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Best of Toronto

The Best Dim Sum in Toronto

Posted by Darren "DKLo" Susilo / April 16, 2012

Dim Sum TorontoThe best dim sum in Toronto is, sadly, devoid of the stereotypical cart service that one would normally equate with this Cantonese specialty. In fact, you'll find no middle-aged Chinese ladies yelling at the top of their lungs at any of these spots. And even though the restaurants here are diverse and scattered around the GTA, they're guaranteed to deliver fresh, tantalizing dishes best enjoyed with a side of good friends and good conversation.

While only two of these restaurants are found in the downtown core, it's worth noting that plenty of more TTC and bike accessible dim sum restaurants do exist, among which Rol San, Dynasty and Sky Dragon are arguably the most popular - even if the quality of food tends to be a bit less consistent than the ones mentioned here.

Here are the best dim sum restaurants in Toronto.

Top photo by Kaeko in the blogTO Flickr pool

Crown Princess

Crown Princess

Crown Princess on Bay proves that great quality dim sum can be had in the downtown core. The culinary gems served up here are nothing short of spectacular. While prices might be steep compared to Chinatown options, you can taste the difference in dim sum staples like the har gao and the decadent scallop shu mai dumplings, rarely found outside this place. The service is also top notch. The old adage of you get what you pay for certainly applies here. More »

Spring Villa

Spring Villa

Don't let the garish exterior deter you from this dim sum destination on Woodbine Avenue in Markham. There's a reason this restaurant is always packed with locals. The food here is very good. Highlights include the delectable rice noodle rolls (chang fen/cheong fan). There are so many varieties that you really gotta try them all. Price-wise, it's in the mid-range so your wallet won't break (too much). More »

Casa Victoria

Casa Victoria

If you've ever wondered what it's like to have dim sum in a crowded, noisy, restaurant surrounded with Renaissance-like decor in the heart of Markham, then wonder no further. Serving regular favourites with a touch of European style, Casa Victoria has become an increasingly popular destination for locals hankering for dim sum in a more eclectic setting. The quality of service is among the best in the area. More »

Dragon Boat Fusion Cuisine

Dragon Boat Fusion Cuisine

Dragon Boat in Richmond Hill offers a wide assortment of treats that are priced slightly above your average dim sum joint. Home to one of the best egg tarts in the GTA, this restaurant gets packed on weekends so it's best to arrive early. More »

Ding Tai Fung

Ding Tai Fung

Not to be confused with the international chain Din Tai Fung (notice the difference?), this restaurant is not your typical dim sum joint as they specialize in Shanghainese dumplings. It's earned rave reviews for its xiao long bao (soup-filled dumplings) that many claim are the best in the country. Try the crab ones which are particularly fresh and delicious. More »

Lai Wah Heen

Lai Wah Heen

If you fancy trying an upper class dim sum experience without the ostentatious extravagance of Casa Victoria, you could do worse than come here. Almost an institution among dim sum lovers in the downtown core, Lai Wah Heen is found inside the Metropolitan Hotel near City Hall and boasts a variety of your regular dim sum favourites, along with their own special take on Hong-Kong street-vendor style dim sum dishes. It almost goes without saying that it's a bit pricey, but well worth the experience. More »

Szechuan Legend

Szechuan Legend

This Scarborough haunt offers modestly priced dim sum which ensures it's always jam-packed with locals and grey-haired folk. While not quite as fancy as its sister restaurant, Chili Secrets, Szechuan Legend still delivers with extensive variety on the menu and rice noodle rolls which are among the best in the business. More »

Yang's Fine Chinese Cuisine

Yang's Fine Chinese Cuisine

The northernmost dim sum option on this list, Yang's Fine Chinese Cuisine is known for their delicious, sweet egg yolk buns which must be eaten immediately upon being served (or else, their fillings solidify somewhat). Prices aren't cheap but the modern decor, friendly staff, and high quality of the food coming out of the kitchen make it worth every penny. More »

Casa Imperial

Casa Imperial

For those who thought Casa Victoria was over the top, this sibling restaurant situated in the former Devonsleigh Place on Steeles Avenue offers delicately prepared and high quality dim sum in an even more ostentatiously fancy European ambiance. Prices are steep with dishes clocking in at an average over $5, but the impeccable care given to each one is indisputable. More »

Graceful Vegetarian

Graceful Vegetarian

Meat eaters need not apply. The vegetarian-only dim sum eatery near the Pacific Mall treats diners to a dizzying array of dim sum favourites with a non-meat bent, ranging from "pork" shu mai to smoked "duck". The food is less greasy (and fattening) than most dim sum places and delightfully highlights the texture and quality of the ingredients used. More »

