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Christmas at Toronto: Good idea or not?

Chemicalkinetics Dec 21, 2012 02:22 PM

Hi all,

I am planning a roadtrip to downtown Toronto sometime from the 22nd to the 27th. Is this really a good time? Or will most of the stores and restaurants be closed? I suppose the local Chinatown will be mostly opened, but what about the rest of Toronto, especially in term of restaurants? Assuming it is still a good time to visit, any restaurant suggestion? Thanks.

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  1. prima RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 21, 2012 08:21 PM

    Almost no food stores or other stores are open on the 25th.

    It's not the best time to visit, if non-Chinese restaurants are a priority. If you don't mind doing hotel restaurants and Chinese restaurants (the good ones in Markham and Richmond Hill will be open) on the 25th and 26th, it might still be an ok time to visit.

    Most of the non-Chinese and non-hotel restaurants will be closed the 25th and 26th. Many are also closed on Christmas Eve.

    Most restaurants are open their regular business hours on the 22nd, 23rd and 27th. Some will have regular business hours on the 24th.

    Here is a list of restaurants that are open on Christmas Day: http://www.toronto.com/article/599296...

    Most of the better non-Chinese restaurants that are open on the 25th and 26th can be booked through www.opentable.com .

    Cafe Boulud and the King Eddy Hotel's Xmas brunch are probably 2 of the best options open Christmas Day. Caplansky's is also open.

    Boxing Day (Dec 26th) restaurants: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/882632

    Xmas Day desserts: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/824860

    Dec 25th near airport: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/880968

    6 Replies
    1. re: prima
      Chemicalkinetics RE: prima Dec 21, 2012 08:30 PM

      I won't say non-Chinese restaurants are my priority, but I won't want to limit myself to just China town restaurants. I also wanted to go there to look around, to go to malls, museums...etc, so I guess this will be a pretty bad time then. Thanks a lot for your help. I think I will delay my Canada trip then. Thanks.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
        prima RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 21, 2012 08:38 PM

        If you want to visit for a full 5 days, I'd try to visit another week. There are some fantastic upscale, high quality Chinese restaurants that would be open on Christmas and Boxing Day, but most of the high quality ones are located a 25-30 minute drive northeast of downtown.

        Lai Wah Heen, TO's best upscale Chinese restaurant located downtown (not in Chinatown), will be open Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and they're offering some holiday menus: http://www.laiwahheen.com/

        Most malls (Pacific Mall is open http://www.pacificmalltoronto.com/#!_...) will be closed the 25th, and most malls that are open on the 26th or 27th will be a zoo. Museums are closed on Mondays (Dec 24th) and on Christmas Day. http://www.ago.net/visit Sorry that it's not a great time to visit TO.

        1. re: prima
          Chemicalkinetics RE: prima Dec 21, 2012 08:41 PM

          :) Thanks so much. I do like zoos (haven't been to one for 20+ years), but not that kind of a zoo. :P

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            prima RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 21, 2012 08:44 PM

            You're welcome. Happy Holidays :-)

          2. re: prima
            Charles Yu RE: prima Dec 10, 2013 07:43 AM

            Hello Prima!
            Have you eaten at Lai Wah Heen recently? How is the food after new management/owner came in? How does it compare to Crown Princess?! If possible, information on both Dim Sum and dinner would be greatly appreciated!
            Thanks!

            1. re: Charles Yu
              prima RE: Charles Yu Dec 10, 2013 08:07 AM

              Hi Charles, I haven't been to LWH since the ownership change. Maybe in 2014.
              My last dim sum was a couple weeks ago at Casa Imperial, which I thought was slightly better quality in terms of ingredients and preparation than my 2nd last dim sum at Crown Princess, but I like the dim sum menu selection slightly better at Crown Princess.;)

      2. petek RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 25, 2012 07:07 AM

        Chem! Like Prima said,you should definitely wait till after Christmas(like spring or summer) if you can..
        Don't forget to check out Knife on Queen west and Tosho in Mirvish Village for all your knife shopping needs

        Happy Holidays!

        1. Googs RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 25, 2012 10:40 PM

          If there's something you like to do other than eat, we might be able to suggest a better time of year. While that's not CH's focus, there's nothing saying you couldn't hit all the great restaurants AND take in Fashion Week or Film Fest or an art exhibit too.

