Imperial Buffet

24 Lebovic Avenue
(416) 288-9699

1881 Steeles Avenue West
(416) 650-9848

3120 Dixie Road
(905) 848-8388

There is good Chinese food, and there is fake north american ripoff Chinese buffet. Imperial Buffet definitely fits the bill of the latter.

Serving everything from barbequed, short ribs and stir fried noodles to french fries and onion rings, Imperial Buffet takes the prize for the worst faux Chinese food I have ever eaten. Eating there reminded me of my days of turning my less-than-cultured nose up at anything Asian. However, you can’t really consider this Asian per se owing to the large amounts of “North American” food that found its way into the buffet.

I have never eaten at the Mandarin but am told that it is similar. I don’t plan on dining there anytime soon. In short, unless I am completely out of Scarborough lunch spots I will never go here again.

Dragon Dynasty

Dragon Dynasty
2301 Brimley Rd.
(416) 321-9000

 

I am far from a dim sum expert. In fact, Dragon Dynasty is the first dim sum restaurant I have ever experienced. But if this restaurant was the litmus test, then dim sum could easily become one of my favourite foods. If there is any reason to come to Scarborough besides the Bluffs, Dragon Dynasty is it.

In a large hall that resembles more of a party atmosphere than a restaurant, carts with various foods are wheeled around for you to choose from. The majority of clientele and all of the staff are Asian so the names of the food are yelled out in Chinese and the bill is also written in Chinese. Luckily, I have always gone with two ladies who speak the language so we were able to order properly.

Some of the dishes include: steamed pork and beef ribs, a sweet bread with barbequed pork inside, rice noodles in a peanut and hoisin sauce, rice with very salty and tough pork, liver and duck, shrimp wrapped in rice paper, and veggies wrapped in a bean curd. One of my favourite dishes are two of the deserts. One is a sweet, tapioca pudding and the other is similar but black sesame seeds are cooked and mixed in. Very tasty.

Kei

936 Queen Street West
ph: 416-534-7449

Up until about two years ago, I could not stand ALL Asian food. Chinese, Japanese, Thai and the like just made my stomach turn. On my return back to Toronto after Unversity, something changed. My tastes, as well as my stomach, metastisized in new directions. These days, I cannot have enough Asian food. If someone wants to go for Sushi, I am usually more than game.

One of the more rare types of South Eastern Asian food is Malaysian. The only restaurant I know that identifies as Malaysian is Kei on Queen West, kitty corner from the Mental Health Hospital.

Kei is laid back, casual and delicate. Both times I’ve been there I ordered the exact same thing. Taro chips, tuna and curry rolls to share as an appetizer and “Mom’s Special” for my main course. This dish is essentially chicken and goose liver sausage interspersed in a finely, shaped heap of rice. A side for the dish is another oddity: a carrot crepe. Kei also serves a fine variation on the Lychee martini with what I believe is called Dragon Fruit.

My only complaint about Kei is the limited menu. Nonetheless, the tasty food and mellow atmosphere warrant repeat visits

Tryst Cafe

2197 Queen E
(416) 693-5775

Right in the heart of the Beaches, the storefront resembles a simple bubble tea shop but when you go inside, it is a great place for cheap, fast, fresh Asian fare. The owners work there, a friendly couple who display their menu flat on the table by the cash. You can order directly from the cash, as the place is really casual. It’s really hot in the summer so be warned.

There are only 5 booths with two oversize TV’s, giving this place a very casual place to just have a quick meal or a bubble tea. Most of the meals are light and mostly contain loads of stir fried veggies, with tofu, chicken, or beef. The menu is flexible and the owners are the ones working behind the counter so they seem to care about their customers. The ambiance is a bit on the kitscy side with bright yellow seats and bright yellow and blue walls. Although not pleasant to the eye, the food makes up for the poor taste in decor. Warning: In the summer, the place is quite stuffy and hot, thus the backdoor of the cafe is left open for air to circulate. Food is often between $7.00- $10.00. Expect a bubble tea to be between $4.00 and $5.00. There is often a communication gap between what you order and the price. Noodle dishes are more expensive than rice dishes. The daily special include rice only and are $4.95-$5.95. I order the same dish every time, stir fried veggies with tofu, without rice or noodle for $9.25 including all taxes.

Reviewed by Mark

Hot House Cafe

35 Church
(416) 366-7800
This super trendy, fusion restaurant is located in Saint Lawrence Market, at the corner of Church and Front. The place contains a medley of popular Italian dishes, specialty Asian influenced stir-frys, and Cajun fare. Brunch is $15.95 and consists of a buffet of an assortment of different kinds of food- not restrictive to brunch food. The place is quite expensive and although food is good, it’s nothing unique or special.

I went there in late summer 2002 and I ordered the Oriental Cashew Stir-fry which was amazing. It was not too oily, but had a lot of vegetables and was served on a beautiful large dish with cashews. It was $12.95.

Below is a review of many of the items served at HotHouse Cafe. Some appetizers include the Steamed P.E.I. Mussels($8.95), Deep-Fried Calamari ($6.95), Coconut Shrimp ($8.95), Louisiana Crabcakes ($7.95), and Devilled Brie ($8.25).

