In the mood for some authentic Chinese cuisine? Well, first you need to know how to identify an authentic Chinese restaurant that doesn’t cook Americanized Chinese food. That’s right folks, if you’re looking to eat some chicken balls, this restaurant review is not for you. To know whether or not a Chinese restaurant serves authentic Chinese food, there are three criteria to look for. First, does the restaurant name have a Chinese name in addition to the English name? Second, does the menu have Chinese characters for the meal titles? Lastly, do the waiters/waitresses have a language barrier (minimal English but fluent in Chinese) when communicating with you? If you answer yes to all these questions then the restaurant may just be authentic. Well, these are the three criteria according to me at least. Seven Flavor BBQ Fish fits the authentic Chinese cuisine category.
I was introduced to this restaurant by a friend, who heard it from a friend who has a friend who has a friend who owns the restaurant. Complicated right? Bottom line is that this restaurant was heard from word-of-mouth (like most of my posts) and I believe is catered specifically to the Mandarin-Chinese speaking population and for Columbia International College students. I can write that because I’ve been there twice already and the restaurant was always filled with Columbia International College students that spoke Mandarin-Chinese fluently. The waiters/waitresses spoke Mandarin and only spoke minimal English. Funny enough, walking into the restaurant as a Chinese individual who cannot speak Mandarin will cause quite a stir. One waitress asked if I knew that this restaurant was no longer Casa Sushi (their old location). She honestly thought I had no clue that this was a Chinese restaurant. I don’t blame her though since this restaurant is hidden on 16 Jarvis St.
If you’re looking to be adventurous and “step” into a new world of delicious Chinese food, you need to dine at Seven BBQ Flavor Fish despite the language barrier. The waiters/waitresses are super friendly and although they speak minimal English, they do try their best to serve you to the best of their ability. I love the interior of the restaurant. It’s very clean, sleek, stylish and modern. The seats are comfortable and the Chinese music they have playing in the background creates a very relaxing ambience. The lighting is dimmer and more romantic.
The menu is very organized, clean and legible. Don’t worry, the menu does have English so you will definitely know what you’re ordering. The only problem you will have is deciding what you want to eat because everything looks so good! The difference between Chinese meals and Western meals are that Chinese meals are shared. Rather than each person ordering their own entrée (although you may choose to do so), the Chinese enjoys a family-gathering type of feel by sharing dishes. Everybody basically agrees on a variety of dishes (meat dishes, vegetable dishes etc…) and then order bowls of rice. The dishes will be in the centre and each person has their own bowls of rice. This is the way we eat and will be the way you’ll see everyone eat in the restaurant. You are not obligated to do so though! There are noodle options as well, so don’t fret! This restaurant appeals to me a lot because they also offer bubble tea. They have a whole section dedicated to bubble tea (as pictured top right), so definitely orde
Ma-Po Tofu $7.99
Stir Garlic Beef with Mushroom $10.99
Eggplant with Bean Sauce $8.49
Fried Chicken with Chestnut $9.99
The food was very delicious, there were about 8 of us at the restaurant, hence the crazy amount of dishes shared. They have everything from vegetarian to just meat dishes. They also offer different spiciness levels for the dishes. The portions are very plentiful and hearty so make sure to be starving! The prices are reasonably priced as well. Everything we ordered was just excellent. My taste buds were very happy.
In addition to the dishes we ordered (as shown above) we also ordered a grilled fish dish, their main feature. The way it works is that you choose a fish that is listed in their fish options (prices vary depending on which fish you choose) and then you choose the sauce you’d like with it (which is also listed in the menu). In addition, you are able to choose the additional vegetables you’d liked to “cook” with the fish for $1.99. We only chose to add enoki mushrooms. By the way, the vegetables come separately with the grilled fish dish, you have to physically place the vegetables into the dish and allow it to cook (which really doesn’t take long). Oh, and if you’re not comfortable with eating a “full” fish, don’t order this menu item. You will definitely see the fish head and tail. There is no such thing as a fillet in a Chinese restaurant.
Don’t fret though for those who are wary of fish, you can opt for the chicken wing choice! It tastes equally if not better than the fish dish! It’s basically the same process with the sauce and vegetables, it’s just instead of fish, you pay for the chicken wings. The chicken wings (and drumsticks) were delicious! Yummy yummy in my tummy. The wings (and the fish dish as well) drenched in the sauce and the vegetables drenched in the sauce was truly scrumptious. You definitely need to try it out!
For this restaurant, there are no formal reservation procedures. You will just have to test your luck and hope you don’t go during their busy hours. If you are really positive that the language barrier will not be problematic for you, call (905) 769-6163 to reserve a table. Also, if you show them this discount before you ask for the check, you can receive 10% off your entire meal. Not too shabby right?