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Restaurant "Har Gow" on Danforth

Pincus Nov 9, 2011 12:09 PM

I think this is in the spot of that Indian place that opened and then closed, around Donlands/Danforth. Brave of them to name their place after one of the defining dim sum dishes...

I looked in and saw they had furnishings in place. I don't have high hopes for a dim sum place on the Danforth, but plan to go check it out. Stupid me forgot to check for times on the door, I was pretty tired last night by the time I was walking past it.

  1. n
    neighborguy Jan 1, 2014 04:51 PM

    While overall I'm still happy with Har Gow and glad it's in the neighbourhood it seems often times I'm been during the past year there has been something that has made the experience less than what I'd expected.

    I read here that the chefs are quite experienced, that everything is made on-premise so I imagined there would be a standard that could be followed but it seems to have not been the case.

    There was an order of Cantonese chow mein -- which I consider a good test of a kitchen's skills -- and it was just so-so. Plain, underseasoned and with soft and not crispy noodle as requested. Most recently during a dimsum lunch the wonton order turned out to be essentially five pieces of wrapper deep-fried and served with a thimble of red sauce. For this they charged the same amount as their perfect ha gao and siu mai. Very inconsistent and disappointing.

    Anyone been recently?

    6 Replies
    1. re: neighborguy
      julesrules Jan 1, 2014 05:08 PM

      Because it's convenient, I've actually managed to make this place work for me - although there are still some misses as I work my way through the menu, there are also enough good & authentic *enough* items to keep me happy. But IKWYM about the pricing, I was comparing similar items on the dim sum and regular menus and things didn't quite add up.

      1. re: julesrules
        KitchenVoodoo Mar 25, 2014 10:59 PM

        I'll just add that the skins on the dim sum items are too thick and doughy for my taste.

      2. re: neighborguy
        Baelsette Jan 1, 2014 05:12 PM

        Funny we had takeout from there tonight. We tend to stick with the dim sum menu and it was all amazing. I have had their soups in past and have been disappointed each time. Other item I've had which I didn't like was the eggplant in garlic (off the dim sum menu) and it was awful.
        Other than that everything we've had off the dim sum menu has been delish!

        1. re: neighborguy
          Pincus Jan 2, 2014 08:42 AM

          I've never been brave enough to order items not on the dim sum menu. But this reminds me I haven't been by in a while, should correct that this week.

          1. re: Pincus
            greenwoodgerrard Mar 25, 2014 08:03 AM

            We loved this place and ordered take-out and dined-in fairly regularly since they opened. Hadn't been for a while (for no specific reason) and returned a few weeks ago with my daughter. All the tables were occupied and there were even two diners at the bar. We grabbed a table as someone vacated it and although pleased with our conquest, we were disappointed with the food. Had the dim sum combo and as I don't like the beef sui mai I was offered extra pork sui mai. The portions seemed smaller. The sui mai was raw. Raw pork and cold. I brought it to the counter very inconspicuously and without an apology or any comment at all the young man at the counter returned it to the cook. The sticky rice was still super-tasty but seemed to have less meat and "bits" and more rice and it seemed smaller. The har gow was good, the won tons were almost entirely dough with a tiny spot of something (shrimp?) We also ordered the chow mein/fried noodle and this was greasy, salty and not tasty at all, we brought it home and nobody wanted it so nearly the entire dish was trashed. At the end of the meal the sui mai was returned, including the piece I had bitten. I forced myself to taste it to be polite but just did not feel like eating it. Brought it home; nobody wanted it. We will try again because everybody has an off day and between the customers dining in and revolving door of takeout orders, they were very busy and maybe understaffed. I almost didn't want to post this but wonder if anyone else has had similar experiences lately?

            1. re: greenwoodgerrard
              julesrules Mar 25, 2014 10:12 AM

              They were definitely busy last time I went, but seemed to be handling it. And the food was as usual, but I go with my kids and our order is limited (pan fried dumplings, fried rice, spring rolls, veggies). I try other items occasionally but haven't found any that suit both me and/or the kids well enough (we are picky in opposite ways so it's tough criteria to meet).

              I'm glad to see them busy but I understand the pain of a place you like getting so busy they don't work for you any more. I can't line up for 10 minutes at Masellis so I hardly ever stop in at dinner hour anymore...

