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Aug 18, 2013 09:00 PM

ISO of best dim sum in scarborough/Markham

Our usual dim sum place at ICookBuffet at Warden and Steeles is no longer doing dim sum. They did this a few years ago but then dim sum came back. sigh. I think people have tastes for dim sum places, what I like you may not like and vice versa.

I liked IcookBuffet because you ordered off the menu, I don't like the carts because depending on where they seat you, by the time food is picked over and all the good stuff is gone. We really like spare ribs and rice and that is always the first thing to go.

We went to some place today inside the Brimley plaza at Sheppard. I think it's called seafood but I can't remember. anyways, the food was ok but the service was...sigh...typical I suppose. They kept taking away our white pepper that we asked for without even asking if we were done with it.

Had to ask a few people for hot sauce. They have free soy milk self serve.

I've gone to Crown Prince (to see how the wealthy eat) and we were not impressed. It was expensive and the food wasn't that great. We got spare ribs and it was mostly fat. We got fried squid and it was all greasy and oily (no batter on it). Spare rib rice was soggy. And the service wasn't that great either. It seemed like unless they know you, forget it.

Are there any other decent places in scarborough or markham someone can recommend? I don't think we are picky eaters, but it's hard to find the right dim sum place that you like. We prefer cantonese style dim sum.

Does anyone remember thousand layer cake (for dim sum)? It's called "Teen chun gao" They used to make it with duck eggs and it has alot of layers. Now it's a malar gao rip off and it's definately not the same. Does anyone know if there's still a place in TO that makes it old school style?

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  1. Spring Villa, Dragon Dynasty, Casa Victoria, Casa Imperial, Elegance, Yang's.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu

      Isn't Casa Victoria and Imperial the same people that do Crowne Prince? Then it's most likely the same style no?

      Spring Villa is expensive but is there substance? Are you a regular Charles? What I hate about these restos is if you are a regular you are treated like a customer, if you aren't, they dont' even bother.

      Will check out Dynasty, Elegance and Yang's. Any recommended dishes?

      1. re: Charles Yu

        Charles, this is what I refer to as your "top 6" tried-and-true recs. It's my Markham bible.

        1. re: Food Tourist

          @ flonie and Food Tourist

          This is my current up-dated Top 6:
          Yang's Seafood Markham, Skyview, Casa Imperial, Yang's Richmond Hill, Spring Villa, Casa Victoria/Elegance (tie).

          For really good Dim Sum at reasonable price that includes all the dishes 'flonie' mentioned - Head over to Skyview before 11.00am for an early bird special

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Dragon Boat doesn't make your Top 6? Haven't been due to the weather. Did try Yang's Markham on Thur. Good service and quality. Early bird before 11 am except Holidays.

            1. re: smfan

              Ha!! Dragon boat made #7!!
              Good overall but IMHO not a lot of really stand out dishes except for one solitary ' Portuguese Chicken and Ham Pie '. However Elegance's was even better.

      2. I am not sure whether the 2 Casas and Crown are under the same owner. However, foodwise, IMO, Casa Imperial is definitely a notch up on Crown. Dishes are more sophisticated and diverse. Traditional items better executed.

        I am no regular of Spring Villa. However, food, during my past few visits this year was 'consistently' good. Lady owner of Maple Yip on the other hand is a regular so I guess that means something?!

        Dragon Dynasty shares the same owner as 'The Grand' near the airport and Big Mouth Kee in Richmond Hill. It is also the only good establishment up north that provides its patrons with some 'Dim Sum Cart' experience!

        Yang's is the counterpart of Casa Imperial. Dim Sum is comparable, equally inventive and blase. Decor is more on the modern side vs Casa Imperial's weird old time European style.

