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A table full of plates of various skewers, including meat, shrimp, and vegetables

Skewers at Chat Bar.

Chat Bar

The 38 Essential Markham Restaurants

Where to find Afghan kebabs, Hong Kong-style French toast, shiitake udon carbonara, and Sri Lankan mutton poutine in Ontario’s dining powerhouse

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Skewers at Chat Bar.

| Chat Bar

According to the most recent data, nearly 78 percent of Markham’s residents consider themselves visible minorities. And while most of the Toronto suburb’s population falls into the broader categories of Chinese, Indian, and Central Asian, that belies the regional variations that give the area, and its restaurant scene, incredible vitality. The area’s dazzling variety of dining options convinced famed restaurateur David Chang that the bustling little city of 353,000 produces the best food in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). From dim sum and soup dumplings to chapli kebabs and hakka noodles, Markham’s food scene offers an embarrassment of riches.

Many of the neighborhood’s best meals can be found in malls, including Pacific Mall — reportedly the largest Asian shopping mall in the Western world — where a walk around the food court will blast your senses with its sights and smells.

You’d be hard-pressed to find another food city as dynamic or varied in all of North America. The sheer number and concentration of restaurants in Markham’s 82 square miles is astounding, so we’ve whittled this list down to make it easy for you (yes, 38 is the abridged version). Here are Markham’s essential restaurants.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

Prices per person, excluding alcohol:

$ = Less than $25 CAD (less than $20 USD)
$$ = $25 to $49 CAD ($20 to $38 USD)
$$$ = $50 to $100 CAD ($39 to $78 USD)
$$$$ = More than $100 CAD ($78 USD and up)

Faiyaz Kara spent his formative years in Toronto and Markham, Ontario. He has served as Orlando Weekly’s restaurant critic since June 2006 and is a regular contributor to Eater Miami. He is also the author of Gourmet Breakfasts for the Genius.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Frilu

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7713 Yonge St, Thornhill
ON L3T 2C4, Canada
(289) 597-8867
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Frilu sits on the western boundary of Markham in the community of Thornhill. The tasting menu concept by executive chef/owner John-Vincent Troiano and wife Sandra has become one of the more remarkable dining experiences in the GTA in the past three years. With Troiano’s culinary creds (stages at Noma in Copenhagen and Benu in San Francisco; apprenticing under chef Masaki Hashimoto, the don of Japanese cooking in Toronto), it’s no surprise his seasonal tasting menu fuses Scandi sensibilities with Japanese flavors and distinctly Canadian ingredients. There are appearances from Ontario plums, B.C. uni, even Quebec horse tenderloin, as well as ingredients procured from Willowolf Farm. Troiano has also attracted buzz for his savory take on an Oreo: Black quinoa and blueberry cookies house a creamy center of whipped pork fat spiced with star anise. [$$$$]

Hands pull apart a branded ‘Frilu’ Oreo
Savory Oreo.
Frilu

2. Tahchinbar

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7181 Yonge St #16, Thornhill
ON L3T 0C7, Canada
(905) 597-4554
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It’s telling that this import’s first foray outside of Iran is in Markham — but it’s hardly surprising. The Persian/Iranian community in Markham and Richmond Hill has exploded over the past few years, and many flock to this humble little eatery for a true taste of home. The specialty here, of course, are tahchins, or baked rice cakes. Iranians have a serious love affair with these bulbous, saffron-hued pucks, whose crunchy outer shells come stuffed with your choice of ghormeh sabzi (a herbaceous beef stew), bademjan (an eggplant stew with beef and dried lemon), boneless veal, or chicken. They all come garnished with tart-sweet barberries. There’s even a macaroni tahdig: pasta, ground beef, and tomato sauce baked into a crispy puck of pan-fried potato. The sparkling saffron drink with lime and rose flower is a fave among regulars. [$]

A mound of crispy rice covered in barberries, beside beverages and side salads
Chicken tahchin (chicken breast, barberries, and saffron).
Tahchinbar

3. Providential 9

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CA Ontario, 8425 Woodbine Ave Unit A Markham
ON L3R 2P4, Canada
(905) 305-1338
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Providential 9 nails higher-end Cantonese-style dim sum, impeccably crafting standards and plating them as feasts for the eyes (and IG posts). Diners come for the signature red rice rolls filled with crispy shrimp, but they stay for an array of items that’ll make your head spin like a Lazy Susan — crispy cuttlefish, deep-fried pumpkin and okra in egg yolk, and spareribs with taro and olive, to name a few. Sweet selections like the unreal Cantonese sponge cake and sesame balls in salty egg yolk only add to the experience. [$$ - $$$]

A restaurant interior, with a large circular opening in a brick wall revealing a dining room beyond, centered around a large bonsai tree
Inside Providential 9.
Providential 9

4. Skyview Fusion Cuisine

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8261 Woodbine Ave #8, Markham
ON L3R 8Z5, Canada
(905) 944-9418
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Another in the line of grand dim sum houses in Markham, Skyview does all the classics right and then some. Requisite orders include the melt-in-your-mouth char siu, bulky siu mai, rice rolls, and egg tarts. The barbecue pork especially is great on its own, in a rice dish, or in a sweet and meaty pastry bun. Seats can be hard to come by, so expect to wait, particularly on weekends when it can get a bit cuckoo bananas. Skyview also gets first prize for its light fixtures, which look like day-glo jellyfish falling from the ceiling. [$$$]

5. Zen Japanese Restaurant

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7634 Woodbine Ave, Markham
ON L3R 2N2, Canada
(905) 604-7211
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Zen is a go-to destination for hardcore omakase aficionados to taste sushi maestro Seiichi Kashiwabara’s stellar slices of seafood procured from Japan, Canada, and beyond. Aside from those boffo multicoursers, Zen also offers pristine cuts of seafood in an a la carte format, including otoro (from farmed bluefin), filefish, sea robin, and more. From the non-sushi bill of fare, don’t pass on the roasted duck, grilled miso cod, or the gorgeous simmered beef tongue. For beef eaters, there’s plenty of A4 wagyu and A5 Hida wagyu from Gifu prefecture. A traditional kaiseki with tea ceremony is also offered. [$$$$]

