Update on Broadview and Gerrard
I will be working in the 'hood for the next couple of weeks. I am not familiar with this area and have been having trouble finding lunch! I have been searching other Chowhound postings and as one writer said, the area is a ghost town. So far I have tried Hanoi 3 Seasons and Dumpling House. Hanoi had passable pho, not much depth to the soup (I understand it's chicken and not beef based). I had a pretty tasty Xinjiang chicken dish at Dumpling House - the serving was astronomical (i.e. I only made a small dent in the plate) and the handmade noodles had a lovely texture. My only complaint was the peculiar piece of ice-cold chicken. All the other chicken pieces were hot. Everything was fully cooked, but I guess when they reheated, one piece didn't heat up?
Anyhow, I would like to try a few more places, but more than half the shop fronts are closed/for rent. It's a pretty sad state of affairs there. Any recommendations? Thanks!
Bach Yen, at Gerrard West of Howland. Excellent vietnamese pancake, mango salad and Bun Bo Hue (spicy viet stew) . Decent green curry chicken - cheap, and packed with vegetables. Mr. Rooster and I stuffed ourselves and had leftovers for only $37 the other night ... enough food for 5 (based on the amount of chopsticks they gave us....)!
+1 for Mi Mi on the north side, red and white sign, a bit more east of the intersection. Cheap cheerful honest family pho and more Vietnamese.
and if you have a sweet tooth, the bakery a few doors west of Dumpling House is excellent (but don't eat the hot foods!) GUilty pleasure is their creamy filled sponge cakes with oodles of tea. Yes, as lunch. I'm a very bad person.
At dumpling house, please order the fried potsticker meat dumplings that are rolled and filled to order, and come in a starburst turned out of the pan. THe torn noodle chicken is good, but the dumplings are awesome. And if you like spicy and beansprouts, their spicy Szechuan beef soup , which is oodles of beef and about a pound of beansprouts in a satisfying hot peppers, Szechuan peppercorn, star anise broth,(but no noodles or carbs in it) is a lunch big enough for two if you add a savory sticky rice roll...
Weirdest discovery to date at Dumpling House? Their Mu SHu Pork comes with lovely house-made pancakes, but no, they do NOT have hoisin sauce. Odd.
In the old Mi Gia-Phung location on Gerrard East of Broadview there is currently renovations going on to turn it into a new independent Neapolitan pizza place. Last I heard they were looking at a mid March opening. Too late for the OP's current needs but a needed option in the area.
I like Que Ling for pho, just south off of Gerrard, east of the Green P Parking lot on Gerrard east of Broadview. My other spot I go to for pho in that strip is Pho House, right on Gerrard.
For banh mi, I once compared the shredded chicken and assorted sandwiches from Rose's to the same ones from the Tung Hing bakery on Broadview, south of Gerrard, and all three tasters preferred the banh mi sandwiches from Tung Hing.
Thanks for the tip, just tried them for lunch as well as the bun bo hue.
I really enjoyed both, especially the dumplings, but am no expert on Vietnamese cuisine - can you (or anyone) explain what distinguishes these? i.e., how do you recognize good quality banh cuon? (and spicy beef soup too, for that matter)
You've already hit my two favourites. At Hanoi 3 Seasons, did you try the spicy baby clams? I agree with 1sweetpea think their best/most interesting dish is the grouper with dill and shrimp paste. I love it as a soup.
You could go to Rose's for banh mi and various fascinating prepackaged Vietnamese specialties. I think there are some that don't require reheating. (601 Gerrard St E)
Andrea's (635 Gerrard) has a few lunch take-out items though I think is better known for sweets. http://andreasbakery635.com
Mi Mi (688 Gerrard) remains a neighbourhood favourite despite what seem to be mixed reviews on CH.
If you have time to go three blocks north, there's the Rooster Coffee House (479 Broadview) between Riverdale and Withrow - good coffee and now they have lunch-style savouries too, tho I don't know if the food is actually good. (Please report if you go.)
Also, a 10-minute walk east (949 Gerrard, at Pape) is Pizza Pide. Mmmm.
Not really chow-worthy probably, but a place I find fun and interesting is Green Earth vegetarian (385 Broadview). It had more character when they had the giant screen of the "Supreme Master", with her rescued pets, showing silently at all times…
Also I don't know if it's OK to admit it here, but I still go to Pearl Court for dim sum (have only been on weekends) and always enjoy it. (633 Gerrard)
Hope that at least gives you some ideas and variety. Of course, you could always set yourself the task of taste-testing ALL the pho places and letting us know if you like any of them! :)
I don't think pho is the dish to order at Hanoi 3 Seasons. I haven't been there in quite a while, but I always ordered the cha ca la vong (turmeric and dill fish) on rice vermicelli. Garlic chicken or ginger chicken are also good, or at least they were a couple of years ago.
I've only had takeout from Ka Ka Lucky, but the BBQ duck is pretty tasty.