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Crown Princess Fine Dining - Verdict is good! :)

Pics: http://cookiesandtomatoes.blogspot.co...

I headed for the Early Bird special - $3.10 per Dim Sum dish before 11AM if you pay in cash. Fantastic presentation, delicious dishes, and great company...I left happy and satisfied. Everything was so pretty - made for excellent food pr0n :P.

We had:

Dim Sum
Shrimp Dumpling (Har Gow
)Generously filled with whole shrimp and the skins were fresh!

Goose Liver & Caviar (Sui Mai)
The presentation of these changes up from time to time. My favourite dish of the meal. Topped with caviar and duck liver, it was filled with pork & shrimp. The combination was delicious, and I'll definitely be ordering them again.

Scallop Dumpling
These were topped with an orange dough, which had no flavour - but cute! Tasty scallops :)

Shrimp & Yellow Fungus Dumpling

Chicken Feet with Chef's Sauce
Despite numerous trips to Asia and previous dim sum meals, I've never tried them. While I have nothing to compare it to, I liked the sauce that they're braised in (which I also used to dip tentacles), as it was sweet and didn't overpower the dish.

BBQ Pork Bun
These BBQ pork buns have temporarily subdued intense Jjinppang Mandu (giant Korean dumplings - I can't find them in Toronto!*) cravings that I've been having lately.
Hot, fresh, and filled with sweet BBQ pork these were tasty and we ordered another round after we polished them off.

*If anyone knows of a place that serves them...I'll forever be in your debt if you tip me off

Baked & Fried
Fried Octopus Tentacles
Yum. These were really well cooked - not at all rubbery and nicely seasoned. I'd order this again! These were much better than the ones that I've had at food festivals because they were freshly made to order. I was pleased that my friend who never tried them enjoyed them too.

Fried Sticky Dumpling with Meat
Pan Fried Meat & Veggie Dumpling
These green dumplings were browned at the bottom, full of bready dumpling goodness.

Rice Noodle Wrapped with Spring Roll
Yum...crunchy & fresh

Steamed Flour Rolls
BBQ Pork Flour Roll

Shrimp & Vegetable Flour Roll
I always order this dish when I go for dim sum! I love flour rolls filled with seafood and topped with some soy sauce. I am very pleased with Crown Princess' roll - it was fresh and generously filled with both shrimp and veggies.

Dessert
Mango Pudding
The fish-shaped pudding on a puddle of condensed milk was a tasty end to our meal. Makes up for the awful sticky mango rice I had the other week. The condensed milk with the Jello-like pudding was so good!

Chrysanthemum & Lychee Cake
This cake was pretty much a very thick Jello. You can stab it with your chopstick and just eat it like a treat-on-a-stick. I was surprised at how prominent the chrysanthemum flavour was, and the lychee bits were plentiful and had a very fruity taste.

Overall, my impressions of Crown Princess Fine Dining are quite positive. Everything came out with great presentation and very fresh. It's easy to order if you don't have a friend who can speak Cantonese - but I am glad my friend was there to talk to the staff as we had to find out which dishes may have eggs or nuts due to an allergy at the table.

The dining area was very impressive - a banquet-sized dining area (you can rent it for weddings), tables outdoors (although it's getting cold...so I don't think I'll be sitting out there anytime soon), a side dining area, and a couple of private wings.

At $3.10 a dish before 11AM, the value felt good for the calibre of the food. I've been to Bright Pearl in downtown Chinatown, which is also a bit cheaper if you're not concerned about presentation and quality. Given it's location, wonderfully decorated dining areas, and delicious dishes I think it's safe to say that Crown Princess will be around for awhile!

Erin
http://cookiesandtomatoes.blogspot.com/

-----
Bright Pearl
346 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2G2, CA

Early Bird Restaurant
2 Merritt St, St Catharines, ON L2T1J3, CA

Crown Prince
3600 Victoria Park Ave, North York, ON M2H 3B2, CA

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

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  1. Interesting. Thanks for the thorough review, ekim256! And great blog, by the way. Any idea of ownership -- i.e. if the resto is affiliated with any other dim sum places in the city?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Yum2MyTum

      I believe that it's the sister restaurant to North York's Crown Prince (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/669292
      )I haven't tried it, as I don't make it up to North York that often and I'm so happy that there's a delicious dim sum option downtown. Especially since I noticed that Bright Pearl appears to be closed, and I can't afford Lai Wah Heen (Although I suppose if I skipped a couple of Crown Princess Runs and saved up, I could reasonably do so and compare). What would be helpful is if someone who's been to LWH and CP could compare the two...anyone? :-)
      Erin
      http://cookiesandtomatoes.blogspot.com/

      PS. Thanks! It's been fun sharing food pics outside of my little Facebook circle. =)

      -----
      Lai Wah Heen
      108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3, CA

      Bright Pearl
      346 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2G2, CA

      Crown Prince
      3600 Victoria Park Ave, North York, ON M2H 3B2, CA

      1. re: Yum2MyTum

        The Crown Princess is owned by the same people that own the Crown Prince on Victoria Park and Tempo in North York. There is a very "loose" connection to the Casa group (Victoria and Imperial), but nothing of an official basis...in fact I understand there is a disclaimer on the Casa web-site stating there is no affiliation to the Crowns.