Five pieces of nigiri, with fat vibrant pieces of fish, on a plank
Nigiri at Zen.
Zen Japanese Restaurant

6. Sam’s Congee Delight

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7354 Woodbine Ave, Markham
ON L3R 1A5, Canada
(905) 479-1074
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A warm bowl of congee is perfect any time of day, and no one does it better than this institution of savory rice porridge. Wong Sam founded Sam’s in Hong Kong in 1966 before emigrating with his family to Canada in the 1990s. They set up shop near the Pacific Mall, but in 2018, the family moved the restaurant to its current location, where luscious, silky bowls of comfort are served inside a casual space awash in teal. If you’re unsure about what to order, just go with one of the classics: shredded pork with preserved egg; minced beef with pork’s pudding; or an assortment of minced beef, squid, and pork rind. Do get dough sticks to enjoy with the soup, and absolutely order one of Sam’s first-class handmade rice rolls. [$]

A bowl of congee with a small pile of toppings peeking out of the center, on a wooden table scattered with chopped herbs
Congee.
Sam’s Congee Delight

7. Diana's Oyster Bar & Grill Markham

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7501 Woodbine Ave, Markham
ON L3R 2W1, Canada
(905) 415-7792
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Diana Cicirello’s oyster emporium shucks an amazing selection of bivalves from Fanny Bay to Colville Bay and, on occasion, Newfoundland, Ireland, and New Zealand as well. Its daily “buck a shuck” special is a huge draw for lovers of Lucky 88 (British Columbia) and Malpeque (Prince Edward Island) oysters. Diana’s also offers live scallops from B.C. and Nova Scotia, clams galore (blood, cherrystone, mahogany, little neck), sea urchin, and side stripe shrimp. The selection of seafood options from the list of entrees is impressive, but the clam linguine remains tried and true. [$$$]

From above, open and closed oysters on a slate cutting board with an oyster knife and half a lemon

East Coast oysters.

Diana’s Oyster Bar & Grill Markham

8. Dum Pukht

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323 Denison St, Markham
ON L3R 1B7, Canada
(905) 604-6401
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This is not your average high-end restaurant specializing in traditional Mughlai/northern Indian dishes. Yes, it offers a variety of tandoori meats that are impeccably fired, as well as curries and Hakka fare, but the portion of its menu dedicated to the namesake dum pukht cooking is what’s generating buzz among Markham’s food cognoscente. Chicken, mutton, biryani, or vegetables are slow-cooked over low heat in clay or copper vessels sealed with dough, resulting in a flavor and fragrance bomb. The lush restaurant also has an inviting bar, where nondrinkers can try the house-made nimbu pani, a refreshing lemon-infused soda with black salt and Indian spices. [$$]

A large metal pot topped with a pillow of charred dough
Dum pukht biryani.
Dum Pukht/Facebook

9. QJD Peking Duck

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7095 Woodbine Ave, Markham
ON L3R 1A3, Canada
(905) 604-7798
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QJD has been in business since 1864, and after one bite of its signature Peking duck, it’s easy to see why. Eating inside the first outpost of the Chinese chain in North America can be a bit of an indulgence, evidenced by the cooks who carve duck tableside — and the bill. But the price is worth it for the premium duck peony set: 24 pieces of duck plated into the shape of a peony blossom and served alongside steamed pancakes, baked hollow sesame seed buns, sweetened soybean dipping sauce, cucumber strips, scallion strips, and white sugar to enjoy with crispy duck skin. [$$ - $$$]

Slices of roast duck on a plate beside a segmented plate of dipping sauces and a large steamer basket
Premium roast duck set.
QJD Peking Duck

10. Ding Tai Fung

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3235 Hwy 7 #18B, Markham
ON L3R 3P9, Canada
(905) 943-9880
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Yes, it’s a knockoff of the uber-popular Taiwanese chain Din Tai Fung, but this restaurant’s steaming-hot, handmade xiao long bao are superb nonetheless. You can even watch the cooks make the soup dumplings through a window at the back of the restaurant. Plus, its Shanghai-style dim sum menu has a mind-boggling array of items — pan-fried pork buns, wontons in chile sauce, pork pie with turnip — but vegetarians can have a field day here as well with king mushrooms over stir-fried bean leaves and, yep, veggie steamed dumplings. DTF is inside the First Markham Place shopping complex (see separate listing). [$$]

11. First Markham Place

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3255 Hwy 7, Markham
ON L3R 3P9, Canada
(905) 944-1629
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Nosh your way through this sprawling shopping complex that houses scores of eateries in its plaza, including Ding Tai Fung (see separate listing). Popular Chinese chain Bingz specializes in crispy burgers, and Mei Nung Beef Noodle House is a mainstay for Taiwanese food. Beyond those heavy hitters, check out Wiang Kuk Thai Food, Malay Thai Famous Cuisine, Real Vegan Chinese Restaurant, KAKA All You Can Eat, Brown Donkatsu, Mabu Generation, and, for your fill of sweets, Patisserie Gateau. [$ - $$]

A mall exterior with large sign and a bell tower against a blue sky
Outside First Markham Place mall.
First Markham Place

12. J-Town

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3160 Steeles Ave E, Markham
ON L3R 4G9, Canada
(905) 305-0108
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The largest Japanese shopping mall in the GTA has been indulging the appetites of Japanophiles for nearly a quarter century. Its restaurants and stores offer a medley of delights, from Heisei Mart’s bevy of grocery goods and grab-and-go items to food purveyors like Tanuki, a restaurant serving yoshoku-style cuisine (Japanese versions of Western dishes). There’s a butcher, two amazing bakers (Nakamura and Sasaki Fine Pastry), though no candlestick maker, at least not yet. There is a seafood market, however, that carries sushi-grade selections. Other operations on site include Izakaya Ju, ramen restaurant Niwatei & Green Tea Lounge, and Cafe Green Tea. [$ - $$]

