Top 5 Dim Sum in Mississauga

Ah, dim sum. In my experience, it's hard to do poorly in Mississauga. While some dumplings are crafted more expertly than others, har gow (a steamed shrimp dumpling) is much like pizza, in the sense that it's rarely downright inedible. So, if most Chinese restaurants seem to produce comparable staples that don't, on average, blow each other out of the water, how do you evaluate the best dim sum out there? For me, it comes down to four things: location, service, variety and decor. On that note, here are five restos worth visiting:


5 - Sam Woo BBQ Restaurant

This is another winner for the location alone. Located at a Mavis and Eglinton strip mall, you can't miss it - and you certainly won't have trouble parking. This restaurant caters to a less traditional crowd by pairing carts with menus (my personal favourite), so you never have to worry about missing a pan-fried radish cake or having springrolls snatched away before your arrival. Another upside to a menu is the ability to better gauge the resto's selection. Sam Woo's offerings are varied and creative, with the shrimp-topped fried tofu being a particularly nice touch. The staff is pleasant and attentive, and the decor is what you'd expect from a popular Chinese restaurant - fun without looking too pricey or decadent.

Two can expect to eat for $20-$30.

4 - Golden Fountain Chinese Restaurant

Golden Fountain, a spacious, traditionally decorated Chinese resto on Eglinton near Creditview, is a popular dim sum destination. Located in a busy plaza, the restaurant draws a loyal crowd -- so expect to wait 20+ minutes for a table if you show up anytime after 11 am. As far as dim sum goes, the offerings are pretty standard (but also reliably delicious). The resto boasts har gow, radish cakes, seafood, steamed noodle dishes, pork and chicken buns, fried shrimp and more. While the food is undeniably tasty, Golden Fountain sets itself apart with its service. It's no secret that a dim sum outing can be an impersonal experience defined by fast-moving servers struggling to push heavy carts through throngs of hungry diners. While the servers still have to steer carts through tightly packed tables, they take the time to stop by every table and explain the dishes -- which is excellent for non-Cantonese speaking diners or anyone new to dim sum. The staff is also quick to bring checks and refill tea. All in all, it's a bustling joint that promises good food and, as a pleasant bonus, exceptional service.

The resto is slightly pricier than average, so two can expect to dine for $35 or more.

3 - Blue Lagoon Seafood Master

Located at the Chinese Centre on Dundas Street is Blue Lagoon Seafood Master (you gotta love that name!), a higher-end Chinese food and dim sum restaurant. As you walk in, you are greeted by a wall full of sea creatures that are at your disposal to eat fresh. You will see everything from huge Alaskan king crabs to lobsters to eel to fresh fish swimming in blue tanks. This place is absolutely massive and can easily seat 250 people. There are four huge projection screens that were teaching diners how to properly cook Chinese food. This place is a bit on the pricey side, but the food is very high quality and flavourful. The dim sum is costly as well, but the menu items are a little higher-end. As you can tell by the name, this place does specialize in seafood but does have some traditional non-seafood dishes like Peking duck and sweet and sour pork.

The resto is slightly pricier than average, so two can expect to dine for $40-45 or more.


2 - Summit Garden

Summit Garden, located in the Harvey's strip plaza at Dundas and Winston Churchill, is seemingly renowned from Streetsville to Cooksville and back again. It's a popular place, so expect to wait on a Saturday or Sunday. It's also known for its stunning interior, as it is a popular spot for banquets and parties. Spacious, with a stage-esque platform at the far end, Summit Garden looks rich and decadent, foregoing cutesy cat statues in favour of pot lights and wood paneling. Diners can also expect a traditional dim sum experience, with carts circling the well-spaced tables. As for the edible fare, the selection is good and the quality top-notch. The egg paste bun - a guilty pleasure of mine - is perfectly decadent.

Two can expect to eat for $20-$30

1 - Emerald Chinese Restaurant

Emerald Chinese Restaurant has a lot going for it. The selection is wonderful, the servers are helpful, the space is plentiful, and the location perfect (if not a little confusing, but more on that later). Almost always packed on weekends, Emerald is popular for a reason. Once you realize that you need to enter the Eglinton Ave building from Hurontario St, it's easy enough to find. You won't have trouble finding a parking spot, and with the resto being at a major intersection just steps away from Square One, you can easily make your way there by bus. The carts are constantly coming, and you can choose from a wide selection of steamed, pan-fried, fried and congee dishes. The lotus leaf-wrapped sticky rice is exceptional, with massive, flavourful chunks of sausage embedded in the starchy treat. The interior is that of a classic Chinese restaurant, complete with colourful dragons and hanging lanterns.

Two can expect to eat for $20-$30.


BONUS

Tremendous

Tremendous is an "after-the-club" resto, offering up heavy meals to peckish, moderately (or heavily) intoxicated revelers. It also offers day-time dim sum. The decor could be classified as tacky but fun, with bright red tapestries and dragon accoutrement on a somewhat bland canvas. The food - the har gow, the rice noodle rolls, the lotus leaf-wrapped sticky rice, the pork siu mai - is quite good. In a traditional dim sum restaurant, the food is brought on carts and diners can flag down servers when they see something that they like. Though Tremendous is large and can more than accommodate ravenous Sunday morning crowds, some of the tables are ill-placed, making it difficult for diners to see the carts and for the carts to reach said diners. The servers at this restaurant make their rounds quickly, so a bad seat can be the difference between glutting yourself on steamed pork buns and looking on longingly as yet another trolly of brunch passes by. And while the restaurant is always busy with loyal clientele, the location is not ideal and the parking can be tight. That said, the food is more than up to snuff, and the location (Wolfedale and Burnhamthorpe) is fairly central (despite the building itself being ensconced between industrial complexes).

Two can expect to eat for $20-$30.

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