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7days in Toronto. 1 long list of restaurants to try. Please help me sort it out. =)

w
work4food Jul 26, 2013 09:56 AM

Hello Toronto,
This is my second trip to Toronto. First time was New Years Eve of 2011.
It was very cold and most of the restaurants were closed so me and my husband decided to return to Toronto in this summer.
I was going through other postings and gather up some of the places to try but we only have 7days in Toronto (7/27-8/2). So please help me choose the must try places. Or new recommendations are welcome. Also we are staying 3days in down town and 3days in Markham. We don't mine driving out to other neighborhoods.

Dim sum
1.Rol San
2.Asian Legend
3.Crown Princess
4.Dragon Boat
5.Spring Villa
6.Legend
7.Yang's
8.Casa Victoria
9.Casa Imperial

soup dumpling
1.Ding Tai Fung
2.Mother's dumpling
3.Northern Dumpling Kitchen

Chinese
1.Lee
2.O Mei
3.Wonton Hut

Japanese
1.Guu

Canadian
1.Black Hoof
2.Canoe
3.Sidecar
4.Scaramouche(french)
5.Frank's Kitchen

Additionally any recommendation for good Foie gras dish restaurant and unique Canadian dishes that we must try?
Thank you very very much in advance. =)

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  1. t
    TeacherFoodie RE: work4food Jul 26, 2013 10:22 AM

    I can only comment on Lee for Chinese which I absolutely LOVE! You will need to make reservations here as it gets very busy, especially on weekends.

    Also, Congee Queen at Don Mills and Lawrence is pretty good for Chinese, but I like Lee more.

    For other Canadian restaurants, you may want to consider Acadia, Richmond Station, Woodlot, or Chantecler.

    Scaramouche is supposed to be amazing, and my brother and sister-in-law absolutely love it, but I have not tried it yet.

    Have a great trip!

    7 Replies
    1. re: TeacherFoodie
      t
      TeacherFoodie RE: TeacherFoodie Jul 26, 2013 10:47 AM

      Just to clarify - I am referring to Lee Gardens for Chinese.

      1. re: TeacherFoodie
        w
        work4food RE: TeacherFoodie Jul 26, 2013 11:37 AM

        oh I was referring to Lee by Sursur.
        Not a good place?

        1. re: work4food
          t
          TeacherFoodie RE: work4food Jul 26, 2013 11:50 AM

          I haven't been so I can't comment. Someone commented below though.

      2. re: TeacherFoodie
        w
        work4food RE: TeacherFoodie Jul 26, 2013 10:50 AM

        Thank you TeacherFoodie!
        I was little hesitant about Lee since I read some bad reviews on Yelp but I will def. try them now. =)
        Other restos I will check it out.
        Thanks again.

        1. re: work4food
          t
          TeacherFoodie RE: work4food Jul 26, 2013 11:07 AM

          If you happen to be downtown by the water Against The Grain has a wonderful patio. I was there yesterday for drinks - very relaxing and great view of the lake!

          1. re: work4food
            t
            TeacherFoodie RE: work4food Jul 26, 2013 11:22 AM

            Note, again, I was referring to Lee Gardens.

            1. re: TeacherFoodie
              w
              work4food RE: TeacherFoodie Jul 26, 2013 12:31 PM

              ok understood. =)
              thank you!

        2. Breadcrumbs RE: work4food Jul 26, 2013 10:36 AM

          I'd highly recommend Canoe for the view but I think you'll find better meals elsewhere. Why not stop in at Canoe for drinks in the bar area and then you can dine elsewhere. If you do go for drinks, it's worth knowing that Canoe is popular with the business crowd as it is situated in the heart of the financial services district. Mid afternoon would be less busy or, if you are going in the evening, the earlier in the week you go the less likely it is that the bar will be jammed.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Breadcrumbs
            w
            work4food RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 26, 2013 10:54 AM

            Hello Breadcrumbs,
            I'm currently 6months pregnant so drinking is not recommended. =)
            I will take Canoe off the list tho.
            Thanks for the suggestion!