A fried chicken sandwich with thick bread, sliced in half and laid on its side, drizzled with red sauce
Chicken katsu sando at Tanuki.
Tanuki Restaurant

13. Sushi Umi

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3621 Hwy 7 Unit 104-105, Markham
ON L3R 0G6, Canada
(905) 475-1222
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When two-Michelin-star chef Masaki Saito — chef/owner of his eponymous sushi temple on Avenue Road — is a regular at your restaurant, you must be doing something right. Ivan Lee has accomplished just that with his omakase concept at Liberty Square, which brings a bit of refinement and simple elegance to this strip mall monstrosity. At $138 for 17 courses — 10 of which are nigiri sushi — it’s a decent value. Naturally, the ingredients are based on seasonality, but Lee sources much of his seafood from Japan. Takeout is also available, so you can order foie gras, otoro, and Hokkaido uni for an absolute baller to-go bag. [$$$$]

A wooden box of various cuts of vibrant sashimi
Omakase sashimi box.
Sushi Umi/Facebook

14. Hutaoli Music Restaurant & Bar

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3760 Hwy 7 Unit 1, Unionville
ON L3R 0N2, Canada
(365) 608-5333
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Another chain from China making its foray into the GTA, Hutaoli serves Sichuan-leaning cuisine in an eclectic space accompanied by a live musical hit parade from the Chinese mainland. It’s an intense experience, but it’s the food you’ll remember later: 36-hour sake sous vide beef tongue, signature roast chicken marinated for 12 hours, and, of course, durian pizza. If a cocktail is in order, go all out with the Flaming Lips — a blend of vodka, raspberry, lemon, and black currant served in a glass coated with crystal sugar and rose petals. [$$]

A restaurant booth behind a room divider, with posters decorating the walls and a table set for dinner
A booth inside Hutaoli.
Hutaoli Music Restaurant & Bar

15. Casa Victoria

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8601 Warden Ave. Unit 4-6, Unionville
ON L3R 0B5, Canada
(905) 948-1618
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With its ornate dining room adorned in Italian granite, marble pillars, and crystal chandeliers, this grand dame of dim sum is a popular spot for banquets and weddings. Since 2008, it’s been drawing dim sum buffs to its palatial digs for Cantonese delights like shrimp har gow and siu mai, as well as more regal dishes like Peking duck and whole roasted suckling pig. There’s a mind-boggling array of items from which to choose, but don’t pass on the stir-fried Nova Scotia lobster coated with salted duck egg yolk. Note: It also offers bird’s nest soup and shark fin soup, should that sway your decision to patronize the restaurant. [$$$]

16. Wonton Hut

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3760 York Regional Rd 7, Unionville
ON L3R 0N2, Canada
(905) 604-9060
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Since 2009, folks have come to Eddie Yeung’s wee noodle shop to gorge on plump dumplings — in wonton soup, atop of a bed of lo mein, or on their own. Most popular is the traditional wonton noodle soup, in which a quartet of wontons are filled with shrimp, pork, chives, shiitake, and black fungus for a little crunch. If you want greens, get some choy sum (Chinese mustard greens) tossed in; a splash of red vinegar and chile oil will do some good, too. Beyond wontons, tender, juicy beef brisket can be enjoyed with vegetables, lo mein, or as an add-on to wonton soup. The restaurant recently launched its own brand of Hong Kong-style milk tea and house-brewed lemon tea as well. [$]

A plate of noodles with a handful of wonton around the rim, with a few pieces of bok choy and dark sauce
Wontons with noodles and bok choy.
Wonton Hut/Facebook

17. Xin Jiang Restaurant

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3636 Steeles Ave E Unit106, Markham
ON L3R 2Z5, Canada
(905) 948-9966
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Specializing in the cuisine of Xinjiang, where Muslim Uyghurs make up most of the population, this humble restaurant serves a bevy of halal Chinese fare. Lamb takes the spotlight, and an order of barbecued lamb skewers covered in cumin and chile is de rigueur. You can also get the protein tossed in silky, springy hand-pulled noodles or in a soup of lamb, yam, and Chinese herbs for a true taste of Xinjiang. Or go for stir-fried beef with onion and lotus leaf-shaped buns, which encompasses the simple yet comforting flavors characteristic of northwestern Chinese cuisine. There are even a few dim sum items, like beef and chive pancakes and lamb and onion steamed dumplings. [$-$$]

18. Xiang Zi Hotpot

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3989 Hwy 7, Markham
ON L3R 5M6, Canada
(905) 305-9888
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The Old Chengdu design is jaw-dropping at this two-story paean to hot pot, as are the myriad protein, vegetable, noodle, sauce, and condiment options. The all-you-can-eat format includes a massive buffet station where you can pick items to cook in one of four available bases: tomato soup, stewed mushroom and bones, spicy sour fish, and xiangzi spicy soup (or a combination of any two). Among the more than 300 ingredients are lamb tripe, beef balls, Spam, quail eggs, and pork blood tofu, as well as sesame oil imported from China and seasonings flown in from Sichuan. There’s also a hot table with dozens of cooked sides and small desserts. Premium ingredient upgrades include lobster, crab, scallops, marble beef cubes, and more. Getting messy here is a given, so don’t wear white or, if you do, get a complimentary apron. Note: During the pandemic, everyone gets their own individual hot pot. [$$]

