HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >

Discussion

PF Changs

I coming to Shops at Don Mills, apparently.

*sobs*

Just when I thought it could not get worse than Jack Astors.

http://www.toronto.com/blog/post/7315...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. UGH. The only time I eat at PF Chang's is when I'm traveling for work in the boonies somewhere and my only other choice is the Olive Garden. There is worse food out there, but really, does a city with so many GREAT Chinese restaurants need this? Makes me sad.

    10 Replies
    1. re: TorontoJo

      I was amazed by the crowds and line-ups at Joey and Biermarkt at the Shops last Friday. As far as I could tell, the crowd that used to drive from the burbs down to The Brant House, Spice Route and Brassaii each weekend have discovered free parking at TSADM. The hostess at Joey told us the wait for a table at 9 pm was going to be around 3 hours. Amazing that a business like Joey, that started out as Joey's Tomato, which resembled Alberta's answer to East Side Mario's 10 years ago, can draw crowds like this in TO.

      It probably will be a very profitable location for a place like PF Changs. On the bright side, at least it'll create some more jobs, and help drive the economy :-). I don't think the typical PF Chang customer would be likely to dine at any of our great Chinese restaurants around town, anyway. I've never dined at PF Chang's but I think I'd prefer some seriously Westernized Chinese chain restaurant spring rolls over the crappy $21 cheese fondue at Biermarket.

      1. re: prima

        lol

        Mr. Vuitton and I went to TSADM one Saturday night during the winter (we were both in at the office for the day, and just wanted a beer somewhere close-ish to home). We do like the beer menu at the BierMarkt. We arrived around 8pm, there was a 45 min wait at Jack's, a 90min wait at Joey's!!! and we managed to snag the last bar stool (he stood) at BierMarkt. I was shocked at the crowds and the level of "night club" dress; it did look like a 905 crowd We were in very casual attire and all I could think was "people are getting dressed up for the BeerMarkt??"

        I agree that PF Changs will be successful (blech!), I guess I am just disappointed at what I thought was a very interesting mall concept becoming more and more pedestrain.

        1. re: CocoaChanel

          Now that I think about it, the layout at TSADM does seem to have pedestrians in mind, so maybe it works better to have more pedestrian options available! Ha ha. Thank goodness for Aroma and Linda.

          Has anyone tried the gelato place next to Aroma?

          1. re: prima

            nyuk nyuk nyuk! :D

            Walked right into that!

            Hollywood Gelato is within walking distance from home, so I tend not to stray far from there.

            1. re: CocoaChanel

              You can walk to Hollywood Gelato? Or dear lord, I would gain 100 lbs.

              1. re: TorontoJo

                Why Hollywood when you could have Il Geltiere?

            2. re: prima

              I had gelato last night from the place beside aroma and it was very good - I got the salted caramel and banana peanut butter. Yum!

          2. re: TorontoJo

            Pf changs don mills. Underwhelming. Entire staff needs to learn how to be hospitable. Not a single "welcome" or "how is your meal". Not even a smile. Again, i observed this with the entire wait staff. No comparison to the atmosphere we have experienced at the tampa location. This initial impression left us with no more than a mediocre opinion of the food. Hope this can be attributed to opening jitters. Aug.15

            1. re: Ralbarb

              Wow, really?

              We went last week and it seems this has been addressed because they couldn't have been any friendlier. They even had a greeter at the door. The hospitality was very much evident when we were there.

          3. I cry with you. *shudder*

            1. There are worse places to complain about. IMHO our Canadian chains are much worse off than this one, not that this is hard to accomplish. If someone tries to yank your nose down and make you go, try the salt and pepper shrimp which is fairly decent for what it is.

              17 Replies
              1. re: ThoughtForFood

                Yep, like I said, there is worse food out there. The chicken lettuce wraps are fine. My biggest gripe is the incredible over use of SALT. It's killer.

                1. re: TorontoJo

                  and sugar...... , but I guess that is just white people chinese food for ya. They adapted the cuisine for our tastes and I guess we love deep fried salty sweet stuff.

                  1. re: ThoughtForFood

                    I believe it is referred to as Canadian Chinese more so than white people's.

