Chinatown Toronto boasts an eclectic array of culinary gems, offering everything from traditional dishes to contemporary fusions.
Whether you're craving mouth-watering dim sum, spicy Szechuan, or hearty noodle soups, here's a roundup of the best restaurants that showcase the rich tapestry of Chinese cuisine in the heart of the city.
Restaurants in Chinatown
Last night, I found myself at Buddha's Vegetarian, a snug spot on Dundas, a stone's throw from Bathurst.
This unassuming gem, touted by some of my pals as one of Toronto's underrated treasures, serves up delightful vegetarian Chinese dishes without breaking the bank.
My buddies had just wrapped up their round of Beancurd Sheets, the famed Imitation Duck, which I'm told is the menu's crown jewel.
For my part, I delved into the Buddha's Special Mixed Vegetables in Soup, which proved to be a mountainous affair of varied Chinese mushrooms and bamboo shoots.
Admittedly, it wasn't quite my cup of tea, but hey, to each their own.
The table soon got crowded with Fried E-Fu Noodles with Vegetables, Sweet Corn and Beancurd Soup, and judging by the gusto around, they seemed like hits.
As the night wore on, I couldn't help but notice the increasing footfall. The packed tables and the eager queue at the entrance signaled this place's loyal fanbase.
In a nutshell, Buddha's Vegetarian seems to be a haven for those seeking generous portions and stellar value.
Flavor-wise? It's a mixed bag, depending on your personal tastes. But the vegan chicken? Oh, a crispy delight! And the staff? Absolute gems, guiding first-timers like me through their vast offerings.
Between the General Tao's chicken and the crispy spring rolls, it's clear I'll be back for more.
New Hong Fatt BBQ
Stumbled upon New Hong Fatt BBQ Restaurant, an unassuming spot that screams classic downtown Toronto with its no-frills decor but damn-good meats.
Ever noticed how sometimes the best BBQ places have the simplest interiors? That's definitely the case here.
Starved out of my mind, I dove into the pork with wonton noodle while my buddies tackled the rice dishes. The side soup and hot tea? Lovely touches.
Big shoutout to the well-seasoned meats – but, take my advice, pair it with the ginger scallion oil and chili oil, and you're in for a treat! Top-notch service too, fast and friendly.
I mean, a BBQ duck plate with soup for such a steal? This place is pure value. And a heads up, if you're rolling with a crew, maybe snag an extra side for a veggie boost.
I'm already plotting my return. Cheers to unexpected gems like this!
Yummy Yummy Dumplings
Tucked away on Huron Street, just a stone's throw from Dundas, you'll find Yummy Yummy Dumpling.
Don't let its unassuming exterior fool you; this place is a goldmine for dumpling lovers.
Formerly housing the original Mother's Dumplings, it's carved its own niche now with an array of dumplings made fresh to order.
We ventured in, speaking only English, but the lovely lady serving us was a champ, guiding us through the menu.
Our spread? Pan-fried dumplings, Bao, those irresistibly crispy onion pancakes, and the ja jang noodles with pork.
Every dish was a revelation. Crisp pancakes, flavorful dumplings without that msg overload, and noodles that hit just the right spot. It all screamed homemade goodness.
And if you're craving a bit more kick, just head over to the self-serve station for some vinegar, soy, or chili oil.
Dive into their menu and mix it up, you won't regret it.
Fudao Noodle House
Fudao Noodle House in Chinatown is the real deal for anyone craving authentic noodle soups and killer snacks like Taiwanese sausage and squid skewers.
The whole experience of tossing ingredients into the stone pot is such a vibe, and let me tell you, they don't skimp on the rice noodles.
Need more? Just ask, no extra charge. My personal snack faves? The crispy tofu and those fried cuttlefish balls.
And although the Kimchi Cabbage Soup might give your nose a little pause, trust me, the taste is on point.
The spot itself is pretty no-frills, but the crew's quick and super friendly.
Heads up though, it's debit card only, and sometimes there might be a tiny glitch with the machine. Would I go back? In a heartbeat!
Bao on Spadina
Ducked into Bao in Chinatown and felt like I time-traveled to Tianjin with a modern twist.
A descendent of the legendary Goubuli, Bao's got history wrapped up in their baozi. Those little steamed buns with their signature 18 wrinkles? A bite of history right there. But it's not just the food.
The place itself, with its mix of contemporary and traditional vibes, radiates an elegance without going overboard.
Don't even get me started on those baozi; you have to eat them piping hot to appreciate that fluffy exterior and the mouth-watering fill inside. And the Jian bing? That's like breakfast gone wild.
Their Tianjin Wonton Soup is pure comfort, while their diced beef with black pepper had me reaching for more.
Don't miss out on the Peking duck. It feels special without the fuss. If you're torn between casual and fancy, Bao's got you; it's the sweet spot right in the middle.
Give it a go; you won't regret it!
Ramen Station in Toronto takes you on a unique culinary journey - offering Chinese-style Japanese ramen.
Confused? Don't be. This place celebrates chuka ryori, a blend of Japanese food typically found in Chinese eateries in Japan.
The vibrant interior, decked out in Chinese and Japanese symbols, sets the tone for this intriguing blend.
Now, if you're a ramen lover, you might note the difference here: the broth's lighter.
My go-to? The Fried Shrimp Shio Ramen with its tempura-esque shrimp and mild, veggie-rich broth.
Veggie lovers, this one's a win! For those craving some heat, dive into the Spicy Tan Tan Ramen with its rich peanut-sesame sauce and tasty chashu meat.
The Tonkotsu Ramen here is a refreshing twist, lighter and perfect for warmer days.
Here's a fun tidbit: keeping tradition alive, they serve only 200 bowls a day. There's even a countdown! Missed the ramen? Their Curry Chicken Combo is a comforting backup plan.
And while you're at it, grab some Tokyo Calamari with that addictive honey mustard drizzle.
To wrap it up? The creamy Hojicha Pudding is a sweet end to a flavorful journey. A trip to Ramen Station? Totally worth the ride!
Shi Miaodao Toronto
Shi Miaodao, a Chinese chain with its roots deep in Yunnan-style rice noodles, has made its Toronto debut right where Jackpot Chicken Rice used to be.
With hundreds of branches in China, the "ready in 10 seconds" spot lets you dive into a DIY soup adventure. Love a hands-on meal? This is your jam.
Get ready for preheated pots brimming with a savory chicken and pork bone base (veggie option too).
And here's where the fun starts: a lavish spread of sides like fish tofu, beef rolls, goji berries, and those limitless rice noodles shipped straight from China.
Dive in, mix up your chosen toppings, and in a quick 10 seconds, it's slurping time!
The House Special Malay Laksa stands out, notably creamy and surprisingly not your typical spicy laksa. But if you're after a kick, the Kimchi Rice Noodle with Beef won't disappoint.
Can't skip the sides, with the Jackpot Soy Egg being a nostalgic nod to the previous establishment.
Thirsty? Their fruit teas, like the Mix Fruit Green Tea loaded with refreshing slices, hit the spot.
We sampled four noodle soups, with the pickled veg fish soup being the top pick. The place was calm on a weekday night, making it a perfect spot for a flavorful escape.