Chinatown: we’ve all heard its call, and walked between those beautiful, towering gates in search of some Oriental sustenance... only to be paralyzed by choice. It’s like food roulette. There are so many options, and they all kinda look like the same thing in a different dress, but take it from us, they are NOT. This street has the full gamut; the delicious highs, the stodgy lows, the finger-licking middles, and we’ve broken them all down for you.
A brief note before we begin: yes, when we say “Chinatown,” what we mean is “Gerrard St,” otherwise this article would be about six times longer. We’re starting our stroll at the Northeast end (by that gate) and working our way down, then back up along the other side.
The vibe: Family-style. The ground floor is mainly for tourists, while the Chinese eat in the basement. They also have two different menus -- black for novice, and red for expert. You want the basement if possible, and always get the red menu.
What to get: Sichuan hot pot. Chillies are king here.
Anything to avoid? Dim sum is not their strongest point.
The vibe: This institution is a bit hit or miss, depending on your level of understanding/tolerance of their style of banter, but the food is generally alright.
What to get: It's all pretty cheap and cheerful.
Anything to avoid? Just check the bill before you pay. They seem to mix up things a bit and have been known to overcharge.
The vibe: The last time they decorated may have been 20 years ago, but the very efficient staff gets the job done... most of the time.
What to get: Dim sum on the cheap, although the quality has been a bit hit or miss recently.
Anything to avoid? It can be good, but it’s not going to blow your mind or anything. Check your expectations at the door.