                    1. re: justsayn

                      PF Chang's is Americanized Chinese. We mostly have Mom + Pop Canadianized Chinese, Canadian Chinese Food Court, Canadianized Hakka Chinese, Canadianized West Indian Chinese, Francophile Chinese (foie gras mango mayo roll ! ), not-so-Canadianized Chinese (the places that offer English language menus and Chinese language menus, with different dishes on the different menus), and barely Canadianized Chinese (pretty authentic taste-wise, but the har gow and won tons are golfball-sized at these places, perhaps reflecting how popular golf is in Canada), so this might be a welcome addition to the assortment of Chinese options available in TO. :-)

                      1. re: prima

                        lol prima
                        Any thoughts on why white people put soy sauce on their rice? Is it self-hate?

                        1. re: julesrules

                          Ha ha. I have no idea. I'm guessing more soy sauce on the rice (as well as dunking sushi and sashimi in soy like a stale donut in coffee) also helps drive the economy, because more sodium increases beverage sales, which also increases total sales, so the Gov't might end up with more sales tax, unless you're dining at a restaurant that only takes cash. Increased pop sales probably translate into more business for dentists, Goodlife and Dr. Bernstein.

                        2. re: prima

                          Very good prima. And you are just scratching the surface. Don't forget about Western Canada Canadian Chinese, and HK style Canadian. How about authentic Canadian Chinese....

                          1. re: T Long

                            My parents can't wait for the opening of PF Chang's. They love Joey as well, yet, curiously, have shown no interest in the BierMarkt at TSADM. I just keep my mouth shut when they talk about the menu at Joey which has "everything" and the fabulous food from the PF Chang's they've been to in Buffalo and Miami. I stand to gain nothing by disparaging their tastes. I can deal with the menu at Joey, but I hope they never try to drag me to PF Chang's. Let them enjoy the gloopy sauces, western vegetables and forks on tables instead of chopsticks. I'll stick to places that serve house soups with meals, bring my table rice in a thermos with a lid, and serve head to tail dishes. The scariest thing to me about Westernized Chinese restaurants is the soy sauce on the table that has the consistency of syrup. It's not dark soy, but it's not light soy either. What the heck is it? I think the reason people use it on rice is to make the rice less dry when they force it down. If rice isn't served in a small soup dish, it isn't as easy to enjoy with a bite of the dishes ordered.

                            1. re: 1sweetpea

                              Regarding your "scariest thing" soy sauce, and I have not observed this too closely, but I don't recall any soy with the "consistency of syrup". I know mushroom soy (which is very authentic Chinese), can be quite prominent in Canadian Chinese restaurants, but it does not have the consistency that you are referring to. I do find mushroom soy makes the best fried rice (Canadian style of course). Perhaps you are referring to oyster sauce (brown in color) which I understand is very authentic Chinese and does have the consistency of syrup? However I would not link oyster sauce as exclusive to Canadian Chinese...far from it.

                              1. re: 1sweetpea

                                A few things:

                                Is Joey not owned by the same company that runs Pickle Barrel?

                                That TSADM couldn't support a great, well-curated bookstore but is ripe on becoming an Entertainment District North wannabe is... disappointing to say the least. Night-club evening wear to go out for dinner? In Don Mills? Really? Yes, thank goodness for Aroma and Linda. And Congee Queen across the road.

                                Rice has a flavor. My guess as to why some people have to splash soy on it is because they've become so used to having super adulterated processed 'food' saturated with salt, sugar and fat that it would be too weird to have anything plain.

                                1. re: neighborguy

                                  I am pretty sure that it is GLOW fresh grill that is owned or related to Pickel Barrel and not Joeys. Also at TSADM (like that acronym)

                                    1. re: neighborguy

                                      I know my Chinese condiments well. My kitchen is well stocked. I'm speaking specifically of the condiment in a soy sauce dispenser on every table in Westernized Chinese restaurants. It has a consistency closer to China Lily dark soy than light soy sauce. Nothing like oyster sauce which is closer to hoisin or ketchup in consistency. What is "scary" about it to me is the colour (like molasses) and the taste, which is super salty and different from the soy sauces I cook with in my kitchen. I'm sure I chose the word "scary" because it is dramatic, but when I think of how salty Chinese foods tend to be, it's hard to imagine a place for that thick soy, on rice or anything else.

                                      As for plain rice, when I eat in Chinese restaurants, I ask for a small bowl for my rice, so that I can take a few items from the dishes ordered and place them on my rice to be eaten together. Very little of my rice is eaten on its own.

                                      I'm praying that my parents enjoy their PF Changs experiences with their friends and not try to drag me there. Like you, neighborguy, I'd rather hit Congee Queen instead.