Discussion

43 Comments

hellebelle / April 16, 2012 at 01:15 pm
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i find the dim sum dishes @ graceful vegetarian to be weird and not very tasty. however, the rest of their dishes are completely amazing!
Trupti Kakohar / April 16, 2012 at 01:26 pm
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WAAAAAAAAAT? No Rol San? So disappointed. :( :( :(
Aydin / April 16, 2012 at 01:51 pm
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I don't get why we need to put up with "Best of GTA" lists on this site, when the "Best of Toronto" lists INCLUDE the GTA! Why even bother making lists that don't include the Toronto core?! I just don't understand the need for two different sets of lists when the one of them is all-encompassing.
If it's a Best of GTA list, it should include Richmond Hill and Scarborough, but if it's a Best of Toronto list, the restaurant should HAVE to read "Toronto, Ontario" on their mailing address.
Because of this, places like Pearl Harbourfront and Rol San get left out.
What's the deal?
KT / April 16, 2012 at 01:59 pm
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Guys, Noble on Spadina it's so good!!
West Ender / April 16, 2012 at 02:20 pm
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These list are great but often seem to leave out the West end of town. Etobicoke, Missisauga, Etc.
Jon / April 16, 2012 at 02:20 pm
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You missed mentioning Dim Sum King and if you're including Scarborough, Crown Prince!
Dim Sum Guru / April 16, 2012 at 02:28 pm
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Though they are expensive, Dynasty and Pearl Harbourfront pretty much destroy every place on this list. I'm pretty shocked the blogto readers missed these gems!

Try either and you will be converted.
John / April 16, 2012 at 03:28 pm
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New place, Har Gow on the Danforth. Good and cheap. Check it.
Shannon / April 16, 2012 at 03:29 pm
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Asian Legend on Dundas just east of Spadina has some amazing shrimp dumplings... mmmm
Corina replying to a comment from KT / April 16, 2012 at 03:31 pm
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I used to love Rol San but after receiving very rude treatment from the staff during my last two visits (despite spending a huge amount) I won't be back soon. Too bad :(
MJ / April 16, 2012 at 03:52 pm
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again another fantastic post, totally agree with you on Crown Princess...
hop replying to a comment from Stella / April 16, 2012 at 04:14 pm
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They do have public transit in the burbs, yeah the people that use them aren't the wealthiest nor trendiest but it does the job.

I normally don't get riled up by these Best of lists, but where the heck is Grand Chinese (at the Airport Doubletree)? It's got to be the best restaurants in the city (and yes it falls in Etobicoke which since 1998 is part of Toronto) and has one of the best dim sum items I've ever had. The Cod in a Thousand Layers is just awesome.
Cynthia replying to a comment from Dim Sum Guru / April 16, 2012 at 04:19 pm
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And Pearl Harbourfront is one of the only places that still has cart service as far as I know.
Maxwell / April 16, 2012 at 04:31 pm
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KOWLOON in Baldwin village should definitely be on this list....and when/if you go, make sure to get the curry squid!
J / April 16, 2012 at 04:34 pm
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Wait, what about Pearl Court? (Gerrard/Broadview)
honour shmonor replying to a comment from hop / April 16, 2012 at 04:40 pm
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Plus, they don't call it the 'Freeva' for nothin'!
richard replying to a comment from John / April 16, 2012 at 04:45 pm
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Do you have an address for Har Gow on the Danforth?
HereWeGo replying to a comment from Stella / April 16, 2012 at 04:48 pm
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Or better yet "Best Dim Sum Outside of Toronto"...


I agree with you Stella on the 905 part. People don't seem to see the difference in area code as a sign...)
tim replying to a comment from richard / April 16, 2012 at 05:01 pm
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This is what you're looking for:

http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/ha-gow-dim-sum-house-toronto
Anon / April 16, 2012 at 05:23 pm
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Everyone knows the best Chinese food is not in downtown Toronto. Furthermore, not everyone reading this post lives in downtown. I for one, find it refreshing to see restaurants that are not located downtown.

Also, Darren tries very hard to include dim sum places downtown, as shown by the second paragraph where he lists 3 more dim sum places that were not voted in but within the downtown core. I find it odd that downtown elitists find it SO DIFFICULT to venture north of Bloor. If you're unwilling to try new foods outside of your comfort area, then please don't bitch about a post having restaurants that are located 10 minutes north of Toronto.

Anyways, solid list.
Nikia / April 16, 2012 at 06:21 pm
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Wonderful Seafood Restaurant (http://dinehere.ca/scarborough/wonderful-seafood-restaurant) has excellent dim sum for a very reasonable price. They're renowned for their sweet egg yolk buns and have a decent selection of vegetarian dim sum. They're a tiny little place so it's hard to get a spot sometimes, but if you go early (before noon on weekends) it shouldn't be a problem. Even better, they're in Scarborough, so technically in Toronto, for all the 416 purists.
qwerty replying to a comment from Aydin / April 16, 2012 at 08:26 pm
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Scarborough IS in Toronto. If you write "Toronto, ON" instead of "Scarborough, ON" it will get there as well.
p / April 17, 2012 at 02:26 am
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When will we admit that dim sum is at best- something tasty in a gross wet noodley pocket followed by something gross in a wet noddley pocket followed by something weird and undercooked??
and yes I've been to Pearl and Lai wah heen twice over.
Of all the resto options in Toronto, we're really going to eat dim sum??? let's admit it. Crap-ola.