          1. l
            letrell RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 26, 2012 05:49 AM

            I agree with the other posts that Christmas Day is probably not the best time to visit Toronto.

            I am an American and had the good fortune of living in Toronto for almost 3 years. It is a world class city and a fantastic place to be.

            I miss being a TTC ride away from something interesting to see, do or eat.

            1. Chemicalkinetics RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 26, 2012 05:57 PM

              Thanks guys. I just got in Toronto 2-3 hours ago. I went to the Pacific Mall just because I thought I came in too late for museum or Chinatown or whatnot. It turneds out that the CCK store in Pacific Mall is closed for today, but I did walk around a bit. Pretty "compact" mall if you know what I mean. I like it though.

              I am planning to visit Chinatown tomorrow and a museum tomorrow. Got to go to eat now. The snack at the Pacific Mall wasn't enough. Whoever it was. I tried the Bread Papa's Puff. It was huge and messy, but I like it.

              http://beardpapascanada.com/

              I almost wanted to try the Wanda's Belgain Waffle. They look so nice, but I didn't because I didn't want to eat too many stacks.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                prima RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 26, 2012 06:08 PM

                Welcome to TO!
                Good luck tomorrow.
                If you're going to the Art Gallery of Ontario, you'll be within a 10 minute walk of Sansotei (179 Dundas W), Lai Wah Heen, Chinatown and Kensington Market. Perhaps you'd be interested in visiting Wanda's Pie in the Sky on Augusta in Kensington, if you like sweets. Frank is also located in the AGO, which also usually has interesting desserts, and there's a nice espresso bar in the Galeria Italian (2nd floor of the AGO, overlooking Dundas St).
                If you head to the ROM, C5 on the top floor serves a nice lunch, and has a great view. You might also want to consider Cafe Boulud in Yorkville, which is within a 10 minute walk. Dessert Trends on Harbord St should be open for lunch, and might be worth a visit, especially if you like desserts.
                Hope you enjoy your stay.

              2. y
                ylsf RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 26, 2012 06:27 PM

                If you like ramen, I recommend Kinton if you will be going to AGO as it is very close to there. (On a cute little commercial street in what is mainly residential area... called Baldwin street). I just had my first meal there tonight and enjoyed it!

                Some other recommendations... A non-traditional exhibit is the James Bond exhibit at the TIFF lightbox. Interesting and worth while to see plus fairly close by there is Banh Mi Boys, Kho San Rd and a few other interesting eats. There is also a free exhibit on a higher level of the Lightbox that is showing an exhibit on Xmen special effects.

                Lastly, if you know how to skate I highly recommend one of the public skating areas like Harbourfront, Nathan Philips or even Brickworks if you are around on the weekend.

                1. l
                  letrell RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 27, 2012 01:01 PM

                  Go to Banh Mi Boys on at Queen and Spadina. Everything on the menu is good.
                  You are in a Foodie Paradise! Have fun.

                  Canadians are a nice bunch, too.

                  1. Chemicalkinetics RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 27, 2012 06:09 PM

                    To all,

                    I thank for your suggestions. Usually, I follow people suggestions and try as many suggested restaurants as possible (e.g. see my Vancouer and Indianapolis trips). This trip, however, is going off my original plan due to the snow which makes it very difficult to walk around. When I walked around, I just wanted to walk to nearest warm and dry place to eat instead of the best food place -- if that makes sense. Driving is messy too. I also spent a lot of time today with my graduate school friend which could not have been better, but it also made restaurant-visit a secondary target.

                    Please do understand I am not intentionally ignoring your suggested restaurants. I do respect CHOWHOUND fellows's suggestions very much.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      y
                      ylsf RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 27, 2012 08:10 PM

                      I am curious where you drove over from... Somewhere without snow? :) I suggest take full use of the PATH system if you want to walk around still but not walk outside (if you will be right downtown at all). Or, just buy a day pass and take the subway/transit as much as you can :)

                      Regardless, sounds like you are having fun and glad to hear you will be coming back

                      1. re: ylsf
                        Chemicalkinetics RE: ylsf Dec 27, 2012 08:25 PM

                        I drove from New Jersey, USA, close to Philadelphia in PA, USA. We do have snow, and it can get pretty thick, but the last time we have snow this thick was more than two years ago, and we (most people) pretty much stay home. :P