        -----
        Crown Prince
        3600 Victoria Park Ave, North York, ON M2H 3B2, CA

      2. Gotta hit that early-bird special!!
        Looks good - nice to hear that they're not slouching...

        1 Reply
        1. re: jlunar

          Not everything's $3.10. Only the dishes that are regularly $5.30 (large) or $4.30 (medium) though that's the majority of the menu and the two dishes on the menu that are already $3.10.

          The siu mai are $6.30.

          Still a steal and better than paying full price.

        2. Thanks for the great review and I really like your blog as well!

          What are their hours and do they offer dim sum on weekdays or just weekends? I work in the area and would love to do a dim sum lunch. :)

          2 Replies
          1. re: sasgirl

            Thanks! I really appreciate the compliment =)
            I should have made it more obvious, but I posted their menu online: http://lh4.ggpht.com/_3gA3wtg4v6w/TIf...

            On it, it says that they offer dim sum everyday

            Thanks for the note curnonsky - I should have mentioned that as well! They're definitely not slouching, I definitely left with a smile...and will probably go back tomorrow morning :-). I'm sold!

            Erin
            http://cookiesandtomatoes.blogspot.com/

            1. re: sasgirl

              They definitely do dim sum on weekdays since I've gone with colleagues to try out the restaurant. Overall quite good and I enjoyed the lunch. Everything looked fantastic, but some of the dishes lacked flavor, including basics like pork ribs in black bean sauce.

              I'm glad the restaurant is there, but I wouldn't make a special trip downtown for it.

            2. I seriously hope they'll be around for a long while, but I have my doubts about whether they will be profitable enough. It all depends on whether they get enough dinner business and weekend business. Given how much money must have been invested in the place, I don't think they'll be able to make do with revenue from dim sum only and certainly can't rely just on those of us who work in the area coming by for lunch once in a while.

              14 Replies
              1. re: echerub

                They also do a $1000 dinner, I think for weddings. They definitely sunk a lot of money into revamping the place - the interior is really nice!
                I think that they might do well on the weekends - it's a nice option for the area. Here's hoping, anyways

                1. re: echerub

                  It's been open for two weeks now, and I pass it every day on my way to/from work. Even at peak dim sum and dinner times it's maybe at 1/4 -1/3 capacity (though it's a big space). It's great to have downtown, but it's still 30% more expensive than uptown dim sum, and it's not that consistent yet (I've been several times, and had very different meals in terms of tastes and textures each time) . I think the consistency and taste will improve, but probably not the price.

                  I hope they get some TIFF business, this location hasn't really led to successful restaurants in the past, and it might take a while for Chinese "Fine Dining" to catch on given the demographics of the neighbourhood. The copy shop owner and I were really excited, but that's not enough to base your business on! I'll keep making Saturday morning visits while they're open, though.

                  1. re: Underdog Rally

                    You bad ekim256!! I am now having a very serious craving for har gow and sui mei. Seriously though, looks fantastic, great pics. Thanks for sharing. Will def put this spot on the list. Fall is a great time for dim sum.

                    1. re: Underdog Rally

                      Which uptown places would you recommend as better alternatives?

                      1. re: Full tummy

                        I should specify that by uptown, I mean the Hwy 7 stretch. There are plenty of reviews in other threads, but I usually go to one of the Ambassador Group places when visiting family (Ambassador, Celestial Court, etc. ) . With friends, we usually go to a cheaper option, but I have no idea what the places are called (sorry!), since I normally just show up and eat.

                        As I mentioned in another thread, I think they're trying to emulate Lai Wah Heen's approach to fine dining, and they seem to understand that their audience at this location is pretty diverse. I would love to visit Crown Princess more often, but alas, the prices outside of happy hour prevent it from being part of my regular lunch rotation.

                        1. re: Full tummy

                          Yes, uptown would be quite uptown. Their sister restaurant, as someone mentioned earlier at Victoria Park is not bad at all. Again, they have an early bird special, even on Saturdays, and its not as expensive as $3.10.. as I can recall, it was more like $2.10 per dish, excluding all the Specials and XL sized items. Parking there is a nightmare though. Also would recommend the one at Woodbine and Denison (sorry, I'm bad with names). It too has an early bird special, and is spacious and elegant. Both have beautiful rooms to sit in.

                          Speaking of parking though - do they have parking at Crown Princess?

                          -----
                          Crown Prince
                          3600 Victoria Park Ave, North York, ON M2H 3B2, CA

                          1. re: jennjen18

                            There are several parking options. Quite a few spots available on the street (probably a good bet if you're there for the early bird), a large lot across the street adjacent to St Basil's church (managed by the University, available till condo construction starts), and underground parking below 1033 Bay (entrance off St Joseph street). That's in order of expense and accessibility.