          2. jlunar RE: work4food Jul 26, 2013 10:41 AM

            Soooo:

            Dim sum - I'd choose maybe 2-3. Crown Princess if you want to stay downtown, but I don't see why if you're in Markham. That being the case, Yang's would be my top choice. I haven't been to either Casa recently, but they were historically good. Consistency is a hard one for Chinese restaurants.

            photos, possibly menus of:
            Crown Princess - http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=27065...
            Yang's - http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=27065...

            soup dumpling
            Ding Tai Fung for XLB only. Go to Northern Dumpling Kitchen for everything else. For some reason, I have photos of nothing from either. Must rectify that.

            Chinese
            I don't know Lee unless you mean the one downtown by Susur. That's not what I'd call Chinese as much as fusion. If you want great Chinese-influenced modern cooking, see if you can book a last-minute tasting menu at Chantecler (likely not, but worth a shot).

            http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=chant...

            O Mei's lobster 4-ways is quite delicious, but even if you're only two, it's worth getting at least the maggi preparation of a small lobster. If available, try the fried milk donuts for dessert.

            O'mei - http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=27065... (from this chowmeet dinner: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8861...

            )

            Japanese
            For izakaya, Guu is fine. I would counter with Kingyo though. I would also throw in some yakkitori (around the corner from Kingyo) at Zakkushi.

            Kingyo - http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=kingy...
            Zakkushi - http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=27065...

            Canadian
            Always a favourite: Black Hoof. I would totally go.
            Canoe is fancy pants. Open only on the weekdays for lunch/dinner, fyi.
            Sidecar - great drinks. If you go on a Sunday night and express some interest in cocktails, they may let you upstairs to the Toronto Temperance Society (if it's not busy up there - usually members only).
            People love Scaramouche. Me, not so much, but that's just me.
            Frank's Kitchen - never been.

            Other suggestions:
            - Sabai Sabai (Thai) - Get the fish. Get the wings. Really fantastic food here.
            - Edulis (Spanish) - Make sure you end off with the baba au rhum if they have it. http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=27065...
            - Bar Isabel (late night, Spanish influenced) - Grant Van Gameran is awesome. http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=27065...
            - 416 Snack Bar (late night, mixed) Love their KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) and their doubles here. Cheap, packed, bar. http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=416+S...
            - One2 Snacks (Malaysian) Laksa, kuih (desserts only on Sat), and take out. It's a tiny space. In Scarborough. http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=27065...
            - Speaking of Korean Fried Chicken, go to Galleria Supermarket at York Mills and Leslie. Once you walk in, hang a left and head to the far end of the store. There, you will find steam tables and a huge island with things being made. Line up at the cash by the steam tables and order Mom's Fried Chicken. Wander store for 30m until your beeper goes off. Weekdays before 7:30 is best - they run out fast. http://www.flickr.com/photos/27065387...

            6 Replies
            1. re: jlunar
              TorontoJo RE: jlunar Jul 26, 2013 11:04 AM

              Λ Λ Λ Λ Λ Λ Λ Λ
              This post. 100%.

              1. re: TorontoJo
                c
                childofthestorm RE: TorontoJo Jul 26, 2013 11:19 AM

                Yeah, visitors searching our site in the coming months need to reference this post.

              2. re: jlunar
                Charles Yu RE: jlunar Jul 26, 2013 12:00 PM

                Nice job! jlunar!!
                You didn't mention the 'karoke' machine in O'Mei!! Ha!! :D

                1. re: jlunar
                  w
                  work4food RE: jlunar Jul 26, 2013 12:12 PM

                  First of all WOW.
                  Amazing photos. I would have loved to join O'mei chowmeet dinner!.
                  Chantecler, Zakkushi and 416 Snack Bar looks amazing as well. I better hurry up and trying to get reservation.
                  I recently did Korean chicken tour of my own in NY so I'm little chickened out at the moment. Thank you for the suggestion tho. =)
                  Thank you so much for detailed recommendation.

                  1. re: jlunar
                    f
                    fickle RE: jlunar Jul 26, 2013 12:47 PM

                    +1 for everything JLunar said.
                    Here are some pix of the dumplings (both soup, fried and steamed), shredded pork with cilantro & chili and the pancake with smoked pork from Northern Dumpling Kitchen.

