to Ruby Rouge. I was actually really curious to see if Kam Fung was worth the wait... but alas I do not know. Nonetheless, the Rabbit Year is upon us, and Im waiting for my mom to mail me my red pockets. :)

                  1. re: Cfoodforthot
                    w
                    wattacetti Feb 21, 2011 04:30 AM

                    So what did you think of the Ruby Rouge? And did she give you a timeframe for your envelopes?

              2. j
                JadeMyst Feb 10, 2010 04:52 PM

                I really like this restaurant but it's not in Chinatown. I've been there twice for dim sum in the last 2 weeks.

                Maison Foo Lam 9394 Boul. L'acadie #201 --- shares doorway & stairs with Sharkey's.
                514-383-6003.
                It's right across the street from Marche Centrale. I believe this restaurant was formerly known as Zao and I believe the owners were the owners of the President of Cartierville which is now owned by the former owners of Tong Por Chinatown. Convoluted..I know. The dumplings were very hot even though they were brought out on carts. The baby cuttlefish was very tender. Everything tasted very good though some of the dumpling's texture may be different from what some are used to in Chinatown, like the sui mei texture was firm but I think that the meat mixture didn't have a lot of fat and corn starch incorporated into the meat which would have softened the texture. My friend from Shanghai was disappointed that they didn't have the Chinese doughnut cheung fun to go with the dim sum congee we ordered. She and I both liked the chicken feet, it was soft and gelatinous like it should be. We ended up having a second plate of those later on.

                2 Replies
                1. re: JadeMyst
                  c
                  Cfoodforthot Feb 10, 2010 07:22 PM

                  I love the chinese doughnut cheung fun! (i've never had it with congee though, usually just a dipping sauce) Your convoluted owner story was actually why I asked, everyone keeps telling me that chefs are bouncing around the restuarants, so what was once good, might not be as good, and so on and so on. It's funny how I am just discovering chinese food in the city.

                  1. re: JadeMyst
                    keelo Feb 4, 2011 08:07 AM

                    There will be a Chinese lion dance performance here on Sunday February 5th around 11-noon.

                  2. e
                    EaterBob Feb 9, 2010 02:27 PM

                    long time lurker here, I have never eaten at Chez Chine, but I have had drinks there, and it is a very nice place to have drinks. But I just heard that on the 13th and 14th from noon until 3pm, they are offering a Dim Sum buffet with 'traditional Chinese plates' for $28.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: EaterBob
                      h
                      HappyMtl Jan 15, 2011 09:15 PM

                      Chez Chine is still pretty good compared to other dim sum options in Montreal, but was much better years ago. They have switched to no pushcarts, so you have an order sheet instead. EaterBob is correct that it's a nice place and classier than the others (Tong Por, Kam Fung, Ruby Rouge), but you will also pay a little more too... also much less crowded.

                      1. re: HappyMtl
                        c
                        Cfoodforthot Jan 28, 2011 04:42 PM

                        thanks for the tip! Im going to have to check it out!

                    2. w
                      wattacetti Feb 9, 2010 09:26 AM

                      If your group eats a lot and you order plenty of the "special" plates (e.g. clams, chili and salt baked prawns), you might wind up touching $20-25/person including tax/tip. Otherwise, under $20/person.

                      Can't say about wait times as the last couple of visits I did had no waiting but it's a question or timing and venue as well.

                      You'll get the regular suggestions (I've probably missed a couple):

                      Tong Por VSL (I think this is the board's current favorite)
                      Maison Foo Lam (ex-Zao's), on Acadie
                      Kam Fung Chinatown
                      Ruby Rouge Chinatown
                      Xing Jin Hua Brossard (recently mentioned in La Presse but for the wrong reasons)

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: wattacetti
                        c
                        Cfoodforthot Feb 9, 2010 09:59 AM

                        Thank you for your reply. Would you happen to know if Tong Por is a Mandarin or Cantonese speaking restaurant? Also is the food quite authentic?

                        1. re: Cfoodforthot
                          w
                          wattacetti Feb 9, 2010 10:08 AM

                          I've heard both at Tong Por, but I'd say they're more Cantonese.

                          Authentic is relative. If you're going to compare against YVR, you'll be disappointed, but it's reasonable to pretty good.