                            1. re: jennjen18

                              Early Bird price was $2.80 for SML at Crown Prince when I went 2 months ago. Need to go prior to 10:00 am to avoid "parking nightmares". Place at Woodbine and Denison is named Spring Villa....7301 Woodbine Avenue, Markham. Most places in Markham/Scarborough have Early Bird specials these days....there's a price war on Dim Sum going on!

                              1. re: T Long

                                Let the war continue :D w00t! I hope it catches the downtown core too
                                $2.80 would be great downtown...not worth the extra time/effort to go up there

                                1. re: ekim256

                                  Price war is bad, it will only bring down quality. It is the last thing you want if you like good quality dim sum.

                                  Dim sum uptown is already not as good as before, price war is one of the factor of the lower quality.

                                  1. re: skylineR33

                                    Just curious if anyone has tried dim sum at these high end places both during the early bird discounted hours vs the regular price hours, and is there a difference in terms of quality or portion size?

                                    As of late I've been having problems getting my 2 kids out of the house and to the dim sum place before the early bird time runs out.

                                    1. re: Royaljelly

                                      I have tried Crown Prince, Emperor and Paradise for early bird and regular. Noticed no difference in quality or portion. Just that the crowd dies down after happy hour.

                                      What I liked about Crown Princess and Paradise is that the dim sum came piping hot which means it was brought to us right away.

                                      Crown princess was pretty full when I went at 10:30. Same with Crown Prince. In the past, Emperor and Paradise were about 70% full when we went for early bird.

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

                                  2. re: ekim256

                                    Just read your blog....big thumbs up!

                                    1. re: T Long

                                      Thanks T Long :)
                                      I've also been addicted to mixed nuts lately...great comfort food

                        2. Wow-thanks for the heads up. Will definitely check it out-good location for me too.

                          SWS

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                            We go to Crown Prince early bird. I think it's $2.80 if order placed before 11am weekdays.

                            Another good option is the one at Leslie and Finch. i think that one is Paradise. $2.80 early bird as well. And we also like the Emperor. That is our favourite.

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

                          2. Went this morning at around 9:45 and had a great meal, I'd say my best downtown dim sum experience that wasn't at one of the Lai Wahs. The two of us - plus our toddler - had seven dishes and the bill came out to $27 plus tip! An unbelievable steal given the quality.

                            We had har gow, which were delicious, the skins fresh (although thicker than the ideal) with nice non-alkaline whole shrimp inside. Also had the shrimp and yellow fungus dumpling which was equally good. The pan-fried beef ribs with maggi sauce, I really enjoyed although my wife thought they were a bit too sweet, something easily remedied with chili sauce. The shrimp & vegetable flour roll was also outstanding, with sweet fresh shrimp and some nice greens inside. A chicken & ginger bun had a really lovely ginger punch to it which balanced the sweetness of the bun. The abalone and seafood in puff pastry was my favourite dish of the day and a rival to Grand's cod in puff pastry - and don't worry about it being in the "SP" category as they still charge you $3.10 for it! Finally we had the pumpkin congee with lily and corn, deliciously sweet and floral and a perfect bridge between summer and fall, flavour-wise.

                            All of this with fantastic tea, in the over-the-top Victorian Hong Kong ultra-ornate decor (which I love) with huge windows streaming in light, made it a special Sunday morning. Service was top-notch, bathrooms were luxe (those Dyson Air Blade hand dryers are so cool), and yeah looks like Crown Princess will be our regular weekend dim sum stop from now on.

                            15 Replies
                            1. re: childofthestorm

                              I was charged $8 for SP dishes (chef specials) last Tuesday at 10:30 am. Must be a mix-up.

                              1. re: curnonsky

                                Ha lucky me...I would pay $8 for the seafood/abalone puff pastry though. It was so good.

                                1. re: childofthestorm

                                  What is the deal with Crown Princess? Is it $3.10 weekdays if you order before11am or if you pay before 11am?
                                  Does it apply on weekends as well? Thx.

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

                                  1. re: caitlink

                                    $3.10 if you order before 11 am for S/M/L items at the moment, which I think is the case with most early bird dim sum. Definitely applies on weekends. That covers a pretty big part of the menu, which is what makes it a good deal.

                                      1. re: sumdumgoy

                                        Yes. We've been ordering Iron Buddha, and I think it's ~$1.50 per person, but don't quote me on that.

                                        1. re: sumdumgoy

                                          Yes there's a tea & sauce charge per person.

                                          I went a week and a bit ago, the quality is good for downtown, which is a qualifier. If you live uptown and can go to Yang's, Casa Vict, Emperor, Regal Palace, etc, there is no value in coming down for Crown Princess. They're not at that level of quality. For a carless soul stuck downtown, it's a worthy option.

                                          I'm far from complaining though, at the $3.10 early bird special, the quality is pretty decent. I'm glad I have another option for dim sum besides LWH downtown now.

