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Supposedly best Shanghainese food in Toronto - Forgettable!!!!!

I have made it a habit not to eat any Shanghainese food every time I returned from trips to the Orient. Since over four months have elapsed since my last trip to Hong Kong...etc, I decided to tag along with my in-laws tonight and try out a Shanghainese meal at ' Ah La Kitchen ' in Markham. According to my sister-in-law, this is supposedly the best and most authentic Shanghainese eatery in town. The place was packed with a queue forming outside the restaurant when we arrived. A great sign I ask myself.... but....??!!

We did not order anything fancy, just your typical day-to-day humble Shanghainese dishes. They include:

- Cold platter appetizer consisting of a salad of minced Shanghainese greens and dried preserved bean curd, tofu skin mille-feuille and smoked pomfret fish.

- A bisque of creamy Shanghainese spinach with minced yellow croaker meat.

- Deep fried battered croaker fish rolls

- Pork pot-sticker buns

- Spring onion pan-cake

- Stirred fry broad beans, tofu skin and preserved Chinese mustard greens.

- 'Tung-Boa' braised pork belly with steamed doughnut buns

- Stirred fry Shanghainese noodle and a bowl 'Dai Lo' assorted meat and prawns 'lo-mien' noodles

Mediocre and fairly bland tasting, none of the aforementioned dishes were notable stand-outs. To some, they may be the best Toronto has to offer, however, to me, its like comparing sushi in Toronto with those in Tokyo!!! Guess I'll have to wait for my next trip before savo

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  1. Hey Charles, I also think this is the best we can get in Toronto area for Shanghainese food. The dish I like most in there is the stirred fry eel with thick sauce. (鳝糊). They put sizzling garlic on top which smell real good.

    1. Thanks again, Charles. You should consider doing a food blog--you're already there with pix and text! I rarely get out to the east end of the GTA but your reviews always steer me--and others here-- to the good stuff!

      1. Ah-La has always been packed, but my family and myself felt that their quality was much better before their move from Yonge and Steeles up north to Markham.

        Perhaps the volume of customers has gone up and they have to turn-over their tables much much faster than before. In a business perspective, I guess that makes sense.

        1. We've had to remove a number of off-topic replies from this thread. We'd ask that people keep the conversation friendly and focused on local chow.

          Thank you,

          1. tried ala kitchen a while ago, it wasnt particularly good, didnt know it was considered the best shanghainese resturant in toronto??? there isnt anything better in town? that seems sad...

            5 Replies
            1. re: Pigurd

              Can someone list other Shanghainese restaurants in the Toronto area. Admittedly, I don't know any others. If there are many, then how about listing just the 5 best.

              1. re: T Long

                Don't know all their names only their location.

                There's Hi-Shanghai at Steeles & Kennedy
                Another one at Glen Cameron ( East side of Yonge north of Steeles )
                One at Kennedy ( west side ) and 14th Ave.,
                One at Alton Towers

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  There is one at Commerce Gate too! They have bumped up their price a lots too. And one at East of Kennedy and Steeles, near Amigo.

                2. re: T Long

                  also Shanghai Dim Sum at 4401 Sheppard Ave E (west of Brimley), not much better than Ala Kitchen

                  1. re: Royaljelly

                    They have changed owner and food was a far cry from when they first open!