                     
                     
                     
                    1. re: fickle
                      w
                      work4food RE: fickle Jul 26, 2013 04:26 PM

                      hi fickle,
                      Thank you very much for the photo.
                      They all look delicious!

                  2. m
                    millygirl RE: work4food Jul 26, 2013 11:03 AM

                    Yes definitely to Scaramouche. It is my favourite place. Service and food is always bang on.

                    Have you seen both menus on the website? One side of the restaurant is the more casual Pasta Bar and Grill and the other, Scaramouche is a little more upscale.

                    Ask for a window seat!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: millygirl
                      w
                      work4food RE: millygirl Jul 26, 2013 12:29 PM

                      Hello Millygirl,
                      Yes I did see both of their menu and can't help but to salivate. Just got a reservation at Scaramouche for Monday and requested for window seat. =)
                      Thank you for your recommendation!

                    2. Charles Yu RE: work4food Jul 26, 2013 11:11 AM

                      Save your dim sum experience up north!! If you must eat them down town, go to Crown Princess. For up town, I'll choose Spring Villa, Yang's and Casa Imperial.

                      For Soup dumpling, personally, I prefer Northern Dumplong Kitchen. They also offer more superior 'other dishes'. I ate at Ding Tai Fung a few weeks back. Very disappointed! Apart from the Xiao Lung Bao, the rest of the food were rough with an edge! Was not impressed at all!

                      Lee?! Apart from the 'Singapore Slaw', why bother, when there are so many other choices!! Don't be taken in by the Susur Lee name! Way over-rated!

                      I'm not sure which part of the world are you coming from? Irrespective, the O Mei's Giant Lobster 4-5 ways are 'not to be missed'!! You won't get that sort of preparation in one single meal!

                      As for Won-Ton Hut, IMO, best 'total package'( broth, noodles, won-ton and condiments ) Won-Ton noodle offering in town. You would need to go to Vancouver for better products!

                      Guu was 'interesting' for the experience ( if you like that sort of noisy ambiance?! ) Food was acceptable but I prefer Zakkushi or Kingyo's better. For really great Japanese, I would grab a cab and head over to 'Sushi Kaji'! ( although the price point is totally different! ). For sushi, head over to 'Zen' when you are up north.

                      Except from Sidecar, which I haven't been, the rest of your Canadian/French/Western list looks great. Amongst Canoe, Scaramouche and Frank's kitchen, there's quite a bit of over-lapping in cooking style though! May be diversify a bit into Spanish or Portugese? Chiado, Patria,Torito's or Bar Isabel all good choices.

                      Lastly, you should find good FoieGras dishes offer in Canoe or Scaramouche! Pastis Express still offers both Touchon and seared version on their menu!

                      Have fun!!

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Charles Yu
                        w
                        work4food RE: Charles Yu Jul 26, 2013 04:20 PM

                        Hello Charles,
                        Yes I was very overwhelmed by such a long list of dim sum choices. Thanks for clear things out!
                        I think I had XLB, small dumplings in spicy broth, Dan Dan mien and egg dessert two years ago. Only thing that was memorable was XLB. Maybe I will have more luck with northern dumpling kitchen. What other dishes do you recommend from Northern dumpling kitchen?

                        I will totally skip Lee.

                        We are driving up from NY. NYC have big Chinese population as well. But I don't think we have O Mei style of lobster prep. So can I pick which preparation I want the lobster in or they just have set menu? If I can pick them which preparation do you recommend the most?

                        I've been to Hong Kong and Guang Zhou. Every morning I would have fabulous wonton mie from small stores all around the city. I have not found any compatible place in NYC so far so I am pretty excited to try Wonton Hut.

                        I would love to try some nice sushi places however I'm currently pregnant so good izakaya will have to suffice. Zakkushi looks very promising for yakitori.

                        I already made reservation for Scaramouche. I will check out the other places.

                        Thank you sooooo much for your recommendations. I really appreciated!

                        1. re: work4food
                          Charles Yu RE: work4food Jul 26, 2013 05:26 PM

                          With the huge population of Taiwanese across the bridge from Manhattan, I'm surprise you still want to try Northern style dumplings in Toronto?!