        2. s
          szw Jul 23, 2013 04:00 PM

          Just wanted to post on here that I like this place quite a bit. I don't live in this area, but my parents do and I used to. This is the only good chinese food around here. The closest place besides this would be probably congee queen at york mills?

          Its not amazing but its pretty decent and very reasonable prices. Family run and the kids at the counter are really nice.

          1 Reply
          1. re: szw
            Herne Jul 23, 2013 07:44 PM

            You should try Bamboo at Danforth and Logan.

          2. grandgourmand Jul 8, 2012 12:17 PM

            Went again this morning. I'm really happy it's around. It was just me, so I had only three course. Items. They varied from ok to really good.

            The ok was the deep fried shrimp wonton. It was actually a deep fried har gow. Maybe they didn't have the other ones on hand. Not as good because the dough can't be fried as long and had less crispy bits. But still had decent flavour and I ate all of them.

            The good was the sticky rice in lotus leaf. Could use a bit more of the chinese sausage and/or a bit more seasoning. But texture was right and I'd rather it be under-seasoned (albeit just slightly) than over-seasoned.

            The winner dish was the steamed dumpling stuffed with shrimp spinach and garlic. The wrapper was flecked with green and nicely wrapped. Maybe a bit on the thick side, but that doesn't bother me. The filling was quite nice. Whole shrimp that were crunchy (a term I'm stealing from Charles Yu to describe shrimp texture) and you could really taste the spinach and some subtle garlic tones too.

            This place replaces my need for Rol San or Pearl Harbourcourt ((which is fine, but expensive) and definitely Pearl Court on Gerrard.

            1 Reply
            1. re: grandgourmand
              act1966 Jul 11, 2012 01:45 PM

              I just wish they could stay open consistently - they seem to be having a lot of closures due to "equipment problems". They're going to lose customers!!

            2. j
              JennaBean Apr 16, 2012 12:28 PM

              We went, we tried, we thought meh at best. We had the har gow, shu mai, steamed tofu with fungus, bean curd wrapped around minced pork and Japanese mushrooms, pork buns, chive cake and one other dish I can't recall at the moment. The har gow was tough, not at all translucent and the shrimp to skin ratio was unimpressive. The shu mai was ill formed and way way over steamed. The pork buns were ok but nothing special. The chive cake was dense and lacking in seasoning. The highlight was the bean curd wrapped around the minced pork and mushrooms which had good flavour and mouth feel. For $22 it was ok but I'd rather go to Rol San or even Pearl on Gerrard and pay a few dollars more for what I consider to be better product.

              2 Replies
              1. re: JennaBean
                restaurantarian Apr 20, 2012 06:20 AM

                Just to clarify, the chef is a dim sum chef. They do not use frozen dim sum, he makes everything. We think it is better than bamboo and cheaper.

                1. re: JennaBean
                  neighborguy Apr 20, 2012 04:11 PM

                  JB, it may not be at the level of places like Rol San or Dynasty etc, but aside from the decor, limited seating and the use of styrofoam IMO Har Gow does a great presentation. If you go further based on price it is a fantastic value -- I'm sure we've all had much worse dim sum that cost more. I know I have.

                  Haven't had the chive cake and generally don't do buns at a restaurant but I found the har gow, sui mai and bean curd wrap rolls as good as anywhere. I'm a little picky on lotus leaf wrapped sticky rice and theirs is most competent -- a good aromatic balanced amount of moist and flavourful rice with savoury filling -- as opposed to too much dry rice with few bits of meat.

                  Even their lunch specials sound good. Too bad I don't work in the area.

                  BTW, I only go to Pearl Court as a last resort, as I find their food generally greasy and whenever I come home from there have to do laundry to remove the strong frying smell from that day's clothes.

                2. c
                  childofthestorm Feb 21, 2012 06:32 AM

                  This place is great! I last ate dim sum over a month ago in Hong Kong at Fook Lam Moon and this was...nahhh it wasn't as good, you crazy? But everything at Ha Gow was prepared fresh and tasted that way. I watched them rolling out some fresh dumpling on a well-worn hardwood table. A lot of care goes into making the dim sum, and I'd say value for money, Ha Gow could be the best option downtown.