                          1. re: Cfoodforthot
                            hungryann Feb 9, 2010 03:11 PM

                            I think the owners may be Cambodian Chinese...

                            1. re: hungryann
                              v
                              vanierstudent Feb 10, 2010 06:52 PM

                              They are Cambodian Chinese, they originated from the Chaoshan region of China.

                              On the other hand, am I the only one that thinks that Tong Por VSL ain't use to be as good as before? but it still a safe bet.

                              Same goes for Kam Fung and Ruby Rouge.

                              1. re: vanierstudent
                                hungryann Feb 10, 2010 07:00 PM

                                I also think they slipped a bit. I went 2 weeks ago and the food had no pizzazz. I can't comment about the dim sum as I have never went.

                                1. re: vanierstudent
                                  c
                                  Cfoodforthot Feb 10, 2010 07:17 PM

                                  Well, I'm hoping that my first dim sum experience here will be a decent one. Is there a place that you think is better ?

                                  1. re: Cfoodforthot
                                    v
                                    vanierstudent Feb 10, 2010 08:01 PM

                                    Those place are usually decent, but not great.

                                    Sadly, there isn't really any great dim sum in Montreal= /.

                                    1. re: vanierstudent
                                      c
                                      Cfoodforthot Feb 15, 2010 11:51 AM

                                      Well with Dim Sum done and over for New Year's, I must say, I've been spoiled in Vancouver. We went to Tong Por in VSL. According to friends that I attended with, they really thought it was good and delicious, but I guess it just seems much different to me.

                                      There was a lot of deep fried things, which I thought was quite surprising, also their shu mai didn't look right at all, at first I thought that we had ordered the wrong thing, but then on the second round, it really was just different. Their radish cake a bit too salty.

                                      We did manage to get a prime table so all food that came to us was fresh and hot. Their lotus leaf glutinous rice with chicken (lau mai gai) was good, and everyone loved the hot soup and dumpling (gwun-tong-gow)

                                      I think the only thing that everyone gave a strong thumbs down to was their mango pudding dessert. Between 9 of us, we did not finish 1 bowl.

                                      Overall though, we did have fun, and it came out to $13.50 with tip per person ae had left overs.

                                      Thanks for the suggestions!

                                      1. re: Cfoodforthot
                                        w
                                        wattacetti Feb 15, 2010 12:09 PM

                                        If it makes you feel better, I miss YVR dim sum too, but unfortunately work has me traveling in the other direction.

                                        Odd that you had so much fried stuff, but then again it's been months since my last visit.

                                    2. re: Cfoodforthot
                                      m
                                      Mr F Feb 11, 2010 06:36 AM

                                      Kam Fung in Chinatown tends to be good but unspectacular. It's almost always busy, so there's good turnover. And often a long wait on weekends.

                                      Ruby Rouge usually has a wider variety of dishes, and quality is also very good, as long as you can get yourself a table reasonably close to the kitchen. The place is huge, so the less fortunate can find themselves looking at some pretty disappointing carts.

                                      On a special day, and especially if you or some friends speak Cantonese and know how to talk your way into a prime table, I'd choose Ruby Rouge, and show up early (around 11).

                                      However, I'm not experienced with any of the suburban places, so take this for what it's worth...

                                      1. re: Mr F
                                        v
                                        vanierstudent Feb 11, 2010 07:36 AM

                                        I think that Ruby Rouge usually lack of wok hei for the other dishes, but the dim sum are ok and consistent on the quality. Last time I went to Tong Por VSL(2 weeks ago), the dim sum was below average. So my top pic would be Ruby rouge.

                                        1. re: vanierstudent
                                          c
                                          Cfoodforthot Feb 12, 2010 08:59 AM

                                          eek I think we decided for Tong Por! Hhhm. Well it's a good thing I speak Cantonese, so I will be able to order, I just hope that everything I know, is available here! I guess I will keep you all posted on my experience.

                                          1. re: Cfoodforthot
                                            b
                                            BLM Feb 12, 2010 09:24 AM

                                            You don't really need to speak Cantonese to order dim sum there. Just need to point, what you want. Haven't eaten dim sum there, since it became Tong Por Cartierville.

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