Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Feb 23, 2010 07:48 AM

ISO downtown dim sum

I'm looking for a good place in the downtown to introduce a friend to dim sum. Carts would be nice but not necessary. Ambience otherwise less important than quality. Reasonably priced woudl be good but does not necessarily need to be bargain basement. Lee Wah Heen is NOT what I would call reasonably priced :)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I don't think it's cheap, but I do like Pearl. Plus, it's in a nicer environment if you're introducing someone to it. Depends on if they're down with the less-clean aspect (bathrooms!) of dim sum in chinatown.

    1. Agree with jlunar, if you want a good place to introduce someone to dim sum and want a nicer atmosphere, and don't mind the price point, Pearl would be a good option.

      If you want to take your friend to dim sum in Chinatown, the only reasonably priced dim sum restaurant to which I continually return is Rol San. I've introduced several friends to dim sum at Rol San.

      Have tried Forestview, Sky Dragon, Yiu Wah, Rainbow (since closed AFAIK) and Bright Pearl, as well as Pearl Court near Broadview & Gerrard, but I like Rol San's food better than its competition.

      That being said, I'd much rather drive up north and splurge at Casa Victoria, Empire Court or Yang's.

      1 Reply
      1. re: phoenikia

        rainbow has closed but has turned into noble seafood, not sure if the management is the same.

      2. Agree with the above, but another place to consider is Dynasty. It's a nice environment for a first timer.

        Dynasty Chinese Cuisine
        69 Yorkville Avenue, Toronto, ON M5R 1B8, CA

        5 Replies
        1. re: raebmv

          Nice, pricey but no carts. I didn't have such a great experience at Rol San but I would definitely recommend Pearl at Harbourfront.

          1. re: MeMeMe

            Why are you guys recommending Pearl?? The OP specifically stated that it be reasonably priced and ambience was a secondary concern. Now you're all recommending to go to Pearl because of the ambience despite the pricing.

            Stay away from Pearl. It's a tourist trap pure and simple. My first and last time there, we got hosed for $90 for 10 dishes of dimsum. Who the heck charges $10 for sticky rice???

            1. re: sbug206

              Pearl, I feel, is a nice intro to Dim Sum as it isn't intimidating as some of the places on Dundas. I think the food at Pearl is great without being hideously overpriced. Frankly - I enjoy Bright Pearl for the cart experience but it can get busy and sometime you have to wait for the less 'squishy' dishes.

              1. re: sbug206

                I agree, I find pearl somewhat expensive for the quality of dim sum you get... i walked out of there annoyed and it ruined my day.

                1. re: Pigurd

                  Likewise. Pearl had only OK food – not as good as my usual places uptown – and twice to three times the price!

          2. Pearl Court in Chinatown East is pretty decent, and if you go before 10:30 in the morning each dim sum is $2! Mix of carts and table service.

            1 Reply
            1. re: childofthestorm

              I was happy enough with the steamed and made-to-order pan-fried dishes at Pearl Court (I've been maybe half a dozen times over the last 8 years), but the deep-fried items tasted like rancid oil on my last 2 visits. I wouldn't travel out of my way to Pearl Court, but if you really want dim sum, and you happen to be in East York, it's decent for what it is.

              That being said, it's probably been at least 1.5 years since my last visit. Maybe things have improved.

            2. I would second the rec's for either Rol San (credible dim sum, best value, casual Chinatown atmosphere) or either Dynasty or Pearl for a more upscale experience but still not Lai Wah Heen prices. I hadn't been to Pearl in a million years but was coincidentally there over the family day week-end - 4 of us (including 2 little kids who inhale har gow like cheerios) feasted for about $65. I thought the steamed dishes (har gow, cheung fung, pae kwot) were outstanding - also a braised, stuffed bean curd dish. The fried dishes - woo gok and haam soi kwok (excuse my spelling) were meh, much better at Dynasty and Rol San. Pearl and Dynasty have similar prices.

              1 Reply
              1. re: peppermint pate

                Thanks for mentioning the dishes Pearl did well, peppermint pate ;-)