BEST XIAO LONG BAO IN THE GTA

Technically, none of these restaurants are in “Toronto” but if you’re looking for authentic xiao long bao, north is the way to go. Xiao long bao, or soup dumplings is a native street food from Shanghai and one of my favourite foods in the world. I binge eat trays of the steamed baos filled with savoury soup whenever I’m in China. In Toronto, while more and more restaurants are offering the dish, some do use pre-made, cooked from frozen baos. To get the handmade, fresh baos head to any one of these restaurants.

1. Yu Garden


Rating/Price: 4.0 / $
Why? Amazing xiao long baos, thin, chewy texture, plenty of soup
Must Order: Shrimp and minced pork xiao long bao
Good For? Families, lunch, quick meals
 

2. Shanghai Dim Sum


Rating/Price: 4.5 / $$
Why? Thin wrappers, juicy filling and perfectly steamed
Must Order: Xiao Long Bao original filling and with crab
Good For? Families, lunch, quick meals, big groups
 

3. Ding Tai Fung


Rating/Price: 3.5 / $
Why? Central Markham location, fresh made baos, great filling
Must Order: Xiao Long Bao, Egg white with seafood
Good For? Families, dinner, dim sum
 

4. Xiao Long Bao


Rating/Price: 4.0 / $$
Why? New restaurant, less busy than Ding Tai Fung with great XLB
Must Order: Xiao long bao with crab, Beef brisket noodle
Good For? Dim sum, families, quick meals, large groups
 

Honorable Mentions:

  • N/A

Still TBE (To be Eaten):

  • Mother’s Dumplings
  • Chinese Traditional Buns
  • Asian Legend
  • A La Kitchen
  • 369 Shanghai Dim Sum
  • Dumpling House
  • Lee Chen

Did I miss your favourite restaurant? Let me know in the comments.

Last Updated: 01/06/2016

BEST SPLURGE (EXPENSIVE) DINNER IN TORONTO

My favourite gift to receive is a splurge meal. Be it a birthday, anniversary or any celebration, a good meal with wine, shared with family and friends is how I love to spend my evening. These Toronto restaurants are currently my favourite spots for a special meal.

1. Jacobs & Co Steakhouse


Rating/Price: 4.0 / $$$$
Why? Intimate, impeccable service, beautiful aged steaks and a wide selection of wine
Must Order: Jacobs Caesar Salad made table side
Good For? Romantic dates, couples, anniversaries
 

2. JaBistro


Rating/Price: 5.0 / $$$$
Why? Best sashimi in the city, hidden entrance, great patio
Must Order: Fresh Sashimi Platter, Aburicious
Good For? Small groups, couples, birthdays
 

3. Bar Isabel


Rating/Price: 5.0 / $$$
Why? Delicious food, complicated cocktails and perfect for sharing
Must Order: Whole Sea Bream Ceviche, Bone Marrow
Good For? Small groups, couples, special dates
 

4. Yasu


Rating/Price: 4.0 / $$$$
Why? Fantastic sushi, intimate atmosphere, unique dining experience
Must Order: Omakase
Good For? Adventurous date, special event, small groups
 
Honourable Mentions:

Still TBE (To be Eaten):

  • Le Cafe Michi
  • Lai Wah Heen
  • Hiro Sushi
  • Los Colibris
  • The Carbon Bar

Did I miss your favourite restaurant? Let me know in the comments. Last Updated: 04/28/2015  

SUMMERLICIOUS 2014 TOP PICKS

Summerlicious is upon us again. One of my favourite food events in Toronto, it is a perfect opportunity to try a new restaurant, indulge for a great price and overall, eat some great food. This year’s event runs from July 4th to 20th. Participating restaurants will be offering set lunch ($15, $20 or $25) and dinner ($30, $35, $40) menus. Personally, I find reservations are easier to make today with many restaurants using online systems but if you’re aiming for a popular venue (ie. Canoe, Auberge de Pommier), calling on the day reservations open is still a must. Every year, I aim to eat at one “fancy” restaurant to add to my list of restaurants for special occasions, one casual “dinner” for a night out with friends and one restaurant that caters to large groups. So far this year, I have 3 dinners set and one lunch still to be planned.

Where I’ll Be:

  1. Cafe Boulud – $45 Dinner / French / The “fancy” dinner
  2. Ganzi Osteria – $25 Dinner / Italian / The “casual” dinner
  3. Jump – $35 Dinner / Italian / The “group” dinner

Recommendations:

  • Lunch – I’m looking for tantalizing menus that are similar or even more appealing relative to the dinner menu
    1. Weslodge – $20 Lunch / Canadian / I would order Scotch Egg, Seared Sea Bass and Instant Cake
    2. Bosk (Past Review) – $25 Lunch / Canadian / I would order Seared Albacore Tuna, Roasted Flat Iron Steak and Citrus Cake
    3. Quince (Past Review) – $20 Lunch / Mediterranean / I would order Gazpacho Soup, Capunti Bianco and Warm Chocolate Brownie
Summerlicious 2014 Top Picks
  • Dinner – I’m looking for great atmosphere, interesting menu items and best value
    1. Auberge du Pommier – $45 Dinner / French / I would order Watermelon Gazpacho, Salmon & Peas and Ice Cream Sandwich
    2. Bent (Past Review) – $35 Dinner / Asian / I would order Gazpacho, Asian Marinated Stirploin and the Dessert Trio
    3. Luma (Past Review) – $35 Dinner / Canadian / I would order Tossed Octopus Salad, Broiled Pickerel and Chocolate Parfait Sundae
Summerlicious 2014 Top Picks
  • Good for Groups – I’m looking for a variety of choices, easy parking/access and a spacious dining area
    1. Parts & Labour (Past Review) – $35 Dinner only / Canadian / I would order Steak Tartare, Pappardelle and Lemon Pie
    2. Destingo (Past Review) – $15 Lunch, $25 Dinner / Italian / For dinner I would order the Grilled Calamari, Rack of Lamb and Tiramisu
    3. Paese (Past Review) – $20 Lunch, $35 Dinner / Italian / For dinner I would order the Chilled Soup, Ravioli and Lobster and Cioccolato
Summerlicious 2014 Top Picks

Check out all of my past Licious event reviews for more ideas and recommendations.