                                      1. re: 1sweetpea

                                        Hmm...I remember China Lily soy....I didn't remember it as being particularly syrupy, but then it's been a while. Now I will have something to look for in a Canadian Chinese restaurant...."scary" sauce!...lol.

                                    2. re: 1sweetpea

                                      First time I made Chinese for my SO he poured tomato JUICE on the plain rice. Not ketchup, not tomato sauce, CANNED TOMATO JUICE! I thought to myself "wrote that how white people eat."

                                      And we're still together.

                                  1. re: prima

                                    and we also have Junk Chinese food passed off as Cajun food (Bourbon St. Grill) and Junk Chinese food passed off as Caribbean food (Caribbean Queen).

                          2. how is it compared to Manchu Wok?
                            same level of authenticity and skillmanship?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: atomeyes

                              Definitely better than Manchu Wok, but that is a low low bar :)

                              1. re: CocoaChanel

                                I don't know about that... Machu Wok has an edible Sweet and Sour pork... where as PF Chang's Sweet and Sour Pork is pretty bad.

                            2. Toronto's food scene is incredible and the addition of PF Chang's seems just weird to me. Buffalo, maybe.. but Toronto?
                              From the tacky Terra Cotta horses out front to the riduclous 2 hours wait with a beeper. Sadly, this is most of American's experience with Chinese Cuisine. Makes me sad.
                              I'm moving back to the US next week. Thank you Toronto for giving me 2.5 years some of the greatest ethnic food on the planet. World class city and amazing country.

                              13 Replies
                              1. re: letrell

                                Happy you've enjoyed your time in TO.

                                Re: PF Chang's choice of location
                                PF Chang's seems to open in upscale mall locations, regardless of the overall quality of the city's food scene, and regardless of whether there are a number of better ethnic restaurants nearby. There's a large PF Chang's location in the Beverly Centre in LA, another city with an incredible food scene and lots of great ethnic eats. When I first saw the TSADM, it reminded me of the upscale, outdoor mall near Century City. It was also filled with large, relatively upscale chain restaurants, packed with well-dressed Angelanos who could have been eating anywhere in LA, but were choosing to eat at a mall. I figured Don Mills was doing its best to offer to our burbs what LA offers to its upscale burbs.

                                1. re: prima

                                  Oddly I was taken to a PF Changs while on business in Valencia, Ca. Well north of LA but still plenty of options for food and they all wanted to go there. Thought it was fine, and probably better than most of the places in Chinatown here in TO. It's not worth a special trip for anyone on this board, but still better than almost all of the Canadian chains dominating the malls here. I'm sure they will have 2 hour plus waits on the weekends.

                                2. re: letrell

                                  as they would say to you when leaving PF Changs:

                                  "Sianara and good luck yo!"

                                  1. re: letrell

                                    Hey, if Spring Rolls can thrive here despite the abundance of similarly-priced, far better restaurants in the city, then I don't see why there isn't room for PF Chang's as well. I've only been to PFC once, and I wasn't crazy about it, but my recollection is that it was fine dining compared to the mediocrity of Spring Rolls (but then if you take pretty much any American casual dining chain and compare it to its Canadian equivalent, the American one will inevitably come out ahead).

                                    1. re: Michael N

                                      CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) would also make a perfect addition to the Don Mills mall. Same target audience.

                                      1. re: Yongeman

                                        I would hope we get a Cheesecake Factory here before we can CPK. I like ethnic and good food and rarely go to Cdn Chains. But would love CF over Joeys, Milestones, Boston Pizza, Kelseys.
                                        And I would never wait more than 15 min for a table - not for any restaurant.

                                        1. re: caitlink

                                          From what i understand, there is ZERO chance of a Cheesecake Factory opening here. Apparently, the U.S. parent has no interest in coming to Canada.

                                          BTW... since you seem to be a fan of the Cheesecake Factory, i would love to know what location seated you in under 15 minutes! Unheard of! LOL

                                      2. re: Michael N

                                        I'm not a fan of Spring Rolls by any means, but have found myself choosing to go to them from time to time. The reason is usually location and alternative choices in the immediate location. For example, in the Yonge/Dundas and Yonge/Sheppard area, the alternatives to Spring Rolls for me have been dismal....sometimes a Spring Roll's Pho and rice roll does the trick. I don't think its any coincidence that Spring Rolls is absent from much of Scarborough, Markham or RH where there can be better choices...Cantonese in particular.

