The Best Dim Sum in Downtown Toronto
The best dim sum in downtown Toronto has a few noticeable differences from its uptown counterparts. For one--much to the joy of purists and fans of middle-aged Asian ladies' shrill voices everywhere--some of the downtown places do offer traditional cart service, where you can immediately point and pick at your dish without knowing what the heck you've just agreed to consume. Secondly, the downtown restaurants edge their suburban cousins in their unparallelled variety, spanning a wide range of environments not usually found north of the city. From old hole-in-the-wall establishments to upscale harbour viewing dining experiences, there's something catering to every kind of dim sum preference on this list.
Here are the best dim sum restaurants in downtown Toronto.
With a style that can best be described as "ostentatious faux-European," Crown Princess is the place to go to if you like your dim sum surrounded by lots (and I mean lots) of marble and chandeliers. Despite this seemingly incongruent décor style, the food is absolutely lovely, with decadent variations of your everyday favourites such as the scallop shu mai. It might be pricier than many of the more modest offerings on this list, but then again Crown Princess is anything but modest. More »
Running a close second in the fanciness category, Lai Wah Heen is located inside the Metropolitan Hotel, which should give you an indication of its culinary standard. Paradoxically, they also offer a large variety of poshed-up street-vendor-style Hong Kong favourites within their dim sum menu. However, one look at their shu mai (which is served with foie gras), and you know that your dim sum experience is going to be more sophisticated than most. More »
When you display a sign outside your restaurant bigger in size than your establishment's name which proudly exclaims "We serve dim sum" or "All-day dim sum," you better be damn good at DIM SUM (and yelling, apparently). Fortunately, Rol San actually delivers on this promise. With succulent shrimp har gows and delicious vegetarian dumplings available until the wee hours, this is definitely a good place to wolf down dim sum at almost all hours of the day. More »
Definitely the go-to place for dim sum with a modern ambience, the Asian Legend on Dundas maintains the chain's reputation for good food, which extends to their dumpling offerings. It features all your favourite dishes, with one highlight being the interestingly-coloured green pork dumplings. Plus, it's always nice to not have to peel away plastic tablecloths while you're chomping down on your dim sum. More »
Despite a name that seems chosen straight out of a random Chinese restaurant name generator, Sky Dragon is quite popular among locals looking for a cheap dim sum fix. With menu items as low as $2 each, you can go nuts and be adventurous in your ordering. It's also one of very few remaining restaurants that still offer the traditional cart service, which enhances its old-timey feel. More »
Another one from the pot of generic Chinese restaurant names, Dynasty is anything but. You would expect a dim sum establishment in Yorkville to be of a very high standard, and this restaurant definitely does not disappoint in that regard. Among many other notable dishes, they offer very tasty curry squid and a fancy take on har gow which comes with fish roe garnish. And yes, the prices are among the highest you'll find anywhere in town. More »
Dim Sum King specializes in dim sum (obviously), and while its regular a la carte menu is passable, it truly shines in its extremely varied dim sum offerings. Popular with many local Chinese seniors (so you know it's legit), the place is not overly fancy, but the quality of the ingredients is obvious, particularly in their seafood offerings. They also offer cart service. More »
Another one for the fancy among you, Pearl Harbourfront offers an upscale dim sum experience in a beautiful location. A particular highlight is the large variety of delicious cheong fan (rice noodle rolls) that they have to offer. Prices are steep, as to be expected, but where else can you elegantly munch down BBQ pork buns with a view of the harbour? More »
New Sky doesn't look new, nor does it remind you of the vastness of the sky, but it does offer old-fashioned dim sum, complete with resplendent plastic table cloths and a loud soundtrack of clinking utensils. With servers that speak halting English and a bit of a dingy feel around the restaurant, it's definitely a place aimed at hardcore fans. Thank goodness their dumplings are delicious and cheap, particularly during their happy hours. More »
Noble's looks are a far cry from the bourgeois indications of its name, but the restaurant definitely delivers when it comes to steaming hot dim sum. The har gow is succulent, which is indicative of the fresh shrimp it contains, and the spare ribs are well-seasoned (without MSG). While cart service is sadly unavailable, the weekday special pricing for the dim sum menu here makes it worth the trip. More »
Located in the heart of Chinatown, Rosewood offers two floors worth of delicacies for downtown dim sum lovers. Some of the highlights here include sweet egg tarts, which are both flaky and soft, as well as their crystal dumplings. If you come before 11 am on weekdays, you'll be treated to dishes priced under $2 each, which, when coupled with the elegant décor and polite service, really eliminate any excuse not to visit. More »
A stereotypical old-fashioned downtown Chinatown joint, Forestview doesn't attempt to wow you with ambience or décor, but it does offer you the increasingly rare enjoyment of picking your selections from the cart service inside a surprisingly spacious restaurant. The food is fresh and varied, the chicken feet are flavourful, and the English menus are horribly translated, all hallmarks of a solid old-school dim sum place. More »