Dim sum is a delightful way to start the day!
It’s a Chinese tradition that involves sharing small dishes of food with friends and family over tea. And if you’re looking for an amazing dim sum experience, then you’ll want to turn to these best dim sum places in Toronto, Scarborough, Markham, and Richmond Hill – yes, I wrote separate posts about them because I’m a dim sum addict and love to indulge in this delicious early-morning cuisine during my “cheat days”.
One of my favourite dim sum restaurants today is The One Fusion (聚龍軒) along with Skyview Fusion (乙龍天) and their sister companies. It’s unfortunate that Dragon Boat Fusion closed because that used to be one of my favourite go-to spots for early morning dim sum.
That along with Crown Prince Fine Dining & Banquet (紫京盛宴) in North York (though I keep thinking “Scarborough” since it’s at the borderline) brings back memories of the past (2011 to 2015) when I used to go there with my friends; but, not as ancient as Rol San in Toronto Chinatown, which first opened up in 1994.
Since Rui and I wanted to reminisce about the past, and we were feeling for some early morning dim sum, we decided to stop by Crown Prince to see if it was just as good as it used to be. In my opinion, they were one of the best dim sum spots a decade ago. But, are they still today?
Let’s find out in our review today.
Crown Prince Fine Dining & Banquet (紫京盛宴) in North York Review
At Crown Prince Fine Dining & Banquet (located at 3600 Victoria Park Ave), you’ll find an incredible selection of delicious dim sum offerings like pork dumplings, steamed har gow, and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves.
Plus, their bright and glamorous atmosphere makes it perfect for enjoying conversation and laughter while savoring every bite. Many people actually reserve tables for their weddings here to celebrate. Of course, their dinner menu is totally different from their dim sum menu, which is served during breakfast and brunch hours.
Anyways, here’s what we ordered today. I’ll give you my honest thoughts and what I think about them compared to 5+ years ago in addition to their competitors.
1. Baked BBQ Pork Puff Pastry (老婆餅)
I wanted to try their BBQ pork puff pastry again so I could compare it to The One Fusion’s version.
I have to say that Crown Prince’s baked BBQ pork puff pastry wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as The One Fusion’s recipe. What I really liked about The One Fusion’s BBQ pork pastry was the unique taste of honey with ginger – it was like no other that I’ve ever had. I didn’t find that in Crown Prince as it tasted very average and just like any other BBQ Pork Puff Pastry.
On top of that, it was a little bit greasy and oily, but Rui thinks I am being too harsh with my review here.
He said it was fine and that he believes most people will like it, although not as much as the one from The One Fusion. In other words, he agrees that The One Fusion tastes better!
2. Har Gow (蝦餃)
I was looking forward to their shrimp dumpling because it’s one of my favourite small bites to eat whenever I’m craving some unhealthy food!
To my disappointment, Crown Prince’s har gow doesn’t taste as good as what they used to serve.
Not bad, but not amazing. You can take what I say with a grain of salt; however, in my opinion, it was just okay.
For something over $7, I was expecting better quality. As Rui would put it, “eh, tastes like har gow to me. But for $7, I could order something else.”
3. Siu Mai (烧卖)
Their siu mai was pretty good and I think it’s comparable to how they used to make it.
Nothing has really changed with this recipe though I have to say that The One Fusion served better-tasting siu mai.
Not to mention, if I can recall correctly, they also offer bigger portion sizes there where quality is not compromised! Yes, you get both quality and quantity at The One Fusion.
Rui says their siu mai is easy to chew on and he likes how he can taste the mushroom, which brings out the classic traditional flavor of siu mai.
4. Steamed Shrimp and Veggie Rice Roll (腸粉)
Their steamed shrimp and veggie had a good amount of shrimp inside along with a full strand of vegetable – hey, that’s a good thing because there are some dim sum restaurants that don’t give you that piece of veggie!
It’s comparable to other dim sum restaurants like Skyview Fusion, The One Fusion, and Yu Seafood. I have to say that this dish tastes very similar all across, but it is better than the one served at My Wonderful Kitchen.
5. Beef Tripe in Sacha Sauce (牛柏葉)
Tripe is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I believe it’s a guilty-pleasure item that you can enjoy at any dim sum restaurant.
Not sure what it is?
It’s basically the lining of a cow’s stomach. I know, it sounds pretty gross but surprisingly it tastes good!
Rui and I haven’t eaten tripe at a dim sum restaurant for a while now since we know how bad it is for you. It also usually comes in our Pho noodle soup whenever we stop by these top Vietnamese or Pho restaurants in Markham or Toronto.
The onions along with ginger and Sacha sauce made this dish really flavourful. Hmm, could it be the MSG?
A pro is that this was actually a very generous amount, so don’t let the picture deceive your perception. There was quite a bit of tripe in that bowl!
Overall, I think it was a hit among the two of us! It was a good treat to have especially when we don’t eat it very often.