                                        A fusion Asian restaurant chain like Spoon and Fork seems to do pretty well by staying away from the same area, and concentrating on Mississauga/Oakville. I think there is an untapped market for "good" Chinese food in locations where the % of Chinese is relatively lower...that is away from N. Scarborough, Markham and RH where the local restaurants are competing their brains out against each other and the target market is the ethnic Chinese. As the untapped market away from this area is primarily non-ethnic Chinese, the successful operations will tailor their offerings (food, decor, cleanliness, etc) to this market....thus the success of Spring Rolls, Spoon and Fork, and probably eventually PF Changs. Is it more difficult than that to understand?

                                        1. re: T Long

                                          Nope. I would just add that true food snobs make up a very tiny percentage of restaurant eaters overall. So most don't even see a problem here.

                                          1. re: justsayn

                                            I totally agree with this statement. It isn't hard to understand or find a hound who is blown away by what restaurants get away with serving in this town and how many restaurants that have no real passion for food fill the restaurant every night.

                                            1. re: justsayn

                                              Yup. Chowhounds overestimate their influence on the average suburban mall.

                                              1. re: justsayn

                                                Remember, we're kinda like a 1%. My SO, with whom I've been with forever, still doesn't get how I like to photograph the plate or bowl in front of me -- in a food court, on the street or at a Big Occasion outing.

                                            2. re: Michael N

                                              "if you take pretty much any American casual dining chain and compare it to its Canadian equivalent, the American one will inevitably come out ahead"

                                              Exactly. This was discussed at length here:

                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7190...

                                          2. I just got back from PF Changs in the Walden Galleria and I must say, the food was really bad. Even though I expected the Salt & Pepper Calamari to have salt in it, I was simply blown away by how much they put into that dish. I've never had a more saltier dish in my life. Not only did they oversalt the dish, but they actually bring you a little cup with extra salt and pepper as well! For my main course, I had the Kung Pao chicken with fried rice. The chicken, again, was really salty and the rice was pretty mushy. My wife had the lemon chicken which was void of any lemon flavour but it wasn't salty which I guess was a good thing. The first thing that came to mind was the new location scheduled to open at Don Mills. If they don't allow for customization, such as little salt, I don't expect them to last too long.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: joey36

                                              looking at your order, seems as if you kept things pretty authentic.

                                              :)

                                              1. re: atomeyes

                                                Meh... sometimes I'm in the mood for 'junk food'. On the brightside... I've been drinking my recommended water intake for the last few days.

                                            2. Just left Don Mills and the PF Changs seems to be packed and traffic is a bit difficult as a result. I believe it is day 2.

                                              22 Replies
                                              1. re: Herne

                                                We ate there yesterday at lunch (second day). Broke our own rule about not eating at a new place in the first two weeks. Food and prices were okay, but the staff still need to get experience - dropped spoon, slow beer, wondering around with dishes looking for the correct table, waiter clearly nervous about making sure he went through alll the things that he was suppose to say. So be warned. #pfchangs

                                                1. re: DUH CAR

                                                  OMG, a dropped spoon....how will they ever survive. Thanks for the warning!!!

                                                  1. re: ingloriouseater

                                                    You may laugh, but it was a lot of miscues anda whole bunch of nervousness. Much more than I would have expected from a large chain hat sends in a team to train.

                                                  2. re: DUH CAR

                                                    Thanks! Actually sounds endearing and that they're trying. If I see effort albeit inexperienced, I tend to tip more generously in these situations to encourage the new staff.

                                                    1. re: DUH CAR

                                                      spoons for Chinese food.

                                                      just wondering if there were chopsticks offered as well

                                                      1. re: atomeyes

                                                        You gotta get out to more Chinese restaurants, atomeyes ;-) They all have seem to have spoons, not just the chains like PF Chang's. Not only spoons for soup, but spoons to serve some dishes, too!

                                                        1. re: atomeyes

                                                          This was a spoon for the sauce for the lettuce wrap that went flying when the waiter hit it with a dish. We had both chopsticks and knives/forks.

                                                          1. re: DUH CAR

                                                            I have no problem at all with PF Changs...just because it's a chain isn't reason enough to hate it.
                                                            I've been in the States and ate there yesterday...everyone loved the food..hot and sour soup, Chang Chicken noodle soup, tuna app, spare ribs, kung pao chicken..all delicious.
                                                            I have no problem in eating chinese food that is made with higher quality ingredients, really attractive setting instead of the poor service, dirty, suspect looking ingredients I see in a large majority of places i've been..

