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Sep 25, 2003 10:37 AM

High Class Chinese Food?

  • c

So I had this discussion last night w/my friends: they said that theres no such thing as 'high class chinese food.' Theres only low to medium. I disagreed, but when challenged, I couldn't come up w/a really nice place. So does anyone know of a joint where its really really 'classy'? Obviously I'm looking for a place above and beyond the sweet and sour chicken balls and the white plastic table covers. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Lai Wah Heen, of course. This top-end place has been mentioned numerous times on this board.

    3 Replies
      1. re: tony R.

        Here is my list

        - Lai Wah Heen (Metropolitan Hotel)
        - King's Court (King/Simcoe)
        - Monsoon (Simcoe/Adelaide)
        - Dragon Dynasty (Scarborough)
        - City Cuisine (Market Village)
        - Dynasty (Bloor St W/ above Chanel)

        Of course, high-class doesn't necessarily mean $$$$. But, these are great places to entertain guests and show some Un-run of the mill Chinese gastronomic pleasures.

        1. re: Jennifer Uy
          Jennifer Uy (2)

          I forgot to mention these places that serve Excellent Chinese cuisine:

          - Magic Wok (14th Ave between Kennedy/Warden)
          - Lee Garden (Spadina)
          - Big Mouth Kee (same plaza in R Hill as Ambassador)

      2. Although I haven't been there for several months, Elegantview on Victoria Park north of Finch takes reservations, has tablecloths, and serves great seafood.
        The drawback is that there is a small menu, and most dishes going by that look wonderful, are not on it.
        The positive is that the staff speak English, and when I asked why they do not have translations of their special dishes, they told be that it is their pleasure to translate the menu for us, and they proceeded to do so.
        They still have signs with specials on the wall, but the service and food, I think are of a higher standard

        1. s
          Salad King Fan

          There are a couple of "high-class" Chinese restaurants in Toronto - Lai Wai Heen (Metropolitan Hotel) and Dynasty (Bay and Bloor). There are also many middle to high class Chinese restaurants if you are willing to venture out to Scarborough, Markham, and Richmond Hill, such as Dragon Dynasty (Huntingwood & Brimley), Golden Court (Hwy 7 & Leslie), Ambassador (Hwy 7 & Leslie), Ding Tai Fung (Hwy 7 & Woodbine), Celestial Court (Steeles & Kennedy). Basically once you venture out of Chinatown, you can easily find places that use tablecloths.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Salad King Fan

            The places that Salad King Fan mentions are all good (except Celestial Court, which I've never tried - thanks for the recommendation!). I particularly like Ding Tai Fung's Shanghai dumplings, which squirt juice into your mouth.

            I must make a special mention of Ambassador's service. I booked a private room there several months ago for a party of 30 people. The restaurant provided the most professional, pleasant and efficient service I've ever seen from a Chinese restaurant. I don't know what the service is like in the main dining room, but I was thoroughly impressed with my experience. Now, that's high-class!

            1. re: Salad King Fan

              I would also like to vouch for Ambassador, Dragon Dynasty, and Celestial Court as far as their food, presentation, service, and all-round experience is concerned. I would not hesitate taking guests here. These restaurants are a bit more pricy than others, but I also equate good value with these places, that is you get all that you pay for.

              For higher-end, then for sure LWH fits. But you are paying a WHOLE lot more. Maybe the extra haughtiness and the notion of being in a 4- or 5- star place is worth it to some. Personally, I don't think high-class = better.

              There are many other great family restaurants that are mostly reliable if you don't want the 'Combo D' plan. The Elegantview and New World up Vic Park and the Perfect out on Sheppard E come to mind. These places may not be as polished but can accommodate us seasoned eaters.

              1. re: neighborguy

                And I thought that Elegantview was my unknown special restaurant.
                Chowhounds find good eats everywhere!
                As a chowhound who likes carts, and noisy families with the dim sum, does anyone know a really great dim sum with a variety.
                No, not Lai Wah Heen.
                Ambassador is good, but too many dumplings, not enough variety, besides I love to watch the carts go by.
                Years ago there was a wonderful Dim Sum at Nathans on Sheppard and Kennedy (long gone).
                The carts and servers bustled by with amazing Conch, oysters, B.B.Q, etc, and a great variety which varied from week to week.
                It reminded me of my first experience with Dim Sum many years ago in Taiwan.
                Any suggestions?

                1. re: erley

                  I find City Inn (in Market Village) has a lot of variety but no carts.

                  We recently had dinner at Ginger something (can't remember the name) also at Market Village. It was very good. Now I want to try out the dim sum.

                  1. re: erley
                    Helen in Toronto

                    The Treasure (downstairs) on Dundas just West of the Eaton Centre, has the very best dim sum.....

                    1. re: Helen in Toronto

                      I wouldn't count this in the "high end" section.

                      1. re: baby_tran

                        i like the good stuff that they serve at mr pong's

                  2. re: neighborguy

                    I'm glad that there is finally some mention of restaurants outside of the downtown core when it comes to Chinese cuisine... As it stands, the majority of the good eats in quality, atmosphere etc. Is to be found north of the city, especially in Markham and Richmond Hill. Toronto's Chinatown has some old standards, but none of them truly compare to the deals and quality that can be found in the 'burbs.

                    As for LWH... I would argue that their food is not nearly the best that can be found in Toronto (or surrounding area). They make their name upon their appearance, and I dare say on critiques made by non-Chinese restaurant critics more used to a western atmosphere/presentation/service/wine list. If they cannot even get the basic shrimp dumpling right, then they are far from the best.

                    Authentic Chinese food is found where the Chinese populations are, and for a while now, that hasn't been in the core.

                    Best bets are to found in the 'burbs...
                    I'm surprised nobody mentioned Red Ruby (I think that's what its called) restaurant at Finch and McCowan. It's got a pretty decent dim sum and are frequented by large banquets.

                2. Cynthia's at Promenade Mall and at Yonge and Mulock in Newmarket are quiet and classy

                  1. Yep,Lai Wah Heen in the Metropolitan Hotel, right near City Hall. Has probably the best, certainly the most intersting, dim sum in the city. All in a very lovely room, great service and please, please have the spicy salty deep fried tofu. If you are into teas, the Dragon Ball is wonderful and 1 pot will easily do 2 people.