                                          As for the dishes, in general I noticed all the skins of everything (dumplings, rice rolls) to be too thick. The fried octopus dish I received was at room temperature, tripe lacked ginger/scallion flavour. Although I would say the scallop dumpling is a winner, as was the chrysanthemum & lychee cake.

                                          I went with 6 people, ordered 17 dishes, avg'ed out to $13 per head w/ tax/tip. Can't complain.......

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

                                          1. re: aser

                                            We were not charged for tea/sauce. Saturday at 10:30am, with my elderly parents.

                                            Of the few items we tried, I liked the "Zen" dumpling best - it's a vegetarian version of the Chiu Chow dumpling, which I don't usually order because of the pork content.

                                            I did not find the decor over the top, at least they don't have a 20 foot tall golden chandelier like Casa Imperial. The place was full except for the 10-person tables.

                                            Has no one gone for dinner yet? Lots of interesting dishes on the menu, with a page of vegetarian offerings.

                                            1. re: Teep

                                              We went yesterday, Friday at 10:30am and were charged for tea/sauce (6 bucks for 5 people). Dim Sum selection was very good. Dim Sum quality was fine, a few items on par with the best of stuff you get up north....some was so-so, but you get that almost everywhere these days. (For reference, my dim sum rotation includes Emperor, Casa Imperial, Sam Woo Seafood, and Crown Prince among others). Most of the business was for the early bird...not too many customers arrived after 11 am....room was about 70% full. Some at my table had been there for dinner before...the main comment was how poor the service was given that it was not at all busy. In contrast, the service at dim sum was quite good if not excellent. Definitely a go-to place when downtown, especially for the early bird special. I would not classify it as a destination place given the choices up north...but then if I lived downtown, I would not feel the need to go uptown if I could go to the Crown Princess downtown, and rotate it with Dynasty on Bloor, and Rol San on Spadina.

                                              1. re: T Long

                                                We went this week and this is now our favourite. We previously preferred Casa Victoria and Emperor.
                                                We like that the dining room is not crowded and everything came piping hot and fresh. Har gow were good. Same with rice rolls. Loved the XO tripe and chicken feet.
                                                Our favourites were the curry beef tendon (spicy good) and the sticky rice (the kind you get every year for the dragon boat festival). Huge dried scallop and the sticky rice was very flavourful.
                                                We thought service was very good. At this price, it was very good value.
                                                We will go back for dinner and give it a try.

                                                1. re: caitlink

                                                  Yeah, it's interesting, I went to Emperor today and overall, I preferred the meal at Crown Princess!

                                2. re: childofthestorm

                                  Same people from the Crown Princess restaurant uptown. Most of the senior wait staff are from there. One guy even chatted me up and offered 10% off and free tea. I've "known" him since the Bayview Garden (Holiday Inn) days as a customer and ran into him at various other places uptown, but never before we chatted or got discount except for the VIP card which anyone could buy. Seems like they desperately need the business.

                                  He need not worry though, since this is the best downtown place since Bayview Garden, for the right price/quality combination. Food is at par with their North York location.

                                  $3.10 dim sum special applies 7 days a week, for S, M and L *only*. So your SP for $3.10 was an error. Order by 11am and you qualify. Cash only for this special.

                                  The place looks luxurious and all, but the walls are not marble but ceramic tiles except for the framed area. The pillars are also simulated stuff, but all very nicely done. This kind of decor in a Chinese restaurant originated from mainland China. The Dyson dryers are a knock off of the Mitsubishi jet towel and they don't work as well as the real deal.

                                  -----
                                  Crown Prince
                                  3600 Victoria Park Ave, North York, ON M2H 3B2, CA

                                  1. re: beepbeep

                                    It is pretty common for manager/senior staff to give out 10% off+free tea if they recognize you from other restaurants they work at before. This happens to us all the time. The turnover rate is very high in this business.

                                    1. re: skylineR33

                                      Yeah, we started getting a VIP discount after our second visit (probably because they were astounded that we actually made 2 visits within 48 hours of them opening). Only for regular hours, though, they haven't yet given us a discount on top of the early bird special yet, which is understandable. Maybe I need a few more trips this month to justify EB + VIP?

                                      1. re: Underdog Rally

                                        EB + VIP is virtually unheard of. I think that would require you to give up your surname and to be adopted!

                                3. Dined at Crown Princess today. I found the dim sum menu to be fairly limited. We ordered 8 different items, including a scallop dumpling, nor mai gai, mushroom/taro dumpling (sort of a veggie ham su gok), panfried meat dumpling, a layered sweet egg yolk cake (don't remember the exact name), 2 cheung fun (1 bbq pork, 1 beef), and beef balls. The panfried meat dumplings were green-coloured bao filled with shrimp/other shellfish (rather than meat), that were panfried only on the bottom side, instead of the typical chewy wrapper, which was a little strange. The nor mai gai were the personal sized type, but only had egg and ground chicken inside. Everything tasted fresh, and I found most items to be ok. Nothing was great.

