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Chinese near Spadina and Dundas for the uninitiated

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  • Herne Mar 6, 2013 01:35 PM
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I'm thinking of inviting some friends for a REAL chinese meal as opposed to the neighbourhood mom and pop variety. So I assume it should be as clean and quiet as possible, have an English menu and preferably as much space between tables as possible. I can think of the Asian Legend as a place that is close to what I am looking for.

Any other suggestions?

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  1. .Kom Jug Yuen. Best Chinese BBQ on the block.

    2 Replies
    1. re: biggreenmatt

      And the best e Noodles in the city--according to me But I doubt it is a good entree into Chinatown for people who have never been there before.

      1. re: biggreenmatt

        KJY is real chinese alright, but it is definitely a mom n' pop kind of place, and I don't think the cleanliness is up to par even for Chinatown standards.

      2. House of Gourmet on Dundas north side just east of Spadina. Solid Cantonese, good BBQ items, great wonton noodle soup.

        11 Replies
        1. re: Kagemusha

          +1 - variety galore. There's always something for anyone there. You can also watch the hustle bustle.

          1. re: Kagemusha

            +1 for House of Gourmet...very consistent... Oh I just read OP's post again....this place is not quiet though and even an ant might have trouble squeezing through between tables...

            1. re: warlock

              Hmmm. Booths and reasonably-spaced tables and a lower-than-usual noise level was my experience recently. Sure you've got the right place?

              1. re: Kagemusha

                I believe the resto with booths is Noble while HoG is just a bunch of round tables with some squares on the sides. HoG tends to mix and match diners and it is a bit of a circus in there. If HoG has booths they never stood out to me....while Noble's always have.

                1. re: justsayn

                  Look like small booths to me. It can be a busy joint. If the OP wants tomb-like ambiance, he's unlikely to find it at these places. Food's what matters to me.

                  1. re: Kagemusha

                    The OP does not want tomb-like ambiance. He wants an eating environment where you can talk to someone across the table without shouting. Perhaps there are no Chinese restaurants in Toronto's Chinatown that fill the bill.

                    1. re: Herne

                      Dunno but maybe the OP should stick to what they know/like. Noise/bustle quotients vary with time of day and day of the week. If they're not humming at peak times, there's something wrong. Maybe off-peak dining would be preferable to the OP and guests.

                      1. re: Kagemusha

                        Maybe the OP should ask questions of posters who have answers.

                        1. re: Herne

                          You're so welcome! We're not magicians, dude. The places are what they are. Why so snarky?

                    2. re: Kagemusha

                      Yea - like I said - could be booths off to the side. We have always been seated at the big round tables...

                  2. re: Kagemusha

                    LOl Kagemusha...I think you are confused....I go to HOG all the time....they don't have booths....as Justsayn pointed out....just a bunch of round and square tables...I know the layout like the back of my hands....they have 3 rows....two rows comprises of round tables and one row of square tables...

              2. I can't think of anything that is truly clean and quiet in the Dundas/Spadina Chinatown. However, Lee Garden is my go-to for "safe" Chinese food for visiting friends and family that need a gentle introduction. It is bustling and relatively noisy. But the menus are in English and there are plenty of Cantonese style dishes that have broad appeal. Some of our favourite dishes there include:

                - shredded duck meat soup
                - beef tenderloin with Chinese steak sauce
                - deep fried squid with garlic pepper
                - tofu pie (don't laugh; it's tasty)

                2 Replies
                1. re: Dr. John

                  +1 for here too -- for a full Cantonese dinner that you'd want to impress your guests with. I think its cleanER for sure. I think it may be a bit more pricier than the other restos in Chinatown...?

                  1. re: Dr. John

                    I guess you haven't been to E Pan?

                  2. How about E-Pan?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Herne

                      E-Pan would be my suggestion. Their decor is neutral and classy and they have good food.

                      1. re: Wench Foraday

                        I have to say their standards have slipped a bit since the change in ownership more than a year ago but still one of the better ones.

                    2. I have brought my non-Chinese in-laws to Noble. It's fairly clean and quiet.

                      1. Lee Garden and E-Pan top my list. But it's been over a year since I've been to either.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: T Long

                          Agree, don't care much for the food at either but they're certainly the most vanilla.

                        2. Dim sum at Crown Princess? Very posh and whitebread-friendly.

                          1. And don't forget the fantastic dumplings at Yummy Yummy Dumplings, small but clean, downstairs on the E side of Huron just N of Dundas. The pork and chive are particularly toothsome. And big bags of 35 frozen dumplings go for a ridiculous $10. Nice people running it, too.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Bigtigger

                              I go here about once every two weeks. Love this place. It's called Hong Shing at Dundas and University. Not sure how quiet it is.

                              http://hongshingrestaurant.com/

                              1. re: C mac

                                Do you order the "special" tea?;}

                                1. re: MissBingBing

                                  If you are going for clean and good food, my choice would be Lee Garden over Asian Legend.

                                  In addition to Dr John's recs, pea shoot with garlic.
                                  Deep fried chicken or grandfather chicken
                                  Pepper salt fried oysters
                                  Chinese broccoli with seafood in crunchy phoneix basket

                                  1. re: caitlink

                                    Looks like I should forget about quiet as an issue. I have never been to Lee Garden-that I remember- so I'll look into it.
                                    Thanks for the replies so far.

                                    1. re: Herne

                                      If u want quiet, u will have to go to Crown Princess or Dynasty (?) - fine dining but closer to the Yorkville area and out of Chinatown.
                                      I don't think Asian Legend is quiet either. I do remember it being very 'dark' dim lighting the last time I was there for dinner.
                                      The restaurants in the Baldwin area were pretty ok the last time we went. Some of them have the lobster specials.

                                  2. re: MissBingBing

                                    Used to order the cold tea all the time when I was younger. Would hit the place up after a night partying with the crew...lol.

                                    I remember one time me and some friends went down there after a night at the pub. One of my friends ordered "cold tea" and the waiter looked at him strange and said "you know it's only 11:30 right?" lol we were so out of it we didn't even know what time it was and my friend trying to hide his embarrassment politely responded with "I'll have a budwiser please" lol

                              2. The most obvious choice is Asian Legend as you pointed out. Otherwise I agree with Lee Garden, E-pan or possibly Noble. Lee Garden is tightest quarters with tables close together.

                                When I think of my friends who fear Chinatown, the thing that gets them most is the food hanging in the window or stewing in containers. It freaks some people out. So because of that, I would rule out HoG or Goldstone.

                                Yummy Yummy Dumplings is a good choice too but keep in mind it is a walk down below grade which can seem a bit risky to some.

                                Lastly there is the very neat and clean Mother's Dumplings - assuming they've kept it nice as I haven't been there for at least a year.

                                Now if Sai Woo was still around.....

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: justsayn

                                  Ha Ha...Sai Woo was a treasure. They didn't even like Chinese customers that much (saw it for myself)!

                                  1. re: justsayn

                                    I think Asian Legend or E-Pan is going to get some business. Most of the people who don't relish eating in the Spadina Dundas area fear dirt more than anything else. I ignore most all of it except sticking to the washroom floors which seems a bit excessive to me.

                                    I'd chose Congee Queen on Lawrence but while the food is great it's missing the atmosphere of downtown.

                                  2. My go-to is always GARDEN on Chestnut....