19. Patisserie Fleur

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180 Enterprise Blvd Unit 103, Markham
ON L6G 1B3, Canada
(905) 604-8009
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Pâtisserie Fleur is, in a word, gorgeous. If that’s not enough to persuade you to visit this cute pastry shop, here are three more: matcha crepe cake. The shop fuses French technique and Asian flavors, and like everything else here, the crepe cake is a wonder of aesthetics and baking. So are the eclairs, flawlessly crafted in flavors like rose lychee and pistachio strawberry. Even prettier is the cake made in the shape of a rose flower — it puts the “fleur” in Pâtisserie Fleur. While the sesame noir cake lacks the look of its peers, don’t let it deter you; the filling of sesame and Madagascar vanilla bean mousse, sesame paste, and sesame cookie will make your eyes roll to the back of your head. [$]

A large green cake on a platter topped with decorative edible flowers
Matcha jasmine cake.
Patisserie Fleur/Facebook

20. The School Fine Dining

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4121 14th Ave, Markham
ON L3R 0J2, Canada
(905) 477-1161
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Housed inside the historic Hagerman Corner School built in 1888, this longtime fine dining destination isn’t short on white tablecloths or attentive servers in suits. (It is short on Insta-friendly lighting, but most of the clientele don’t care.) The fine dining classics include rack of lamb, chateaubriand, escargot bourguignon, and the like. The outdoor patio is lovely on those days when you feel like a fancy al fresco feast. [$$$ - $$$$]

A large roast on a cutting board with sliced potatoes and herbs
Meat and potatoes.
The School Fine Dining

21. Chat Bar

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187 Main St Unionville, Unionville
ON L3R 2G8, Canada
(905) 604-8836
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Uyghurs originated chuan’r, the Chinese equivalent of yakitori and kushiyaki, consisting of morsels of cumin-spiced lamb skewered and roasted over an open flame. It’s since become a popular street item, not just in Xinjiang but all over China and especially in Beijing. Chat Bar claims to be the first restaurant in the GTA to offer it, and the Markham outpost does so in an organically woodsy and inviting space. Think local izakaya but with an emphasis on lamb skewers, including lamb ribs, kidneys, and tripe. There are a number of other proteins, too, including beef heart, chicken skin, pork knuckle, and grilled Fanny Bay oysters with garlic. And fear not vegetarians: There are more than 20 options from which to choose, most notably the meaty-looking grilled cabbage. [$]

A table full of plates of various skewers, including meat, shrimp, and vegetables
All types of skewers.
Chat Bar

22. Next Door

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139 Main St Unionville, Unionville
ON L3R 2G6, Canada
(905) 604-6983
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If ever there was a place that celebrates the diversity of the GTA, it’s this very Canadian restaurant situated in the heart of picturesque Main Street Unionville. Octopus shawarma, lamb barbacoa, pani puri, okonomiyaki cheeseburgers, and duck poutine lend comfort without a hint of overreaching pretense. The elevated patio and its pondside view packs in diners in the summertime. It’s the place to enjoy one of the restaurant’s signature brunch towers — think seafood towers but stacked with double-smoked bacon, lamb sausage, buttermilk pancakes, chile scrambled eggs, and more. [$$]

From above, two oysters covered with red chili butter and herbs
Calabrian baked oysters.
Next Door/Facebook

23. Pacific Mall

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4300 Steeles Avenue East NE corner of Steeles &, 4300 Steeles Ave E, Markham
ON L3R 0Y5, Canada
(905) 470-8785
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In 2021, the destination mall celebrated 25 years, but also suffered a fire that forced it to close temporarily, leaving food court aficionados in the lurch. After two weeks of lamenting, customers were back lining up for fresh-made, hand-pulled noodles at Sun’s Kitchen and indulging in kanazawa curries and beef bowls at Gyugyuya. There are so many food options inside this enormous mall, it would take numerous visits to make a serious dent, so prioritize the lamb skewers at the legendary Prairie Lamb Kabob and the spicy octopus pancakes at Mr. Pancake. Need more? How about a slurp from Potato Noodle Soup of Bai (which specializes in northwestern Chinese fare), coffee from Dak Lak (which sources imported Vietnamese coffee beans), or Filipino-style hotcakes at Pinoy Waffles. Pick up some candy and snacks — like uji hojicha-flavored Kit Kat — from Ding Dong Exotic Sweet on your way out. [$ - $$]

24. Chiang Rai Thai Kitchen and Bar

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7750 Kennedy Rd, Markham
ON L3R 0A7, Canada
(905) 604-8424
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This sister restaurant to Chiang Mai in Etobicoke brings the same sort of elevated and gorgeously plated Siamese dishes to Markham. It doesn’t necessarily push the envelope, but it presents the standards in fine form. The tom yum pad thai fuses two classics into one, while the khao soi is more than just photo-friendly. The space is also quite fetching. [$$]

A pile of pad thai topped with large pieces of lobster
Tom yum pad thai.
Chiang Rai Thai Kitchen and Bar

25. Chef 88 Elite Fine Dining

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1661 Denison St T1, Markham
ON L3R 6E4, Canada
(905) 604-8218
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Pivoting to become one of the largest outdoor dim sum dining spots in the GTA certainly helped this bastion of high-end dining during the pandemic, but its success is really due to the legions of dim summers who come back again and again for 88’s classy renditions of standards. Honestly, you won’t find a clunker on the menu, so go ahead and try a dish you haven’t had before: braised duck feet and wings with chestnuts, spicy deep-fried chicken knuckle, or pumpkin and sweet corn congee (get the youtiao to enjoy with it). Best of all, its dim sum is available in frozen format for takeout, including shrimp har gow and chiu chow chicken dumplings. Beyond dim sum, you can indulge at dinner with a menu of live seafood. Hong Kong-style crab, anyone? [$$ - $$$]

A table filled with dim sum items in baskets, on plates, and in large platters. There are dumplings, roast meats, rice rolls, egg tarts, and buns
Dim sum at Chef 88.
Chef 88 Elite Fine Dining

