The 10 best restaurants in Toronto’s Chinatown, ranked

Toronto’s Chinatown is a vibrant, bustling neighbourhood that effortlessly blends tradition with modern charm. Located west of downtown, it spans the streets of Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West. Stroll through this lively neighbourhood  and you’ll discover a rich tapestry of cultures, flavours, and experiences. From authentic dim sum joints to colourful  markets offering unique finds, Chinatown encapsulates the spirit of diversity and community.

Here are the 10 best restaurants in Chinatown, ranked.

10. King’s Noodle

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Quintessentially and iconically Chinatown, King’s Noodle draws gazes up and down the street for the dripping red-skinned ducks and geese, necks attached, and Herculean slabs of barbecued pork hanging in the window. Inside, chefs in white hats work their magic over flaming woks, deep-frying dough fritters for dipping into congee and delicately turning out fresh rice rolls from a steam counter. The wonton noodle soup special is a winning combination of large lumps of shrimp wontons, dense, springy noodles and topped with sweet and soy-basted slices of barbecued pork. 

9. Hong Kong Bistro Cafe

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Hong Kong Bistro Cafe  is a popular spot for university students. Known for its extensive menu and handwritten daily specials, the cafe offers authentic cha chaan teng  food and drinks. The signature iced coffees have a roasted flavour and rich aroma typical of Hong Kong-style coffee. Dishes like baked pork chop with rice and stir-fried spaghetti with beef are delicious and generously portioned.

8. Chat Bar

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Chat Bar takes pride in being the first izakaya-style Chinese Chuan’r spot in the GTA. Introducing the popular Chinese skewers, Chuan’r, to the region, this culinary sensation has already swept through China. With four thriving locations in Toronto, Chat Bar has become a beloved choice for people from all walks of life – students to working professionals. Known for its laid-back vibe, it’s the perfect place for casual gatherings over delicious meals and a cold beer. 

7. Pho Hung

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Pho Hung is a family-run Vietnamese restaurant at the corner of Kensington Market in Chinatown. It has been a go-to spot for, you guessed it, pho noodles for over a decade. Service is quick and efficient which makes it a great spot for a weekday lunch break. While Vietnamese restaurants have become synonymous to pho joints, you’ll find some other noodles of the soup variety here such as bun rieu, a crab and tomato soup with vermicelli as well as the bun bo hue, a spicy beef and pork vermicelli that doesn’t need to be tainted with sriracha. Their banh xeo, Vietnam’s answer to a crepe even got its five minutes of fame in David Chang’s now defunct magazine, Lucky Peach.

6. Rol San

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Rol San serves all-day dim sum Sunday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to midnight, and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. A fixture in the city for more than three decades, it’s a top choice for Toronto dim sum enthusiasts. The restaurant skips carts, preparing each dish fresh to order. Standouts include the deep-fried taro puffs—crispy batter, sweet taro paste—and the baked milk tart, a lighter twist on the classic egg tart found elsewhere. No frills, just fantastic food.

5. The Famous Owl of Minerva

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Experience the authentic taste of Korea at the Famous Owl of Minerva, where traditional Korean cuisine is perfected to satisfy even late-night cravings. This renowned restaurant takes pride in delivering rich and bold flavours through carefully crafted dishes, such as sizzling bulgogi and steaming bibimbap. The Famous Owl of Minerva has become a beloved destination in Toronto, offering 24-hour dining at its Yonge Street location.

4. R&D

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Another outstanding restaurant for the Oliver & Bonacini group, R&D is a perfect representation of high end modern Canadian Chinese cuisine. Esteemed chef and Masterchef Canada judge Alvin Leung, who made a name for himself in Hong Kong at his 3 Michelin star restaurant Bo Innovation, founded this restaurant with mentee Eric Chong at this fine dining establishment. With backgrounds in engineering, both chefs have a unique perspective when it comes to creating dishes. Their Canadian take on traditional Chinese dim sum is accompanied by larger plates that elevate traditional comfort meals.

3. Mother Dumplings

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This is Chinatown’s premier restaurant for dumplings, wrapped, fried or steamed. Just like mom used to make, the dumplings here are so good you’ll probably end up with more than you bargained for. On the busy Dundas Street where every other restaurant is a variation of Mother’s Dumplings, it’s hard to believe this place is always busy. Just a couple steps down from street level, Mother’s Dumplings simple decor and unpretentious vibe allow for the handmade dumplings and comfort food to shine amongst the rest. The menu features a slew of dumplings, along with other Chinese delights, like the green onion pancake and it’s standout beef onion roll.

2. Bitter Melon

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Run by the dynamic duo of Andre Au and Joanna Hon, Bitter Melon is not your typical Chinese restaurant—it challenges norms and perceptions. Their menu is concise, featuring 12 standout dishes that redefine expectations. Highlights include the must-try foie gras on toast, the inventive beef heart tteokbokki, the crispy Peking chicken wrap, and the refreshing sea bream crudo. The cocktail selection takes centre stage, with many featuring Asian liquors. Beyond cocktails, Bitter Melon also offers a modest range of wine, beer, whisky, and notably, baijiu.

1. Swatow Restaurant

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The best time to go to Swatow is late on a Friday or Saturday night, when the room is packed with the after-drinks crowd, and servers effortlessly glide around large, circular tables refreshing waters, refilling teapots and laying heaping plates of fried rice and glistening General Tao chicken on plastic-covered tables. A good time to go is any time: for a late breakfast over steaming bowls of congee and fresh soy milk or a midday snack of salt and pepper shrimp, deep-fried to a crisp with a batter laced with Sichuan chili flakes or for a fortifying dinner, when the dizzying options of wok-fried noodles, rice and more truly open up, with each item a classic.

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