There's no pretentions here, a huge vat of chicken stock simmers as the base for all the soup and noodle dishes with various things being dipped in and out, all adding to the flavour.
Simple is quite often good, and for the money this is well worth a visit, which explains its popularity.
As with everywhere in Toronto the service is really friendly, relaxed, despite how busy the place was. Formica tables, stainless-steel tea pots, china cups.......cafe rather than restaurant.
Favorite Dish: 4 balls soup was a bit of a disappointment, great broth but heavy balls (only 2 types) Shrimp with egg and rice was also a bit of a non-event, but then for a $5 Canadian average main course we aren't expecting haute Chinese.
The decor is spartan, but who cares? This is Chinatown...its not a place renowned for themed restaurants with license plates on the wall. If you want that go to a Hard Rock. What Swatow does, and does well, is provide high quality Chinese food at an unbelievably low price. All stock Chinese meals are here, and I've not had a bad one from Swatow. For two people I would reccommend ordering a selection of three dishes (which will cost around C$24), but be prepared to eat the same meal the next day, beacuse I doubt you would be able to polish it off in one sitting.
It can get busy in the evening and is not a big place, so be prepared to wait.
Swatow has been in Chinatown for over 50 years. It's a small hole in the wall which probably seats about 50 people.
This restaurant serves quick meals, congee, rice, noodles, and snacks. A very popular place for people to eat after a long night of clubbing. This place only accepts cash though.
Chinatown is one of the few places where restaurants are open til 5 am most nights.
So don't be surprised when you find yourself in a lineup for food at 3 am
Favorite Dish: Ying Yang Friend rice - one side has a shrimp and cream side and the other side is chicken in a tomato sauce. It's a large dish and awesome to share.
Beef Brisket on noodles - soft chunks of beef in a thick gravy over noodles. Very satisfying.
Chai Cheung Mein - A must! It's a dish of noodles topped with a spicy red sauce with pork and bamboo shoots and wood ear. Awesome stuff, but remember to check your teeth afterwards.