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Markham

Chinese Dessert Dinner Lunch Out with Markham Food Reviews

Dining in Markham, York Region

September 26, 2018

There are tons of delicious and diverse options if you’re looking for a place to eat in Markham. Being the largest municipality in York Region, fourth-largest city in the Greater Toronto Area, and Canada’s 16th largest city (source), there’s no doubt that the food scene is constantly growing.

We’ve highlighted four places across Markham that we hope you’ll enjoy.

Ding Tai Fung (First Markham Place)

Markham - Ding Tai Fung, First Markham Place

Markham - Ding Tai Fung, Xiao Long Bao, Soup DumpingsThis restaurant isn’t connected to the official Din Tai Fung in Taiwan, but it’s been around for about a decade and still a very popular choice for diners. We highly recommend ordering the spicy shrimp wonton and their famous xiao long bao (soup dumplings) shown above.

Cacao 70 (Downtown Markham)

Markham - Cacao 70 Dip Shop WafflesCacao 70’s Dip Shop just opened this summer and is already a hit among those with a sweet tooth. Their store is conveniently located near a lot of fantastic restaurants and across Cineplex Cinemas Markham & VIP. After your dinner and movie, stop by and indulge in some fondue or ice cream. Both the shop and their items are insta-worthy, so don’t forget to snap a pic and hashtag #MarkhamFood!

Old Firehall Confectionary (Main Street Unionville)

Main Street Unionville, Markham - Old Firehall Confectionary Main Street Unionville, Markham - Old Firehall ice creamAnother dessert option is the Old Firehall on Main Street Unionville (not to be confused with the other quaint area further east called Main Street Markham!). They have an assortment of ice cream cones, fine chocolates, and pastries to choose from. Once you’ve picked your dessert, take a stroll and admire the Unionville area.

19th Avenue Farmer’s Market (Markham North)

Markham, 19th Avenue Farmer's Market Markham, 19th Avenue Farmer's Market peppersIf you’re interested in seeing what some of York Region’s farmers have to offer, head north to the 19th Avenue Farmer’s Market! The market is always stocked with fresh produce sold both individually and in batches. There are also many more farms and farmers’ markets across the region – download the York Farm Fresh Map to find them all!

Regardless of where you go, York Region is full of amazing places to eat. Through YorkSafe, the York Region government is working to keep the restaurants you love safe and clean. For more information, visit york.ca.

This post was sponsored by York Region for World Tourism Day. Official hashtags are #LoveYR #WorldTourismDay and #WTD2018.

The Regional Municipality of York is not affiliated with Ding Tai Fung, Cacao 70, 19th Avenue Farmer’s Market, or the Old Firehall Confectionary.

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Lunch Out with Markham Food Reviews Seafood

Lunch at Diana’s Oyster Bar & Grill

May 24, 2018

Established in Scarborough in 2010, Diana Oyster Bar & Grill has been a longtime favourite for seafood-lovers in the Toronto area. Those who know about Diana’s seafood would talk about their juicy oysters and fresh seafood options.

To our excitement, Diana’s opened their doors in Markham three years ago! We had the pleasure of attending their grand opening event back then, alongside Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti and other notable individuals. This new location is spacious and beautifully designed with a menu completely different from their Scarborough spot.

Lunch menu items at Diana's Oyster Bar & Grill Markham
Please note the only lunch menu item above is the Lobster & Crab Roll. The rest are available through their regular menu and priced separately.

One thing many people forget about is Diana’s set lunch options, which we had the pleasure of trying recently. Each item on this menu is $18 and all sandwiches are served with coleslaw and a choice of fresh cut potato wedges, soup of the day, mixed greens, or clam chowder.

Lobster & Crab Roll at Diana's Oyster Bar & Grill MarkhamWhile we haven’t tried everything on their lunch menu, we heard the Lobster & Crab Roll was a popular item and gave it a go. This was perfect! The roll was perfectly toasted and there was a generous amount of lobster and crab chunks.

Raw oysters at Diana's Oyster Bar & Grill MarkhamAnd if you visit them on a Tuesday or Wednesday, you’ll be able to take advantage of their all-day oyster special! Get a dozen Malpeque oysters for $15 or a dozen Fanny Bays for $24.

