Hot Pot downtown
Another year, another posting. Maybe this will be my lucky year? Does anyone know of a decent hot pot place downtown? If it's ayce, it's a bonus.
My friend and I have been pondering this question as well. I'm thinking it's partly because of the low profit margin unless you charge 1.5x - 2x uptown hot pot places. Secondly, you need a properly ventilated facility which some downtown structures cannot fit the bill.
If it made sense to do so, then Made in China probably would have done it already since their Scarborough spot is a Hot Pot dedicated restaurant. Any other advice and input from others?
Low profit margin indeed. Could also be a lack of space / expensive rent. Not just ventilation but the stove tops themselves take space. Also an average hotpot meal ends up taking forever to complete, meaning they don't get much traffic coming in in one night, and would require a big place to do so. Reasons why hot pot restaurants don't open for lunch either. The demand could be there though, at least ziggystardust would love to see some open up?
On a side note, just take a nice evening and drive up the DVP to one of many really good hot pot restaurants uptown. My suggestion? Kam Tao hands down.
I guess I don't know enough about the business side of things. It's just that given the large Chinese community here, our cold winter climate and my own selfish craving for hot pot, it would be so great to have it. Maybe if they made beer consumption mandatory (what goes better with hot pot than cold beer?), it would be profitable.
I remember hot pot being available at North East Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown. Basement hole in the wall but decent food in large portions. They're about a block east of Spadina on the north side.
I just don't know of any decent Hot Pot downtown. I used to go to M.Y. Chafing Dish before it became Golden Hot Pot, then Seor Ak San Korean.
Golden Hot Pot Restaurant
357 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2G3, CA
Well I found a place. Next to the old Mother's location at Dundas/Huron. It's called Liuliu I think. AYCE hot pot, choice of soup bases, complimentary cold noodles and tea. No beer unfortunately. Having eaten in many, many hot pot places in Taiwan, I think it's....average, I mean that in a good way in that it's neither worse nor better than most hot pot places I ate in there. Dinner for two including tax and tip - $40.
I went to a gathering for a friend's birthday last night at Taste of Shanghai on Dundas, just east of Huron (below Queen's Patisserie). It's an AYCE hot pot for $19.99 per person. I didn't even know this place existed. It looks new (or newly renovated). The stairs are incredibly steep and rather dangerous when wet (like last night) but the space is nicely done (think Asian Legend like a few doors down but in white). Everyone gets their own induction burner with their own choice of the broth (korean pork bone, spicy, herbal, pork shitake mushroom and a few others I can't remember). The tables are either 6 or 4 tops. We had 9 people so they put 6 of us together and 3 across the aisle. You get a checklist to select your ingredients and they bring platters for the entire table. We chose rib eye steak, pork, lamb, chicken, drunken chicken, napa cabbage, shrimp, oyster, mussels, tofu, watercrest, fish balls and bok choy. The meat was fine, the slices very thin and slightly frozen still and the veggies were great. Very plentiful. The condiments were at a separate table set up buffet style. I chose the korean pork bone broth which was quite flavourful and a little spicy. My friend loved her herbal broth one. The service was great, very efficient and accommodating. There were 4 tables when we arrived at 7, they wrapped up and left and we had the whole restaurant to ourselves until about 8 and then a few more tables came in. It's not a destination spot but definitely a nice addition to the downtown chinatown area and perfect for a cold winter night group outing. I would return.
442 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T, CA