                        I also feel when we have snow, it is not this wet and therefore this cold. One of my shoes caught snow in it, and I was walking an hour with a frozen/numb foot. Good thing that my friend suggested to stop by a coffee shope. The first thing I did after arriving the coffee is to go to the restroom to check on my toes. :P (realy). Yeah, I also did not really dress for the cold weather. No hear gear, not a particularly thick coat. Still, the coat is helping a lot. Most people seem to dress a bit more than I do. Oh yeah, I also wasn't really walking on street. I was kind of "hopping" because of the snow. :)

                        Yet, I have no idea about the public transportation in Toronto, so I don't know much about PATH, actually I know zero.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          y
                          ylsf RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 27, 2012 08:34 PM

                          PATH is an underground pedestrian walkway/mall/series of food courts/etc:

                          http://www.toronto.ca/path/

                          It is the largest underground shopping complex in the world according to Guinness :)

                          1. re: ylsf
                            Chemicalkinetics RE: ylsf Dec 27, 2012 08:44 PM

                            Wow, there is a hidden city underneath me? :)

                    2. Chemicalkinetics RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 28, 2012 06:28 PM

                      Quick update. I have been to Lai Wee Heen. It is definitely one of these higher end Hong Kong style restaurant. I do like the Dim Sum, but I want to give a detail analysis. I have been to Knife and Tosho. Both are smaller than I thought, but Knife is just crazy small. I mean, I thought Chan Chi Kee (CCK) at Pacific Mall is small, but no, Knife is tiny. So, yeah, I visited three knife stores. I bought 3 knives at CCK. One for myself, two for potential gifts. I bought a Konosuke HD petty. The price was reasonable until the tax kicked in. I was like (in my mind): How did a $151 knife become $171 at checkout? I didn't even do the math, my gut feeling just told me that something was very unusual. Man, the tax is high here. There was a relatively funny story at Tosho when a family was buying knife. I will mention it later. Oh yes, I finally get to the Royal Ontarian Museum which is very impressive. I walked for 3+ hours and wasn't able to finish the entire museum and got kicked out.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                        TeRReT RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 28, 2012 10:40 PM

                        Having not read this thread at all, but being surprised you are in Toronto, if you have not had korean yet, there is great korean food on bloor street, bloor and christie subway stop, there are 2 places, one called owl of minerva, and then another place almost beside it, i prefer the place beside it, so good and cheap food

                        if you want to try coffee, sam james just down the street is my favourite coffee in the city, I will try to come up with more but you will likely be leaving soon, go back in january when I will be there

                        and have you had poutine yet?

                        and there is good pho in toronto too.

                        I am so late to reply to the thread, but I was away myself

                        1. re: TeRReT
                          Chemicalkinetics RE: TeRReT Dec 29, 2012 06:21 PM

                          Yeah, I later realize that there is a Korean town in Toronto. Too late. I am back. The drive back is crazy difficult due to the snow. I drove from New Jersey to Toronto in 8 hours. I drove back in 13 hours?! I saw so many accident on the road, and I even saw one car spun on the highway right before my eyes. Anyway, I will report back later. Too tired to write a full report.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                            TeRReT RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 29, 2012 08:10 PM

                            Toronto has 2 Korea towns, but one is close to downtown so I am more familiar with it, plus owl of minerva has a location in China town, glad you had an alright trip, drive safe, it can be crazy in the winter there

                            1. re: TeRReT
                              Chemicalkinetics RE: TeRReT Dec 29, 2012 09:15 PM

                              I believe I "unintentionally" went to the Koreantown close to downtown. I was visiting Tosho on Markham St, and noticed the Koreantown. Unfortunately, I didn't not get to look around the Koreantown.

                              Hey, TeRReT, did you live in Vancouver or Toronto?

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                TeRReT RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 29, 2012 09:18 PM

                                Toronto, and yes you were bordering on experiencing Korea town there. I will be back in Toronto for 3 weeks in January as my visa here expires. I will be going and getting my share of pouting, pho, Korean and seeing new places my friends are working at

                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          l
                          LexiFirefly RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 30, 2012 07:27 AM

                          If you saved your receipts you can get back all the hst (sales tax) you spent.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                            Chemicalkinetics RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 30, 2012 09:26 PM

                            Thanks all. To those who are interested in my opinion of the high end Hong Kong dim sum restaurant: Lai Wah Heen:

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/884197

                            As for my knife purchase, here are some photos. The larger three are the famous Chan Chi Kee knives. The smaller one is the famous Konosuke HD2 (2nd generation) petty.