6. Sticky Rice with Meat Wrapped in Lotus Leaf
Crown Prince’s sticky rice was not bad. It tastes very much like the other top dim sum restaurants, so it is comparable.
We do have to admit they weren’t a big portion – very similar to the size at Rol San, but I would say Crown Prince’s version tastes much better and there’s no doubt about that!
7. Durian Puff Pastry
I love durian everything – the fruit itself, in ice cream, mochi, pastry, you name it!
My love for this fruit is unexplainable and that’s why I usually ask for a durian cake for my birthday – especially the durian flavour from Daan Go Cake Lab. It’s really one of the best in Toronto!
Anyways, the durian puff pastry at Crown Prince had such an aromatic smell but fortunately, it didn’t fill the whole restaurant. It was so good that I wanted to eat more than one – however, Rui had to stop me from overeating even though he thought it was good!
This pastry has a moderate durian flavour (not overly strong) and the texture is quite flaky, but not too dense. This durian puff pastry is definitely one of my favourites here!
The downfall is the price – $13 for three tiny pieces, so it is one of the more expensive items. Totally worth it though if you’re obsessed with durian!
And speaking of durian, I recommend freshly-made durian tarts from Les Chateaux Bakery in Unionville – they literally have the best egg tarts in Toronto, and their durian tart is on the top of everyone’s list.
8. Fried Turnip Cake
I don’t generally like fried or greasy food, but this one is an exception.
The fried turnip cake at Crown Prince was really good and it has a nice crunch to it due to its crispy surface. I can taste the preserved radish (菜脯) in every bite, which made me ask for another piece but I was trying to be good, so I only had one piece whereas Rui finished the rest.
You get the balance of savory and sweetness just right – you can definitely taste the savoriness from the preserved radish with a hint of sweetness. They also make sure the dough isn’t too dense, which I appreciate.
I have sentimental feelings towards Crown Prince since this USED to be my favourite place when their food was better quality. Their food really did go down in quality over the years, but it’s not bad at all.
Taking away my feelings of sentiment, their food deserves 3.3 to 3.5 stars, but because our server was so nice and the environment is so beautiful, I will be generous and give them a 3.7 out of 5 stars for the food.
Again, Crown Prince Fine Dining was good (very passable) but not amazing to my standards. Who knows, my view might change again if I were to come back.
We also notice that there are fewer people who come here now compared to back in the day (it used to be jam-packed during breakfast and brunch hours).
They seem to have lost their business to other restaurants since competition amongst dim sim places has been higher.
Our server was exceptionally helpful. He offered to fill my travel mug with hot water if I ever ran out. He even offered to refill it for me when we left.
He was very welcoming and chatted with Rui and me about the most random topics – from dim sum foods to his son and where he works.
When we were done with the food, he handed us the bill and helped us pack the leftovers to go. I must say that was probably one of the best services we received from a dim sum restaurant since it’s usually filled with rude and aggressive servers.
The place has always been quite the glamour and it remains beautiful today. It’s one of the most aesthetically appealing (in terms of looks and decor) dim sum places in my opinion. The tables are big and the chairs you sit in are very comfortable. The staff here is also very attentive and friendly, which I appreciate.
I have to say the price is pretty fair and comparable to other higher-end dim sum places.
In fact, this was slightly cheaper than Rol San in Toronto’s Chinatown (even BEFORE our 15% discount), which is VERY sad because I still cannot believe how Rol San can charge what they charge with the lower quality that they offer. You could check out my honest Rol San review here.
It’s one reason why I don’t recommend dim sum in Chinatown or mostly downtown Toronto because of the better options in the suburbs.
Including tax and tips, we paid $63.86. We also got a 15% discount, but I’m not sure if it’s because of a morning special or because we paid in cash – or maybe both!
Before covid, many dim sum restaurants in Scarborough, North York, Markham, and Richmond Hill including Crown Prince offered early-morning specials; but recently, they don’t haven’t advertised or announced the specials.
Nowadays, when Rui and I go to dim sum places, we sort of go hoping that they do give us a discount.
Although the food quality is slightly better than average (not as good as back in the day), it’s still not cheap. But you get what you pay for – a beautiful atmosphere paired with delicious food!
Overall Rating of Crown Prince: 3.7/5
Overall, Crown Prince Fine Dining and Banquet offers great dim sum dishes, and I recommend it for a special occasion if you live in North York or Scarborough. If you don’t mind traveling a little further, then definitely give The One Fusion (聚龍軒) a try – they generally offer more selections and better quality.
The prices might be on the higher side compared to the average dim sum restaurant, but it depends on what you order and at what time. Either way, it’s worth it to splurge once in a while and I would only come back here because of the atmosphere!
Yes, their environment is gorgeous with sparkling chandelier lights, which makes it a very comfortable and relaxing place to dine at. Pretty comparable to Skyview Fusion’s atmosphere, but I like Crown Prince’s ambiance slightly more.