Other dishes you should check out…

Serrano Tuna at Diana's Oyster Bar & Grill MarkhamSerrano Tuna– Albacore tuna, cucumber, avocado, serrano chili, and ponzu dressing

We loved the mix of textures and flavours in this appetizer. It looks small, but it’s a great size for 2-3 people to share while waiting for their main dishes.

Grilled AAA Black Angus Striploin at Diana's Oyster Bar & Grill MarkhamGrilled AAA Black Angus Striploin – AAA Black Angus striploin steak, portobello mushrooms, garlic mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, and veal jus

For those who can pack in a little more during lunch, why not try the steak? This juicy steak was done medium rare (just the way we like it) and the garlic mashed potatoes was DELICIOUS!

Bouillabaisse at Diana's Oyster Bar & Grill MarkhamBouillabaisse – Lobster tail, shrimp, mussels, clams, assorted fish, vegetable-fish broth, and rouille-croutons

This dish is for the true seafood lover. The lobster tail was large and the clams and mussels were fat and juicy. Everything went really well with the broth and is best eaten immediately while it’s warm! (We took a while to get to this because we were busy taking all of the above photos!)

Thanks to Diana’s Oyster Bar & Grill for sponsoring this blog post.

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Chinese Dinner Lunch

Yunnan’s “Crossing the Bridge” Noodles Blossoms in Markham

August 24, 2017
Mimi Noodle House

Photo by @MarkhamFood.

Noodles are a big part of Chinese life and have fit into the hundreds of different cuisines inside and outside of China. Crossing the Bridge noodles, or Guoqio Mixian, is a soup noodle from the province of Yunnan and have recently taken over Markham.

The noodles start with a large bowl filled with steaming broth and rice noodles; side dishes like raw beef, pickled vegetables, and tofu are then added, at the discretion of the diner, to the dish after it arrives at the table.

Origination Noodle House - Markham

Photo by @MarkhamFood.

The story for Crossing the Bridge noodles goes that a scholar’s wife brought him food regularly as he studied for his exams on an island in the middle of a lake. His wife noticed that the noodles became soggy and cold by the time she crossed the bridge, so she separated the ingredients and mixed them together after finishing her journey. Because the wife crossed this bridge to bring her husband his meal everyday, the dish was named Crossing the Bridge noodles. Today, the dish is popular in Yunnan, with many restaurants centred around it.

Where to get your fix in and around Markham:

Are these noodles a food fad or are they here to stay?

Author Bio
Adrian is a freelance writer, SaaS Sales Rep, and amateur food blogger, and he enjoys food writing and poetry. Find more of his work at adrianzee.wordpress.com and Instagram.

View more articles by Adrian.

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Chinese Lunch Reviews Taiwanese Vietnamese

Good and Quick Lunches Around Markham and Richmond Hill

September 13, 2016

I admit that I’ve been a big foodie since I graduated. I only started aggressively blogging about food and restaurants since the start of 2016. I have worked around the Markham and Richmond Hill areas for 10+ years. Throughout the years, I have sampled many cuisines from many of the restaurants in the area and have even helped organize corporate food events.

During some days of the work week, my colleagues and I may have only 1 hour available for lunch. Most of the time, it is really good to get out of the office and enjoy great food to refresh the mind and spirit.

Here are my recommendations for quick – but good –  lunches in the area depending on the type of cuisine you are craving for.

Restaurant #1: Pho 88

Cuisine Type: Vietnamese

Satay Pho at Pho 88 in Scarborough
Reasons: Though this location is in Scarborough, it is close enough to the York Region border that those who work in Markham can access it easily. Once you get a table, the pho dishes come out really fast (like within five minutes). The restaurant is styled like a cafeteria and you get seats pretty quickly.  Fast and good food, consistent taste, and fast service with no nonsense. I used to eat only bun (vermicelli) dishes, but their restaurant had such great pho it converted me and I never went back. My favourite dish is the Satay Pho above.

Restaurant #2: Mei Nung Beef Noodle House

Cuisine Type: Taiwanese

Mei Nung Beef Noodle House in Markham
Reasons: If you want to taste Taiwan, these is the closest thing. This restaurant is famous for their beef noodle soups and stinky tofu side dish. The dishes normally come out quickly. Beware of the clothing you wear into the restaurant because the stinky tofu smell can stay on you.