        Lastly, Elegance, Premier, O Mei and the newly opened Richlane Chinese ( old Regal16 ) and Paramount in Richmond Hill are all pretty decent. Much better when compare to their more inferior Scarborough or majority downtown brethrens.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Charles Yu

          Surprised Charles that you are not suggesting Emperor...has it gone downhill? Glad to hear that Regal 16 has bitten the dust...that place was terrible. Didn't realize Omei was a dim sum place...don't hear too much about that part of their operations, only their Lobster dinners. Premiere is run by same people as the Crown Prince/Princess. Elegance is part of the Dragon Dynasty group too. Where is the Paramount?

          1. re: T Long

            Emperor's dim sum I found so-so. However, with their current early bird discount specials ( $2.75 all S,M & L ), it might be a good 'price-point' alternative.
            The new Richlane Chinese Cuisine is the reincarnation of Regal 16.
            O Mei's dim Sum actually is pretty decent. Have a nice mixture of Cantonese and Northern style. A bit rough at the edges but quite flavorful, Some dishes can be a bit too greasy though.
            The new Paramount is on the 2nd floor of Time Square

            1. re: Charles Yu

              I think Shangri-la is still decent. I was at the Century Palace in Markham today....I think even ICook was better.

              1. re: T Long

                Hmm, we were going ot try Century Palace (is that at new century plaza)? Never really liked that place but it's familiar.

                Has anyone gone to "Perfect Chinese"? It's on Sheppard I think. I haven't been but my sister knows someone that goes there regularly. I heard it's really popular cause it's cheap. But please I'd like there to be some decent service.

                1. re: flonie

                  I would'n't go to any chinese restaurant known for being cheap hoping for good service. I've been to perfect a few times and find the dim sum not that great, but its cheap. I think service is pretty much the same everywhere. You get what you have to ask for hot sauce a few times....its part of the dim sum experience! Don't get offended and sometimes you just have to be forceful to get what you want.

                  1. re: szw

                    I guess you are right, but since I was paying premium $$$ at Crown prince I thought I would be getting better service...unfortunately the service was like any other "cheap" place

        2. I've been to ICook for dim sum and thought it was pretty pedestrian, albeit inexpensive...when did they discontinue dim sum? If ICook is your standard for excellence, but a place like Crown Prince (food and service) is not to your liking, I doubt any of Charles's suggestions will work well for you. Landmark @ Vic Park & McNichol is relatively inexpensive and has surprisingly good dim sum for the price. Places like Very Fair and Milliken Bar both @ Kennedy/Finch, Full House @ Midland/Finch, Ginger & Onion in Market Village, Markham, or Regal @ McCowan/Finch would rate more on a level with ICook.

          7 Replies
          1. re: T Long

            Crown Prince is my Mom's favourite early bird place and I thought a number of items were fairly good including their har gow and tofu fa. They have a deep fried shrimp dumpling/wonton that was really good as well. $2.80 for S/M/L during their early bird time is not too bad. You can do a lot worse at those prices.

            We also like Full House if we are in the mood for a cheaper place. I think it's $2.18 or so for any dim sum item. Their spare rib rice is a steal at $2.18 and I've typically enjoyed it and always orders another one to take home. If you are going to try out Full House, make sure you get there before 11:30, maybe even a little earlier as they fill up fast.

            I thought the place at Sheppard/Brimley inside Oriental Centre wasn't bad foodwise. But the couple of time I went, the staff was swamped and I see people going into the little rooms to fill their own water and grab extra spoons and chop sticks.

            1. re: ragged25

              Full House is the discount sister of the Casa's!

              1. re: ragged25

                Really? People even went to go fill their own water? Sigh, I guess that really speaks volumes to the service. When we went it wasn't even busy, just servers walking back and forth.

                We live downtown so if we have to get to CP before 11:30 that's tough. I'm not seasoned for early bird dim sum, but what time do I have to get there to still get the $2.80 pricing? Do I have to finish by a specific time?

                Waking up early for dim sum is hard.

                Re: Full house if I get there by 11:30 does that mean everything I order is cheap or do I have to order it before 11:30?

                We used to do the late special dim sum which starts at 1:30 or 2, that's never confusing.