                  Of course, it's not fine dining - they have a grand total of four tables in there (three 4-tops and one 2-top), plus like 4 stools at the window. They bring steamers to the table and you eat off styrofoam plates, plus you help yourself to sauces in takeout cups and tea in styrofoam cups, all laid out by the cash register. So Ha Gow won't be getting a visit from Michelin any time soon! But we ate very, very well for $30 tax in, and we'll be back regularly.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: childofthestorm
                    Danybear Feb 21, 2012 12:36 PM

                    Being a fanatic for dim sum, I had to try this place out, and it wasn't bad, but the non dim sum menu item prices are outrageous, much higher than any restaurant that I have been to that exp[ended money on real china and cutlery. Nice people working there, but if yiu take away ambience and crockery and cutlery, shouldn't the prices be lower?

                    1. re: Danybear
                      childofthestorm Feb 21, 2012 04:29 PM

                      I was laser-focused on dim sum and didn't look at the regular menu, how much we talking here?

                      1. re: Danybear
                        haggisdragon Feb 21, 2012 05:31 PM

                        Well I ordered more than enough food for two last night. We had two dim sum and two non dim sum items. Bill was $26 delivered to our door. Great value if you ask me. And the quality was very high.

                        1. re: haggisdragon
                          julesrules Feb 21, 2012 05:41 PM

                          Just curious which non dim sum items you would recommend?

                          1. re: julesrules
                            haggisdragon Feb 21, 2012 05:55 PM

                            We had noodles (asked for haw fun) with black bean sauce and chicken, and eggplant with "spicy" pork sauce. Both were good.

                        2. re: Danybear
                          szw Jan 1, 2014 07:46 PM

                          These dishes are more expensive than the Chinese Canadian style take out restaurants. But, they are cheaper than Congee queen prices. Imo it's unfair to compare to the first, it's not the same, more comparable to the second.

                      2. p
                        Pincus Jan 3, 2012 08:04 AM

                        Finally got out to try their dim sum menu. I loved everything I had (har gow, cuttlefish in curry, vegetable dumplings, sticky rice in lotus leaf). It is a step above Roi San (my go-to for affordable dim sum). My only minor quibble is that there was no piece of Chinese sausage in my sticky rice in lotus leaf, but that's it.

                        There seem to be lots of seats indoors, so I won't need to experiment with dim sum takeout. Based on the other comments, I won't be trying the "regular" takeout any time soon.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Pincus
                          js288uk Jan 15, 2012 08:03 PM

                          Finally managed to get my all-time dim sum fave, the crispy taro, usually with pork inside, but curry chicken here - very very good version! The curry chicken with rice was great, a notch better than the beef brisket on rice that was not very tender tho tasty enough. And adults, kids all loved the thick noodles, as well as our usual dumplings and sticky rice orders. Apparently they have begun delivery in the 'hood but we just walked down and collected our takeout as usual, so can't comment on the former.

                          1. re: js288uk
                            Phoenix Jan 16, 2012 07:34 PM

                            Which noodle dish did you have? It sounds great!

                            1. re: Phoenix
                              millygirl Jan 19, 2012 05:21 PM

                              Finally got there this evening. Thought it was quite good. Definitely will give them more business. Loved their dipping sauces.

                              We had har gow, sticky rice, spring rolls, fried wontons, and dumplings. All excellent and great price. Very pleasant people too! And clean to boot!

                              I hope they succeed.

                        2. Baelsette Jan 1, 2012 06:15 PM

                          I've gone back numerous times and am really thrilled with the dim sum. I'm so happy to have a dim sum restaurant so close to home! I did order ginger beef and it was delish, my 1.5 year old daughter loved it as well! Only thing I've not been a fan of is the soups, tried the wonton and the beef noodle. The beef in the beef noodle soup was kind of gross, lots of fat and cartilage. The wonton was ok, nothing special.
                          Other than the soup I'm sold! Glad that they are doing well.

                          1. j
                            julesrules Jan 1, 2012 05:20 PM

                            We ordered from the Chinese-Canadian menu and were not thrilled. Granted, we never order Chinese because my husband is not a fan, so I don't know what's typical these days. I did enjoy the eggplant/ground pork which had nice spice to it. But otherwise it was the typical thing of low prices meaning very little protein filled out with a lot of bell pepper and onion. It was hard to
                            find the chicken under all the batter in the sweet and sour chicken (NOT the chicken balls where I expect that). On other hand they do seem very nice. I will give the dim sum a
                            chance. Oh the fried rice was pretty good.