                             
                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              TeRReT RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 30, 2012 09:53 PM

                              Wow they look great, I might have to look at those cleavers when I am back

                              1. re: TeRReT
                                Chemicalkinetics RE: TeRReT Dec 30, 2012 11:39 PM

                                <I might have to look at those cleavers>

                                If so, look for the 130X series. They are slicer knives for detial works -- not real meat cleaver. The lady who I met was very nice. I just sharpened all four knives, and it took a long time. I am quiet happy with the initial tests by cutting paper.

                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                T Long RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 30, 2012 09:59 PM

                                Thanks for sharing your Chow adventures in Toronto with us!

                            2. Chemicalkinetics RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 5, 2013 05:21 PM

                              I think I will be heading up to Toronto this winter for a 5-days to 7-days vacation.

                              I had a lot of fun last year, except for the massive snow fall. I am pretty sure it won't be nearly as bad this year.

                              I had a great Chinese Dim Sum lunch at Lai Wee Heen, and may go back there again this time. Any other great Cantonese Dim Sum restaurant near Toronto Downtown? I will have a car.

                              Any suggestion for restaurant in general? I tried Eggspectation and felt it was good, but not memorable. I also tried Three Brewers which was also ok too.

                              Any suggestion from restaurant to cookware are welcome. I will head to Tosho Knife Art again, and the Chan Chi Kee knife store at the Pacific Mall.

                              Oh yes, when I was shopping at Tosho Knife, I realized I wander in the Korean town. I didn't spend any time there due to schedule. Is the Korean town worth a closer visit this time? Thanks.

                              34 Replies
                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                Chemicalkinetics RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 9, 2013 10:27 AM

                                :) Any suggestion or should I start a new thread?

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  Nevy RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 9, 2013 11:07 AM

                                  I believe these threads will help you

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8976...

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9190...

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9189...

                                  They're all recent threads on beloved restaurants in Toronto and the first one speaks of dim sum and experiences.

                                  1. re: Nevy
                                    Chemicalkinetics RE: Nevy Dec 9, 2013 11:16 AM

                                    Thanks, Nevy.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                      petek RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 9, 2013 02:47 PM

                                      Hey Chem! Nice to hear you're coming back for a visit.
                                      Nevy's right those threads will definitely help. My favorite downtown dim sum joint is Rol San on Spadina. Cheap and cheerful (not high end like Lai Wa Heen). The best dim sum (from what I hear) is north of the city,but since you have a car it should be no problem. Keep checking the Ontario board for suggestions and be more specific on the type of foods you're looking for.

                                      1. re: petek
                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: petek Dec 10, 2013 10:55 AM

                                        Thanks Petek. I will probably wander into the Chinatown and can try Rol San. By the way, what do you think of the Korean town near ToshoKnifeArt. I walked by there last year, but did not stop and looked.

                                        Is it a cool place to hang out?

                                        Thanks.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                          petek RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 10, 2013 04:58 PM

                                          Chem..
                                          Another Chinatown favorite of mine is Swatow. Great noodle soups and Wok Hay dishes. Tap Phong is a great place to shop for kitchenware and it's across the street from Rol San.
                                          Not sure if you checked out Kensington Market your last visit,but you definitely should since you'll be in the neighborhood.
                                          I can't really comment on Korea Town much,I haven't been for a while,but I'm sure there are some great restaurants and shops to check out.
                                          What hotel/neighborhood will you be staying at?

                                          1. re: petek
                                            Chemicalkinetics RE: petek Dec 10, 2013 05:04 PM

                                            <I can't really comment on Korea Town much,I haven't been for a while,but I'm sure there are some great restaurants and shops to check out.>

                                            I will likely try it this time since I do plan to stop by Tosho Knife Art.

                                            <What hotel/neighborhood will you be staying at?>

                                            A place called Bond Place Hotel.

                                            65 DUNDAS STREET EAST

                                            http://www.bondplace.ca/

                                            Last year, someone told me that there are underground walkways in Toronto. I didn't know about this until my last day in Toronto last year. This year if the snow is too bad, then I will try to walk around in the underground thing.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                              petek RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 10, 2013 05:15 PM

                                              A place called Bond Place Hotel.