                1. re: flonie

                  Haha...ya, my aunt stormed in there to get her own hot water, which I didn't really think was a good idea given that the waitresses were all running around at a fairly quick pace and easily could have bumped into her. There were definitely others that took it upon themselves to do the same. LHL has gotten pretty popular and the service is largely due to understaffing. I've had a few dinners there and the service, when not busy have been very good. I like the food at LHL more so than Full House.

                  If 11:30 is tough for you to get to Crown Prince, then you are not going have a chance with the early bird. The place opens at either 9:00 or 9:30 and people line up outside the restaurant before it opens. My Mom usually lines up and I shamelessly join her an hour later at 10:30 as waking up early for dim sum is not my thing either.

                  As for Full House, there's no time restriction, so for you, it might be best to go after the rush, say 1:30 like you did with iCook.

              2. re: T Long

                ICook pedestrian? What's that supposed to mean!?!!!! They stopped Dim sum maybe a month ago. At first they said they were closing up for a few weeks to do renovations. When I called to see if they were done, I was surprised they answered the phone and inquired if they were done.

                ICook used to be cheap for afternoon dim sum but at one point maybe a few months ago they no longer had the discount dim sum after 1:30. It was pretty pricey at least imo. Maybe what, $80 for dim sum for six. I can't remember. But I remember certain dishes were pricey.

                I dont' mind laying down money as long as I get good food with good service. If I have to flail my arms constantly to get someone then that affects the experience.

                They told me they were never closed for renos, and any renos were minor. Basically teh owner says they don't make back enough for dim sum and it's not worthwhile to keep it going.

                We like the taste of ICook and it was pretty good service wise, maybe not always but decent.

                We did go to Crown Prince and food and service was not that great. It's not even about price point, well it is to a certain point. If I am going to be paying $6 for a small sized dish, it better taste really good. Nothing mediocre. The best thing at CP was the pumpkin buns but only because it was a novelty.

                Ginger & Onion? I Think they are the same people that used to run Honey and Garlic. No thanks. We went there a few times and had their peking duck special. They gave our order away to another table, made us wait fourty five minutes for the dish and at that point we were full. Complained to the manager and they didn't even apologize. Never again. These people used to run 168 at the basement Sheppard and Kennedy and those people were a piece of work then. I'd steer clear of any association with those people.

                Now these restos your recommending, are you regulars there? Reason being, if you are a regular you get treated differently. It's a sad fact.

                We used to go to Congee Queen and the mgr knew us well. When he was sent to another location, they introduced us to the new mgr twice on different occassions but she never recognized us. We didn't get the comp dessert, no preferential treatment for seating. It's good to be a VIP don't get me wrong.

                1. re: T Long

                  Thanks for the Landmark recommendation. Indeed it was in general better food and better value than pretty much all the places we've tried downtown. Standout was the pineapple BBQ pork buns (even if the meat was a bit fatty).. saw a plate on most nearby tables - fresh out of the oven with generous crust, the bun was almost melt-in-your-mouth. Only thing I wouldn't get again were the mango salad shrimp rolls - shrimp was crisp but the rolls mostly consisted of mayonnaise.

                  1. re: ibbileyta

                    Agree that most 'Mango salad Shrimp Roll' are stuffed full of mayonnaise.
                    However, the 'Peach and Shrimp Wafer roll' of 'Casa Imperial', with mayo dressing 'on the side' is worth trying. Light and greaseless shell, crunchy shrimps and sweet peach slices together provide a nice textural feel and taste combo

                2. The free soy milk place is named the LHL Seafood Restaurant.

                  1. Hi Flonie, I agree with Charles, Casa Imperial is one of my favourite dim sum places. But, as a warning it's a tad more expensive and they charge different price by size ... But they do have a rendition of the teen chun gao you're looking for (it's a papaya one instead). I have a picture of it here

                    If you're looking for an averaged price place, I personally always go to Ginger and Onion in Market Village. They are definitely not as good as Casa Imperial but decent and $2.70 per dish. More details about it if you're interested