                          Anyways, I love Northern Dumpling Kitchen's version of Dan Dan Mien. However, you have to give the award winning 'Sliced leg of pork in garlic chili oil soya sauce' 蒜泥白肉. So addictive and good! Their dumplings, pot stickers and their double smoked pork with Chinese crepe wrapping are all pretty fine too!

                          O'mei's Giant lobster 4-5 ways are fixed in their 'steamed, sauteed and fried' preparation options. For the fourth or fifth dishes, depending on the size of the beast and amount of the tamale, one can request either fried rice or braised noodle with the tamale as well as steamed egg custard with tamale ( charamushi ). Save room for the 3-4 complimentary desserts!!

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8893...

                          Be warned! Though WonTon Hut's won ton noodles are pretty good by Toronto standard. However, when compared to some of Hong Kong's best, they still have ways to go yet!! So, please don't raise your hope too high even though I'm sure you'll enjoy the noodles over any NYC has to offer!

                          Again, Zakkushi, by Toronto standard is pretty darn good. However, since you are from the Big Apple, I hope you won't try to make comparison with the likes of Yakitori Totto or Tori Shin?!! Otherwise you might be a bit disappointed!

                          Ref: Scaramouche. Did you by chance try asking for a window table with a view of downtown whilst making your reservation?? Worth giving them another call!!

                          Have fun!!

                          1. re: Charles Yu
                            w
                            work4food RE: Charles Yu Jul 27, 2013 10:40 PM

                            Thank u for the advise. We are finally in Toronto. Just got back from guu since it was pretty close to where we were staying. Food was ok. Very young and loud scene. Most of all I was glad that we didn't have to wait for the table.
                            Yes I am used to joe Shanghai and Shanghai diner in nyc but Joe Shanghai's skin on xlb have been getting thick every time I visit. Very disappointing.
                            Wonton hut and zakkushi I will take your advice.
                            I did requst window seat for scramouche. Really hope I get it tho.
                            Is there any other market place worth a visit besides Kensington and st. Lawrence? I also been to Pacific mall...
                            Thanks again Charles! =)

                            1. re: work4food
                              KhaoSanRoad RE: work4food Jul 28, 2013 06:30 AM

                              we have a few interesting little markets worth checking out:

                              galleria korean market
                              arz persian market
                              j-town japanese market (taros might be worth a stop as well)
                              distillery for soma and beer

                              - khao san road

                              1. re: KhaoSanRoad
                                w
                                work4food RE: KhaoSanRoad Jul 28, 2013 09:06 AM

                                Thank you! Going to Kensington Market today. I will check out the other places as well!

                                1. re: work4food
                                  justxpete RE: work4food Jul 28, 2013 09:45 AM

                                  Stop by FIKA in Kensington. It's a cafe from one of the best restaurants in the city, Splendido. Their ice coffee is delicious, and they have some good pastries and sandwiches as well. The patio out back is really nice as well. It's south of Baldwin, but I can't remember the street name.

                                  There's a churros stand that you'll see as well. If you get one, don't get the chocolate syrup - the churros are quite good but the syrup is horrible.

                                  1. re: justxpete
                                    MissBingBing RE: justxpete Jul 28, 2013 11:12 AM

                                    That street is called Kensington.

                      2. l
                        Luvtooeat RE: work4food Jul 26, 2013 03:07 PM

                        In preferred order

                        Dim sum
                        1.Yang's
                        2.Crown Princess
                        3.Casa Imperial

                        4.Dragon Boat
                        5.Casa Victoria
                        6.Legend
                        7.Spring Villa
                        8.Asian Legend
                        9.Rol San

                        Soup dumpling
                        1.Northern Dumpling Kitchen
                        2.Ding Tai Fung
                        3.Mother's dumpling

                        Chinese
                        1.Taste of China ( tasting menu )
                        2.Lee
                        3.O Mei
                        4.Wonton Hut

                        Japanese
                        1.Sushi Kaji 860 The Queensway
                        2.Guu
                        3.Kanji Sushi 1346 Queen St. W.

                        Canadian
                        1.Scaramouche(french)
                        2.Canoe
                        3.Frank's Kitchen
                        4.Black Hoof
                        5.Sidecar

                        .

