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Best of Toronto

The Best Chinese Restaurants in Toronto

Posted by Darren "DKLo" Susilo / December 25, 2014

chinese restaurants torontoThe best Chinese restaurants in Toronto will always carry the term "arguably" with them, which in most cases will just end up in full-on bickering. In a city chock-full of excellent Chinese restaurants, not just in terms of quality but also in terms of variety, it is almost impossible to have a definitive list of what constitutes the "best". That's not going to stop us from trying though, so put your pitchforks (or pitch-chopsticks, har har) down, relax, and check out these must-visit restaurants.

Here are the best Chinese restaurants in Toronto.

See also:

The top 10 Chinese restaurants in Scarborough
The top 10 cheap Chinese restaurants in Markham and Richmond Hill
The Best Late Night Chinese In Toronto
The Best Dumplings In Toronto
The Best Dim Sum in Toronto
The Best Chinese Restaurants in Mississauga

Writing by Darren "DKLo" Susilo. He hangs out on the twitter and his own mansion.

Taste of China

Taste of China

If this is what China is supposed to taste like, then it gets my vote as the most deliciously edible country ever. No, it tastes nothing like fortune cookies - more like delicious General Tao Chicken and soothing seafood congee instead. The food is yummy, cheap, and satisfying, if mostly unhealthy. More »

Rol San

Rol San

If you've got a hankering for old-school Chinatown feasting, it's impossible not to include Rol San. Chaotic environment, indifferent service, delicious food, and large portions (the spicy fried squid is fantastic). They have cheap dim sum too, which is of excellent quality, and open late. Don't go here expecting elegance. Instead, expect subpar environs masking a smorgasbord of deliciousness. More »

Asian Legend

Asian Legend

The only chain restaurant on this list, Asian Legend is a godsend for those who love authentic Chinese food but prefer service in more "orderly" fashion. With multiple locations in Toronto and the GTA, you're never far away from their delicious soup-filled dumplings, beef rolls, or the always excellent Peking Duck, which easily feeds at least four. For those who love a challenge, try their flamingly spicy mapo tofu (not one for the faint of heart). More »

Lee Garden

Lee Garden

Having been in operation for almost 40 years, the restaurant knows exactly how to satisfy hungry customers, as evident from the long lineups during mealtimes (which sometimes FEELS like it can take 40 years just to get to the head of the line). The food is salty, savoury, and delicious. Top of my list? Sweet and sour chicken, and beef with avocado. A rather odd combination, but a surefire favourite every time. More »

New Sky Restaurant

New Sky Restaurant

The whole restaurant is a bit unassuming and understated, as is common with many Chinatown spots, but clearly people don't care, given the snakelike lineups that often appear during mealtimes. Service level is definitely inversely proportional to the number of people in the restaurant, but they usually speak decent English, which is a plus. Their tender beef with black bean sauce is definitely one of the best I've had in Toronto - try their wonton soup too. More »

Swatow

Swatow

All these years and I still haven't figured out how to properly pronounce this restaurant's name, which probably would make my Chinese ancestors very unhappy. The General Tao chicken is lovely, and for meat eaters, the black pepper beef with rice is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Portions here are generally massive, which is great for a lifetime on your hips, especially late at night (when the restaurant is at its brightest and best). More »

King Noodle House

King Noodle House

Apart from noodles, my favourite dish to order in this insanely popular Chinatown establishment is the old-fashioned BBQ pork and roast pork rice. Delicious and rich with a touch of sweetness, it's the perfect panacea on a cold winter's day. They also have an equally comforting BBQ duck on soup noodle. Service can be rushed, and the environment is nothing to write home about. Love the cute touch of having their name printed on their bowls and chopsticks - something many more Toronto restaurants should feature. More »

Luckee

Luckee

Susur Lee's relatively-new downtown spot may not be the first name on people's mind when it comes to Chinese food, but it's perfect for a modern upscale twist on old classics. Featuring a cacophony of culinary varieties which include all-day dim sum set among a backdrop of pseudo-garish Chinese decorations, a meal here is an experience. Try the interestingly yellow-coloured (and succulent) shrimp har gow dumplings, or the slightly sweet Wuxi spare ribs. More »

House of Gourmet

House of Gourmet

Another longtime mainstay of the old-school Chinatown dining scene, House of Gourmet is a bit of a jack of all trades, featuring a wide variety of Cantonese Chinese favourites (the beef satay noodles are delicious), with much of the focus being on their awesome congee. I'd recommend the lobster congee every time, with tasty chunks of fresh lobster beautifully complementing the smooth, unadulterated taste of the congee itself. More »

Crown Princess

Crown Princess

Crown Princess is a sister restaurant of the uptown Crown Prince (where I happened to get married) and shares in the chain's penchant for overly elaborate marble-and-faux European decorations as backdrop to your mealtime. Thankfully the food is as fancy as its interior decoration, with tasty dim sum offerings such as my all-time fave the scallop shu mai dumplings, a fragrant concoction rarely seen in run-of-the-mill dim sum establishments. More »

