January 4, 2020: For my father-in-law’s birthday this year, we celebrated at Vintage Garden Dining Room (葡萄園會所), a bit of a hidden gem restaurant serving Chiu Chow cuisine. The restaurant is located at 1038 McNicoll Avenue on the ground floor of a multi-level building that’s located behind the Tendercare Nursing Home in Scarborough. Even their parking lot is a bit limited and some of the spaces are reserved for the residents who live at Vintage Garden, a community development for mature adults aged 55 and up. It’s the reason why this restaurant is called “Vintage Garden Dining Room“. It’s technically the dining room for some of their residents although it also runs as a full-scale independent restaurant.
The restaurant itself isn’t very large and they don’t have a lot of large-party tables. Some of the tables and chairs were actually quite close together too so there wasn’t much space to walk between them. It’s best that you call ahead to make reservations to ensure that you get a table for your party.
On this evening, my in-laws ordered a number of dishes that were all so delicious and satisfying. It had been a while since I had some good Chiu Chow cuisine with a large party. We were all very impressed with the quality of the food and the portion sizes.
We started off with a classic black pepper pork stomach soup that was so well done. It was just peppery spicy enough with tender and juicy pork stomach pieces in the soup. I knew I had had this kind of soup before at another restaurant too. This kind of soup is perfect for warming you up during the winter months.
We had a vegetables dish, bitter melon, stir fried lobster, stir fried beef rice noodles, sweet and sour pork, and crispy duck.
We had a plate of traditional Chiu Chow style marinated tofu and marinated egg. The tofu was so smooth.
A standout dish was the crispy fried fish (I don’t know what kind of fish they are unfortunately). I must have eaten at least three of these perfectly fried fish. The fish was flakey, well-flavoured, and the bones were crispy too.
We finished off with dessert from the restaurant as well as our own home-brought desserts. Upon seeing us unravel our home-brought desserts, the staff were nice enough to provide us with clean plates and utensils with which to serve them with.
Too bad I didn’t get a photo of the menu or the names of what we ate that night. We also knew we wanted to come back for another meal but because of the pandemic, we haven’t had a chance to yet. It was a really solid meal!