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: Luvtooeat
                          Charles Yu RE: Luvtooeat Jul 26, 2013 03:40 PM

                          Ranking Taste of China, Lee, O Mei and Wonton Hut in preferred order?? To me it's like trying to compare and rank Apple, Lychee, Papaya and Grape??!!
                          In downtown, I would prefer Crown Princess over Taste of China, albeit price of the Crown is much steeper.

                          1. re: Charles Yu
                            l
                            Luvtooeat RE: Charles Yu Jul 26, 2013 04:46 PM

                            Wilth all due respect please read before commenting
                            she was referring to
                            "Just to clarify - I am referring to Lee Gardens for Chinese"
                            not Susur
                            Comparing " Quality and Price " Taste of China wins Hands Down
                            IMHO
                            2nd that's my opinion and you have yours , it would be a boring world if we all thought exactly the same.

                            1. re: Luvtooeat
                              Charles Yu RE: Luvtooeat Jul 26, 2013 05:36 PM

                              Hello Luvtoeat!
                              Sorry if my posting or wording upset you! Not meant to be that way!!
                              However, I was just curious to see a comparison being made between a high end dining place that serves a unique Giant Lobster 5 ways with a Comfort food hole-in-the-wall Won-Ton noodle place! That's all?!
                              Lastly, I welcome and am fine with your comment about Taste of China! After-all, this is an open forum in a free country!!. You should see some of the more explosive exchanges pertaining to Susur Lee or Splendido!! Ha!!
                              However, if one places food tastiness over price, I would recommend the OP to reserve some of the quota and eat 'Cantonese' up north instead!! The Emperor, for example, is a worthy addition!! Pick the day they have the Peking Duck on special and order the Fried Oyster with peppered honey glaze to go with it! Yummmm!!

                              1. re: Charles Yu
                                l
                                Luvtooeat RE: Charles Yu Jul 27, 2013 05:58 AM

                                No Worries
                                I just assumed given OP many choices and limited time that Taste of China is a win win on Quality and Price and generous portions
                                A place that has Joanne Kates , Cory Mintz ,and Restaurant owners eating there ( tasting menu or reg menu ) should be visited for "one" of the downtown eats

                                But then again its just my opinion = )

                                Can't wait to hear the summary from work4food when the trip is done
                                Cheers

                                PS no comment on Sushi choices ??

                                .

                                1. re: Luvtooeat
                                  Teep RE: Luvtooeat Jul 27, 2013 06:22 AM

                                  +1 for Taste of China.

                                  Lee Gardens is for non-Chinese who doesn't know any better.

                                  1. re: Luvtooeat
                                    Charles Yu RE: Luvtooeat Jul 27, 2013 08:50 AM

                                    Good morning Luvtooeat!
                                    For traditional sushi, Zen or Cafe Michi ( closer to me ) have been my go to places for years.
                                    For the occasional splurge, Sushi Kaji is a no brainer, even though I hated that looooong drive!!
                                    JaBistro, the current fan favorite, is OK. But for the price, I find it more show than substance.
                                    Haven't tried Kanji Sushi. Again, too far a drive for me.

                            2. re: Luvtooeat
                              w
                              work4food RE: Luvtooeat Jul 26, 2013 05:09 PM

                              Thank you Luvtooeat!

                              1. re: work4food
                                l
                                Luvtooeat RE: work4food Jul 27, 2013 06:07 AM

                                Your most welcome
                                Hope you have a great trip , the weather looks like its going to be very comfortable

                            3. justsayn RE: work4food Jul 26, 2013 06:59 PM

                              You have so much great advice here. You are sure to have a great time! The only thing that stands out to me is why Lee Garden? Just don't get the attraction to that one?

                              Have a great time and please be sure to report back!

                              1. r
                                ragged25 RE: work4food Jul 27, 2013 08:00 AM

                                I would probably add Harbord Room or Marben for a quick burger/cocktail. Splendido's foie appetizer was almost a meal in itself and always enjoyable. Go for that at the bar with a glass of wine would also be a treat.

                                I also had an enjoyable meal at Ici Bistro, loved their lobster bisque and tasty soufflé.

                                Sidecar is a solid resto but not particularly a standout.

                                1. meatnveg RE: work4food Jul 28, 2013 05:45 PM

                                  your Canadian list is missing Beast.

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