HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
What's your latest food project? Share your adventure

Chinese near Spadina and Dundas for the uninitiated

Herne Mar 6, 2013 01:35 PM

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?

  1. u
    urbancoupleto Mar 12, 2013 01:03 PM

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

    1. justsayn Mar 12, 2013 07:21 AM

      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
        T Long Mar 12, 2013 09:48 AM

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

        1. re: justsayn
          Herne Mar 12, 2013 11:47 AM

          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. b
          Bigtigger Mar 8, 2013 06:02 AM

          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
            C mac Mar 10, 2013 03:31 AM

            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.


            1. re: C mac
              MissBingBing Mar 10, 2013 05:34 AM

              Do you order the "special" tea?;}

              1. re: MissBingBing
                caitlink Mar 10, 2013 08:25 AM

                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
                  Herne Mar 10, 2013 09:52 AM

                  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
                    caitlink Mar 10, 2013 07:07 PM

                    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
                  C mac Mar 10, 2013 07:08 PM

                  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. MissBingBing Mar 8, 2013 05:49 AM

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

              1. T Long Mar 7, 2013 09:00 PM

                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
                  MissBingBing Mar 8, 2013 04:43 AM

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

                2. mrsleny Mar 7, 2013 04:07 PM

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

                  1. h
                    Herne Mar 7, 2013 01:28 PM

                    How about E-Pan?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Herne
                      Wench Foraday Mar 7, 2013 05:47 PM

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

                      1. re: Wench Foraday
                        Teep Mar 11, 2013 11:14 AM

                        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. Dr. John Mar 7, 2013 09:15 AM

                      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
                        jennjen18 Mar 8, 2013 04:37 AM

                        +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
                          Teep Mar 11, 2013 11:13 AM

                          I guess you haven't been to E Pan?

                        2. Kagemusha Mar 7, 2013 08:33 AM

                          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
                            jennjen18 Mar 8, 2013 04:36 AM

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

                            1. re: Kagemusha
                              warlock Mar 11, 2013 07:16 AM

                              +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
                                Kagemusha Mar 11, 2013 11:05 AM

                                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
                                  justsayn Mar 11, 2013 11:55 AM

                                  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
                                    Kagemusha Mar 11, 2013 01:02 PM

                                    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
                                      Herne Mar 11, 2013 01:38 PM

                                      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
                                        Kagemusha Mar 11, 2013 04:16 PM

                                        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
                                          Herne Mar 11, 2013 09:12 PM

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

                                          1. re: Herne
                                            Kagemusha Mar 12, 2013 05:18 AM

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

                                      2. re: Kagemusha
                                        justsayn Mar 11, 2013 02:09 PM

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

                                    2. re: Kagemusha
                                      warlock Mar 12, 2013 06:56 AM

                                      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. biggreenmatt Mar 6, 2013 02:47 PM

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

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: biggreenmatt
                                    Herne Mar 6, 2013 04:56 PM

                                    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
                                      happycamper Mar 6, 2013 09:54 PM

                                      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.

                                    Show Hidden Posts