- North America
- Harriet Myers
From tiny, hole-in-the-wall joints to upscale, elegant versions of Cantonese cuisine, Toronto’s Chinatown is full wonderful venues. Explore the length of Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street to experience one of the largest Chinatowns in North America. To help narrow the immense choice, here’s our guide to the 10 best places in the district to enjoy a classic Chinese meal.
One of Toronto’s most renowned Chinese restaurants, Lee Garden has been serving authentic Cantonese and fusion dishes to its loyal customers since 1976. The interior is bustling and full of regulars, but the ambiance is friendly and the service tends to be quick.
Lee Garden Restaurant, 331 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 593 9524
Taste of China
At Taste of China, the specialty dishes all revolve around seafood, including Chinese versions of sauteed shrimp, scallops with king oyster mushrooms and lobster fried rice. If this is less to your taste, however, the menu is extensive enough to feature a huge amount of choice and plenty of meat or vegetarian options. All the dishes are made fresh and servings are generous so you can be sure you’ll leave satisfied.
Taste of China, 338 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 348 8828
Open from early in morning all the way until 2am, Rol San is a great choice whatever time of day you find yourself craving Chinese food. Authentic dim sum is served fresh all day and attracts a large crowd of customers, who are thankfully accommodated by the restaurant’s large double seating area. For the uninitiated, service can appear a little frantic, with the staff constantly bringing out new bamboo containers of food, although this ensures the dishes are always piping hot and servers are happy to offer menu advice if asked.
Rol San, 323 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 977 1128
New Sky Restaurant
A great traditional Chinese restaurant is New Sky; a favorite with both locals and tourists alike. The restaurant itself is bright and clean, although the tables can be a little cramped so be prepared to cozy up to your fellow diners! The food is authentic Catonese, with bold flavors and even bolder spicing.
New Sky Restaurant, 353 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 596 8787
A slightly more upmarket option, compared to Spadina Avenue’s compact eateries, is Luckee Restaurant. With a kitchen headed by famous chef Susur Lee, this is an elegant, refined dim sum bar. Expect classic style dishes but with an international twist that reflects Lee’s personal interpretation of traditional culinary techniques.
Luckee Restaurant, 328 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 935 0400
King’s Noodle Restaurant
As its name might suggest, King’s Noodle Restaurant is renowned for its bowls of noodle soup. With almost 50 varieties to choose from, options range from barbecued pork to pig’s feet and wonton, for the more avid Chinatown diner. Even in the packed storefronts of Spadina Avenue, you cannot miss the restaurant’s exterior thanks to the authentic fried barbecued ducks hanging in the window.
King’s Noodle Restaurant, 296 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 598 1817
The family-owned and operated Mother’s Dumplings has won awards from media organizations across Canada. Inspired by the owner’s mother’s family-famous dumpling recipes, the restaurant serves delicious Chinese comfort food. Boiled, steamed or pan fried dumplings are its specialty, but if you fancy trying something else then various noodle and rice dishes are also available.
Mother’s Dumplings, 421 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 217 2008
A true neighborhood favorite, Swatow Restaurant serves very authentic Cantonese dishes in a modest, down-to-earth venue. Don’t expect anything fancy, just fresh food, quick service and generous portions. The restaurant has built a loyal customer base of regulars over the years so is often busy but efficient staff mean the wait time shouldn’t be too extensive.
Swatow Restaurant, 309 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 977 0601
House of Gourmet
The beginning of House of Gourmet’s menu features an odd range of Western-style dishes such as spaghetti and sandwiches, but you’re best to skip these and head straight for their Cantonese classics. Particularly recommended are the steamed rice rolls and seafood rice dishes although with close to 450 menu items, there should be something to suit everyone. Service is brisk but friendly and the busy atmosphere creates a lively ambiance.
House of Gourmet, 484 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 640 0103
Greens Vegetarian Restaurant
For vegetarians or vegans who might struggle for choice in a traditional Chinese restaurant, Greens Vegetarian is a dream come true. The freshly made Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai fusion dishes are all suitable for a meat-free diet. The focus on good-quality ingredients and more health-conscious recipes also means this is a much lighter option compared to your run-of-the-mill, calorific, Chinese takeout.