                            1. n
                              neighborguy Jan 1, 2012 11:58 AM

                              Was here for new years day lunch today and I'm very happy to have finally made it. Everything ordered off the dim sum menu was as good or better than what I've had downtown or in Markham or Scarborough. Fresh and not greasy/fatty like some of the items can get at times.

                              To address the naysayers and their blah-blah-blah about surviving while offering so much pork product in the particular area: while I was eating in, the few other tables were occupied and the counter seats facing the street were left available. There was a steady stream of walk-in/take-away customers. Aside from the dimsum and conventional Chinese-Canadian menu they offer a daily lunch specials that should work for the student clientele. It's a good set-up and it's great for the neighborhood.

                              I'm going back as often as possible.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: neighborguy
                                KitchenVoodoo Jan 18, 2012 04:55 PM

                                Same here, great addition to the neighbourhood, really nice people and a whole lot of action going on in that kitchen. I sampled the Har Gow and the Siu Mai - the latter was a bit tough, so I'll probably skip that next time, but the place is clean, things are made to order it would seem, no microwave beeps went off! And I asked about delivery - they do it, but only after 5. No online menu, you'll have to go and get one, or bribe me to tell you what's on it!

                              2. grandgourmand Dec 23, 2011 04:29 PM

                                Went today for lunch. This place is putting out some much higher quality (read: fresh) dim sum than the east end place I normally go to (pearl court on gerrard). Nothing exotic in terms of selection, but what I had tasted good. No filler in the shrimp dumplings. The shrimp was well steamed and crunchy. For eat in, I would like to see them offer real plates instead of eating out of the styrofoam containers, which I find excessively wasteful.

                                Glad to have this place nearby.

                                1. c
                                  Chatty Cathy Nov 22, 2011 01:19 PM

                                  I dropped by today at lunchtime to try their dim sum (har gow, sui mai, spring rolls, steamed cha sui bau) and everything was good. I was pleased to see the restaurant looking busy, with a small lineup of customers waiting for their orders (wait times of 15-20 min) and 3 chefs working in the kitchen. I think the location is convenient, being just around the corner from Donlands subway and steps from a fruit market where I did some shopping while waiting for my dim sum. I'll be back to try their other dim sum menu items, and some of their dinner selections as well.

                                  By the way, in case anyone is trying to look up the restaurant, the actual name of it is "Ha Gow", not "Har Gow".

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Chatty Cathy
                                    js288uk Dec 11, 2011 07:33 PM

                                    Yup, I wish they would start delivery soon. I have liked everything we've tried: seafood and pork dumplings plus shu mai, the awesomely fresh and delish sticky rice with meat parcels (3 small instead of one big, which helps keep them from drying out), and the Singapore noodles. More next week, I expect.

                                  2. c
                                    Craig Nov 21, 2011 10:02 AM

                                    We finally got a chance to try this place out on Sunday evening (did take out after the kids went to bed) and, like other posters, we weren't disappointed.

                                    We got the har gow, siu mai, tofu with spicy meat sauce, curry squid, spring rolls (some of the best I've had in a while), green onion pancake (probably the only sub-par item), short ribs (yum!!), and steamed bbq pork buns.

                                    Everything was made fresh, travelled well, and the price was right. They also have a full menu of "Traditional" (e.g. American-style) Chinese food items that it'll be worth trying sometime (since most of the Danforth Chinese options are very meh -- our current go-to is Sea Spray on Queen).

                                    Hope this place makes it in a risky neighbourhood!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Craig
                                      mariecollins Nov 22, 2011 07:43 AM

                                      This is exciting. Please keep us updated on delivery.

                                      1. re: mariecollins
                                        Craig Nov 22, 2011 01:31 PM

                                        Yes, we are a big delivery family due to 2 young kids, so will definitely try it.

                                        The message from the young guy working the counter (co-owner?) was that they would be doing delivery but not yet -- I think they are just trying to get their bearings and get marketing info out.

                                    2. foodyDudey Nov 20, 2011 05:18 PM

                                      I went over to Har Gow an brought back dinner, which we just finshed. I bought :

                                      - dim sum combo for $8.99,
                                      - vegetarian pan fried dumplings,
                                      - shrimp rolls
                                      - eggplant with garlic

                                      It was all very good and I''ll be back soon. Finally you can buy some pork in that area!
                                      They are also running a 15% off special right now.