Alone?
mike in parkdale / April 17, 2012 at 07:10 am
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I miss the 'tempo' on queen west, next to queen video. I practically grew up in that restaurant.
Warren / April 30, 2012 at 11:39 am
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If you know anything about Scarborough, then you would have to mention The Perfect Restaurant. Nothing compares to the traditional carts bringing around fresh food. This list is void without that restaurant being included.
Coco / May 17, 2012 at 02:06 am
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Ding Tai Fung is NOT a dim sum place. FYI, dim sum is a Cantonese tradition.
I haven't tried most of the places on this list except for Casa Victoria. I would definitely recommend Kim Moon Bakery's dim sum. I have never tasted any dim sum fresher or more delicious than at this place. Kim Moon bakery is not much to look at in terms of decor, but it's definitely an old favourite of mine in Chinatown. You can't go wrong with rice noodle rolls.
KC replying to a comment from p / May 25, 2012 at 12:33 pm
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Yah you're alone..stick to burgers and fish and chips
Kelly / May 31, 2012 at 08:44 pm
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Warren is on the money. It's just not the same without the carts.
Kellie / August 11, 2012 at 11:42 am
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I moved to Barrie 7 years ago and am bringing a friend to Toronto for her first dim sum experience but I absolutely NEED to show her the woman pushing the carts and yelling in Cantonese. Does this no longer exist???
Chris replying to a comment from Kellie / August 25, 2012 at 10:15 am
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Perfect Restaurant in scarborough during lunch time does the cart thing with the ladies pushing them daily.
Adam / September 5, 2012 at 04:45 am
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The food here is very good. Highlights include the delectable rice noodle rolls (chang fen/cheong fan). There are so many varieties that you really gotta try them all.
I really like what you've done here, really like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining.
taekwondo uniforms
adam heeley replying to a comment from Trupti Kakohar / September 17, 2012 at 06:14 pm
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Seriously Rol San is the best cheapeast dim sum. its made to order and always fresh. the wait is worth it. some dim sum places leave me feeling sick. this one never has.
if you want to impress your friends go to the pearl harbour front. it is a bit more pricey, the dim sum is high end and its right on the lake.

ROL SAN!!!! GO, GO NOW!!!!
adam heeley replying to a comment from Cynthia / September 17, 2012 at 06:16 pm
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are you serious, go to china town in toronto they have carts dim sum everywhere. i personally dont like it cause everything is cold. made to order is way better imo
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 10:16 pm
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Warren is on the money. It's just not the same without the carts.
Sunny replying to a comment from Chris / November 25, 2012 at 06:51 am
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Perfect is the best. Carts, carts, carts just like in HK. And if you're brave and can speak Chinese, you can always order a la carte at any cart restaurant.
Studenticity / November 30, 2012 at 07:18 pm
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I really like "Tremendous" in Mississauga :)
They have carts there and it's cheap during lunch time.
They are also open late late!
Not the cleanest looking place though... But I think they just did renovation so maybe that has change
Mike Hunt replying to a comment from Studenticity / December 1, 2012 at 03:17 am
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LOL Tremendous, maybe if you're drunk at 1am
Rodger / December 10, 2012 at 02:09 pm
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I was not impressed with Yang's. No windows, food was very oily and had obviously poor quality meat. Cheapest industrially farmed meat they could find. Sorry... I'll never go back there.
Rodger replying to a comment from p / December 10, 2012 at 02:11 pm
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Amen P
Alex replying to a comment from p / February 27, 2013 at 02:35 pm
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Did you really come here just to say how gross you think dim sum is? What was the point of reading the reviews and comments, in that case? Obviously your tastes differ from those of nearly everyone else here. Do you really think you're going to convert people by telling them that the food they like is gross? If you don't like dim sum, don't eat it. Just leaves more seating room for the rest of us. Enjoy your hot dogs or whatever.
Gale Carey replying to a comment from hellebelle / March 29, 2013 at 03:44 pm
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I have tried many of the restaurants listed above, but I still prefer the atmosphere, the food and the push cart dim sum style of Dragon Dynasty at Brimley and Huntingwood in Agincourt. The food is always outstanding with specialty items at different times of the year.
Gale Carey replying to a comment from hellebelle / March 29, 2013 at 03:46 pm
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I have tried many of the restaurants listed here, but my favourite is still the atmosphere, the food and the push cart dim sum style of Dragon Dynasty at Brimley and Huntingwood in Agincourt. The food is always outstanding and reasonably priced.
ginnee replying to a comment from Coco / October 24, 2013 at 09:08 am
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Kim Moon is deadpool as of last weekend (Oct. 19-20, 2013).

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