Salads include the House Greens ($3.95), Caesar Salad ($3.95sm / $7.95 l), Greek Salad ($3.95 sm / $7.95 l), Oriental Spinach Salad ($3.95 sm/ $7.95 l), Sun-Dried Pesto Chicken Salad ($8.95), Salade Gourmande ($8.95- Mixed Lettuce, Crumbled Goat Cheese, Walnuts, Roasted Red Peppers & Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette), and the Warm Chicken Salad ( $8.95)

Burgers and Sandwiches are served with salad, soup, or HotHouse fries. Burgers include the Char-Grilled HotHouse Burger ($7.95) – w/ bacon and melted cheddar ($8.50), w/ sauteed mushrooms and mozzarella ($8.50), w/ goat cheese & roasted red peppers ($8.95), w/ black pepper, caramelized onions, gorgonzola cheese, and pesto mayonnaise ($8.95). Sandwiches include the grilled vegetable sandwich – ($9.25), chicken parmesan sandwich ($9.95), HotHouse chicken club sandwich ($8.95), New York steak sandwich ($12.95), and the “Mojo” Pork Loin Sandwich ($8.95)

HotHouse serves up a large variety of pasta dishes. They are served with a loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread. Pastas include linguine bolognese ($7.95 / $10.95), lasagna al forno ($10.95), HotHouse penne ($7.95 / $11.95), smoked chicken ravioli ($13.95), cajun shrimp fusilli ($9.50 / $12.95), jambalaya ($9.50/ $13.95 -consisting of shrimp, chicken breast, spicy Italian sausage, peppers, red onions, chili peppers & herbed tomatoes), pollo pesto fusilli ($8.95 / $12.95), and fettuccine puttanesca ($9.50 / $13.95), roasted garlic penne ($9.50 / $13.95), linguini alla manarolo ($ 8.95 / $13.95), and penne alla nonna penne ($ 8.95 / $12.95)

Gourmet mini pizzas include the il diavolo ($10.95)- consists of chicken, spicy Italian sausage, diced jalapenos, garlic, tomato basil sauce & mozzarella, the frutti di mare (sounds like seafood of the ocean) ($11.95), consists of shrimp, scallops, roasted red peppers, pesto, and asiago cheese, the americana ($9.95), salsicce ($10.25)- with spicy Italian sausage, red onions, roasted red peppers, olive oil, asiago cheese & fresh herbs, the calabrese ($ 12.95) with tomato basil sauce, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, Italian salami, virgin olive oil, and gorgonzola, and the margherita ($10.25)- with olive oil, fresh sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, asiago & parmesan cheeses, with fresh basil

Main entrees are the principle dishes. They are more expensive, larger, and more substantial. Main entrees are served with a loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread and a choice of baked potato, sundried tomato & roasted garlic mashed potato, or rice pilaf & fresh vegetable of the day. Some main dishes include grilled New York sirloin ($18.95), the grilled New Zealand rack of lamb ($18.95), the supreme of chicken ($16.95), grilled atlantic salmon ($16.95), veal con senape ($19.95), Thai noodles- (like Pad Thai) ($13.95), five-spice chicken stir-fry ($14.95), and 12 oz. Rib Steak ($19.95)

Some Vegetarian entrees include the Cheese Cappelletti ($7.95 / $11.95), the Oriental Cashew
Stir Fry ( $12.95), the Butternut Squash Ravioli ($11.95), and the Penne and Portobello Alfredo ($11.95)

All desserts are $6.25. Some desserts include the HotHouse Cheesecake, Chocolate Utopia Cake, Super Caramel Crackle, Tiramisu, Baked Deep-Dish Apple Pie, Chocolate Chip Banana Cake, Mixed Fruit Torte, Gelato Fresco, and Tartufo.

Dessert wines include the Framboise, Southbrook Farms from Ontario ($5.95), Cave Springs “Indian Summer” Late Harvest Riesling from Ontario ($6.95), Iniskillin RieslingIce Wine from Ontario ($8.95), and the Galiga e Vertrice Vin Santo from Tuscany ($8.95)

HotHouse can get really crowded on the weekend and weeknights. The ambiance is trendy and chi chi poo poo. It’s spacious with a lot of comfortable, spacious, non-congested seating. Dining area sits over one hundred people.

The Sunday brunch, offered between 10am-3pm offers a buffet and live jazz for $15.95.
Traditional brunch fare like fresh eggs, bacon and sausage, or have the breakfast chef prepare a “designer” omelete. In addition, other brunch items include the hip of beef, seafood specialties and Italian favorites. HotHouse brunch also offers salads such as the baby shrimp salad, Greek salad, pasta salad, and traditional garden salads. Further, the buffet also includes a selection of cheeses, fresh fruits, bagels, croissants and muffins. Last but not least, HotHouse Sunday brunch also has a dessert buffet, including a vareity of cakes, tarts, and pies, all basked by the in-house Pastry Chef. They accept every card under the sun.

For more information , visit http://www.hothousecafe.com

Vichy, Buffet

7205 Newman
514-367-1731

Located right on Newman Boulevard near Dollard Ave, on one of the main strips of Lasalle, this place has the most diverse menu of affordable, fast food for the hungry one in all of us. If you like to over-eat, then this place is for you. They offer huge roasts of beef, veal, lamb, ham, turkey, all kinds of seafood, every variety of chicken, pizza, pasta, sausages, ribs, kebabs, salads, fruit and desserts. GROSS. The cost is $9.95 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, $7.95 all other nights. Lunch is $4.95; Sat. Sun. brunches are $6.95. Excellent value for your money but not for your tummy.

Buffet Vichy offers a large dessert menu (cakes, pies, ice cream, fruit salad) and prices are low. Quality is low and food is not that fresh. There is a section where you can make grill your own meat. I don’t recommend this place if you want high quality, healthy food. In terms of freshness, it’s a gamble. Since the food just sits there it may not be sBuffet Vichy is not fresh, unless you go right when it opens, and often times, most dishes have a lot of salt, preservatives, and a thin layer of oil. YUCK. In general, I usually have salad, bean salad, sometimes a pasta item, and ice cream, fruit salad, or jello for dessert. Not the healthiest of places and can be packed and loud like a baseball stadium at times.

530 seats, expect lineups on the weekend. Accepts all cards.