By: Rebecca Murray

What it is:

Harvest Moon is Chinese restaurant beloved by downtown residents. You won’t find chicken balls on the menu, but you will find a massive selection of authentic foods from Chinese cuisine.

One of the major strengths of this restaurant is the size of the menu with a generous amount of vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. It has been a go-to spot for my friends and I who all have a broad range of eating preferences for years.

Along with a large selection of dinner options, Harvest Moon also has all day dim-sum, hot-pot, and a sad/awesome live seafood tank so you can get fresh fish, crab and lobster if that’s your thing.

How to get there from Westdale:

Located at 80 James Street North, Harvest Moon sits just above the intersection of Wilson and James. Grab any downtown bus and get off at the MacNab bus terminal.

Walk east to James St. and then north down James to the restaurant. If there’s too much bad weather you can walk into Jackson Square at the north end of the bus terminal and walk through the mall exiting at James and Wilson through the City Centre portion (if it looks like some 1980s “Mall of America” shit you’re in the right section).

This shortcut route usually limits outdoor exposure to a matter of minutes.

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Price range:

Most of the dinner selections are priced from $10-17 and all have huge serving sizes. (The average menu item can feed 2-4 people depending on how much other food is ordered). There are also $7 lunch combos before 3 pm. The more expensive items are the live seafood and Peking duck which are usually priced at $30-50.

Since the serving sizes are so large, my best advice is to go with four or more people and order a bunch of things and then split the bill. This tends to end with each person paying $15-$20 for a tonne of food, and sometimes leftovers. Harvest Moon is food that is meant to be shared.

Must order items:

For vegans/veggie kids my favourite things are the spicy fried tofu (which is so salty, spicy, fried and delicious I would marry it if I could), the Buddha’s Delight and the spicy fried stringbeans without pork.

Buddha’s Delight is mixed stir-fried veggies with fried tofu and an amazing assortment of mushrooms/fungus. The spicy fried string beans are just fried green beans with this amazing spicy sauce on them, but are still considered a favourite by almost everyone I know who eats there.

For non-veggie items, the curry beef brisket soup is recommended by my meat-eating pals. It’s a bone broth soup with lot of tasty brisket and tendon. Fun fact: bone broth soup is apparently super good for irritable bowel syndrome so the more you know I guess.

Why it’s great:

One of the best parts about Harvest Moon is its low-key status among the newer and trendier restaurants in the area.

The decor feels like stepping into an early 90s Seinfeld episode (in a good way) and the frequent patrons are often just large families sitting at the huge round tables. The staff are the perfect mix of friendly and cranky and the food is always fantastic.

There is no lack of character or flavour at Harvest Moon and for a reasonable amount of money, you can share a meal with a large group of friends and eat to your heart’s content.

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