26. New City Restaurant

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8392 Kennedy Rd, Unionville
ON L3R 0W4, Canada
(905) 479-3281
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This Hong Kong-style diner serves a hodgepodge of Cantonese comfort fare, but breakfast really draws the locals in. They come for classic pre-noon pick-me-ups like macaroni noodle soup and Spam with instant noodles and a fried egg. But the HK-style French toast — two thick slabs of deep-fried, peanut-buttered bread that are buttered and syruped — is a meal of champions no matter the time of day. Pair it with some of the finest Hong Kong-style milk tea in the city. A special tea time menu from 2:30 to 6 p.m. offers affordable diner classics, from beef macaroni with Russian borscht to steak with black pepper sauce. [$]

27. Big Trio Wonton Noodle

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28 South Unionville Ave, Unionville
ON L3R 1J5, Canada
(905) 604-4366
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Bigger is sometimes better — like the ladles of soup at this Langham Square (see separate listing) hot spot, which are big on flavor and big on wontons. The noodles are consistently springy, too, and the broth is always served piping hot. You should also go big when ordering with the “three kinds of toppings noodle in soup,” which includes shrimp wontons, dumplings, and brisket. A heaping plate of crackling fried fish skin offers a dose of texture on the side. Soups come with options of egg noodles, rice noodles, and vermicelli. Warning: The hot sauce is infernal. [$]

28. Langham Square

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8339 Kennedy Rd Unit 2323, Markham
ON L3R 5T5, Canada
(905) 604-8596
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This 500,000-square-foot commercial and residential complex offers an absolute wealth of dining options (more than 40), including some of the best wontons in the GTA at Big Trio Wonton Noodle (see separate listing). Toast Delight is known for its Hong Kong-style egg waffles, Kore Chicken fries up some crispy fowl, and Northwestern Chinese Cuisine serves a variety of dishes, including lamb ramen and homemade spicy rabbit head. There are eateries dedicated to dumplings and sushi and those specializing in Taiwanese and Sichuan fare. Plus, the complex includes a T&T Supermarket, the largest Asian grocery store chain in Canada, which carries a bevy of hot foods to sample, a top-notch bakery, and fresh mango and durian mochi. [$ - $$]

29. Big Beef Bowl

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8362 Kennedy Rd, Unionville
ON L3R 9W5, Canada
(905) 470-7575
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When owner Evan Lu moved his noodle shop out of the Yonge/Finch corridor, it was North York’s loss and Markham’s gain. Lu has a knack for making perfectly chewy Lanzhou-style hand-pulled noodles, which he employs, flat or round, in his popular beef bowls. Go for the classic braised brisket and beef with pickled mustard and a side of crispy-bottomed Shanghai-style bao (beware the spurt from the first bite). The cumin lamb skewers, spicy corn with cheese, and cold spiced chicken drizzled with chile oil are also must-orders. [$]

Slices of chicken in a decorative ceramic bowl covered in ground spices and herbs
Cold spiced chicken.
Big Beef Bowl

30. Haidilao Hot Pot

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5328 Hwy 7 Suite 4, Markham
ON L3P 1B9, Canada
(905) 201-9598
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Yes, Haidilao is the largest hot pot chain in China, but you should still make a visit to the Markham outpost, if not for the eight different soup bases (the spicy mala rules), then certainly for the “noodle dance” performed by staff (imagine rhythmic gymnastics combined with noodle pulling). Keep your head up if the staff leap into a performance — patrons have been known to get smacked by wayward noodles. Note: Unlike some other hot pot spots, there’s no all-you-can-eat option here. [$$]

Raw meats, vegetables, and noodles arranged around a split hot pot with four colorful broths
Hot pot ready for action.
Haidilao Hot Pot/Facebook

31. Lahore's Premium Kabab

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2002 Middlefield Rd, Markham
ON L3S 1Y6, Canada
(905) 201-9292
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The former chef and manager of the legendary Lahore Tikka House on Gerrard Street opened this spinoff, now a legend of its own. In addition to sizzling platters of beef kebabs and ghee-slicked naan, there are eight varieties of biryani. Oh, and always ask for a side of tandoori chilies — don’t worry, there’s plenty of lassi to go around to quell the burn. It’d be a mistake to leave without sampling the frothy Bangladeshi-style khandani chai, too. [$]

32. Peter's Fine Dining

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5701 Hwy 7, Markham
ON L3P 1B1, Canada
(905) 294-9039
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Throwback dining experiences are becoming increasingly rare in Markham, but this steakhouse is still going strong since its founding in 1978. Much of a meal can happen tableside, from the tossing of the Caesar salad and carving of the chateaubriand to the tableside flambe of cherries jubilee and a tableside pour of Spanish coffee. It’s all posh and a bit kitschy but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless. Plus, the 45-day-aged USDA Prime steaks can’t be beat. And dress nice — you wouldn’t want to disappoint grandpa. [$$$ - $$$$]

A plate of thick cut grilled steak and lobster, on a white tablecloth with fine settings
Surf and turf.
Peter’s Fine Dining

33. Papa Chang's

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5970 16th Ave #110, Markham
ON L3P 7R1, Canada
(905) 554-7211
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It’s all about the snacks at this humble little eatery in the northeastern reaches of Markham. Papa Chang’s showcases the range of Taiwanese cookery with a menu of such classics as chile popcorn chicken, Taiwanese sausage, and braised minced pork over rice with soy-marinated egg and pickled mustard greens. There are items that fall into the Japanese-Taiwanese category, including takoyaki and the okonomiyaki-like Japanese tako pancake with squid. Bento boxes are popular during lunchtime, but if you’re grabbing takeout, get the fish skewers with teriyaki, wasabi, mayo, and shredded fish. [$]

Bright red slices of sausage, minced pork, a dyed egg, and stewed greens cover the top of a bowl of rice
Braised minced pork over rice.
Papa Chang’s