                                              65 DUNDAS STREET EAST

                                              Interesting neighborhood...:D
                                              Forget about the "Underground City" unless there's a specific shop you want to check out. Just bring a big ass coat, warm boots and a wool cap and you'll be fine. Toronto's a great walking city You really need to come in the spring summer or fall....

                                              1. re: petek
                                                Chemicalkinetics RE: petek Dec 10, 2013 05:52 PM

                                                <Interesting neighborhood...:D >

                                                Oh my god, Please don't say that. I read several hotel reviews say that it is a scary neighborhood. I have been looking reviews after reviews, and already tried my best to chose the "least scary" area.

                                                <Toronto's a great walking city You really need to come in the spring summer or fall.>

                                                I know. You said that last year too. I just couldn't find any extra time to take vacation until now. :P

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                  TeRReT RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 10, 2013 05:58 PM

                                                  It looks more scary than it is. It is not dangerous, it is near one of the colleges. It is likely to have some people asking for money or the odd drunk or strange behaved person but you will be fine there. From the hotel to dundas square is a two minute walk and is clean and fine. The only seedy bar is across the road and not anything to worry about. You need to go two blocks east before you will run into anything bad.

                                                  My email is in my profile and if you email me I can offer you detailed specifics about the area.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                    b
                                                    bytepusher RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 10, 2013 06:28 PM

                                                    Don't be too worried, Your hotel is very close to Santouka Ramen shop, Sabai Sabai Thai restaurant and Guu Izakaya

                                                    The immediate block or two around the hotel including all of these restaurants is no worse for the boulevardiers than anywhere else in the downtown core, However things change fast if you go more than 3 blocks or so further east, but frankly there's no reason to do that on foot.

                                                    1. re: bytepusher
                                                      Chemicalkinetics RE: bytepusher Dec 10, 2013 06:38 PM

                                                      Gosh. I was looking at a hotel near the local Chinatown, and the reviews claim that is unsafe. So I started looking toward east. Now, you people are telling me that any further east of this is unsafe. :P

                                                      <Your hotel is very close to Santouka Ramen shop, Sabai Sabai Thai restaurant and Guu Izakaya>

                                                      Yes, I am planning to go to Guu. I just don't think this information makes the hotel safer. :P

                                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                  TeRReT RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 10, 2013 05:22 PM

                                                  korea town is great, i can give you the name of a good restaurant tonight when my wife is done work. Very good prices and good food. There is also PAT a decent grocery store, and a couple little bakeries as well. Sam James has a miniature store there with decent coffee if you like coffee.

                                                  That is a marginally rough area, but not unsafe. You are close to the Eaton centre mall and public transportation. When I lived in Toronto I lived only 5 minutes away, its a convenient location.

                                                  The underground mall is massive and covers most of downtown, but your closest entry would be eaton centre and from there you can catch the subway and a few streetcars so the underground isn't really worth it. If you go south in the Eaton Centre, across queen street to The Bay, you can access "the path" from the basement. The name of the underground complex is "The Path". It is a very confusing network of basements and you can waste a lot of time and get lost if you don't know where you are going, so might not be worth it to travel, but still interesting to see.

                                                  1. re: TeRReT
                                                    petek RE: TeRReT Dec 10, 2013 05:41 PM

                                                    <That is a marginally rough area, but not unsafe>

                                                    Ya..It's way too cold for the hookers and crack heads to be out and about.. :D

                                                    I kid I kid..It's actually a very convenient location.
                                                    If you do check out Korea Town,walk east on Bloor Street towards Yonge Street. You'll pass through the Annex neighborhood and The "Golden Mile" of Bloor Street(high end shops etc)

                                                    1. re: TeRReT
                                                      Chemicalkinetics RE: TeRReT Dec 10, 2013 05:57 PM

                                                      <That is a marginally rough area, but not unsafe. You are close to the Eaton centre mall and public transportation. When I lived in Toronto I lived only 5 minutes away, its a convenient location.>

                                                      Last year I stayed at a different hotel, but very close to this area too. Last year, I was at Delta Chelsea Hotel (33 Gerrard St W, Toronto)

                                                      They are this close:

                                                      https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=65...

                                                      Apparently, I must like to stay at tough neighborhood then.

