It’s a Chinatown stalwart, the Yangtze is. It’s been around for more than a quarter century and anyone who has wandered the neighbourhood on weekends has seen the lineups snaking out the door from 10 a.m. well into the afternoon. While the neighbourhood is now more known for its Vietnamese fare, Yangtze remains the go-to destination for the dim sum crowd.
The Place: Though overrun on weekends, Yangtze is relatively quiet for weekday lunches. Heck, if you reserve ahead or arrive before noon you’ll likely get a seat beside the massive windows, with their views over bustling Somerset Street. If you’re in the more cavernous central section of the restaurant, there’s not much to look at — has the restaurant ever been updated, I wonder? Tables for four — as well as the big, round tables with the rotating centres for sharing — are covered in white plastic for easy cleanup.
But you’re here for the dim sum, and there’s lots of it. The weekday dimsum menu lists 53 items, with an extra 10 selections on the weekend menu. (Really, though, you’ll maybe see a fairly familiar repertoire of about 25 different items go by over a one-hour lunch stop.) The tea arrives as soon as you’re seated, as does the food. As the carts swing by, each bearing four or five dishes, you’ll soon find your table bursting with choice.
The Lunch: The beauty of dim sum is that everyone shares. There are not a lot of choices for vegans for vegetarians, but seafood and pork lovers are in their element. The basic “food groups” are pot stickers, steamed buns, noodles, and sticky rice, most containing shrimp or pork as their protein base. You’re not going to get any surprises here, but you will enjoy a lunch that manages to be leisurely and quick at the same time — the service is efficient, but without that crazed bustle of the weekends.
So, avoid the Saturday/Sunday lineups and have your dim sum “brunch” during the week. Cheap, fast, good. Sold!
The cost: About $12 per person
Hours: Open Monday to Friday for lunch from 11 a.m. onwards
Yangtze, 700 Somerset St. W., 613-236-0555, yangtze.ca