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Dragon Pearl Buffet

Big Kahuna 1 Dec 1, 2010 01:51 PM

Has anyone tried the new Dragon Pearl Buffet on York Mills near Don Mills? I hope the food matches the elegant decor.

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  1. jennjen18 Dec 1, 2010 02:44 PM

    Sounds Chinese-themed... is it?

    1. s
      smfan Dec 2, 2010 03:56 AM

      Had lunch buffet yesterday. No MSG detected. $13 for lunch. Mainly chinese plus some sushi rolls plus Korean style BBQ. The food tastes slightly better than Mandarin.

      1. k
        kingstongirl17 Dec 9, 2010 05:44 PM

        Me and my friends just ate here awhile ago and we are definitely coming back again!
        Asking for a reservation in this buffet is so easy and the staff is so nice!

        The place is so huge and very different from the common buffet house
        I think a thousand people can fit in and it will still not be crowded..
        It is a self serve buffet and you can see the managers roaming around the place most of the time.

        Theres a variety of foods there (I saw a tiny pan of pizza but havent tried it)
        The salt and spicy shrimp is good and also the Philadelphia rolls.
        The sashimies are also good specially the salmon and the white fish tuna.

        You should try their dragon pearl sesame ball (you get to see it right away because it is so big)
        It doesnt look good at all but it really does taste PERFECT. It costs 9 dollars to buy it but you get to taste it for free.

        The ambiance is so relaxing and peaceful. (Ship inspired)
        One of the managers came to our table and asked if we liked their place and how did we know the newly opened buffet. He was so funny and entertaining and he didnt look intimidating at all.

        If youre thinking about going to Mandarin or Woo, you should definitely go to Dragon Pearl Buffet because it doesnt look cheap and your money would be worth it.

        Here's a link of their lunch and dinner:

        21 Replies
        1. re: kingstongirl17
          ninja5ca Dec 12, 2010 02:59 PM

          my friend and I went on sat-11 dec and we both think the place is great.
          the place is very nicely decorated,staff is very friendly,very nice atmosphere
          food was excellent

          1. re: ninja5ca
            Full tummy Dec 12, 2010 03:06 PM

            What kinds of things did you eat?

            1. re: ninja5ca
              DUH CAR Dec 13, 2010 12:19 PM

              I agree.

              1. re: DUH CAR
                Full tummy Dec 13, 2010 12:50 PM

                What did you like?

                1. re: Full tummy
                  DUH CAR Dec 14, 2010 07:43 AM

                  Well, I liked 95% of it. However, nothing really stood out. It is a buffet after all.....

                  I'm afraid that I really just sampled everything that looked good. And my second plate was different again as there was a lot of choice.

                  Bonus is the Korean grocery store around the back. It's like a Korean version of T&T. Looks like they bake things fresh there including walnut cakes, but not at 8pm when we were there.

                  1. re: DUH CAR
                    jlunar Dec 14, 2010 08:48 AM

                    Yeah, that's Galleria in the back - definitely the K-T&T of Toronto.

                    1. re: jlunar
                      erly Dec 14, 2010 09:03 AM

                      There will now be a Vietnamese Restaurant at the front facing York Mills.

                    2. re: DUH CAR
                      Full tummy Dec 14, 2010 01:22 PM

                      Well, I love Galleria, especially the triangle sushi. Sorry, don't know the name of it, but it's made with Korean seasoned seaweed, sticky rice, and a filling (kimchi, tuna, etc.) This location is so much more convenient for me than the old one on Yonge.

                      1. re: Full tummy
                        jlunar Dec 14, 2010 01:33 PM

                        Don't know what the triangle sushi is called in Korean, but I think you're referring to onigiri (Japanese). This semi-educational moment has been brought to you by too many years of watching anime.

                        Looks like this (?): http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlunar/2...

                        1. re: jlunar
                          Full tummy Dec 14, 2010 02:34 PM

                          Yes, but I much prefer the Korean version!!!

                        2. re: Full tummy
                          TorontoJo Dec 14, 2010 02:46 PM

                          I know! I'm so excited they opened there! The produce was looking a bit sad when I was there the other day, but having easy access to Asian groceries it a major bonus.