                                                      <The underground mall is massive and covers most of downtown>

                                                      What underground mall? I only heard about underground walkways. Kind of like subway except that I just walk.

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                        TeRReT RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 10, 2013 06:06 PM

                                                        The path is an underground walkway full of stores.

                                                        And the Delta Chelsea is in a very different neighbourhood :P

                                                        1. re: TeRReT
                                                          Chemicalkinetics RE: TeRReT Dec 10, 2013 06:39 PM

                                                          <And the Delta Chelsea is in a very different neighbourhood :P>

                                                          Safer or worse? I remember seeing a striped club there -- or so I thought. I was too poor to go to the striped club. :P Maybe having a striped club makes the Delta Chelsa safer.

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                            TeRReT RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 10, 2013 06:53 PM

                                                            It is actually more perceived safety than actual safety The delta chelsea seems more safe, but honestly where you are is not unsafe. Half a block east, Dundas and Church someone will probably hang out there and ask for change. At night, when you go to guu, walk over to church and go north on church rather than smaller roads, The smaller roads aren't unsafe at all, Church will just feel more comfortable.

                                                            1. re: TeRReT
                                                              Chemicalkinetics RE: TeRReT Dec 10, 2013 06:56 PM

                                                              Thanks. I will likely walk the larger road anything. Not so much about safety, but I tend to walk on large street, so that it is easier to find my way. (I can easily get lost if I walk on tiny streets).

                                                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                              TeRReT RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 10, 2013 06:57 PM

                                                              Also, keep in mind our version of seedy and safe might be very different than your thinking. Literally the most that would happen in that area is you see someone sleeping on the street (more of a queen street thing), someone might ask you for change (particularily at Church and Dundas), and you might see someone drunk stumbling down the street (Usually more east). That is about it. I lived 3-4 blocks east, in the actual much worse area for 5-6 years and had no issues.

                                                              1. re: TeRReT
                                                                Chemicalkinetics RE: TeRReT Dec 10, 2013 07:11 PM

                                                                Thanks. Probably is not as bad as some of the online reviews claim. I studied in U.C. Berkeley, and Berkeley is famous for numerous of homeless people -- from young (runaway teenagers) to older folks. Friendly bunch actually, and pretty humorous.

                                                                http://www.berkeleyside.com/wp-conten...

                                                                Now, south of Berkeley in Oakland is a bit more dangerous -- like hard drugs dealings and gun crimes.

                                                                I also current visit Philadelphia weekly, and Philly can be a real rough spot especially at nights.

                                                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                            TeRReT RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 10, 2013 06:08 PM

                                                            http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/con...

                                                            Its a series of connected basements, many offering food courts and other shopping

                                                            http://www1.toronto.ca/staticfiles/st...

                                                            1. re: TeRReT
                                                              Chemicalkinetics RE: TeRReT Dec 10, 2013 06:47 PM

                                                              Thanks for the information about Korea restaurant and the underground walkway/mall. Maybe I will try not to go there, since you said that it is pretty confusing.

                                                              So far, my plan is go there. Eat some nice food, see a couple of malls, and a couple of the museums.

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                j
                                                                julesrules RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 11, 2013 11:41 AM

                                                                Yeah it's confusing and mostly chains. I eat and shop there because it's convenient for work but the PATH is not a destination for anyone who does not work on it.

                                                                1. re: julesrules
                                                                  Chemicalkinetics RE: julesrules Dec 11, 2013 05:57 PM

                                                                  Thanks for the information. Arrived today. Later than I thought would be. So cold for me too, so I couldn't walk very far.

                                                                  I thought about Guu Izakaya, but I didn't make any reservation. Instead, I ended up passing by the Sansotei Ramen house and walked in there for a bowl of Tonkutsu Black ramen.

                                                                  Very good, I thought. Simple and good.

                                                                  http://www.sansotei.com/

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                    j
                                                                    julesrules RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 12, 2013 06:53 AM

                                                                    It is indeed very cold for exploring on foot right now. The subway system is your friend (possibly even better than warming up the car and finding parking at your destination...). You just have to get used to bundling up for outside then sweating on the subway... hats and scarves help because you can remove them easily.
                                                                    Have a fun visit.