34. Inspire Restaurant

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144 Main St N #1, Markham
ON L3P 5T3, Canada
(905) 554-2889
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On the outside, Inspire fits in on its quaint block of Main Street Markham, but entering the contemporary, eclectic interior will wake you up for the modern dining experience ahead. The menu embraces flourishes of fusion, such as duck confit frites with curried salted egg aioli and Thai chilies, or shiitake udon carbonara, a textural wonder that’s equal parts chewy, creamy, and runny thanks to quail egg yolk. Burgers veer toward the indulgent, none more so than the O.G. with its prime beef, seared pork belly, and fried egg. Like the food, the curated cocktail and wine lists are also inspired. [$$]

A plate of pappardelle noodles with bits of crab, shrimp, bacon, roe, and cheese
Crab with noodles.
Inspire Restaurant

35. Azyun Restaurant

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144 Main St N #17, Markham
ON L3P 5T3, Canada
(905) 554-1666
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Live your cooking show fantasy at this contemporary Chinese restaurant that offers “Iron Chef dinners.” Choose an ingredient — any ingredient — and the talented chefs will present you with an imaginative, five-course tasting menu based on it. (Some caveats: They’ll need 10 days advance notice, and interested patrons need to have a conversation with kitchen staff prior to booking the $150 per person meal.) Short of that, there’s plenty that dazzles on the regular menu, including rich and fragrant truffle fried rice, two-day marinated buttermilk fried chicken with kimchi, and mantou (Chinese buns; try the braised ox tongue). Proper yakitori (using binchotan charcoal, of course) is also on the menu, and there are some interesting cocktail options, too. [$$$ - $$$$]

An open fried chicken sandwich on a long sesame seed bun topped with a fried egg
Adobo-brined Korean fried chicken sandwich.
Azyun Restaurant/Facebook

36. Bamiyan Kabob

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7760 Markham Rd, Markham
ON L3S 4S1, Canada
(905) 910-1043
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You can’t have a conversation about the best kebabs in the city without mentioning this shrine to Afghan gastronomy. Bamiyan has grown into a local chain with seven shops around the GTA, all firing up assorted kebab platters. Check out the choppan (lamb chops), barg (filet mignon), and chaplee — two spiced ground beef patties pockmarked with pomegranate seeds and served with some of the most glorious rice you’ll find anywhere in the city. Dinners come with a salad and Afghan naan, but consider upgrading to kabilee rice cooked with raisins, carrots, and almonds. [$]

Grilled kebab pieces on a bed of rice with salads
Kebab platter.
Bamiyan Kabob

37. Federick Restaurant

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160 New Delhi Dr, Markham
ON L3S 0B5, Canada
(905) 472-1682
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This stalwart Hakka restaurant has been at it for 20-plus years, serving splendid Indian-Chinese hits like perennial favorite chile chicken, kan shue green beans, and sublimely wokky Manchurian chow mein. Its takeout game is strong, too. Note: The restaurant only serves halal meat, so if you’re craving proteins of the porcine sort, you’d best look elsewhere. [$]

From above, a plate piled high with chicken pakoras, with chiles scattered to the side
Chicken pakoras.
Federick Restaurant/Facebook

38. Appa’s Original Kitchen

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30 Karachi Dr #72, Markham
ON L3S 0B6, Canada
(416) 301-2781
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Don’t be fooled by Appa’s location on Karachi Drive; owner Ruban Subramaniam fires up decidedly Sri Lankan, not Pakistani, food. He lures South Indians in from all over the GTA with his kottu roti — Sri Lanka’s national dish of chopped roti, eggs, onions, cabbage, leeks, and a choice of protein like chicken curry, mutton pepper fry, or lobster tail curry. There’s also the lamprais, a Dutch colonial dish that blends a spiced amalgam of meats (mutton, chicken, fish) with anchovy sambal, shrimp chile paste, boiled egg, yellow rice, eggplant moju, and cashew and green pea curry, baked in a banana leaf. Subramaniam also pays tribute to his adopted homeland with poutine-like mutton supreme fries. [$]

1. Frilu

7713 Yonge St, Thornhill, ON L3T 2C4, Canada
Hands pull apart a branded ‘Frilu’ Oreo
Savory Oreo.
Frilu

Frilu sits on the western boundary of Markham in the community of Thornhill. The tasting menu concept by executive chef/owner John-Vincent Troiano and wife Sandra has become one of the more remarkable dining experiences in the GTA in the past three years. With Troiano’s culinary creds (stages at Noma in Copenhagen and Benu in San Francisco; apprenticing under chef Masaki Hashimoto, the don of Japanese cooking in Toronto), it’s no surprise his seasonal tasting menu fuses Scandi sensibilities with Japanese flavors and distinctly Canadian ingredients. There are appearances from Ontario plums, B.C. uni, even Quebec horse tenderloin, as well as ingredients procured from Willowolf Farm. Troiano has also attracted buzz for his savory take on an Oreo: Black quinoa and blueberry cookies house a creamy center of whipped pork fat spiced with star anise. [$$$$]

7713 Yonge St, Thornhill
ON L3T 2C4, Canada

2. Tahchinbar

7181 Yonge St #16, Thornhill, ON L3T 0C7, Canada
A mound of crispy rice covered in barberries, beside beverages and side salads
Chicken tahchin (chicken breast, barberries, and saffron).
Tahchinbar

It’s telling that this import’s first foray outside of Iran is in Markham — but it’s hardly surprising. The Persian/Iranian community in Markham and Richmond Hill has exploded over the past few years, and many flock to this humble little eatery for a true taste of home. The specialty here, of course, are tahchins, or baked rice cakes. Iranians have a serious love affair with these bulbous, saffron-hued pucks, whose crunchy outer shells come stuffed with your choice of ghormeh sabzi (a herbaceous beef stew), bademjan (an eggplant stew with beef and dried lemon), boneless veal, or chicken. They all come garnished with tart-sweet barberries. There’s even a macaroni tahdig: pasta, ground beef, and tomato sauce baked into a crispy puck of pan-fried potato. The sparkling saffron drink with lime and rose flower is a fave among regulars. [$]