Rosewood Chinese Cuisine

Rosewood Chinese Cuisine

This three-year-old restaurant offers all day dim sum (probably the sweetest four words in my books) and also AYCE dim sum (damn son!). The shao mai dumplings are savoury and delicious, while the egg yolk buns are creamy and sweet, with tons more to choose from. Sit on the second floor mezzanine if you can, for a bit of peace and quiet, and a nice vantage point from which to people-watch. More »

Kwan

Kwan

A welcome addition to the oft-forgotten (when it comes to high quality Chinese food, anyway) midtown area, Kwan is the place to go to for awesome Cantonese Chinese food in a classy contemporary setting. Go for the delicious seafood fried noodle, with so much fresh shellfish you'd think you accidentally hit a fishing boat. Or if you're in the mood for a little twist on an old favourite, try the fragrant truffle fried rice, which comes with a side of wontons. More »

Discussion

19 Comments

JC / December 25, 2014 at 07:48 am
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Yeah, impossible to agree, keeping in mind that "best Chinese food" covers a massive number of regions with a lot of variance, it's more generic than saying "the best pasta in Toronto". Still, always good to get a list of good places to eat. Chinese Traditional Bun would be on my personal list.
Garneau / December 25, 2014 at 08:42 am
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There are always haters with lists like this, but I'm a little surprised that the trend towards more upscale and finer Chinese food isn't better reflected. Given the sheer critical mass of Chinese immigrants to the GTA, the ability to get outstanding Chinese ingredients domestically (i.e. not GM and not grown downstream from a tannery), and an open-minded approach to food for Canadians not of Chinese descent, Chinese food in the GTA has the potential of being the best Chinese food in the world. Some of T.O.s restaurants are beginning to reflect this but not many made your list.
Tim Chang / December 25, 2014 at 09:25 am
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The best Chinese restaurants are in Markham and north Scarborough where the wealthy Chinese Canadians live, not that slum known as Chinatown on spadina
Kwan / December 25, 2014 at 11:10 am
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Saying Asian Legend is a top Chinese restaurant is the equivalent of saying East Side Mario's is a top italian restaurant
Agreed / December 25, 2014 at 11:25 am
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Totally agree with Tim Chang and Kwan. Asian Legend is really greasy, and there are way better Chinese restos than that IMO.
DiamondsAreForever replying to a comment from Tim Chang / December 25, 2014 at 11:54 am
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Absolutely right Tim.

Tourists and the university kids go to Spadina for quick bites. If you actually talk to mainlanders or even those from HK or TW, they'll tell you the best spots are uptown... Leslie/7, Warden/Steeles, Sheppard/Brimley.

Just follow the paper trail.
David / December 25, 2014 at 12:03 pm
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I've always enjoyed Paradise Fine Chinese Dining at Finch and Leslie and the Casa-Imperial at Steeles and Warden, though the latter is a bit dear.
Kate / December 25, 2014 at 12:25 pm
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hmmm, did you people notice that there are also "best Chinese" lists for Scarborough, Markham etc? This appears to be strictly old Toronto.
No Lai Wah Heen? / December 25, 2014 at 01:09 pm
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How could you have a best of list without Lai Wah Heen?
Tim Slum replying to a comment from Tim Chang / December 25, 2014 at 01:12 pm
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Yeah but all Chineese people like you are slum. Some of the worst dental hygene I've seen.
Gonzo / December 25, 2014 at 02:19 pm
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Congee Queen
christmasboi / December 25, 2014 at 03:01 pm
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There's a number of decent restaurants on the dundas strip that you guys missed... Not surprised as they aren't frequented that people other than asians. Since Markham and Richmond Hill developed, none of these restaurants come close to what is offered there.
toronto_resid replying to a comment from JC / December 25, 2014 at 04:31 pm
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I really like this idea. Have a list for "Best Cantonese", "Best Mandarin", and "Best Sichuan." Separately.
aDawg replying to a comment from 313 / December 25, 2014 at 11:29 pm
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Fuck Lee Garden? Sounds good! Where is it?
Louis replying to a comment from toronto_resid / December 26, 2014 at 01:51 am
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Best Mandarin is pretty vague too. It can be "best north chinese" (Liaoning) where Korea follows some of the traditions too, with pickled veggies and meat. "best hakka" which they have already on blogto I think. "Best Henan", "Best Yunnan", "Best Shanghainese", "Bset Taiwanese"...etc.

Seriously, just saying "Chinese' is pretty vague.
Molly / December 26, 2014 at 01:53 am
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Rol San? Really? Wait, Asian Legend is on the list?
Interested Guy / December 29, 2014 at 09:27 pm
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CHINESE TRADITIONAL BUN NOT ON THE LIST??????????????????????????
Jhapper / January 16, 2015 at 12:35 am
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Terrible list. Lee Garden? REALLY DUDE? Luckee? Hipter yes, Susur yes but top 10? This list is hard but damn... Asian Legend? LOL. That's like listing Hero Burger as Top 10 Burger Joint.
ubertorontofreeride / March 3, 2015 at 02:59 pm
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