                                                                    1. re: julesrules
                                                                      Chemicalkinetics RE: julesrules Dec 12, 2013 04:16 PM

                                                                      Thanks. Just stopped by Casa Imperial for Dim Sum today. The atmosphere was excellent. I ordered 5 dishes. Four of the dishes were reasonable to good. However, the Sharkfin Soup Dumpling was seriously messed up. Very disappointed because I was hoping the most from it. :( I even complained to the manager which I rarely do.

                                                                      I spent over 3 hours in the Pacific Mall and bought 6 knives from Chan Chi Kee. :)

                                                                      By the way, this Dundas/Bond Street area is NOT unsafe. I think all these hotel reviews about this is an unsafe area is completely out of wreck. On a scale of 1 to 10. 10 being extremely unsafe that I would want to wear to bulletproof vest, and 1 being very safe that I won't mind running around naked. I would put this area around 4-5.

                                                                      I am significantly more concern about the cold weather and driving behavior in this city.

                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                        petek RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 12, 2013 04:27 PM

                                                                        "I am significantly more concern about the cold weather and driving behavior in this city."

                                                                        Welcome to my world buddy.. :D

                                                                        1. re: petek
                                                                          TeRReT RE: petek Dec 12, 2013 04:54 PM

                                                                          It's especially true since he is considering running around naked

                                                                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                          TeRReT RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 12, 2013 04:58 PM

                                                                          I told you our unsafe is much different than your unsafe :P there is nowhere I would wear a bullet proof vest, I don't even know where to get one if I wanted one.

                                                                          Did you get to guu yet? What type of knives?

                                                                          1. re: TeRReT
                                                                            Chemicalkinetics RE: TeRReT Dec 12, 2013 05:11 PM

                                                                            No Guu yet. It seems that I need to reserve way ahead of time. Not yet. I tend to worry about reserving because I don't usually know my schedule until last minute.

                                                                            Here is the catalog if you want to refer:

                                                                            http://www.chanchikee.com/ChineseKniv...

                                                                            I bought KF1102 (a carbon steel large slicer), KF1812 (a stainless small slicer), KF1700 (a dim sum knife -- really is not a knife. It is really used for dim sum dough making), a small fruit knife (not in the catalog), a stainless steel peeler (not in the catalog), a carbon steel peeler (not in the catalog).

                                                                            $225 total

                                                                            I bought way more than I need. :(

                                                                            1. re: TeRReT
                                                                              Chemicalkinetics RE: TeRReT Dec 13, 2013 05:43 PM

                                                                              TeRReT and petek.

                                                                              Super quick update. I went to Crown Princess today for Cantonese Dim Sum. It is another high end dim sum restaurant, and my experience has been positive. My personal experience put Crown Princess above Casa Imperial at this point -- it does not mean this is really the case, but my experience definitely points this way.

                                                                              At 7 o'clock, I decided to just walk and try my luck at Guu Izukaya (without reservation).

                                                                              First, I walked pass the place because I saw the sign and thought: Oh, this is similar, but this reads "GTULL", not the same place. :)

                                                                              http://guu-izakaya.com/wordpress/wp-c...

                                                                              It took me a long time before I decided to walk back. It was so cold too.

                                                                              Then, I was there, and people after people were told that they need to wait for 90 minutes. I was really debating if I should wait that long. Then, I was told that I only need to wait for 5 min (because I am party of 1) :

                                                                              )

                                                                              I won't get into it too much, but the experience was great. I love the place. The waiter charged me too little because he forgot my sake, but I reminded him. Total was $60+ (including tips). It is slightly expensive, but it is definitely well worth it.

                                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                Chemicalkinetics RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 17, 2013 08:53 PM

                                                Thanks everyone.

                                                I went to:

                                                Sansotei Ramen (Wednesday dinner)
                                                Casa Imperial (Thursday lunch)
                                                Don Don Izakaya (Thursday dinner)
                                                Crown Princess (Friday lunch)
                                                Guu Izakaya (Friday dinner)
                                                Rol Sal (Saturday lunch)
                                                Santouka Ramen (Saturday dinner)
                                                Crown Princess (second visit) (Sunday lunch)
                                                Swatow (Sunday dinner)

                                                I enjoyed all of them. By the way, I walked to Crown Princess twice and I walked to Swatow -- so proud of myself for braving the cold weather and walking all the way to Swatow at night (actually I meant to walk to the Eaton Mall, but I changed mind later and ended up walking to Chinatown)

                                                So many things I wished to do and didn't, such as going to the Koreantown and the museums.