                                                            1. re: burlgurl

                                                              this is why i don't eat Chinese in Toronto. Ingredients are suspect, environment is lacking.
                                                              But....that doesn't make PFC tasty.

                                                              1. re: atomeyes

                                                                Which begs the question: So do you eat Chinese food anywhere in the World? Your earlier spoon comment indicates that you do not.

                                                                1. re: atomeyes

                                                                  Which Chinese restaurants cater to the caker hipster crowd in this city?

                                                                  Which reminds me, when is Gwai Lo going to open its doors?

                                                                  http://twitter.com/GwaiLoToronto

                                                                2. re: burlgurl

                                                                  I also can see a niche for Westernized Chinese with better quality ingredients and in a nicer setting - even if it does not particularly interest me, I can see the mass appeal. Comparing PF Changs to authentic Chinese seems silly.

                                                                  1. re: julesrules

                                                                    Makes me wonder how a Mission Chinese would do in Toronto.

                                                                    Anyways, has anyone else been to the Don Mills PF Changs? Is it better or worse than Mandarin? Is comparing the two appropriate?

                                                                    1. re: GoodGravy

                                                                      Not really appropriate to compare the 2.

                                                                      I haven't eaten at PF Chang's yet, but I'm planning to try it next time I have to eat at the Shops at Don Mills.

                                                                      PF Chang's is stylish and relatively upscale for a chain, and it isn't a buffet. Some dishes are fusion, some are pan-Asian, some are typical Chinese North American. It seems like PF Chang's is the Chinese chain equivalent to Maccheroni Grill. I'd say PF Chang's probably has more in common with Joey, Biermarkt, Earl's, Jack Astor's or Alice Fazooli's than Mandarin.

                                                                      If you've been to Mandarin, you'll know it isn't stylish. It reminds me of a 1980s cruise ship buffet for some reason. Ambiance is not a priority, although it can be fun (and difficult not) to people-watch at the buffet. Mostly, it's a place for people to fill up, and a place for *almost* anyone to find something they like to eat, or at least tolerate. Mandarin is decent for a Chinese buffet, serving half-decent to decent Chinese Cdn favourites (if you get those dishes when they're fresh), roast beef, awful sushi for people who love all kinds of sushi regardless of whether the sushi is good sushi, cheap ice cream and nanaimo bars. I stick with the Chinese Cdn food when I dine at Mandarin.

                                                                      1. re: prima

                                                                        Maybe PF Chang's to Spring Rolls would be a better comparison?

                                                                        1. re: julesrules

                                                                          It is a better comparison, but PF Chang's sticks pretty exclusively to Chinese cuisine while SR goes pan-Asian. PF Chang's wins by a mile over SR for me, though that is not necessarily saying a lot, since I think SR kinda sucks. :)

                                                                          1. re: julesrules

                                                                            Agree, with TorontoJo, it is a better comparison.

                                                                            I'll have to visit PF Chang's, because I've only walked by, and haven't dined there, but PF Chang's seems a little more stylish, a little more upscale and a little more "hip" (for a chain) than Spring Rolls? Probably also slightly more expensive?

                                                                            I get the feeling the crowd at PF Changs is more more concerned with decor, vibe, plating, and cocktail selection than the crowd at Spring Rolls.

                                                                            1. re: prima

                                                                              Yes I agree SR sucks. Also, I think they are pretty focused on low prices and quick turnaround, not upselling cocktails. But I haven't been in 5+ years.

                                                                              1. re: prima

                                                                                So it sounds like PF Changs is good for after work get-togethers with co-workers with good-enough food, maybe a bar/lounge scene w/ drink specials, and a decor that reflects the prices. It sounds like a better comparison (for me anyways) is Ruby Foo's.

                                                                                1. re: GoodGravy

                                                                                  Haven't been to Ruby Foo's, either, but it sounds like they're similar types of places.

                                                                              2. re: julesrules

                                                                                Yes, but Spring Rolls has an edible Sweet and Sour Pork ... where as PF Chang really bastardized it. They just pan sear pork lion and mix in sauce. Sheesh.

                                                                    2. re: atomeyes

                                                                      I always eat rice dishes with a spoon. I picked up that smart move from my Filipino homies. I've never looked back.

