323 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, ON M5T 2E9
Rol San is a dim sum restaurant located in the heart of Chinatown in Downtown Toronto. The place comes up anytime someone downtown mentions dim sum in the city. It is quite popular (especially amongst the late night crowd as it does stay open rather late). Their likely claim to fame is the fact that they offer dim sum all day, which can be nice to satisfy the occasional shrimp dumpling craving at midnight.
My friend and I ordered just some of the staples here. The Hargow (Shrimp Dumplings) are always a must order for me at any dim sum place. Their version of hargow were simply disappointing. AT $4.88, you get 4 measly shrimp dumplings that looked like frozen ones right from the Asian grocer down the street. No real discernible flavor and shrimp tasted off. Not a great start.
Also got the Shiu Mai (Pork Dumplings). The shiu mai here was actually rather decent. The dumplings were large and plump. It tastes pretty similar to all the others I've had but surprisingly not as greasy or oily as the other dishes here were.
The Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf was good. I enjoyed it because it was not as sticky to be honest. The rice encased a lot of pork filling as well with a sausage and rehydrated shrimp in there for good measure. The rice was tasty and infused nicely from the lotus leaf and the pork filling.
The Pan Fried Beef Short Ribs were not so good. Overly seasoned, it was both too salty and too peppery. I'm guessing it was intended for taste buds who have been numbed over? Regardless, some pieces of the meat were tasty when you get past that.
The fact that it seems to be one of the "top spots" for dim sum in the city is just a sad indication of where dim sum in Chinatown stands. (SO much better uptown in the Richmond Hill and Markham areas). I'm not being biased in the slightest because I'm not even from these parts, but the fact that dim sum dishes hover around $5 each and come in tiny sizes makes for a largely disappointing experience. I will have to understand that rent prices probably continue to escalate so they need to compensate. At least, that's what I'll tell myself as an excuse.
Ambience: C | Service: C | Price: D+ | Food: C