                                  I found the pricing to be reasonable, and the servers were extremely friendly. 8 (mostly L) dishes and tea for 3 people came to $48 (without the early bird or VIP special).

                                  I'm glad I tried Crown Princess. If I want a dim sum fix in Toronto, I'd rather visit Lai Toh Heen for luxe dim sum or Rol San for economical dim sum.

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

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: phoenikia

                                    was also there yesterday and overall my impression was that the food was fine but nothing special. looking back i also recall that nothing really showed up particularly hot, certainly not steaming, and was lukewarm by the time i had gotten to it (dishes came fast and furious, partly because i think we were there at the time the happy hour people had just finished) except for the nor mai gai. was also not impressed with the egg yolk layer cake as it was rather thick and messily made though the flavours were right. favourite was the beef and snow pea shoot cheung fun but there was an obvious difference in thickness of the rice sheets.

                                    as for the comments about service below, unfortunately it seems like you're the odd one out... we had good service that never rushed us when we lingered with tea and conversation. they asked at the end if we had a good time and seemed like they would have been receptive if we did have issues. the only negative that happened was that one of the servers tried to take away dishes while some dim sum was on the plate without asking us if we still wanted it but of course said sorry when i plucked it off the plate. anyways, just wanted to say it's a shame about the bad service. it can really dominate the experience when the food is just ok.

                                  2. We read the reviews of Crown Princess, and decided to head there this morning to try this place. Understanding that they encourage you to get there and order early before 11, we got there at 10:40, got seated, and filled out our order form. It was impossible to get the waitress' attention as she walked back and forth avoiding making any eye contact with us. Finally, at 10:59 she decides that she would come to our table, and were surprised when we were presented with a bill at the end for full price. When we politely inquired and brought this to their attention, the level of rudeness and incompetence astounded us.
                                    We dine out at restaurants all the time, and rarely eat at home, and have never complained at a restaurant. For us, this wasn't about the money, but about the principle. They advertised something, and we felt it wasn't fair.

                                    They had printed 11:01 on our bill, and apparently 4 levels of management are unable to do anything about this. They explained that it's not about when you get there, or when you order, but when the waitress punches it into the computer.

                                    We willl definitely not be going back there. The food is average. There are lots of Dim sum places in the city that are equally good and better. There is absolutely no support a place more focused on their bottom line, than customer service. To think that they were willing to annoy a group of people over a few dollars during their first few weeks of business is shocking and tacky. Support the places that have served you for years before thinking about handing over any business to Crown Princess.

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

                                    28 Replies
                                    1. re: T Jackson

                                      I sympathies with you!
                                      Yes, quality of food might be important but very often, if service is lousy, not only does it spoil everything it also impact of on ones digestion!
                                      Guess, thats why I really miss a place like the 'old' Spendido! Not only was the food great, the service was also superb!! Sigh!!!!

                                      1. re: T Jackson

                                        Wow, our experience was very different. Service was very friendly. We ordered at 10:35 and added one more item before 11am by telling one of the servers.
                                        At 11:15, we had several servers asked if everything came. When we told them we were waiting for one item, they took care of it.
                                        When the bill came, we were charged regular price for the one item, but they quickly changed it when we told them the server forgot to key in the order and that we ordered before 11am.
                                        We found service thruout the meal to be very attentive.

                                        1. re: caitlink

                                          Yeah, we had a similar experience to caitlink....I thought the great service was one of the stronger points of our dim sum lunch. However, I did hear from fellow table mates that they thought the service they received was rather poor during a previous dinner meal.

                                          1. re: T Long

                                            I found the servers to be professional, attentive and courteous when I was at Crown Princess between 11:30 and 1 pm today. They refilled our teapot without asking, changed our plates, removed serving dishes quickly when the items were finished. Several of the servers said goodbye to us when we left, and all the employees we dealt with were polite and friendly.

                                            The service was the best part of my experience, and the good service I received makes me more likely to return. The restaurant is still very new, and I would give them at least a few weeks to work out the kinks in both the service and food departments.

                                            While I probably won't be returning to Crown Princess for dim sum in the near future, I'd like to try some dishes on their dinner menu sometime soon.

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

                                        2. re: T Jackson

                                          Interesting, we were also there today but in the side dining room. The server (who could be a manager) actually wrote down the time (10:35) on the order form when she picked it up.

                                          1. re: T Jackson

                                            It's unfortunate that you had such a poor experience. I think they've started writing the time on all early bird bills. I've been there five times times already (in fact, I was there at the same time as you and several other chowhounders, it would seem), and they've earned my business by consistently providing me with good food and great service despite being open for only 3 weeks.

                                            Did you wave down a member of the staff and find yourself ignored? I'm surprised because the managers and staff are normally really good about making the rounds, and we've never had to wait more than a few seconds to get someone's attention - and that's only if they don't get to us first anyways.