                                                                      Only been to PF Changs once (In Buffalo). I was fine! It is what it is, and I enjoyed. Surprisingly, they offered a chocolate raspberry cake that was outstanding.

                                                                3. I was there for lunch today, and of course it was packed. SLick upmarket decor, huge.

                                                                  Perfectly ordinary "Canadian" Chinese dishes,nice quality ingredients. I had wonton soup (competent, with rich broth but weirdly garnished with fresh Italian-type, not Thai, BASIL leaf) a slightly gelatinous hot and sour soup with tofu, a surprisingly gutsy shrimp in black bean/egg/lobster sauce, and two of the mini desserts, the cheesecake and the lemon something or other., weakest part of the meal. The menu seemed smaller than the American one, with , for example, only 5 mini-desserts on offer rather than the 8 in the States, and only three salads , none of them on the lunch specials and what I normally order at a Chang's at lunch. The portions were definitely smaller than the US portions (that's a good thing) but the prices were as high or higher (bad thing).

                                                                  Overall, it's not a place you go for the food. The brand is more about crowd-pleasing, comfort, convenience, and ease. It's user-friendly, a safe choice for groups, suitable for business, family groups, or a date, and incredibly popular in the USA. I actually LOOK for them when I'm on the road in hard-to-eat-in cities. If I can find one near the highway it's going to be a whole lot better, and not much longer, than a chili's or a TGIF's.

                                                                  If I want Chinese food in the Don Mills area, the Congee Queen in the strip mall one light west, southwest corner, is FAR superior, but also noisy, dirty, and with slapdash service. In other words, much more authentic in every way. And for high-end, I am currently in love with Yang's, north of the city on Bayview.

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: KAYLO

                                                                    Nice review, thanks!

                                                                    But smaller portions that the US?! My one and only time eating at a PF Changs I actually found the portions to definitely be on the small side - even by Canadian standards. And this location's portions are even smaller than that?! Interesting.

                                                                    1. re: KAYLO

                                                                      but was there ice in their bathroom urinals?!?!?

                                                                      1. re: atomeyes

                                                                        I find Congee Queen a couple of points quieter, cleaner and service more polite than its competitors at Dundas and Spadina. But I've never been to Changs so what do I know. I may get dragged there in the next month or so and if so I'll report back.

                                                                      2. re: KAYLO

                                                                        "FAR superior, but also noisy, dirty, and with slapdash service. In other words, much more authentic in every way." Classic, but also an unfair generalization. As you are aware when you go to Yang's.

                                                                        1. re: T Long

                                                                          yes, and when I go to Taipei too

                                                                      3. LOL to "ice in the urinals?" question. FOr two reasons. One of which is that I can only attest to the spotless ladies' room.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: KAYLO

                                                                          We went this past Friday and had a pleasant evening but we didn't go for the food. Or at least we knew going in what to expect. Having said that, we all loved the appetisers. They were the highlight for us. Green bean tempura, chicken lettuce thingee and crab wontons. I could return for those alone and leave happy. Junk food at its finest. I tried to tell myself the lettuce wraps and green beans made it healthy :)

                                                                          After the appetizers, I found all of the mains tasted and looked the same. I couldn't really tell if I was eating shrimp or chicken but whatever. Again big LOL. It still tasted good.

                                                                          I know, I know this post is gonna kill any reputation I had prior to. Oh well, wth it's summer, gotta lighten up.

                                                                          The room is comfortable and the staff extremely helpful and pleasant. Our group of four lingered for a few hours. The location was perfect for all of us and the price could not be beat.

                                                                          What's not to like?

                                                                          1. re: millygirl

                                                                            "After the appetizers, I found all of the mains tasted and looked the same."

                                                                            So it's kinda like Spring Rolls....?

                                                                            1. re: petek

                                                                              Never been to Spring Rolls but yeah, probably.

                                                                              1. re: millygirl

                                                                                If you haven't been,don't bother :)

                                                                        2. PF Changs is so much better than Spring Rolls...I have never enjoyed a meal at Spring Rolls..
                                                                          I think if PF Changs was a stand alone restaurant and not part of a chain, it would be praised for a great date/after work/ asian theme spot to check out..
                                                                          I have loved all food I've had there and not ashamed to say it..it serves a purpose and I'd gladly return

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: burlgurl

                                                                            I don't think you are alone at all in liking the food. Listening to a sport talk show this morning, one of the city's high profile sports reporters (S. Simmons) spoke (gushingly) about his love for PF Changs. He recommended the Mongolian Beef with Lettuce wrap. No mention of the A (authenticity) word. Before you think, but he's not a CH'er, remember he was opining about an actual and recent eating experience. Also he mentioned not normally liking Chains and if you are familiar with his work, you know he could give a rat's ass what you think. The latter two points alone should make him an honorary Ch'er.

