It’s a actually a rarity to find good Chinese food, all the time along the Spadina strip. Let’s face it. Even our favorite Chinese restaurants down that area are hit and miss, dependent on the time of day and customer crowd. So far, not so at Mother’s Dumplings. I’ve gone 4 times in one week, 4 different times, and three of those days in concession. The quality and the taste of the food that they serve at Mother’s Dumplings (421 Spadina Ave. Toronto) is both wonderfully exquisite, tasty, and dare I say magical. The food has a homely taste to it, almost nostalgic to a point that makes you miss your own mother’s cooking.
The restaurant itself is quite open, clean, and bright with a mix of contemporary art decor and northern Chinese influence. The main prep area is out in the open behind a glass wall where you can see the cooks preparing the food, rolling the dough, and stuffing the dumplings and the steam buns. It’s a nice open concept where the customers can see their food being prepared, all by smiling, laughing, Chinese old ladies who have the look of experienced noodle and dumpling masters, but emanating with a kindness that makes one feel as if they were watching mothers cook for their children.
The service isn’t as fast as most Chinese restaurants, as the food does take some time to come to your table, but for good reason. Everything is fresh and made in house. That’s right, they make their own noodles in house. The Da Lu soup is a good full meal consisting of a thick broth with dropped egg, black oyster mushrooms, ground pork, and their famous home made noodles. A great dish on a cold day.
The dumplings come in servings 12 or 24 if you get them boiled. 10 or 20 if you get them steamed. The steamed dumplings are my personal favorite. Each dumpling, weather steamed or boiled, are cooked to perfection using their own dough. If you want to try their noodles, in all their perfection, try their noodles in pan fried black bean sauce. The sauce comes on the side with a side salad of sliced cucumbers and lettuce. You can mix in as much or as little of the sauce as you wish, giving you your own experience of their wonderfully prepared fresh noodles.
My favorite dish of all though are their steamed buns. You get two per serving for less than $4, and each bun, like the dumplings, are cooked to perfection, with the dough just hot enough that you can pick them up with your fingers to eat. The filling on the inside is steamed just right so as not to saturate the inside with too much moisture.
It really is a treat to eat at this place. It’s home cooking away from home. Mother’s Dumpling’s is definitely a gem amongst the restaurants down that strip.