                                            1. re: Underdog Rally

                                              My experience: I was there on Thurs Sept 16 with my wife, at 9 AM sharp -- I had a dental appt. nearby at 10, so I said, why not? They opened the door for me and gave us the dim sum form, I told them we had to leave by 9:45. They went out of their way to do us great service. We ordered 8 items plus the tea.

                                              We've had comparable dim sum at both LWH on Dundas and Mt Pleasant. But they were full price. Anyway, this was 9 AM, the place was empty, and by the time we left, two other tables had arrived.

                                              Great stuff for a breakfast..I used a mouthwash and toothbrush before my appt. There was no garlic breath.

                                              I'd certainly do it again, at that price. But you'll find equal dim sum at LWH if you need to be there over the normal lunch hour. It'll just cost more.

                                            2. re: T Jackson

                                              That does suck but it happens all the time at these places offering early bird specials. The order has to be entered into the POS system which is time stamped. Therefore to be safe, hand in your order sheet at least 10 mins before 11am. I've seen customers argue w/ the managers many a times before around 11am. It's good to hear they've decided to write down the time on the order form, although I've never seen this done at other places (Dragon Boat, etc..)

                                              What happens is your server taking your form might get slowed down on the way to the POS. He/she might be collecting forms from other tables or getting hailed down by someone to refill tea, etc......

                                              Steven Davey gave Crown Princess 4/5 in Now last week. He needs to get up north to try Yang's, Emperor, Casa Victoria, Regal Palace etc...

                                              http://www.nowtoronto.com/food/story....

                                              1. re: aser

                                                I had another wonderful and 'surprisingly cheap' Dim Sum lunch at Kar Lun Court atop of Time Square yesterday! Quality was unexpectedly fine. Har Gow for example has really thin skin with crunchy, fresh tasting ' sans chemical' prawns! Pork inside the B-B-Q pork buns tasted fresh without the frequent ' overnight gamey pork taste'. Even its a weekend, price is only $2.30 for S/M/L during 'peak' hours!!!!!! $88 for 10 people, dim sum , fried noodles and a specialty rice dish. Not bad!! The lobster with braised E-Fu noodles was only $13.99! and was yummy!
                                                Unless quality is really, really high, one would be really hard pressed for us ' northerners' to drive all the way downtown for 'inconsistent' and 'questionable' dim sum and service!

                                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                                  Almost every poster in this thread has indicated that the service at Crown Princess has been consistently excellent. When I went the food was very good, and the service was delightful. I don't doubt that there is better quality Dim Sum up in Markham. I do doubt that there is better service. Suggesting that food and service at Crown Princess are 'inconsistent' and 'questionable' is unfair. Have you actually eaten there yet?

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

                                                  1. re: haggisdragon

                                                    I'll go out on a long limb and say no for Charles, he doesn't need to. Why drive 40 mins fighting traffic and parking for dim sum, that is inferior to something 5 mins away from his house.

                                                    For the record, I used to live uptown and would frequent Charles' haunts. They're better in quality and lower in price (reg pricing that is). Service is comparable to Yang's, Emperor, Casa, etc....

                                                    This place is a good option for downtowners, for uptowners, not at all.

                                                    1. re: aser

                                                      That's totally reasonable. There's no way I would venture downtown for Dim Sum if I lived up there. Except for maybe Lai Wah Heen. I don't expect Charles to drive downtown to fulfill his chow duties. I just think he should reserve his judgement. Words like 'questionable' are a little harsh.

                                                      -----
                                                      Lai Wah Heen
                                                      108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3, CA

                                                      1. re: haggisdragon

                                                        In fairness to Charles, couple of posters above thought the service "rude" or the food "inconsistent".

                                                        Why would he drive downtown to risk this when he can get consistently good dim sum close by at a cheaper price at whatever time he chooses?

                                                        I am looking forward to trying Crown Princess but will not be going at 10:30 am so I expect I will like the food but not the price (when compared to HWY. 7 area)

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

                                                    2. re: haggisdragon

                                                      I was just commenting on what I read!

                                                      To your 'consistently excellent' comment, I read reviews by fellow ' Chinese food' foodies like pinstripeprincess. phoenikia, Aser, Caitlink, TLong...etc all pointing to the food being only average!. Furthermore, basic dishes like pork ribs in blackbean sauce and tripe in ginger/scallion XO sauce, which normally should be rich in flavour, were described as 'bland'! Worse still, the yardstick to good dim sum - wrapper/skin thickness of dumplings and ricerolls, were mentioned by a few chowhounders as too thick! In my books, having eaten in so many great dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong, this is a definite no-no. Lastly, how can something that is supposed to be served piping hot ( fried squid/octopus tentacles ) be luke warm or room temperature?! Imagine eating cold KFC!!

                                                      Based on all of the above, if their food is not ' questionable' I wonder what adjective I should use to describe my interpretation of some of the postings?!! If you are in my shoes, will you spend over 40+ minutes driving, pay extra for downtown parking to eat in a dim sum restaurant when there are umpteen choices uptown??!!

                                                      For 'consistently excellent', I would regard those postings on 'Sushi Coulture' as such an example!