                                                                            1. re: burlgurl

                                                                              While they're both a similar concept, the big difference for me between SR and PF is the attention to the food. I've been to SR a few times over the years and no matter what I order, it all tastes more or less the same. Like they use one sauce as a base for everything go from there.

                                                                              PF actually has better quality and tastes that vary based on what you order.

                                                                            2. Eh, this place is what it is and serves its purpose, as well outlined by earlier posters. i was there a week after opening (not on purpose, we ended up there on happenstance), and damn, was the food salty! i felt like i had eaten a salt lick afterwards(but par for the course for american chains, i guess). Best for group eating, i think. A plus for the clean bathrooms- we'll see if that lasts.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Smorgasbord

                                                                                Agreed re salt. Both Mr MG and myself felt that way even in to the following day.

                                                                                1. re: Smorgasbord

                                                                                  I was at the PF Changs in Rochester, NY for the weekend and we thought we were eating table salt for dinner. Holy cow ...

                                                                                  Food was bad too - Seriously, Manchu Wok or even the Mandarin has better sweet and sour pork and pepercorn steak.

                                                                                  I thought perhaps they would offer some unique fusion foods, but in Toronto, Springrolls will give them a run for their money and all the great Chinese restaurants in the city put them to shame.

                                                                                  Yes PF Changs maybe accessible, but the food is quite bad.

                                                                                2. PF Chang's is food court food in a restaurant. Simple.

                                                                                  1. After hearing about it being hyped for years, I finally caved and tried it (sort of against my will, but whatev). Like others have said, it has it's place. Yes, it's goopy, salty, sweet Westernized Chinese for non-discriminating palates. However, I went in with low expectations and an open mind.

                                                                                    We were comped the lettuce chicken wraps and I have to say, they were delicious. If I ever had to return, I would order those without question. The mains were another story. Everything was drenched in sauce with little to distinguish between the flavours among the 3 different mains at the table. I wouldn't bother with mains again. But it's doubtful I will return in any case ...

                                                                                    I will give credit to the nice decor and the lovely patio with a view of the central square in the middle of the shopping area. Service was also friendly and attentive. All in all, it wasn't terrible, but I'm glad to have tried it, if only to confirm it's not worth the hype. I can see, though, how it would appeal to many, and I'm sure it will be successful.

                                                                                    1. Ok maybe it's me and you all have found great chinese restaurants that aren't completely frightening to walk in to. I like PF Chang's - love those lettuce wraps and they are happy to make me Kung Pao Tofu (replacing the chicken). I can't say I've had better chinese in the city - lots of great Thai and Japanese, but the chinese places I've been to and frankly most of the dim sum places are scary. Kudos to the PF Chang's people for giving Toronto a whirl. Since there are apparently a lot of great chinese restaurants around town from other comments to this post, where are they? Where can I go to an attractive, up-scale restaurant that serves great chinese food with lots of vegan and veg offerings? Any thoughts on chinese restaurants that don't look like frightening places with hanging pigs and chickens next door?

                                                                                      15 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: tula_toronto

                                                                                        aw heck, tula, SPEAK UP! I was a vegetarian fo 25 years. EVERY great upscale Chinese restaurant in this city, in ANY city, will happily make almost any single dish on its menu in a vegetarian version(please, don't ask for Peking Duck or Spare Ribs, however), and has a vegetarian section on its menu. Moo SHu Pork? GEt it with tofu if vegan, scrambled eggs if vegetarian.Yummy. And there are several excellent neighborhood CHINESE VEGETARIAN places here...although none I'd suggest for the decor. Simon's Vegetarian Wok on Gerrard is solid and was the closest to me, and Buddha's Vegetarian (666 Dundas W .) has even better food, including loads of "mock meat" dishes from gluten and tofu, like, yes, fake PEKING DUCK!!!

                                                                                        For great elegant but not purely vegetarian, start with Yang's, gorgeous room and great food, my favorite up north, or Dynasty (low ceilings, alas) or Crown PRIncess in Yorkville area.