                                      1. s
                                        Sweet Pea Nov 20, 2011 11:40 AM

                                        After reading this thread, I headed straight out to get some lunch. Ended up chatting with the owner's son for a while. The chef/owner has been making dim sum for 25 years, and everything is made fresh in-house. You can tell. The har gow were perfect: a tender, not-too-thick wrapper that held together and plump, juicy shrimp that were perfectly steamed. Also had the sitcky rice in lotus leaves, which were packed with well seasoned rice and lots of tasty meaty bits. Tried a couple of other dishes as well, a steamed veggie dumpling and a seaweed/tofu *roll* I guess, for lack of a better word, and both were yummy.

                                        They also have a full (if short-ish) menu of non-dim sum that covers all the basics and has a few more interesting dishes as well. If the dim sum is any indication, I'm sure the rest of the offerings will also be good.

                                        For those who are interested, they use vegetable oil rather than peanut. I didn't ask about MSG, though. Will have to remember the next time I go in.

                                        As for how the dumplings held up as take-out, mine were still hot and didn't suffer at all for the 10 minute walk in the cold that it took me to get them home. Even being dropped by my 2-year-old a couple of times didn't do them any damage. :)

                                        I really hope locals embrace this place, especially until they start running delivery. There were half a dozen people there, both eating in and getting take-out, when I was there, so it looks like they're off to a good start. It's a small family-run restaurant, and if they keep the quality up, it will be by far the best Chinese take-out I've had in the east end.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Sweet Pea
                                          js288uk Nov 20, 2011 12:07 PM

                                          This is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood, and I do hope they succeed in this previously benighted spot. I ordered pork dumplings (large order from the dinner menu) on Thursday - freshly made in front of me (NOT frozen as someone implied in a previous posting without having tried the place) - both my daughter and I liked them when we ate at home, an hour later. Even though they had cooled off, they were not congealed, and the quality of the meat and wrapping were both good. I chatted briefly with the young man who owns the place with his dad, who is an experienced chef and does most of the cooking. Very sensible menu for this area, with lots of chicken and veggie offerings, to balance the usual beef/pork/tofu offerings that we are used to from our forays to dim sum places in Scarborough/Markham/Richmond Hill. Another customer was eating the large sticky rice/meat dish while I waited, he said it was very tasty. Am looking forward to ordering more of the dim sum dishes as well as the lunch/dinner ones. I will do a fuller review next week after we have done so. They told me they have not even done publicity as yet - I can attest to that as have not got the usual flyers - but I can see a lot of us who want an alternative to Danforth Dragon opting for this as our quick and friendly neighbourhood Chinese takeway instead of driving to Gerrard/Broadview as we've usually done in the past. Btw, they told me for the moment they plan to keep it more as less as a takeaway joint, hence no highchairs etc.

                                        2. thenurse Nov 20, 2011 08:53 AM

                                          We got take out from here last night and were not disappointed. It's actually quite good, great value and made fresh. The place was pretty busy about 5:45 last night. Prices range from $2.70 - $3.30 so the value is good. There is a Dim Sum Combo, most likely for 1 person for $8.99 which we tried, which was a nice assortment of dumplings, siu my, ha gow, sticky rice, spring rolls and fried wontons. We also ordered seafood dumplings, pan fried pork dumplings, veg. dumplings and the stand-out: fried tofu with a spicy meat sauce - I could have eaten 5 orders of this tasty dish! The service was fast, friendly and attentive. The decor is very basic but clean, and they are now doing a dine-in service, although there are only about 5 tables. I don't live far so the take-out traveled well. We will be back to this place, probably many times, before we head to Chinatown again.

                                          1. Baelsette Nov 18, 2011 05:14 PM

                                            We tried it on the 16th. We took out and it was chaotic but, they had only been open for 2 days so I'm not passing any judgement. The were extremely apologetic about a mistake and very eager to please.
                                            The dim sum was ok, nothing that stood out but it was good. We ordered the usual, har gow, shiu mai, sticky rice, pan fried pork dumplings, shrimp and chive steamed dumplings........
                                            Having moved from the west end where Spadina was very close this will be a great option for those Sunday mornings when we have a dim sum craving.

