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Best of Toronto

The Best Hot Pot Restaurants in Toronto

Posted by Guest Contributor / June 1, 2012

Hot Pot TorontoThe best hot pot restaurants in Toronto aren't easy to find. While there are a growing list of Korean BBQ and AYCE sushi options city-wide, restaurants specializing in traditional Chinese hot pot still number at a relatively minute list. For those unfamiliar, hot pot is essentially a fondue pot, but instead of cheese, chocolate or hot oil, the pot is filled with a savory soup base. And instead of dipping bread, cubed beef or pieces of fruit, Chinese hot pot is all about dipping a wide assortment of raw meat, vegetables, and seafood until the simmering pot cooks it just to your liking.

What distinguishes good hot pot restaurants from the rest usually comes down to the quality and freshness of the ingredients as well as the taste and variety of the dipping sauces that land on your table. The choice of soup base is also a key factor. It can make or break the entire meal. Most hot pot restaurants will give you a big list of vegetables and protein to choose from while the soup bases might range from a simple chicken broth to more complex sweet coconut or hot and spicy varieties.

Prices generally hover in the $18.99-$20 range per person and, yes, it's an all-you-can-eat feast. Fun fact: In Cantonese, hot pot is pronounced Da-Been- Lo.

Here are the best hot pot restaurants in Toronto.

Writing by Austin Miao, with contributions form Amanda Yiu. Top photo by kaeko in the blogTO Flickr pool

Little Sheep

Little Sheep

With restaurant locations around the world including China, United States, and Canada, Little Sheep is one of the leading hot pot connoisseurs. Serving the highest quality of meats and fresh vegetables, it's no wonder that they're always busy every night of the week. Whatever you decide to cook in it, their hot and spicy broth is sure to deliver a kick. At $18.99 per person for all-you-can-eat, it is definitely a must try for every hot pot fanatic. Located at Warden Avenue south of Finch. More »

I Cook Buffet

I Cook Buffet

For those who don't like to share their food this is the place for you. With a more unique spin on hot pot, I Cook Buffet at Warden Avenue and Steeles allows each diner to choose their own flavorful broth from a wide selection (some free, some for a small additional cost) and have their own pot set right in front of them. With a station allowing you to concoct your own sauce, it makes for a more fun experience for first timers venturing into hot pot. Don't worry about the buffet running out of food. This restaurant gets so busy on weekends and staff are always stocking it with fresh grub. Bonus! There's also a drink fountain so you need not worry about being parched during your meal. More »

Kim Tao Hot Pot

Kim Tao Hot Pot

A hidden treasure, Kim Tao has been in the business for a while. It's a hotspot for younger diners who like to indulge in late night hot pot adventures (open till 3am). All you need to do is fill out a food order form and delight in fresh meats and seafood while also enjoying the company of comrades and endless amounts of ice cold beer. Do not let the location near the Buttonville Airport fool you. Kim Tao gets super busy on weekends so arrive early and stay late. More »

Hipot Hot Pot Restaurant

Hipot Hot Pot Restaurant

A recent addition to the GTA's hot pot culinary landscape, Hipot attracts Richmond Hill locals to its clean and comfortable digs. The big selling point? Hipot offers half a lobster for free when you order the seafood pot. Not into seafood? The quality of the meat is excellent here and all the fish and meat balls are hand-made. More »

Lucky Season Hot Pot

Lucky Season Hot Pot

Also newly opened in Richmond Hill, Lucky Season hot pot has a clean, spacious, and comfortable setting. For all you can eat options, you can choose from beef hot pot ($18.99) or a seafood hot pot ($20.99). This restaurant will only get better with time and experience in the business. More »

Made In China Hot Pot

Made In China Hot Pot

There is more to hot pot at this Midland Avenue destination. With cheap breakfast, lunch and teatime specials, Made in China offers a Hong Kong diner feel when indulging in the wide range of Asian offerings. For under $20 a person, you can get all-you-can-eat dinner hot pot and pick from many different types of meats, seafood and veggies. It's also worth going just to check out its spunky interior decor such as their bird cage ventilators. More »

Shaanxi Restaurant

Shaanxi Restaurant

Shaanxi Restaurant near Leslie and Highway 7 serves Sichuan-style Chinese cuisine. Half of their menu is comprised of spicy dishes including chicken in chili pot. A bowl of special hand-made noodles is $4.99 but hot pot aficionados will want to get the all-you-can-eat hot pot for lunch and dinner. The restaurant is nice and clean overall and the waitresses are friendly. More »

Rolling Pot Shabu Shabu

Rolling Pot Shabu Shabu

Rolling Pot is a popular hot pot restaurant found next to Pacific Mall. With dinner pricing starting from $18, you can cook all the meat, veggies and seafood you want in your own individual shabu shabu hot pot bowl. Everything is customizable, from the food to the soup base to your own sauce. The place is usually packed in the cold winter months, so service is busy and may not always be attentive. More »

