Markham and Scarborough restaurants do brisk business on Christmas Day. From dim sum to dinner or something in between, here are some of the best bets for eating out on December 25th 2013.
If there's an Asian restaurant that gets points for effort in trying to liven up the Christmas Day experience, Gourmet Malaysia would be it. Not only are they open from 11am, they also offer an impressive Christmas menu for 10 people ($368) featuring ginger onion lobster and crispy shredded garlic beef. Don't forget to wash it down with a comforting hot teh tarik ($1.50), a sweet milky tea that beats the stuffing out of eggnog any day.
Phoenix doesn't offer any specials on Christmas Day (though this may change) but they are open spectacularly early at 8am, perfect for a delicious brunch of Canto-Western cuisine goodies like the delicious ham and egg pineapple bun ($4.75).
Hohomi Rice and Noodle House
Found in the far eastern reaches of Markham in a nondescript residential plaza, this new Vietnamese fusion restaurant offers up interesting dishes that you normally wouldn't find in a typical southeast Asian establishment. The best part? They offer both a lunch special menu for $6.95 (my favourite is the Hohomi Chicken Wings) and a dinner special menu for $7.95 (try the spicy green chili chicken). Fresh food and a refined atmosphere make this place great value. Open starting at 11am.
Quite possibly the loudest place on this list, this is one of the best places in Toronto to get the Chinese equivalent of the Christmas turkey: the large Peking duck (approx. $40). Coupled with the ridiculously delicious crispy beef ($13.95) and you have a fearsome feast on a cold Christmas day. Imagine the loud noises of chatter and utensils clinking against the bowls as Christmas carols and you're good to go.
If all you want for Christmas is all you can eat (see what I did there), then pay a visit to this brand-new buffet place just south of Highway 7. Unique among many of the bland buildings you see in Markham, this restaurant's exterior is eye-catching, while the splendour inside is worth the admission fee alone. Prices are a bit steep, though at least they are charging the weekday price of $29.99 even on Christmas Day (open at 9:30am) as part of their special promotion. As an added bonus: they're promising roast turkey as part of their December 25th menu. Win-win.
Yang's Fine Chinese Cuisine
Yang's is on the list of best dim sum places in the GTA and I see no reason not to include them on this list. You can start your post-unwrapping activities with a big dim sum meal here. The sweet egg yolk buns are (almost) to die for, while the shrimps used in their har gow dumplings are some of the freshest and largest you will ever experience. They open at 10am, and you better come early as it gets busy. If you can book early enough, try to get a space in one of their private VIP rooms.
Yoko Japanese Restaurant
If you're looking for a quiet, low-key meal that satisfies, look no further than Yoko. This oft-overlooked place in an industrial corner of Scarborough offers large bento boxes along with rotating daily specials. The majority of the patrons are lunchtime office workers (during dinnertime I can practically hear crickets chirping), which could make for a peaceful meal on the 25th. The Green Dragon Roll ($15) is a good bet along with their fresh sushi and sashimi boats. Definitely a place to come on an empty stomach. Open starting at 11am.
Ding Tai Fung
Another carryover from the best dim sum list, this place has become synonymous with soup-filled dumplings (xiaolongbao), and the fact that they're open from 11am on Christmas Day practically guarantees that there'll be quite a crowd of dumpling lovers ready to scoop up their Shanghai-style dim sum offerings. The crab xiaolongbao is a particular highlight here, and you can munch on these while watching the chefs hand-make your little morsels of delight through a large glass window.
A staple among Chinese food favourites, Asian Legend (in particular the wonderfully spacious Scarborough location on Sheppard Ave) is a place you can't go wrong. Many a conversation regarding where to eat has ended with Asian Legend when nobody can agree on where to go - largely based on the diversity of their offerings. Open at 11am. Be sure to sample their Szechuan smoked duck ($13.95) and the variety of casserole/claypot dishes such as the 3-cup chicken ($10.95)
If you've decided that only a high-class meal would do, then don't overlook Sagano. Overlooking the 401 (which is a lot prettier than you think at night), this rooftop Japanese restaurant at the top of the Delta Toronto East features a special 5-course Christmas menu featuring sparkling wine, lobster tail, and beef teriyaki along with appetizer and dessert ($69.99). The service is top notch and they'll validate your parking, too. Open from 6 pm.
What did I miss? Add your Scarborough and Markham restaurant picks in the comments below.
by Darren "DKLo" Susilo via blogTO