7181 Yonge St #16, Thornhill
ON L3T 0C7, Canada

3. Providential 9

CA Ontario, 8425 Woodbine Ave Unit A Markham, ON L3R 2P4, Canada
A restaurant interior, with a large circular opening in a brick wall revealing a dining room beyond, centered around a large bonsai tree
Inside Providential 9.
Providential 9

Providential 9 nails higher-end Cantonese-style dim sum, impeccably crafting standards and plating them as feasts for the eyes (and IG posts). Diners come for the signature red rice rolls filled with crispy shrimp, but they stay for an array of items that’ll make your head spin like a Lazy Susan — crispy cuttlefish, deep-fried pumpkin and okra in egg yolk, and spareribs with taro and olive, to name a few. Sweet selections like the unreal Cantonese sponge cake and sesame balls in salty egg yolk only add to the experience. [$$ - $$$]

CA Ontario, 8425 Woodbine Ave Unit A Markham
ON L3R 2P4, Canada

4. Skyview Fusion Cuisine

8261 Woodbine Ave #8, Markham, ON L3R 8Z5, Canada

Another in the line of grand dim sum houses in Markham, Skyview does all the classics right and then some. Requisite orders include the melt-in-your-mouth char siu, bulky siu mai, rice rolls, and egg tarts. The barbecue pork especially is great on its own, in a rice dish, or in a sweet and meaty pastry bun. Seats can be hard to come by, so expect to wait, particularly on weekends when it can get a bit cuckoo bananas. Skyview also gets first prize for its light fixtures, which look like day-glo jellyfish falling from the ceiling. [$$$]

8261 Woodbine Ave #8, Markham
ON L3R 8Z5, Canada

5. Zen Japanese Restaurant

7634 Woodbine Ave, Markham, ON L3R 2N2, Canada
Five pieces of nigiri, with fat vibrant pieces of fish, on a plank
Nigiri at Zen.
Zen Japanese Restaurant

Zen is a go-to destination for hardcore omakase aficionados to taste sushi maestro Seiichi Kashiwabara’s stellar slices of seafood procured from Japan, Canada, and beyond. Aside from those boffo multicoursers, Zen also offers pristine cuts of seafood in an a la carte format, including otoro (from farmed bluefin), filefish, sea robin, and more. From the non-sushi bill of fare, don’t pass on the roasted duck, grilled miso cod, or the gorgeous simmered beef tongue. For beef eaters, there’s plenty of A4 wagyu and A5 Hida wagyu from Gifu prefecture. A traditional kaiseki with tea ceremony is also offered. [$$$$]

7634 Woodbine Ave, Markham
ON L3R 2N2, Canada

6. Sam’s Congee Delight

7354 Woodbine Ave, Markham, ON L3R 1A5, Canada
A bowl of congee with a small pile of toppings peeking out of the center, on a wooden table scattered with chopped herbs
Congee.
Sam’s Congee Delight

A warm bowl of congee is perfect any time of day, and no one does it better than this institution of savory rice porridge. Wong Sam founded Sam’s in Hong Kong in 1966 before emigrating with his family to Canada in the 1990s. They set up shop near the Pacific Mall, but in 2018, the family moved the restaurant to its current location, where luscious, silky bowls of comfort are served inside a casual space awash in teal. If you’re unsure about what to order, just go with one of the classics: shredded pork with preserved egg; minced beef with pork’s pudding; or an assortment of minced beef, squid, and pork rind. Do get dough sticks to enjoy with the soup, and absolutely order one of Sam’s first-class handmade rice rolls. [$]

7354 Woodbine Ave, Markham
ON L3R 1A5, Canada

7. Diana's Oyster Bar & Grill Markham

7501 Woodbine Ave, Markham, ON L3R 2W1, Canada
From above, open and closed oysters on a slate cutting board with an oyster knife and half a lemon

East Coast oysters.

Diana’s Oyster Bar & Grill Markham

Diana Cicirello’s oyster emporium shucks an amazing selection of bivalves from Fanny Bay to Colville Bay and, on occasion, Newfoundland, Ireland, and New Zealand as well. Its daily “buck a shuck” special is a huge draw for lovers of Lucky 88 (British Columbia) and Malpeque (Prince Edward Island) oysters. Diana’s also offers live scallops from B.C. and Nova Scotia, clams galore (blood, cherrystone, mahogany, little neck), sea urchin, and side stripe shrimp. The selection of seafood options from the list of entrees is impressive, but the clam linguine remains tried and true. [$$$]

7501 Woodbine Ave, Markham
ON L3R 2W1, Canada

8. Dum Pukht

323 Denison St, Markham, ON L3R 1B7, Canada
A large metal pot topped with a pillow of charred dough
Dum pukht biryani.
Dum Pukht/Facebook

This is not your average high-end restaurant specializing in traditional Mughlai/northern Indian dishes. Yes, it offers a variety of tandoori meats that are impeccably fired, as well as curries and Hakka fare, but the portion of its menu dedicated to the namesake dum pukht cooking is what’s generating buzz among Markham’s food cognoscente. Chicken, mutton, biryani, or vegetables are slow-cooked over low heat in clay or copper vessels sealed with dough, resulting in a flavor and fragrance bomb. The lush restaurant also has an inviting bar, where nondrinkers can try the house-made nimbu pani, a refreshing lemon-infused soda with black salt and Indian spices. [$$]

323 Denison St, Markham
ON L3R 1B7, Canada

9. QJD Peking Duck

7095 Woodbine Ave, Markham, ON L3R 1A3, Canada
Slices of roast duck on a plate beside a segmented plate of dipping sauces and a large steamer basket
Premium roast duck set.
QJD Peking Duck