Discussion

36 Comments

Window Film / June 1, 2012 at 09:40 am
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I haven't really tried hot pot dishes before but these restaurants look promising. I'll give it a try this weekend. Thanks for this list.
Hatts / June 1, 2012 at 10:23 am
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Not to be too picky, but aren't the majority of these places outside Toronto? This is more the best hot-pot in the GTA, or the best hot-pot in Richmond Hill. The Toronto border runs somewhat south of the 407.
stuffy / June 1, 2012 at 10:38 am
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Hot pot, maaaan. For sale behind OCAD.
barbara / June 1, 2012 at 10:41 am
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what was the name of that hot pot place that was on baldwin, right off spadina until like, 2008? THAT was the most amazing hot pot,$12 all-you-can-eat goodness. anyone know if that place relocated anywhere?
EricM / June 1, 2012 at 11:59 am
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Go guest contributor! instantly the most interesting and best written thing here... Mr. Flack? Robyn? Nice to see the guest contributor was aloud into all of the hot pot restaurants and didn't have to turn around at the reservation desk. ...and yeah. Most are outside Toronto. Meah, can't win... well most of 'em it seems.
Bluttthhhh! / June 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm
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Hot Cops !
jd / June 1, 2012 at 01:12 pm
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Are we including shabu shabu?

Ematei's is very good.
wtfskies / June 1, 2012 at 01:14 pm
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i've said it before and i'll say it again. put articles like this in bloGTA. you're cluttering up my browser tabs with filth.
Joe Scratch / June 1, 2012 at 01:48 pm
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Thanks can't wait to try these places out. I'm glad blogTo isn't backing down from reporting on Greater Toronto Area restaurants with unique and authentic cuisine instead of just focusing on anything south of Bloor, good or bad.
ten tons replying to a comment from wtfskies / June 1, 2012 at 01:50 pm
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Hush little baby. BlogTO knows you miss your hometown of Bramalea and will be doing something to feature them soon..
Aydin replying to a comment from Joe Scratch / June 1, 2012 at 02:18 pm
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I don't think we complainers are asking for things south of Bloor. I myself have been frustrated with this site's southern west-end focus within Toronto. I'd much rather see more in the east end, or North Toronto, but I'll gladly put up with it, rather than this type of list where only one place is feasible for people who actually live within the city.

I know a lot of suburban folks get offended when we downtowners say that, but who told you to move out to Richmond Hill? I know the rent/mortgage is cheaper, but in return, you don't get to live in Toronto anymore. The 3rd place on the list is near Buttonville Airport. Is that REALLY Toronto? I know suburbanites try to convince their friends it is, but deep down inside, they know better.

I understand that these lists are voted on, so I can't blame the site too much, but there must be a limit. I think that everywhere on these lists should be easily accessible with the subway, or (only) ONE bus/streetcar connection, from a subway station.

Or give us a separate Toronto list, to go along with this Best Hot Pot Restaurants in The GTA list - even if it's a short list!
Andrew / June 1, 2012 at 02:27 pm
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great job austin! this is awesome
blog to needs more austin
Paul / June 1, 2012 at 02:32 pm
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Is it feasible to eat hot pot as a solo diner? I see it's mentioned as sort of a special feature at "I Cook Buffet". I'm wondering if I'd get funny looks ordering hot pot for one.
Julia / June 1, 2012 at 03:28 pm
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I haven't had hot pot in the GTA but I am looking forward to trying it.

Most Toronto people know a lot of our most authentic Asian cuisine (and other ethnic cuisines) is now outside the downtown, so get over it unless you want BlogTO to give us their subpar recommendations just because you won't have to take a bus! We are lucky to have restaurants that are so authentic in the city!! :) I, for one, will enjoy.

That said, I DO hope Little Sheep is better than it is in China (it is a MASSIVE chain that was just purchased by KFC's parent company). When I ate there in Shanghai it is the only hotpot I have had that gave me a terrible headache....I suspect MSG. :-(
Jack / June 1, 2012 at 03:59 pm
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I'm amazed that blogTO found out that the city doesn't stop at Bloor.
Dude / June 1, 2012 at 04:07 pm
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Do you guys just have a hat full of "best of..." ideas that you pick out of once a week?

NO ONE EATS HOT POT IN SUMMER.

