Crown Princess Fine Dining

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Weekly Lunch Pick: refined dim sum for two at Crown Princess on Bay

A fine spread (Image: Renée Suen)

In the pantheon of Toronto dim sum restaurants, Bay Street’s Crown Princess is decidedly among the more refined options. The cushy room hums with activity as groups dig into small plates chosen from a checklist of fanciful twists on conventional dishes.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Just Opened: Imperial Chinese, southern barbecue and a little west-end game changer

Crown Princess Fine Diningstar
1033 Bay St., 416-923-8784

(Image: Vanessa Heins)

The colonial Shanghai decor is impressive, to say the least: there’s more expensive marble here than in Hadrian’s baths. Chandeliers blaze, piano concertos play, one server wears a French maid’s uniform, and the tableside service is proper and accomplished. The menu offers just about every luxury ingredient imaginable: goose liver, caviar, lobster, swallow’s nest and (ecologically disastrous) shark’s fin dishes. While the Cantonese cooking is good, it doesn’t live up to the sticker shock. That said, the $48 Peking duck wheeled out on a mahogany trolley is nicely crackly and rich-skinned; it’s best post-carving, turned into a stir-fry with crisp fried rice noodles and iceberg lettuce for wrapping. Whole grouper (don’t tell the SeaChoice folks) comes straight out of the aquarium, is steamed and clean tasting and set over a subtle house-made soy and wine broth ($24). Dim sum standouts include the flaky, golden abalone pastry and broiling-hot sesame balls enveloping marzipan and pumpkin. Mains $16–$98.

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