Restaurant #3: Northern Dumpling Kitchen

Cuisine Type: Northern Chinese

Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings) at Northern Dumpling Kitchen
Reasons: This place offers great tasting dumplings and other northern Chinese cuisine for very reasonable prices. My friends and I really like their steamed, boiled, and fried dumplings along with the shredded pork cold dish. I personally think that their xiao long bao is the best in Toronto. Their service speed is good for a fast lunch.

Restaurant #4: Phoenix Restaurant

Cuisine Type: Hong Kong Style Cafe

Minced beef with rice at Phoenix Restaurant
Reasons: Even though there are three locations, this location has more space for seating and parking. They have a large menu when it comes to HK-style foods. Their meals are very consistent with each visit. The pricing isn’t too expensive and you will definitely leave feeling full. Their dishes come out very quickly (within 5-10 minutes). My favourite dish is the Fried Pork Chop with Maggi Sauce on Rice.

Locations

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Dessert Dinner Drinks Italian Japanese Lunch Miscellaneous Spanish Sushi

Top Places for Dates in Markham

February 13, 2016

For the First Date

Chit-Chat Play Board Game Cafe

Chit-Chat Play Board Game Café
Get to know your date in a fun and casual environment where you can stir up some healthy competition between the two of you. Chit-Chat is a small, but popular board game cafe with more than 400 adult- and kid-friendly games to choose AND buy from. There are also plenty of yummy desserts including gelato, waffles, and cheesecakes if you want to treat your date to a sweet surprise!
Bonus: there’s no time limit here so you can stay as long you’d like (our record was 5 hours!).
Price: $12 per person on weekends for unlimited play and a drink valued at $3.25 (or upsize for extra charge)
Cotton Candy Latte Art - Initium
Initium Co.
Want to really impress your date? Initium takes “going out for coffee” to the next level with their extravagant lattes. From cotton candy espresso drip drinks (‘cause who doesn’t want a fluffy cloud of goodness?) to their beautiful latte art, their drinks are worth going for the picture alone! They’re almost too pretty to drink. Almost. In addition to the fun drinks they also have a small brunch menu where you can get light snacks such as smoked salmon and croissants!

For the Ones Who’ve Just Dropped the “L Bomb”

Markham's Inspire Restaurant in Markham Village
Inspire Restaurant
Looking for something out of the ordinary? Enter Inspire Restaurant, where their dishes truly are “inspired” with Asian-fusion. From a variety of cool dishes such as Udon Carbonara or Butter Chicken Serpentini (pictured above), they take common Italian dishes and spin it to include Asian flavours. We say Asian flavours because you’ll see flavours from all corners of Asia from Korea to Japan to China to India. Prepare yourself for the nap you’ll want to take after eating here because their dishes are decadent, rich, and oh-so indulgent. We suggest their Inspire Burger with Pulled Pork Frites (above) – it is DELISH.
Pizza at Levetto in Vaughan
Levetto
Homemade pasta? Check. Huge portions? Check. Seriously, Levetto’s best feature is their portion size to price point – it’s impressive. The pastas are definitely one of the biggest highlights of the menu (as in you NEED to order it!) – they have their very own extruder in-house so pasta is made fresh on site and the result is a variety of shapes that are each dense, chewy, and delicious. We recommend splitting a pizza and a pasta between the two of you. You won’t regret it!

For the Couples Who Have Put WORK in


Tapagria Spanish Tapas Restaurant
Don’t want to trek all the way downtown for Spanish food? You don’t have to. Tapagria offers a variety of pintxos, cold and hot tapas, and our favourite, paella! If you really want to treat your sig-o out, order the $72 Chuleton Asado, a massive 32 oz roasted rib-eye that is seasoned and marinated with beautiful flavours. Served with roasted potatoes, romesco, and charred scallions, this brings a welcome and elevated twist to your classic steak and potatoes.
Zen Japanese Restaurant in Markham
Zen Japanese Restaurant
Previously located in Toronto, Zen has moved uptown to grace Markham with its presence. This humble features delicate and incredibly fresh pieces of sushi. Opt for a spot by the bar and have the sushi chefs personally place sushi one-by-one in front of you, Jiro-Dreams-of-Sushi-style. Enjoy their MASSIVE Spider Roll which has some of the meatiest soft shell crabs we’ve ever seen. We dare you to try to eat it in one bite (we deem it impossible)! Don’t forget to leave space in your tummy to end your meal off with a slice of their Mandarin Pie – tangy and a refreshing dessert to a delicious meal.
Who said you need to drive all the way to Toronto to have a nice night out? Whether you’re just getting to know a person or you’re the long-term couple, we hope you enjoy these as our top places for a special date in Markham!