                                                      1. re: Charles Yu

                                                        My consistently excellent comment was about the service.

                                                        As I said above, twice now, I don't expect you to drive down to try CP when you have a wealth of choices in your neighbourhood.

                                                        'Average' and 'questionable' are miles apart in connotation.

                                                        1. re: haggisdragon

                                                          Oops! Looks like we are comparing apples with oranges!!

                                                          Well, may be my English isn't up to snuff! But, when I read postings by Pinstripeprincess and Aser describing their food as luke warm and room temperature whilst fellow CHer like Caitlink describe the food as piping hot. I guess 'inconsistent' and 'questionable' are two words that come to mind!

                                                          1. re: Charles Yu

                                                            Charles: If you are looking for something better than up North, you will not find it at the Crown Princess....but if you lived downtown, there is no reason to go up north either for consistently superior dim sum....unless you want to take advantage of cheaper regular prices.

                                                        2. re: Charles Yu

                                                          Perhaps a better word to use is "inconsistent", since not everybody complained about those problem you mentioned. We had to wait a bit for our dim sum but everything was piping hot. I did not encounter any bland dishes.

                                                          Thanks for your comment on Kar Lung Court, but as I don't drive, it is not an option for me.

                                                          1. re: Charles Yu

                                                            I love cold KFC....but I understand your point

                                                            1. re: ingloriouseater

                                                              Hey, I like cold KFC too...much better than reheated!

                                                              1. re: T Long

                                                                and here I thought I was the only one! Cold KFC for breakfast or midnight snack...that skin is darn tasty

                                                                Probably just lost some points on CH. hahaha

                                                                Erin
                                                                http://www.cookiesandtomatoes.com/

                                                                1. re: ekim256

                                                                  OK! Cold Fish and Chips then??!! And If you folks still LOVE these, then there must be something wrong with us chowhounders! Ha!!

                                                                2. re: T Long

                                                                  Me three. And yes, much better cold than hot. Hmmmm, about once every two years we cave and get some. For some reason though, I always feel like we should hide it. Good thing their delivery cars are unmarked LOL.

                                                          2. re: Charles Yu

                                                            Wow, definitely going for lunch this week if lobster e-Fu noodle is only $13.99. For cheap dim sum during peak hours, we like FullHouse. The same owners as Casa Victoria. But always looking for new places to try since my Dad loves dim sum.
                                                            Thanks, Charles.

                                                            1. re: caitlink

                                                              Please note that the $3.10 special at Crown Princess doesn't apply to take-out. The special price is for dine-in only. FYI.

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

                                                              1. re: Megan2

                                                                I'm curious - how is take out dim sum? It must be quite a stack of takeaway boxes

                                                                1. re: ekim256

                                                                  Yes, and you are in trouble if, like me, you get lots of items with chives. These don't smell good as they travel - I know from experience from getting lots of takeout from Rol San. Tastes amazing later though :)

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Rol San
                                                                  323 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E9, CA

                                                      2. I went there today with high hopes since it's so conveniently downtown. I got there around 10:40, hoping to get a table before 11. I waited in a chair in front and got a number. Imagine my annoyance when the hostess called out for number 10 when I was holding number 6. The hostess was immediately apologetic and asked us to quickly put our order in. Of course, we didn't make it before 11, but the waitress who insisted that we didn't make it in time for the early bird special had ZERO tact/class. She kept insisting louder and louder that we were too late, even though I was asking her to please bring the manager by. The hostess who sat us came back to the table, apologizing again and gave us the 'VIP' discount (10% off and free tea).

                                                        The food was passable, but not outstanding. The best dish was the chrysanthemum cake. The service, however, was so off-putting and had no polish at all. Things were plopped on our table, often at the far end (we were 3 ppl at a 8 person table). No wait staff available for extended periods of time. When a waitress finally came by, she couldn't speak English (I asked for water) and even though I spoke to her in Mandarin, I never got my glass of water. And to top it all off, when they brought us the bill, we didn't get the promised discount (which had been written on our ordering sheet, btw) and I had to ask for it.

                                                        In all seriousness, this place has a looooong way to go if it wants to come even close to uptown/suburb dim sum places. For the price, I think an expectation for a certain level of service is not unreasonable. Anyhow, I think the next time I am in a mood for dim sum, I'm hopping in my car.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: raebmv

                                                          My experience at Crown Princess this weekend was completely different than yours. We made a reservation for 10:30 on Saturday and were seated immediately. Four of us ordered about 16 dishes. Our dishes came out promptly, everything at the proper temperature. I particularly enjoyed the Chiu Chiao style dumplings, Abalone puffs, and curried braised beef tendon. Our service was great, my plate was replaced at least three times, and our tea pot was refilled constantly without us having to ask once. I would suggest you make a reservation or show up a bit earlier if its important for you to get the discount.