                                            1. c
                                              Craig Nov 18, 2011 01:19 PM

                                              So, now that it's been open a few days, anyone actually try this place yet? Thinking of ordering in tonight, and wondering if Har Gow actually has (decent) dim sum, or whether it's just dressed up standard Danforth Chinese fare (bleh).



                                              1. j
                                                julesrules Nov 11, 2011 05:55 PM

                                                They have a sign up saying they are open November 15 for take out and delivery, dining in to follow. I'm no Dim Sum expert but I think of it as eat-in food. I am wondering if they will have
                                                a non-dim sum menu. Also can't help but wonder if it's the same people as Taco Time taking our advice to do something a little closer to their heritage...

                                                21 Replies
                                                1. re: julesrules
                                                  Herne Nov 13, 2011 01:55 PM

                                                  So I went to Bamboo this noon along with 5 other people

                                                  We found the food to be just great, the service polite and prompt. The place is small. No sign of any frozen food as was suggested and the noise level was just fine.

                                                  Since the place has been open for more than 5 years I don't know what the opening Nov 15 sign could be about and didn't see it either.The one person of Chinese background proclaimed the food to be a cut above the average you expect at Dundas and Spadina both in quality and quantity.

                                                  So contrary to the critics some of whom admit they have never been there my experience was just great. I probably will start going there once a month and add the visit to my Danforth shopping.

                                                  1. re: Herne
                                                    iMarilyn Nov 13, 2011 02:08 PM

                                                    What other dim sum restaurants have you tried and enjoyed?

                                                    1. re: Herne
                                                      Herne Nov 13, 2011 04:34 PM

                                                      Forgot to mention that they do have a menu of non Dim Sum dishes. Not as extensive as the late Diamond on Dundas or Congee Queen on Lawrence.
                                                      The place is too small for a cart so it looses a bit to those who like such features.

                                                      Congee Queen
                                                      895 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M3C3L2, CA

                                                      1. re: Herne
                                                        sbug206 Nov 13, 2011 04:53 PM

                                                        Well it's either frozen or they have a dim sum chef. Do you really think a small place has the resources to hire a dim sum chef? It's like a small restaurant having a pastry chef on hand for the desserts.

                                                        1. re: Herne
                                                          julesrules Nov 13, 2011 06:03 PM

                                                          I was posting about the new place Har Gow, it is (was) the subject of this thread.

                                                          1. re: julesrules
                                                            Herne Nov 13, 2011 08:23 PM

                                                            Sorry to possibly get off topic but I don't believe any of the Dim Sum was previously frozen. Perhaps you could try it for yourself

                                                            1. re: julesrules
                                                              Herne Nov 14, 2011 06:53 AM

                                                              Sorry julesrules/pincus. Although the topic was related as Bamboo has Har Gow on the menu::)). I'm done with the topic I believe so I doubt I will be back to discuss it further.

                                                              1. re: Herne
                                                                Herne Nov 27, 2011 08:58 PM

                                                                Went back to Bamboo this afternoon. Ordered sumai, Har gow, tofu stuffed eggplant and it was great. Place wasn't noisy and the staff were polite and helpful as before. No sign of frozen food. Did see the cook/chef going to the prep kitchen in the basement for veggies. I'd like to avoid alerting more potential customers if possible but I don't want them to succumb to the high Danforth rents like so many food places have.

                                                                1. re: Herne
                                                                  foodyDudey Nov 27, 2011 09:36 PM

                                                                  I'm not sure why you want to avoild telling people about it if it is actually a good place to go. I don't go there because it looks so empty and I can't imagine a dim sum place that is any good operating like that. Wouldn't it be better if it had more customers? I'm confused....

                                                                  1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                    Herne Nov 27, 2011 09:55 PM

                                                                    I have told my friends but I don't want to help create a waiting line problem--it is a small place. Despite all the negativity this CH has produced with no knowledge of the food I'm happy if it stays that way but I think I should add my opinion anyway.

                                                                    1. re: Herne
                                                                      neighborguy Dec 10, 2011 12:46 PM

                                                                      If Bamboo is actually good I would imagine you'd want other people to find out so it stays open.

                                                                      1. re: neighborguy
                                                                        Herne Dec 10, 2011 01:50 PM

                                                                        It is good and has been for over 5 years so I don't see any reason for it to close. Except of course the high rents that are driving merchants elsewhere all over the Danforth.