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Local Events Miscellaneous

Things to do During Reading Week & Family Day 2016

February 11, 2016

Reading Week and Family Day are just around the corner.  If you’re ditching the books for a week or have nothing planned yet, there are a lot of things you can do around York Region!

Board Games & Chill

There are a handful of board game cafés in the Markham area where you can enjoy light snacks, a beverage, and play any board game you like .  Here are three places, but feel free to chime in if you know of a few others in the York Region area!

Get (Mentally and/or Physically) Active

Have you been glow-in-the-dark mini putting?  Putting Edge has locations in both Vaughan and Richmond Hill.  You can also go to Laserquest (actually beside Putting Edge) in Richmond Hill or go outdoor skating at the Markham Civic Centre.  By now, there are also many escape rooms to choose from in the York Region.  Here are a few:

Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

If you want to get in touch with your inner artist or just relieve some stress, try your hand at one of these activities.

markham-food-paintlounge

PaintLounge is a fun place to get together with a few friends to paint.  You can either freestyle or choose something from one of their sample books to draw inspiration from.  Check out these deals:

  • February 12 to 14 – ART & WINE WITH YOUR VALENTINE
    Enjoy an art date in style with two 16×20” freestyle sessions & two glasses of wine, beer, tea or coffee, $70 per couple.  More details at paintlounge.ca/valentines.
  • February 15 – FAMILY PAINT DAY
    This Family Day, come as a family for our “Up, Up, and Away” Family Workshop and explore colours, paints, and painting techniques and create collaborative art on a big canvas together. $50 per family for a 24×30” canvas. More details at paintlounge.ca/events/family-day.
  • Now to February 29
    Register with promo code BLOGGERPARTY2016, and your followers will get 45% off adult workshops, valid at all locations. Sign up at paintlounge.ca/adult-workshops.

Colour Me Mine is another painting place, but not on a canvas!  They have a variety of ceramic pieces you can choose from including mugs, décor, and bowls.  Here are a few of their deals:

  • Family Fridays
    One painting adult gets up to two free studio fees for kids (13 years old and under).  Adult must paint their own item and pay a studio fee.
  • Two-for-Tuesday
    Two people paint for one studio fee.
  • Ladies Night
    On Wednesday evenings (starting at 4pm) ladies of all ages receive half price studio fees.

Try a New Restaurant or Unique Dish

LOHAS-Cafe-honey-toast-markham-food

Have you seen the colourful cotton candy lattes from Initium, the beautiful toast with rice from My Wonderful Kitchen, or the drool-worthy honey toast from LOHAS Cafe? Check out our food blog or food page on Instagram for inspiration! Confused about how to find something you need? Check out our how-to guide.

Attend Local Events

February 15 – Take the family out for some free skating for the RBC Family Day Skate! The Markham event will take place at the Milliken Mills Community Centre.

February 15 – Visit the Markham Museum for Winterfest! There’s a $3 fee per person, but the whole family can experience activities such as ice block building, crafts, music, and snow-shoeing. They’re also running a few other events this month that your whole family can enjoy.

February (various dates)Pacific MallMarket Village, and First Markham Place are running some events to celebrate Chinese New Year.

February 23 – As cat lovers, we can’t help but mention the grand opening of Markham’s Cat Adoption and Education Centre (CAEC) (even though this technically takes place after Reading Week). Beginning at 10:30am, you can join in on the grand opening festivities by skating, doing fun activities, and enjoying some refreshments.

Head Downtown

Don’t wanna stay uptown this break? You can always head down to the seventh-best city in the world (according to NYT), Toronto! There are many ways to get across the city including the YRT/Viva, TTC, or GO Transit. Here are some things you can check out:

shangri-la-toronto-chinese-new-year-high-tea

Have something to add to our list? Feel free to comment below and share it with other readers!