                                                Lastly, these are the knives and peelers I bought from CCK at Pacific Mall, and a teapot from Tap Phong :)

                                                Thanks everyone.

                                                 
                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                  petek RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 18, 2013 01:29 AM

                                                  Glad you enjoyed your stay Chem!

                                              3. TeRReT RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 10, 2013 06:16 PM

                                                As far as a decent restaurant, the one my wife loves is the red one on the right. Owl of Minerva on the left is also popular, but we generally eat at the one on the right. I don't know the name of it and not sure if she does but I will ask her tonight.

                                                http://goo.gl/maps/8w1Pj

                                                1. a
                                                  asagiri RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 13, 2013 08:37 PM

                                                  I know someone already mentioned this but I would also recommend you check out a store called "Tap Phong", located on Spadina near Kensington Market.

                                                  It's a restaurant supply store with everything you could ever want (knives, utensils, pans, etc). Seeing as how you checked out Chan Chi Kee, I think you'll really like this store.

                                                  Happy Holidays! :D

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: asagiri
                                                    Chemicalkinetics RE: asagiri Dec 13, 2013 08:44 PM

                                                    Thanks. I will try (assuming if there is no heavy snow) :)

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                      jayt90 RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 14, 2013 11:21 AM

                                                      If you get to Tap Phong, let us know how the cleavers and knives compare to CCK. I use a 1302 and 2206 and am amazed at QPR, ease of maintenance, and surprising toughness. Everything I thought my Sabatier carbon steels should be but aren't.

                                                      1. re: jayt90
                                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: jayt90 Dec 14, 2013 12:07 PM

                                                        I went to Chinatown today. I drove -- even it should be a 20 min walk according to google. It was so cold to walk (for me), but it was also too slippy to drive actually. I was 100% alert for that 5-10 min driving.

                                                        I went to Rol San on Spadina as suggested by Petek. It is not as high-end and refined as Casa Imperial or Crown Princess, but I like the place.

                                                        As for Tap Phong, you will be amazed. I remember about a restaurant supply store, but I completely forgot the name and the location, and I didn't know if I had the courage to wander in the snow and cold weather. Ironically, I helped a Chinese lady to pick up her umbrella. We then had a small greeting. As I was walking away, I asked "Do you know any restaurant supply store around here?", and she pointed me to the direction of Tap Phong.

                                                        I didn't buy any knives from Tap Phong. :P I only bought a restaurant teapot. I always wanted one of those plain white Dim Sum teapots. $10-11 including tax.

                                                        What does QPR stand for? I didn't see any QPR knives. I noticed that Tap Phong actually sells expensive knives like Shun and Global and Kikuchi knives:

                                                        http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/chefknivestog...

                                                        I think I also saw a CCK in the other counter, but I did not spend much time on the knives.

                                                        By the way, I finally broke down and bought a winter hat (whatever those call). Suddenly, my ears are no longer frozen, and I was able to walk around. It made a huge difference. :P

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                          jayt90 RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 14, 2013 12:52 PM

                                                          QPR = quality price ratio. Sorry, I hate all the short forms I'm seeing now, and shouldn't indulge.

                                                          1. re: jayt90
                                                            Chemicalkinetics RE: jayt90 Dec 14, 2013 12:55 PM

                                                            I see.

                                                            <If you get to Tap Phong, let us know how the cleavers and knives compare to CCK. >

                                                            So what brand/style of knives do you want me compare to the CCK knives?

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                              jayt90 RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 14, 2013 01:26 PM

                                                              I was wondering if you would find cleavers or knives at Tap Phong from China or Taiwan to compare with CCK. Tap Phong comes up frequently on this board as a moderatley priced knife place, but CCK not so often.

                                                              1. re: jayt90
                                                                Chemicalkinetics RE: jayt90 Dec 14, 2013 01:35 PM

                                                                Oh I see. Sorry, I didn't look very closely at the knives in Tap Phong. CCK knives are moderately priced by North American standard ($50-80) per knife. They are, however, considered somewhat expensive by Chinese standard.

                                                                I heard that Shi Ba Zi carbon steel slicer is very good, and it is about $15 in US, instead of the $50 for the CCK version. If I ever pick one up, then I will let you know. Problem is that I don't even know if Tap Phong carries Shi Ba Zi. Sorry.

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