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Apr 12, 2010 10:25 AM

Upscale, high food quality, top service, yet reasonably priced Cantonese/HK restaurant in GTA for my father's special 70th birthday

Hello, I'm hoping to get some input on some high quality cantonese/HK food in a pleasant, nice, more upscale restaurant here in the GTA. Of course, with reasonable prices too!

It's my father's 70th birthday and he is Korean and this was his choice. We are originally from Vancouver and my father misses the nicer Cantonese/HK restaurants.

I really want to make it special and very nice for him and take him to an excellent place.

From what I've read in some of these posts, it seems like consistency in some of these restaurants have been somewhat of an issue in the past.

I've read that've provided a lot of input...if you could give me your latest, I'd really appreciate it!

I welcome all the input, it's for this Sunday so I have to act fast.

Thank you, in advance!


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  1. I realise there may be dissenting opinions as to the quality of Regal Palace's service, but as the occasion you're celebrating is special, I would highly (yet regretfully) recommend against Regal Palace (Hwy 7 location). The food can range from good to excellent (the Maggi lobster is consistently perfectly cooked), but the service has been uneven or slow to outright rude.

    I should add a caveat that the last time I visited Regal Palace was in December 2009, which was for my father's 60th birthday. The service was terrible, which made what was supposed to be a happy occasion a less than stellar one. The service may have improved in the meantime, but having visited Regal Palace over the course of several months preceding December with no improvements, I do not have high hopes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lsk

      There were issues between Regal management and owner that may have contributed to bad service. Management has since turned over.

    2. For Sunday, there's only one choice that meets all your criteria - The Emperor' at the corner of Blackmore and Bayview. Why? because they have a lobster special on that day that goes for $9.99 per pound! As well, there service is very attentive and their food pretty good considering most restaurants mentioned on this board has gone down hill IMO.
      BTW, I just spend 4 days in Vancouver last week and IMO, the lobster offered by the Emperor beats out a lot of similar dishes churned out by Vancouver restaurants.
      Good luck! Piece of advice, make reservation and go early to avoid the weekend rush!!

      22 Replies
      1. re: Charles Yu

        As always I agree with Charles Yu recommendation about the Emperor but would like to add Yang`s as well (a bit north of Emperor location) if you are not interested in a Lobster fest. On my visit the service was attentive and the ambiance (in my opinion) is a bit better than the Emperor`s.

        1. re: elvisahmed

          Yangs is a bit more modern d├ęcor and darker ambiance, but service is very good and dishes more sublte but using quality ingredients.

          I ate at Emperor for a friend's birthday bash a few weeks back and enjoyed it as well. More brightly lit and very spacious, you can BYOB and they won't charge you corkage fee if you order enough. Lobster, as Charles mentioned, was very nicely done (although I personally do prefer the O'Mei's version). Charles also mentioned this filet mignon dish which I regret not ordering the last time I was there. I think their prices are the most "reasonable" given the quality.

          Also consider O'Mei on Hwy 7 for that special occasion meal. Their Lobster 4 ways is amazing, my parents living in Edmonton keep raving about it everytime we talk lobster. Even their recent food trip to Vancouver couldn't find anything prepared as well as O'Mei's (although Vancouver seems to do better king crab). Prices may be a bit steeper (it is higher end chinese seafood), but it's very filling and you may not need to order too much more dishes depending on the numbers at your table.

          Another of my personal favs is Peaktop at First Markham Place. Great BBQ meats (roast suckling pig if you get there around 6:30pm on a weekend), not as ultra high quality seafood though. Nice ambiance (also darker like Yangs) and a bit tighter in seating. Apparently excellent Peking Duck from another recent CH post.

          Not a fan of Ambassador, Casa Imperial or Paradise, after a few mediocre meals there.

          Other options that other CH'ers may chime in on are Casa Victoria, The Crown Prince, Wu Yi Villa...

          Man, I'm getting hungry again, and it's only 9am.

          1. re: Royaljelly

            Thanks Royal Jelly for the details on the menu.

            Looks like it's narrowed down to Emperor, Yang's and O'Mei's. I'm not sure which one to choose yet so please continue to share which may help me make my choice for this very special event for my father. Thanks again!

            1. re: jkimis

              Wasn't too impressed with O Mei's service. One of us ordered a Singapore Sling, out came a plate of Singapore Noodles! When informed of the mistake, they apologized, made the Sling, and brought it to the table next to us which sat there for 15 mins while no one said anything. And they forgot one dish in our Lobster 4 ways.

              O Mei
              248 Steeles Ave W, Thornhill, ON L4J1A1, CA

              1. re: Teep

                I too didn't have a great service expereince with O'Mei. The lobster was tasty but the service left a bad taste in my mouth.

            2. re: Royaljelly

              With regard to O'Mei, I am thinking of going for the lobster four ways with a group of four (including myself). How many additional dishes do you think my party would need to order?

              1. re: Royaljelly

                What preparation method did you order for the lobster at Emperor?