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Dinner Drinks Japanese Lunch Out with Markham Food Reviews Snack

Donburi Restaurant Review – Out with Markham Food

February 4, 2016

The word “donburi” means a rice bowl consisting of meat, vegetables, and other ingredients cooked together and served over rice. Of course, this dish is extremely popular at the Donburi restaurant in Thornhill. Donburi is one of the few Japanese restaurants that don’t serve sushi. This opens up our options whenever we’re craving Japanese food that’s not sushi-related. We’ve tasted many things from their menu and nothing disappointed us. If you plan on going as a group, we recommend ordering multiple side dishes and entrées to for sharing.

Spicy gyu fries - DonburiSpicy Gyu Fries

When we visited, this was one of the newer items on Donburi’s menu. The fries had just the right amount of everything in it – spiciness, crispiness, and softness. We finished this quickly and were craving for more.

Beef tataki - DonburiJ1 – Beef Tataki ($9)

This lightly seared and marinated beef was surprisingly very flavourful, especially after dipping it in the citrus-soy sauce. We recommend eating it with a piece of the red onion to get the full effect of this appetizer. We’ve ordered the beef tataki a few times already and still aren’t sick of it.

Beef with ponzu sauce - DonburiS7 – Beef with ponzu sauce ($2.50)
Beef sirloin steak with ponzu sauce and grated daikon radish.

We’ll be honest – this skewer was small for two people, so we barely remember how it was. If you’ve ever tried it, let us know how you like it in the comments below!

Takoyaki - DonburiJ7 – Takoyaki ($5)
A delicious ball shape snack with diced octopus hidden inside.

Takoyaki are one of our favourite Japanese snacks. These octopus balls were perfectly warm, soft, and full of flavour.

Chicken omurice - DonburiD10 – Chicken Omurice ($8)
Chicken fried rice in a tomato base wrapped in a thin egg omelette.

This is personally one of our favourite entrées at Donburi. It might look small in the photo, but trust us…there is a LOT of rice packed in there. This is good enough for two or more people if you’re sharing multiple dishes.

Umami Don - DonburiD15 – Umami Don ($10)
An indescribable flavour bomb that will explode in your mouth.

The Umami Don includes unagi (eel), spicy mayo, cucumbers, dashi stock, and of course, rice. The description on their website was right. This was an explosion of flavour! We love the mix of ingredients as there was a unique taste and texture with every bite.

Calpis Fusion Drink - DonburiCalpis Fusion – A mix of mango Calpico and aloe.

Of course, we needed a drink to go with our meal so we each had the Calpis Fusion. This refreshing beverage is only available for a limited time (we don’t know how long) and is perfect if you’re looking for something sweet and cool to go with your meal.

Address: 505 Highway 7 #93, Thornhill, ON L3T 7T1
Phone Number: (905) 597-6505
Tip: Donburi is located at Commerce Gate, so there is plenty of parking.

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Dessert Drinks Giveaways Spanish Taiwanese

Giveaways with Tapagria, Lohas Cafe, and CoCo Tea!

January 29, 2016

We’ve been on a roll lately! What better way to kick off the new year than to give something back to our supporters? Here are three giveaways that are ending soon!

coco-tea-richmond-hill-markham-giveaway

Visit this page to enter for a chance to win a drink vouchers for CoCo Fresh Tea & JuiceSix winners will be chosen, but ONE lucky winner will get a Pandora charm along with their two drink vouchers.

tapagria-giveaway-markham

Get Tapagria‘s Paella de Tapagria and a pitcher of Traditional Sangria for only $40 on any Monday! Their paella is already $45 on a regular day, so this is a steal. 😉 Or… you can enter for a chance to win this deal (redeemable on any Monday) on our Instagram page.

lohas-cafe-first-markham-place-giveaway

Craving dessert? …Well, we’re not really giving dessert away, but LOHAS Cafe is offering three winners a chance to try their kimchi or wasabi mayo fries! BUT once you’re there to claim your prize, why not order one of their adorable lattes (taro & coconut above) or their amazing honey toast (in the background or here). Enter for a chance to win on our Instagram page!

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