Gol's Lanzhou Noodle 蘭州牛肉面 (Markham)

I remember when two decades ago being able to tuck into a bowl of fresh noodles was rare. Flash forward to now and hand-pulled noodles are everywhere, restaurants with glass kitchens showcasing a chef who stretches a palm of dough into stringy delights. At First Markham Place, Gol's Lanzhou Noodle offers a staggering nine thicknesses in an airy ornate dining room.

The small portion of their traditional Langzhou hand-pulled noodles ($14.99) was satisfying, but for the hungry, an extra $2 buys you a much larger bowl. Opting for the #3 thickness, which the waiter noted was “regular”, I would consider going down a size as there was a slight sticky afterbite that could be mitigated by a thinner noodle - even though the pasta had a pleasant preliminary mouthful and requisite springy texture.

Aside from the noodle width, diners can also customize the spiciness level and whether it’s garnished with green onion and cilantro (a must in my books to add some freshness to the bowl). Given the northern provinces of China can handle heat, we went with a light spiciness and was presented with something that looked spicy but really had an aromatic quality without the zing.

In retrospect, I could likely handle the regular spiciness as there’s always the option to ask for more broth to dilute the heat. In fact, they seemed very accommodating with any table that just wanted an extra bowl of the soup.

The slices of beef were cut thinly and given it wasn’t overly seasoned became lost amongst the starch and soup. Oh well, I guess the protein isn’t an important factor when it comes to hand-pulled noodles.

With the Langzhou beef chow mein ($15.99), they recommended a thickness between #3 to #5 for the dish. The #5 was too thick and al dante for my tastes, probably #3 would have been just right. Nonetheless, the stir-fried noodles had great wok hay despite there being a scant portion of vegetables and beef.

Perhaps Gol’s most surprising feature was their service: abundantly staffed and extremely attentive… I certainly felt well looked after! They are also expanding quickly through franchising with locations in Waterloo, Montreal, and Winnipeg. One thing’s for sure, it’s no longer difficult to find fresh-made noodles in Canada, so get ready to be pulled in.

In a nutshell... 
  • Must order: traditional Langzhou hand-pulled noodles 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3229 Highway 7 (First Markham Place)
 Website: https://lanzhou.ca/

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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