                          1. re: TorontoJo
                            jlunar Dec 14, 2010 02:49 PM

                            I can't decide if I'm excited or dismayed to have it so close to my house. KBBQ will be far to easily accomplished at my parents' home now...

                            1. re: jlunar
                              TorontoJo Dec 14, 2010 02:55 PM

                              I know! All that beautifully marbled, perfectly sliced short ribs for kalbi... just a hop and a step away.

                            2. re: TorontoJo
                              Full tummy Dec 14, 2010 03:54 PM

                              Boo hoo to sad produce. Let's hope it improves.

                            3. re: Full tummy
                              sumashi Dec 14, 2010 03:06 PM

                              the korean triangle sushi is called sambap (literally it is sam = three and bap = rice) !

                              1. re: sumashi
                                krave29 Dec 20, 2010 05:51 PM

                                expensive....Mandarin is better

                                1. re: sumashi
                                  Full tummy Dec 20, 2010 07:18 PM


                                2. re: Full tummy
                                  Sherm_TO Dec 21, 2010 09:11 AM

                                  They had the Miso soup pouches I love at Galleria! Unfortunately the Lactancia Milk I bought there had a sour taste. I'll definitely come back but stick to buying Staples at Metro.

                                3. re: DUH CAR
                                  jmarcroyal Dec 31, 2010 01:28 PM

                                  there was no information in that post that stated what you actually had...

                                  Id like to know what the food is like here but this thread has majorly derailed...

                                  1. re: jmarcroyal
                                    kim50 Jan 6, 2011 08:50 AM

                                    While I agree that the Dragon Pearl restaurant is quite unique in decor, I can't say the same for all the food. Just ate there last night and was really looking forward to it after reading the review in the National Post and the comments I saw posted here. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed.

                                    Let's start with the good - the restaurant is new so everything looks great and the bathrooms are clean, modern and nicely decorated unlike the nearby Tako Sushi on Don Mills Road. Lots of interesting examples of petrified wood, beautiful tables and chairs so visually the restaurant is fantastic. Staff is friendly and we are all greeted very cheerfully. However, we are seated at a table that feels like we are in the aisle - people are bumping into my chair as they go to the buffet even though I am pulled in as much as possible - so my first recommendation would be to be seated by a wall.

                                    Two very different and entertaining food items at this restaurant - the one side noodle and the dragon pearl. You can stand and watch as the cook tosses this endless strand of noodle into the boiling water to cook and it is served in either a chicken soup or with chicken or beef sauce. I would recommend the chicken soup - absolutely delicious with green onions and coriander! So good, in fact, that my children went back for seconds just before their dessert! While we were waiting for the noodles, we were offered samples of the dragon pearl which is a giant deep fried sesame ball. So interesting to watch it being made! Crisp and sweet for dessert but I would not pay the extra $8.99 for it - sampling it was good enough. The salad bar looked average as did the soups so I bypassed them. As for the hot foods, I skipped all the deep fried chicken, fish, onion rings and fries. I started with the chinese dim sum offering - har gow, which was good. Loved the salty and spicy shrimps, the young chow fried rice and the honey garlic ribs! BBQ ribs were fatty, shanghai noodles a bit too sweet. Everything else was average to good - nothing really stood out. Sushi was just okay, sashimi (salmon and oil fish?) was nothing special. Roast beef was okay. The special included with dinner last night was a jumbo shrimp. They give you a big blue jewel that you exchange at the roast beef station for the shrimp. Mine was okay - just a grilled shrimp - no seasoning - but my daughter's shrimp was mushy. For dessert, the usual pastries offered at Chinese style buffets, fresh fruit, very bland almond cookies, very hard overbaked, chocolate chip cookies and ice cream. Green tea ice cream and mango ice cream were good. I saw one of the workers behind the dessert table blow her nose and then she proceeded to arrange the dishes with pastries - yuck! But when I saw her later, she had plastic gloves on as she handled the dishes. Our pot of Chinese green tea is kept hot over a tea light candle but the tea cups were a bit too small and it was hard to drink out of them.