                                                                                        Meatless dim sum is the hardest meal , admittedly, as even something billed as "chive dumpling" is likely to be a "SHRIMP and chive dumpling," and sticky rice in lotus leaf , which COULD be made as a wonderful vegetarian item never, ever is, but for years I went, found the best english-speaker on the staff, and simply asked for a plate of stir-fried gai lan or pea shoots with garlic for the table, and if we were vegetarians, no vegans, also a plate of scrambled eggs with shiitake. No problem. Vegetable dumplings, bean curd rolls, plain steamed buns were a bonus while the meat eaters chewed through lots of "scary" dead animals.

                                                                                        Use the search bar here for Vegetarian CHinese Toronto and for all of Charles Yu's excellent postings on the TORONTO Asian food scene, and bon apetit.

                                                                                        1. re: KAYLO

                                                                                          Kaylo, thank you for your generous post and for the fantastic ideas! I haven't been to any of these places, I'll give them a try. Simon's Vegetarian Wok sounds like the first place to visit, and Yang's could be good for meeting up with friends. Many thanks!

                                                                                          1. re: tula_toronto

                                                                                            Say what you will but the place was PACKED last night - Monday! Since they leave 30% of the tables for walk ins we took our chances and had a drink at the bar. Took about 25 minutes and we were seated. While waiting we were given a shrimp lo mein on the house. Other restaurants should take note.

                                                                                            The crispy green beans alone make it all worth while for me.

                                                                                            We met up with friends and had a lovely evening.

                                                                                            Oh and the lemon chicken was quite tasty also. Nice big chunks of white meat and not too sweet or syrup-ie.

                                                                                            I dont get all the negative comments. Is it simply because it's a - heaven forbid - chain restaurant?

                                                                                            Whatever, I'm Millygirl and I'm proud to admit I like Chang's. There! I said it.

                                                                                              1. re: millygirl

                                                                                                Right on, millygirl. ;-)

                                                                                                Looking forward to trying Chang's out.

                                                                                                1. re: millygirl

                                                                                                  Ok its now December --almost January. What is the current view of P F Chang's and what are the current favourite dishes?

                                                                                                  1. re: Herne

                                                                                                    Hi Herne, we've not been in awhile. I think we kinda of OD'd on it way back and needed a rest.

                                                                                                    Having said that, I could eat those green beans anytime. They are a must.

                                                                                                    1. re: millygirl

                                                                                                      Hi Millygirl.

                                                                                                      So far I think lemon chicken and green beans have been preselected.

                                                                                                      1. re: Herne

                                                                                                        the lettuce rolls are very good also. Let me know what you think Herne. Enjoy

                                                                                                        1. re: millygirl

                                                                                                          Just noticed the Lemon Chicken has almost 1400 calories per serving.

                                                                                                          1. re: Herne

                                                                                                            Yikes! But honestly, not that surprised. Everything there is extremely high sodium. That's pretty much why we dont go very often.

                                                                                                            1. re: millygirl

                                                                                                              Why not ask for reduced sodium next time?

                                                                                                              1. re: T Long

                                                                                                                Good idea. I'll try that. I wonder if asking for reduced calories will get me anywhere::))

                                                                                            1. re: tula_toronto

                                                                                              tula:

                                                                                              f you can make it up to Markham, Graceful Vegetarian in Market Village is a lovely vegetarian Chinese restaurant and their dim sum is wonderful. Most staff speak English. It is a bit more expensive but definitely not as much as Yang's. It's also at the end of the plaza and not next to any BBQ shops with hanging meat nearby.

                                                                                              I love their dim sum and don't have to worry about hidden meat/seafood.

                                                                                              1. re: mrsleny

                                                                                                FANTASTIC! What a treat to go for dim sum in a veg Chinese restaurant! Thank you so much for the reference Mrsleny, this sounds amazing. And it is nice to be able to walk into a place without seeing animals hanging on hooks outside. Thank you again for the reference, I'll try it with my husband perhaps even this weekend. What a treat!

                                                                                            2. Went last night because we were in the area for other reasons. Good side - The service was terrific - very friendly servers. The chicken lettuce wraps are good. BUT...........Everything was so, so salty, as expected. We had some lacklustre hot and sour soup, chicken lo mein and orange shrimp. I drank 3 large glasses of water during the meal. Managed to be 4 pounds heavier on the scale today. Not ever going back.