                                                                    2. re: foodyDudey
                                                                      prima Nov 28, 2011 12:43 PM

                                                                      Bamboo does a fair amount of take-out (for standard Chinese Cdn food, also on their menu), afaik. I'm not so worried about lack of dine-in customers when a restaurant has a steady take-out business.

                                                              2. re: Herne
                                                                prima Nov 14, 2011 12:06 PM

                                                                I've been to Bamboo 6 or 7 times since it opened. It's decent for the Danforth, and for East York, and I've found the food to taste fresher than some dim sum experiences in Chinatown East, but I prefer the dim sum at Cha Liu, Dynasty and Crown Princess. The har gow, nor mai gai, char siu bao are on the big side, rather than the dainty side. In comparison, the dim sum at Cha Liu and Dynasty tend to be on the dainty side.

                                                                Bamboo costs more than a place like Rol San, but the food is roughly the same quality level, although Bamboo serves their dim sum on fancier, more colourful dishes. Dim sum always seems to cost around $20/person at Bamboo, whereas it's usually closer to $12-$15pp at Rol San, which I would expect considering rents are much higher on the Danforth than in Chinatown or in the 'burbs, but if I'm only indulging in dim sum a few times a year, I'd rather trek up to Yang's and spend my $20-$25/pp there.

                                                                Haven't tried the non-dim sum at Bamboo, but some friends who own a coffee shop a couple blocks away get frequent take-out from Bamboo.

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

                                                                Cha Liu
                                                                2352 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4P2E6, CA

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

                                                                1. re: prima
                                                                  magic Nov 14, 2011 12:51 PM

                                                                  Not sure if you heard, but Cha Liu closed.

                                                                  1. re: magic
                                                                    prima Nov 14, 2011 01:13 PM

                                                                    Thanks, magic. Hadn't been for a while, but I guess that's obvious now. ;-)

                                                                    Looks like Cha Liu plans to re-open once they've secured a new location: http://www.chaliu.com/

                                                                    1. re: prima
                                                                      magic Nov 14, 2011 01:19 PM

                                                                      Oh good, I did not know this! Thanks for passing that info on.

                                                              3. re: julesrules
                                                                Pincus Nov 14, 2011 08:56 AM

                                                                I agree, dim sum would not travel well. Cold dumplings...yuk!

                                                                1. re: Pincus
                                                                  prima Nov 14, 2011 12:13 PM

                                                                  Dim sum travels fine, and it's possible to reheat dumplings (gently). Or panfry previously steamed dumplings. I love leftover dim sum.

                                                                  Most restaurants serving dim sum offer take-out, if you want it.

                                                                  1. re: prima
                                                                    T Long Nov 14, 2011 02:27 PM

                                                                    I agree with prima. Nothing beats fresh, but and especially if it's just the two of us, we will order more than we can eat-in with the intent to take left-overs home. We bring our own take-out containers. It works for some items better than others. Just did this today!

                                                                2. re: julesrules
                                                                  julesrules Nov 15, 2011 07:42 AM

                                                                  So I could read a bit of the (hand-written) menu board from outside yesterday. It features Lunch Specials such as Shangai Noodles that come with a spring roll and pop. I think this bodes well fore their actual survival (the student lunch crowd seems to carry those restaurants that do survive the strip), but maybe not their chow value as a Dim Sum place.

                                                                3. s
                                                                  sbug206 Nov 10, 2011 09:24 AM

                                                                  You should be aware that any place that is not large enough to hire a dedicated dim sum chef is probably using frozen dim sum. I would suggest staying away from any small boutique operation or any that serves it all day long.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: sbug206
                                                                    Pincus Nov 10, 2011 10:20 AM

                                                                    Yeah. From what I saw, the kitchen looked like an open space and a decent size, but it doesn't mean they have good chefs.

                                                                    Still, I'm going for at least one visit just to experience first-hand.

                                                                    1. re: Pincus
                                                                      T Long Nov 10, 2011 01:31 PM

                                                                      Hope you report back after your visit. I would not expect it to be a destination spot, but it would be nice to have an option when in that area.

                                                                  2. foodyDudey Nov 9, 2011 12:18 PM

                                                                    At least when it closes for good we can say "Har Gone", har har

                                                                    I think a dim sum place could do well on Danforth, but I don't think they will have the right customers in that part of town

                                                                    17 Replies
                                                                    1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                      Herne Nov 9, 2011 04:47 PM

                                                                      Bamboo is still open and getting good reviews.

