Pho Tien Thanh

I was hungry one afternoon and wanted some Vietnamese food. I decided to check online for nearby Vietnamese restaurants and Pho Tien Thanh popped up in the results. The reviews on the restaurants are rather favorable so I decided to give it a try. 

Once I arrived; I realized how the decors were very minimal but the restaurant was completely packed with customers happily eating away. 

There was a long line up inside, and I didn't really want to wait for a table. So we decided to get some food for take-out.

I have read some good things about the pho here, but I didn't order it. Instead, I opted for the vermicelli with pork, beef, and chicken ($8.00). The portion of the meal was pretty substantial and the meats were thinly sliced, and lightly marinated. 

I also ordered two orders of spring rolls on the side (each order comes with 2 spring rolls for $4.00). I thought that the spring rolls were quite different from other Vietnamese joints. The ones here were really long and skinny (pictured below).


Quality of Food: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall Dining Experience: N/A
Price: $

Address: 57 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON, M6J 2Y9

Pho Tien Thanh on Urbanspoon

Gold Diamond Chinese Restaurant

Gold Diamond Chinese Restaurant is located in the building that used to house the now-defunct Bright Pearl. The restaurant offers dim sum dishes and Chinese cuisine. 

Like a majority of other dim sum places, customers are given a sheet of paper and pencil to mark off the items that they want. However, I did see a few carts going around the restaurant, so I believe that my boyfriend were just a little late for the cart service.

The restaurant was fairly large, and the ambiance was nice and bright. Additionally, the Gold Diamond Chinese Restaurant has a reasonable selection of dim sum choices and their prices were pretty standard.

The prices are as followed:

small - $2.20
medium - $2.99
large - $3.50
extra-large - $4.50

The deep fried shrimp rolls (L) were really good as it was super crispy on the outside and the insides contained soft shrimp pieces.

Both the steamed shrimp rice roll (L) and steamed beef rice roll (M) were decently made, and has enough filling.

I was underwhelmed with the steamed shrimp & pork dumplings (M) as they were pretty small in size. The shrimp/pork filling was just seasoned okay.

The steamed shrimp dumplings (har gow) (L) were good as its skin was not too thick and the shrimp pieces were plump.

The freshness of the boiled Chinese greens (XL) was definitely notable.

The deep fried crab claw with shrimp paste ($3.50 each piece) was freshly made, but was a little too salty. 

The service itself was a little beyond average as the dishes did arrive quickly to the table, and they do refilled the tea pot. However, our server was unresponsive, and I don't recall him saying anything really (no hello or even you're welcome when being thanked by patrons).

Overall, nothing particularly stood out about the Gold Diamond Chinese Restaurant to me. However, it is a a decent place to get some quick dim sum on the weekend. 


Quality of Food: 3.5/5
Service: 3.4/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3.5/5
Price: $$

Address: 346 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5T 1J5

Gold Diamond Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Toji Sushi

Toji Sushi is a small family-run Japanese restaurant located in the west end of Toronto. The restaurant was clean, and decorated with lanterns, and wooden-panels seating. Toji Sushi has several lunch bento specials which are served from 11:00 am until 3 pm. I opted for the #34 BBQ Galbi bento box ($9.95). 

The bento box (#34) that I ordered came with three pieces of California rolls, steamed rice, four pieces of agedashi tofu, four pieces of galbi, and green salad.

Overall, I enjoyed my bento box. For those who are not familiar with galbi (Korean cuisine); it is marinated beef ribs with special sauce. The pieces of galbi were well-marinated and very sweet. I also liked the tangy salad dressing. The pieces of agedashi tofu ($4.50 for a full dish) were also delicious as they were soft, and the sauce was really good. Additionally, I normally don't like California rolls but the ones here were actually made well.

The toro (tuna belly) ($6.50) was neatly presented on its plate. The two pieces of sashimi were both fresh, smooth, and not overly thick slices, which made it enjoyable to eat. 

The sushi chef was friendly, and had a good sense of discipline. My overall impression of Toji Sushi was that the food was really good, and the service was friendly and relatively quick.


Quality of Food: 4.4/5
Service: 4.4/5
Dining Experience: 4.4/5
Price: $ (lunch)

Address: 5088 Dundas St W, Etobicoke, ON M9A 1B9

Toji Sushi on Urbanspoon

I-Cook Buffet

I-Cook Buffet is located in a plaza located off of Warden & Steeles. The interior of the restaurant is large, and clean-looking. Between the hours of 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, I-Cook Buffet serves dim sum, and from 4:00 pm to closing, it is an AYCE hot pot. 

I ate during the morning hours, so the following review will be on the dim sum dishes.

There is a special fixed price of $2.88 for each item on the menu if you go between the times of 9:00 am to 11:00 am and 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm.

Otherwise, the pricing are as followed:

Small: $2.88
Medium: $3.38
Large: $3.78

One of the great things about uptown restaurants would be the non-hassle of parking, and also it's free (since I-Cook Buffet is in a plaza).

I was pretty surprised about the service at I-Cook Buffet. It was actually pretty good as the dishes arrived fast, and the waitresses were efficient in taking the empty steamer baskets away and refilling our glasses of water and pots of tea. Two thumbs up :)

The fried cuttle tentacle (L) was lightly battered and crispy.

I really liked the BBQ beef ribs (L); the flavor was very sweet and there were no fatty pieces.

The chicken feet with chu hou sauce (S) had a good amounts of cartilage, but the sauce was way too sour for me.

Shrimp dumplings (L) are generally a staple at dim sum and I always ordered them whenever I go. The dumplings at I-Cook Buffet contained plump shrimp but the skin was not as translucent as other places.

The fried chicken wings (L) were fried to a golden brown and it had a nice flavor.  

I didn't like the turnip cakes (S) that much as the texture was too dry. I'd pass on this dish.

The shrimp steamed rice noodle (L) was steamed perfectly.

On the other hand, the beef steamed rice noodle (M) was standard. Although I did find the beef feeling to be a little too salty.

I didn't get to try the steamed seedling dumplings (M).  

The chiu chow dumplings (L) were wrapped in a translucent dumpling wrapper and filled with pork, dried shrimp, chives, and mushrooms. It was quite tasty.

The bun with custard (M) was considered as a dessert dish. The bun itself was light and fluffy, and it had a very sweet filling.


Quality of Food: 3.9/5
Service: 4/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3.8/5
Price: $$

Address: 7030 Warden Avenue, Markham, ON, L3R 4N3

iCook Buffet on Urbanspoon