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Chinatown Restaurant Recommendations (Toronto)

n
NancyAM Aug 12, 2011 07:14 AM

Hi,

My husband and I have our 14 year old niece here from a small town near Ottawa. We want to take her for a special dinner on Sunday night in Chinatown. It would have to be a somewhat 'Canadian' type restaurant, as I'm not sure if her palate could take really authentic ethnic food.

Something kind of touristy would be great - like a bit of a show with the service. Definitely not the type of place we would normally want to go, but we want it to be special for her.

Thank you!

  1. k
    kinik Aug 12, 2011 01:48 PM

    I have to say that I have to agree with JustSayn and T Long. I've been to Lee Garden and while the food is par for the course in that area, its more friendly to people who are not hardcore Asian food fanatics.

    -----
    Lee Garden Restaurant
    331 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E9, CA

    13 Replies
    1. re: kinik
      petek Aug 12, 2011 01:57 PM

      Lee Garden or Swatow.2 very different restaurants,but both very tasty.

      -----
      Lee Garden Restaurant
      331 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E9, CA

      1. re: petek
        justsayn Aug 12, 2011 02:13 PM

        Swatow is hardcore chinese to many people I know!!! I have friends who feel it is dirty looking, they think the soup is never changed and filled with god knows what, and it is barebones in decor. I personally feel the menu is very hit and miss!!! Often any fried items taste of old or cheap oil.

        Personally, I would recommend New Sky and E-Pan for great chinese (in the Spadina area) long before I would openly suggest Swatow, especially to this OP. Swatow has great soups and noodles and dumplings and razor clams and maybe some other faves but for us it goes down hill quickly thereafter!

        Lee Garden is super safe and welcoming, and very good if playing it safe.

        That being said, Pearl is a great spot if one wants to sit by the water! I am not familiar with Crown Princess.

        -----
        Swatow
        309 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E6, CA

        1. re: justsayn
          petek Aug 12, 2011 02:22 PM

          "Swatow is hardcore Chinese to many people I know!!! I also feel the menu has many trap doors!"

          Hardcore Chinese? Really? Trap doors?? Explain.

          My sister,who is probably the most conservative eater I know(and I know many) loves Swatow.

          1. re: petek
            justsayn Aug 12, 2011 02:31 PM

            NP - I expanded my comment.

          2. re: justsayn
            petek Aug 12, 2011 02:51 PM

            So your friends think Swatow is "hardcore Chinese" because the think it's dirty looking??
            Almost every restaurant in the city has hit and miss menus,Chinese or otherwise.And the"decor" at Lee Garden isn't that much better than Swatow's
            If you want to send the OP somewhere safe why not recommend Spring Rolls or Manchu Wok?

            -----
            Swatow
            309 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E6, CA

            Lee Garden Restaurant
            331 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E9, CA

            1. re: petek
              justsayn Aug 12, 2011 02:58 PM

              That's the reality petek; as I know it. Just sharing from my world.

              I have a friend up in Bolton to whom I take bbq pork for him and his family. They LOVE it and call it pork candy. He was downtown so I took him for the full experience. He thought the meat hanging in the window was "display only" When he saw them take it down and cut it for him he couldn't eat it because it "hangs open in a dirty window with flies". I helped him realize it is safe to eat and he has since agreed to eat it as long as he doesn't have to see it come out of the window. And he made me promise I would never tell his wife.

              Any open food like that, soup in a big sink, hanging, with scum on top in a pot, scares many people I know of.

              1. re: justsayn
                d
                dogseatfree Aug 12, 2011 11:09 PM

                Wow, it really never even occurred to me that some people might feel this way!

                1. re: dogseatfree
                  T Long Aug 13, 2011 06:09 AM

                  I'll suggest that the percentage of people that feel this way is quite high.

                  1. re: T Long
                    petek Aug 13, 2011 06:46 AM

                    "I'll suggest that the percentage of people that feel this way is quite high".

                    Good.Let them eat cake... :D

                2. re: justsayn
                  t
                  tjr Aug 13, 2011 08:28 AM

                  "I'll eat it as long as I don't have to see it, know where it comes from, or know how it was made!"

                  Three cheers for North America!

                3. re: petek
                  Teep Aug 12, 2011 06:26 PM

                  There are different types of Cantonese Chinese restaurants.

                  Swatow, Kings Noodles etc. are "noodle houses" whose forte are noodles, congee, BBQ meats, fishballs etc. (and I think their dinners are terrible). E-Pan, New Sky and Lee Garden etc. are dinner restaurants and would not serve very good noodle soups but specialize in dinner entrees.

                  If you order the wrong things in the different types of restaurants you will probably be disappointed.

                  1. re: Teep
                    justsayn Aug 12, 2011 06:36 PM

                    bingo...from a CH perspective.

                    1. re: justsayn
                      petek Aug 12, 2011 06:51 PM

                      Agreed Teep.That's why I said in my original post "2 very different restaurants,but both very tasty".

          3. f
            foodiction2 Aug 12, 2011 09:48 AM

            I would second Pearl or Crown Princess, not exactly in Chinatown but they both have that special little bit of show and are ethnic but also very English friendly.

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodiction2
              n
              NancyAM Aug 12, 2011 10:05 AM

              Great suggestions. Thanks! I'm kind of leaning toward Pearl after looking at the website. Being able to look out at the water would be pretty exciting for her :)

              I'll run all the suggestions by her and my husband when they get here. I think I'll keep Benihaha in reserve for another night, just my husband and I. Thanks again!

            2. d
              dogseatfree Aug 12, 2011 09:27 AM

              Instead of Chinatown something like tepanyaki at benihana sounds more fun

              1. iMarilyn Aug 12, 2011 08:52 AM

                Pearl Harbourfront or Crown Princess, tho they're more known as dim sum places and not technically in CTown..

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                Pearl
                207 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 1A7, CA

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

                1. justsayn Aug 12, 2011 07:26 AM

                  Lee Garden

                  -----
                  Lee Garden Restaurant
                  331 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E9, CA

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: justsayn
                    T Long Aug 12, 2011 08:12 AM

                    Lee Garden is a very good suggestion. Its cuisine is authentic, but the place is English friendly and is reasonably comfortable for Spadina Chinatown. Another suggestion is E-Pan, about a block north of Lee Garden.

                    -----
                    Lee Garden Restaurant
                    331 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E9, CA

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