                                                                      1. re: Herne
                                                                        haggisdragon Nov 9, 2011 07:18 PM

                                                                        Is Bamboo a dim sum place too?

                                                                        1. re: Herne
                                                                          iMarilyn Nov 10, 2011 04:38 AM

                                                                          Where are these good reviews of Bamboo?

                                                                          1. re: iMarilyn
                                                                            Herne Nov 10, 2011 05:05 AM

                                                                            Here a couple. I have a couple of friends who consider themselves gourmets and they will be there this weekend. Only 1 Greek restaurant on the Danforth is good enough for them.

                                                                            1. re: Herne
                                                                              iMarilyn Nov 10, 2011 09:00 AM

                                                                              "Terrible Dim Sum and really pricey. There are much better options in Toronto"

                                                                              Thanks but I'll take my chances finding good Greek on Spadina.

                                                                              1. re: Herne
                                                                                Vinnie Vidimangi Nov 14, 2011 06:18 AM

                                                                                Which Greek restaurant is that?

                                                                                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                                                                  Herne Nov 14, 2011 06:43 AM

                                                                                  Spelling is probably approximate: Avali

                                                                                  1. re: Herne
                                                                                    foodyDudey Nov 14, 2011 06:47 AM

                                                                                    Well if they think AVLI is the best, they don't know Greek food, that's all I can say.

                                                                                    It was one of the best till 2001 but something has not been right there after that. And yes I tried it again a few months ago after many years.

                                                                            2. re: Herne
                                                                              foodyDudey Nov 10, 2011 05:50 AM

                                                                              I know they have been open for a few years, but I like the dim sum that rolls around on carts, and they don't have that. Bamboo's location is much better than the new place at Donlands and Danforth, where 75% of the people walking by that corner don't even eat pork, and that is a common ingredient in Chinese food. The link to the reviews you posted only has 2 positive reviews but not much detail. When Bamboo opened I checked out the menu and found the prices on the high side.

                                                                              1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                biggreenmatt Nov 10, 2011 06:46 AM

                                                                                It's an excellent point about the pork, but as someone who lives a five minutes walk from Donlands and Danforth, it's encouraging to see these kinds of restaurants creeping our way, if only for gentrification purposes.

                                                                                1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                  Herne Nov 10, 2011 07:50 AM

                                                                                  How long has it been open?

                                                                                  1. re: Herne
                                                                                    foodyDudey Nov 10, 2011 07:59 AM

                                                                                    It's been around for at least 5 years. Here is proof of that:


                                                                                    1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                      Herne Nov 10, 2011 09:17 AM

                                                                                      Well as we see almost every day here restaurants are going under daily so lasting 5 years says quite a lot.

                                                                                  2. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                    helenhelen Jan 16, 2012 06:58 PM

                                                                                    while carts are a fun novelty, the food that comes straight out of a kitchen is better because they are more fresh. with carts, your dumplings may have sat around for awhile on the cart.

                                                                                    1. re: helenhelen
                                                                                      foodyDudey Jan 17, 2012 07:10 AM

                                                                                      I understand it is possible for food to be not as fresh from the carts , but I used to go to a place where the carts would be empty within 5 minutes , which was about 1 or 2 trips around the room. I didn't consider the carts a novelty, but a way to try a wide variety of dishes if I saw something rolling by that looked interesting.

                                                                                      1. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                        T Long Jan 17, 2012 11:56 AM

                                                                                        I think dim sum carts are neat, but I prefer ordering off a menu. The description on the dim sum menus can be a bit of a mystery, especially if one is not familiar with the English descriptions and/or can't read Chinese characters. At least with carts you can see what you are ordering! So carts can be less intimidating (more inviting) to non dim sum nerdies...which is a good thing. My preference for menu though has nothing to do with perceived freshness, rather that the more popular items are sometimes taken before a cart gets around to my table....with a menu I can be assured to get my favorites.

                                                                                2. re: foodyDudey
                                                                                  Crispier Crouton Nov 14, 2011 12:29 PM

                                                                                  When it closes for good, I'd rather call it "Har Tsow".

                                                                                  eh? eh? Anyone?

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