                1. re: Royaljelly

                  Hi Royal Jelly. Is the service at Emperor pleasant and not so high end that they have to be snooty? Also, are they light on the MSG?? My parents have dietary restrictions and sometimes Chinese food (well a lot of kinds of foods these days) can be high in salt, oil, msg, etc.
                  And I'm assuming that one can order a la carte and not all of the menu is in a combo price? I'm in the situation where I'm wanting a nice pleasant experience for my dad's birtday but don't have the means to spent in the hundreds. And wonderning now if Emperor's will break my bank. It'll just be the 3 of us so hopefully they won't treat us badly and try to get rid of us asap as it seems to be a place for mostly banquets!!!

                2. re: elvisahmed

                  Thanks Isk mentioning the bad service. That's so important so I appreciate you giving me a heads up!

                3. re: Charles Yu

                  Thanks Charles. It doesn't have to be Sunday I can do it another day. I just want to take my father to the nicest place for Cantonese/HK food out there so would Emperor be your top choice even if it was another day?? And I assume that the other dishes besides the lobster are also of high quality? Thanks again.

                  1. re: jkimis

                    For 'consistency' I would pick Emperor since relatives of mine who dined at Yang's recently found the food inconsistent, though the decor/ ambience is a bit more refined.
                    BTW, Emperor offers a 'special dish at deep discounted prices' everyday. If my memory serves me right, they have an awesome Peking duck two ways for $19 on Mondays, Roasted pigeon on Tuesday, Steamed Dungeness crab with vintage Xiao Sing wine on Wednesday. Call them up and be surprised!
                    O'Mei's lobster 3/4 ways is definitely unique but I found the place a bit run down.

                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      HI Charles, thanks for your reply. I think I'm going to book at Emperor. Thanks for mentioning prices. I think Sunday lobster will be nice for my dad and it's a bonus if it's the special of the day! What do you think the price range/estimate will be for 3 people at the Emperor? I've just read other posts where they say 600 or what not..and that's totally something I cannot do.

                      1. re: jkimis

                        I reckon $200 max!! All inclusive! Unless you go ordering sharksfin or abalone a la carte on the side. Then all bets are off!

                        1. re: Charles Yu

                          What time is the best to go on Sunday? Say around 5:30?

                          Also, it is a place where healthier options are available or where they can make dietary changes...for people with high blood pressure, low sodium, cholesterol diet etc. The lobster special sounds good on Sunday but do they only offer deep fried options, what about steamed?
                          Also we don't really have any idea of what to order so I assume the menu is in English? I read you mentioned the filet mignon with cashews is good. any other recommendations?

                          1. re: jkimis

                            Any time before 6.30pm should be fine!
                            A less greasy option for the lobster would be sauteed with Maggi sauce. I'm not a fan of steamed lobster since I found this way of preparation too bland for my palette, unless the kitchen possesses some vintage Chinese cooking wine for the marinating.
                            Their menu is bi-lingual and the staff also speak decent English, so you should be OK.
                            The filet mignon with 'walnut' is better. You should also try the Peking duck as well! Duck fat is poly-unsaturated and is supposed to be good fat!
                            Anyways, so far I have not experienced a 'bad' dish there. That should reflect on their calibre and consistency! I hope!
                            Good luck, have fun and do report back!

                            1. re: Charles Yu

                              Thanks Charles, I appreciate your input and everyone else's and I'll report back. I am looking forward to a lovely experience with my father for his birthday.

                              1. re: jkimis

                                You are most welcome!
                                BTW, there's a chance I might see you there!! I'll keep my eyes open for a table of three!

                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                  Yes, maybe I'll see you there!
                                  Tomorrow I'm looking for a cake for my father...we used to love these chinese bakeries in van...i had one particular favourite chinese bakery on south granville..with fresh cream, fruit..light sponge...healthy and light but delicious!!! any ideas of where I can find somethinhg like that here??
                                  I've seen tried some of the chinese bakery but not fresh..and not so good...
                                  Anyone out there...if you have any recommendations of nice bakeries...doesn't have to be chinese...any as long as it's great..., please pass them over asap...I know it's so short notice..but I have been overloaded! Have to look for something nice tomorrow! thanks, in advance.

                                  1. re: jkimis

                                    Try Maxim on Finch east of Bayview or 9665 Bayview in Richmond Hill! Not too sweet, uses fresh cream only! Should satisy all your criteria!

                              2. re: Charles Yu

                                I want to let you all know that my experience at the Emperor was very nice. We were pleased with the food and the service was good. We had a set menu for four that included shark fin soup (nice), a scallops,conch and green peas dish (tad bit oily but in general I liked it), lobster with garlic dish (very nice), baby bok choy with garlic dish (a bit overcooked) and the grand green sea bass dish which was the best for last dish. I liked the desert as well...nice way to end the meal.
                                I was pleased we went at 5:30 because it got crowded around 645pm although it was interesting to watch.
                                Overall, I was very pleased because the food was not too oily, salty or over flavoured. I asked for less salt. Thanks too all who recommended this restaurant. It was an excellent choice and I believe my father enjoyed it. We will certainly go again for thelobster special and it's nice to know a good Chinese restaurant here in the GTA.

                        2. re: Charles Yu

                          Charles, would the specials be available on an english menu or only to those who can read chinese characters?

                          1. re: neighborguy

                            I think its in Chinese only. However, one can always ask the captains about their' special of the day'