QJD has been in business since 1864, and after one bite of its signature Peking duck, it’s easy to see why. Eating inside the first outpost of the Chinese chain in North America can be a bit of an indulgence, evidenced by the cooks who carve duck tableside — and the bill. But the price is worth it for the premium duck peony set: 24 pieces of duck plated into the shape of a peony blossom and served alongside steamed pancakes, baked hollow sesame seed buns, sweetened soybean dipping sauce, cucumber strips, scallion strips, and white sugar to enjoy with crispy duck skin. [$$ - $$$]

7095 Woodbine Ave, Markham
ON L3R 1A3, Canada

10. Ding Tai Fung

3235 Hwy 7 #18B, Markham, ON L3R 3P9, Canada

Yes, it’s a knockoff of the uber-popular Taiwanese chain Din Tai Fung, but this restaurant’s steaming-hot, handmade xiao long bao are superb nonetheless. You can even watch the cooks make the soup dumplings through a window at the back of the restaurant. Plus, its Shanghai-style dim sum menu has a mind-boggling array of items — pan-fried pork buns, wontons in chile sauce, pork pie with turnip — but vegetarians can have a field day here as well with king mushrooms over stir-fried bean leaves and, yep, veggie steamed dumplings. DTF is inside the First Markham Place shopping complex (see separate listing). [$$]

3235 Hwy 7 #18B, Markham
ON L3R 3P9, Canada

11. First Markham Place

3255 Hwy 7, Markham, ON L3R 3P9, Canada
A mall exterior with large sign and a bell tower against a blue sky
Outside First Markham Place mall.
First Markham Place

Nosh your way through this sprawling shopping complex that houses scores of eateries in its plaza, including Ding Tai Fung (see separate listing). Popular Chinese chain Bingz specializes in crispy burgers, and Mei Nung Beef Noodle House is a mainstay for Taiwanese food. Beyond those heavy hitters, check out Wiang Kuk Thai Food, Malay Thai Famous Cuisine, Real Vegan Chinese Restaurant, KAKA All You Can Eat, Brown Donkatsu, Mabu Generation, and, for your fill of sweets, Patisserie Gateau. [$ - $$]

3255 Hwy 7, Markham
ON L3R 3P9, Canada

12. J-Town

3160 Steeles Ave E, Markham, ON L3R 4G9, Canada
A fried chicken sandwich with thick bread, sliced in half and laid on its side, drizzled with red sauce
Chicken katsu sando at Tanuki.
Tanuki Restaurant

The largest Japanese shopping mall in the GTA has been indulging the appetites of Japanophiles for nearly a quarter century. Its restaurants and stores offer a medley of delights, from Heisei Mart’s bevy of grocery goods and grab-and-go items to food purveyors like Tanuki, a restaurant serving yoshoku-style cuisine (Japanese versions of Western dishes). There’s a butcher, two amazing bakers (Nakamura and Sasaki Fine Pastry), though no candlestick maker, at least not yet. There is a seafood market, however, that carries sushi-grade selections. Other operations on site include Izakaya Ju, ramen restaurant Niwatei & Green Tea Lounge, and Cafe Green Tea. [$ - $$]

3160 Steeles Ave E, Markham
ON L3R 4G9, Canada

13. Sushi Umi

3621 Hwy 7 Unit 104-105, Markham, ON L3R 0G6, Canada
A wooden box of various cuts of vibrant sashimi
Omakase sashimi box.
Sushi Umi/Facebook

When two-Michelin-star chef Masaki Saito — chef/owner of his eponymous sushi temple on Avenue Road — is a regular at your restaurant, you must be doing something right. Ivan Lee has accomplished just that with his omakase concept at Liberty Square, which brings a bit of refinement and simple elegance to this strip mall monstrosity. At $138 for 17 courses — 10 of which are nigiri sushi — it’s a decent value. Naturally, the ingredients are based on seasonality, but Lee sources much of his seafood from Japan. Takeout is also available, so you can order foie gras, otoro, and Hokkaido uni for an absolute baller to-go bag. [$$$$]

3621 Hwy 7 Unit 104-105, Markham
ON L3R 0G6, Canada

14. Hutaoli Music Restaurant & Bar

3760 Hwy 7 Unit 1, Unionville, ON L3R 0N2, Canada
A restaurant booth behind a room divider, with posters decorating the walls and a table set for dinner
A booth inside Hutaoli.
Hutaoli Music Restaurant & Bar

Another chain from China making its foray into the GTA, Hutaoli serves Sichuan-leaning cuisine in an eclectic space accompanied by a live musical hit parade from the Chinese mainland. It’s an intense experience, but it’s the food you’ll remember later: 36-hour sake sous vide beef tongue, signature roast chicken marinated for 12 hours, and, of course, durian pizza. If a cocktail is in order, go all out with the Flaming Lips — a blend of vodka, raspberry, lemon, and black currant served in a glass coated with crystal sugar and rose petals. [$$]

3760 Hwy 7 Unit 1, Unionville
ON L3R 0N2, Canada

15. Casa Victoria

8601 Warden Ave. Unit 4-6, Unionville, ON L3R 0B5, Canada

With its ornate dining room adorned in Italian granite, marble pillars, and crystal chandeliers, this grand dame of dim sum is a popular spot for banquets and weddings. Since 2008, it’s been drawing dim sum buffs to its palatial digs for Cantonese delights like shrimp har gow and siu mai, as well as more regal dishes like Peking duck and whole roasted suckling pig. There’s a mind-boggling array of items from which to choose, but don’t pass on the stir-fried Nova Scotia lobster coated with salted duck egg yolk. Note: It also offers bird’s nest soup and shark fin soup, should that sway your decision to patronize the restaurant. [$$$]

8601 Warden Ave. Unit 4-6, Unionville
ON L3R 0B5, Canada

Related Maps

16. Wonton Hut

3760 York Regional Rd 7, Unionville, ON L3R 0N2, Canada