                                    All in all a pleasant dining experience but I don't think I will be rushing back for dinner anytime soon.

                                    1. re: kim50
                                      geekwithspatula May 4, 2011 02:01 PM

                                      I was thinking of going there for mother's day since she likes buffet and she is not fussy about food. The decor will be a definite plus for her. It seems that dragon pearl is all flash and little substance. I have been curious to go there since they put up a small handwritten sign in chinese since I use to work around the area. The Galleria is a god sent instead of having they typical fast food there. Has anyone else been there recently?

                        3. mike_wang Jan 7, 2011 10:43 PM

                          I went there on December 22nd, they had the audacity to charge a holiday price. Five dollars on top of their normal lunch price;19 dollars after tax. It was basically a cash grab because when I asked the front of house if there were any festive dishes to warrant for the addition mark-up. She said many things but the straight answer was no. I was baffled because I was excited to try this new buffet.

                          Now onto the topic of food, they say they have thai cuisine but the only thai dish I saw during lunch was Pad Thai(made with ketchup.)I'm not sure if the workers were properly trained but when I went to the roast beef section the lady cut off my fat without asking me if I wanted it or not she trashed it. The one string noodle was an interesting concept but the flavour of the soup is lacking, the noodle was enjoyable. The sushi section was consistently empty and failed to meet the demand of the consumers.

                          To the keep it short the decor is fantastic but unfortunately the food did not match up.

                          TL;DR You pay for the cost of the decor not the food

                          Like everyone said the plus said was that Galleria was right next door. I got some sashimi grade salmon (pretty fresh) and lots of korean goodies!

                          1. p
                            paul1000 Jan 11, 2011 06:13 AM

                            Not even going to bother setting foot in this place even though I live 5 minutes away.

                            The owner is the same as the Happy Panda Buffet and Super Buffet restaurants in Scarborough...

                            I'll continue to take my family to Mandarin instead for buffet!

                            Happy Panda Buffet
                            2692 Eglinton Ave E, Toronto, ON M1K2S3, CA

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: paul1000
                              jmarcroyal Jan 12, 2011 11:43 PM

                              well you could probably look at those restaurants as experiments because Dragon Pearl is much better. Panda is a joke and Super Buffet is disappointing. Pearl is worth a shot, but If I knew it was the same owner id probably think twice too!

                            2. TorontoTips Jan 15, 2011 05:56 AM

                              Based on the comments here, I went for lunch last week and my recommendation is: DON'T.

                              Chinese buffets for me are always a bit of challenge, but if I can find at least two or three dishes that are well-prepared that I like then I can enjoy myself enough to want to make the occasional visit.

                              I've tried most of them, and Mandarin is still the best in my book (qualified best, maybe I should say the least bad?) because there's always a handful of dishes that I enjoy. Dragon Pearl isn't even in the neighbourhood. I give them credit for good service and unique decor that raises the buffet-bar, in a tacky-overdone theme restaurant sort of way, but the food was really bad.

                              It was lunchtime, so I'm sure dinnertime features additional dishes, but everything I tried just displayed poor cooking technique or a lack of effort. I can recognize and excuse the results of well-prepared food sitting in a buffet tray too long, but this food was just not well-prepared.

                              I tried many dishes, from their signature "one-sided noodle" (chewy, doughy, uninteresting, with a bland sauce) and the giant pearl itself, (crispy thin, lightly sweet, like a boring cookie), dim sum was Very sad, sushi was as poor as you expect at buffets, everything I tried was just... weak. In fact the only decent item I enjoyed was the fresh waffle with fruit, and the mango pudding with condensed milk, both of which can be had elsewhere.

                              All in all, Dragon Pearl is well below average, and truly not even in the same league as Mandarin. And before you decide I'm just a food snob, or that I just dislike buffets, while I agree with the posters above and also really dislike Super Buffet, my guilty secret is that I have actually found a few dishes at The Happy Panda that are well prepared amongst 75% that are weak, and I will actually ignore the toothless locals and the horrific ambiance to go there every few months to grab a quick lunch.

                              I won't be returning to Dragon Pearl.


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