Its like posting the best ice cream shops in the dead of winter.
Snowjuice replying to a comment from Dude / June 1, 2012 at 04:32 pm
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Summer as in 10˚ with strong gust and rain that floods the union station? I just had hot pot last week and it was very satisfying.
s / June 1, 2012 at 05:36 pm
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The hotpot at prince bakery is absolutely terrible. Extremely limited selection of everything, including meats, vegetables, sauces, dumplings, and drinks. Mediocre quality. Avoid.
Round1 / June 1, 2012 at 06:40 pm
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hot pot can be enjoyed any time, many restaurants usually crank up the a/c so its not hot inside. Don't forget, one can always enjoy hot pot in the comfort of their own home too. just buy the ingredients and call it a day.
prince bakery- renders satisfying at best.
little sheep- does not serve with any msg or preservatives.
it is a bit of a trek to many of the restaurants, but everyone knows a lot of the best authentic asian cuisine is located in markham, scarborough, richmond hill.
ascareded replying to a comment from Snowjuice / June 1, 2012 at 07:02 pm
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Where? What does it taste like? Were the staff friendly to the gwei-lo?
Eric26 / June 1, 2012 at 09:17 pm
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Only three of these restaurants are actually within Toronto's city limits.
Brian replying to a comment from Aydin / June 1, 2012 at 10:37 pm
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Aydin, it's quite ironic that you mention that BlogTO should only cover places at worst with only one required bus connection to the subway - because everything on this list actually DO meet that criteria. Not knowing or not trying to find out just reinforces the stereotype that BlogTO doesn't care about anything north of Bloor (or Eglinton)

As Julia says, it's well known that the best Chinese food in the GTA isn't in the city anymore, but in Richmond Hill or Markham.

Finally, no one in their right mind should be having hotpot in the summer.
Leo / June 2, 2012 at 11:29 pm
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What about 100 degrees?
Sean / June 4, 2012 at 09:17 am
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Good review. Glad to see this site actually reflecting more of Toronto than it used to. Now maybe BlogTO could revise it's embedded Google Map. Having it always focused on the geography of downtown Toronto just doesn't work anymore. Spatially-biased.
Sean replying to a comment from wtfskies / June 4, 2012 at 09:19 am
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Why are you always so angry? Why is your world so small? What oppresses you? Do you need help?
Kevin / June 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm
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Anyone know if anyone offers a vegetarian broth? NO seafood.
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 10:51 pm
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Thanks can't wait to try these places out. I'm glad blogTo isn't backing down from reporting on Greater Toronto Area restaurants with unique and authentic cuisine instead of just focusing on anything south of Bloor, good or bad.
Brandon / December 11, 2012 at 04:31 pm
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Toronto?

I'm pretty sure the commute to Niagara Falls is closer than some of these places.
Emily / December 25, 2012 at 09:53 am
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Awesome hot pot restaurants. My BF took me to 2 of them. The best Chinese and other ethnic restaurants are beyond downtown like Markham, Richmond Hill, and Scarborough.
Emily / December 25, 2012 at 10:18 am
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Great Hot Pot Restaurants. Hot pot is great for winter. My boyfriend drove me to two of them on this list and both are great. Thanks for the list!
Lim / January 19, 2013 at 06:45 pm
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I like how people keep going on about "Markham, Richmond Hill, and Scarborough." I'm not sure if any of you fools noticed, but only one of those three cities is Toronto.
me / January 19, 2013 at 07:24 pm
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Ah yes, Richmond Hill.
Alex Drag / July 5, 2013 at 10:51 pm
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The Mongolian Little Sheep is indeed #1. While more meat friendly than the traditional Chinese seafood only, the soup base is great, sauce variety is good and lots of ingredients to dunk in. It may be far but worth the drive from Mississauga across town to its little Markham area. And we eat it winter or summer cause we get the spicy broth. Why do so many tropical countries have spicy cuisines? The spicyness kicks your body into overdrive and sweat which cools you down very nice afterwards.
KIM TAO IS TERRIBLE / September 4, 2013 at 09:49 pm
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Do NOT go to Kim Tao Hot Pot.

I went there with my family on a Friday night and it was not very busy, maybe a third of the restaurant was full. I asked for food items on the menu and told I was not allowed to order it because they were busy. Then I asked for a drink and was once again told (very rudely) that they were busy and could not get to my order. They were extremely rude. I do not remember anything good about this restaurant and am shocked to see it mentioned as number three on this list.

Go to any of the other restaurants as they are all better or if you do mind a bit of work, buy what you want and DIY at home!

STAY AWAY FROM KIM TAO.
Jaqueline / September 10, 2013 at 03:59 pm
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If you are capable of doing DIY renovations, you can put what
you want exactly how you pictured it on your mind. Figure out
what you can spend on the entire renovation
project in the kitchen. - Paint: homes that have a fresh coat of paint on
the outside tend to have better curb appeal.
Alex / February 27, 2014 at 10:27 pm
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My wife and i like Celebrity Hotpot downtown at 254 Spadina Ave (south of Dundas St W).

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