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

                                                          1. re: haggisdragon

                                                            I'm glad your experience was good. I really didn't care that much about the discount. My main complaint here is the service. Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm remembering more things that didn't go well - our plates weren't changed at all, we had to ask for the tea refill (which the waitress over filled at our table) and empty plates/baskets were left on the table until nearly the end of the lunch.

                                                            Maybe I'll give it another go when I've forgotten how annoyed I was today. heh.

                                                        2. Hi Kim - Just wondering if it is only dim sum of it they have a traditional menu as well? I assume that they do, even if it is small, but if you know for sure that would be great.

                                                          Thanks!
                                                          JennaBean

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: JennaBean

                                                            For lunch they have dim sum with various rice and noodle items. For dinner they have a full traditional menu. You can call and ask if you have some dishes in mind.

                                                            1. re: Teep

                                                              Lunch menu has many options for rice and noodles and range anywhere from $16 to $24(?). We ordered two of the noodle dishes. And decided that at that price, we were better off getting more dim sum choices.
                                                              We loved their curried beef tendon, rice rolls, steamed BBQ buns and found dim sum portions to be bigger than most. So ordering 5 dim sums is more attractive to us. Their set dinner menu items look good too. The dinner at $500 - we would try.

                                                            2. re: JennaBean

                                                              *edit
                                                              Ah Teep beat me to the punch =)

                                                            3. I second this review... good dim sum!

                                                              1. Was told today that the early bird special is long gone. Enjoyed ourselves anyway. I wouldn't show up before 10 on a weekday again because they seemed to be still setting tables and stalling till about then, I assumed because the kitchen wasn't quite ready. I'll leave the real reviewing to the many hounds with far superior dim sum knowledge, but I definitely enjoyed the overall experience.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: julesrules

                                                                  julesrules, I'm surprised! Do you mean no more early bird specials on weekDAYS? I was just at Crown Princess last weekend (just checked my receipt - Sunday, Dec 19) and took advantage of the early bird special. $3.10 for dim sum and $1.50pp for "tea/sauce". Wonder why they told you it was long gone?!?

                                                                  1. re: Steady

                                                                    Maybe just on weekdays, or just over the holidays, but she didn't say that.

                                                                2. Overall experience: Good dim sum but not worth the awful, unprofessional service received. Grandiose-looking furniture/setting, gaudy china certainly DOES NOT equal "fine dining". Perhaps bad luck with unprofessional waitress, M-na.

                                                                  Details of experience below:

                                                                  I went to today (Sunday 1pm) Crown Princess based on the reviews posted.

                                                                  The dim sum was pretty good (e.g. shrimp dumplings and chicken feet were good; crispy shrimp roll filled with Miracle Whip and canned fruit, lotus leaf wrapped rice were not as good). Unfortunately, the good dim sum did not reflect for the awful service my party received. One of our tea cups were dirty so our waitress, M-na took it away but forgot to replace it. She was too busy chatting with other tables.

                                                                  She either placed our food incorrectly or the kitchen sent us an incorrect order. When we politely told M-na that there was an error, there was not apology for the mix up. She simply said "Oh, so you don't want this?" rather rudely. She then took our dim sum sheet and incorrect dish away without an apology for the error at all.

                                                                  Our rice noodle wraps did not come with a bottle of soya sauce. When we asked M-na for a bottle, she seemed annoyed and hastily grabbed a bottle from the uncleaned table beside us, whose party just left. How inconsiderate was that!? She then continued to chat with other tables within our vicinity. Our tea was not re-filled in a timely manner either due to her unprofessional attitude. Our plates were never changed even though we had small mounds of leftover food on them. Someone from their pantry department offered to take the plates away but never returned with the replacements or notified M-na.

                                                                  Certain dishes also did not arrive. So when we asked M-na to cancel those dishes, she assumed we wanted to bill too. However, our table was still filled with uneaten dishes. A polite, professional waiter/waitress would have at least offered to pack our dishes.

                                                                  When we told M-na that we were disappointed with her service. She was indifferent and only said "Sorry" and walked away. She did not even care to ask why.

                                                                  I can assure you that my party consisted of sensible, professional, well-mannered individuals. The restaurant wasn't even that busy. The manager offered 10% off our bill but we will not return. I did not pay a premium for "fine dining" only to be served something "cold" in return. Better or comparable dim sum restaurants are available and I suggest foodies go elsewhere.

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

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: cha_siu_bao

                                                                    I went to the Crown Princess the Sunday before (Superbowl Day), and we did find a noticable drop-off in service from our previous dim sum visits. Not rude or incompetent like what you described but mediocre run of the mill service in contrast to what we were expecting....

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

                                                                    1. re: T Long

                                                                      Thanks for the replying to this thread. I'm hoping for better service in other dim sum restaurants in the future :)

                                                                    2. re: cha_siu_bao

                                                                      May be the final bill cost more but much better service for Dinner!
                                                                      However, dinner menu way overprice for the quality. Casing point, $48 for Peking Duck two ways when better ones can be had up north at Brilliant, Emperor or Yang's.... for $10 less! Service equally fine too!