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Best Thai Restos in Toronto...

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We need to entertain a VIP guest n Toronto who loves Thai Food. Any recos?

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  1. Probably you will get a lots of negative postings here regarding Thai food in TO.

    I like Linda (not Salad King) at around Yonge and Dundas, their food is tasty, good value, nice atmosphere. It is not pure authentic though. Try their tasting menu, it is around $30 per person with 4-5 courses. Not sure if the price is still $30 since I have not been there for a while.

    1. Mengrai Gourmet Thai by Sasi
      http://www.mengraithai.com/

      20 Replies
      1. re: Googs

        Sounds like an interesting cooking class (and I've done a lot of cooking classes). Has anyone taken it?

        1. re: pescatarian

          I hate posting negative things, so first I'll start with the positives. The food there is really very good. Now the bad. The cooking class.

          Let me preface this by saying the class I was involved in took place before their "official" opening. We were a large group of somewhat drunk young women out for a friends bachelorette/wedding shower.

          So the first problem of the night was the waiting. We were there for seriously 2 hours before any "class" began. During that time we were served wine and a few platters of apetizers to share - and that only happened about an hour into it.

          Then the lecture on Thai ingredients began. It started out somewhat informative to Thai cooking novices, but even they grew tired of it quickly. And then it just dragged on, and on...

          Following the lecture, we were split into teams for our cooking class. Each team had 3 recipes they were to prepare in shifts. The "class" comprised of each of us getting a wok into which we would dump ingredients that were already prepped at the chef's command. Dump, dump, dump. Boil. Done. There wasn't a whole lot of learning going on...

          I could go on, but I think you get the picture. This could have been a freak night - still ironing out the kinks and all before they were even officialy open - but it was bloody expensive for what we received (IMHO).

          1. re: Delish

            Thanks for the heads up! Good to know ;-)

            1. re: Delish

              Yes, the combo of 2 hours wait, wine, and attention span not a very good one.

              They had a pretty rough start at Mengrai which is why I hadn't mentioned them previously. Many elements were yet to be worked out. Luckily food wasn't one of them. I've been semi-regular for about a month now and can see the progression. They're ready enough IMO to take the Hound test.

              To make a distinction, though Delish, the cooking class may be expensive, but I find dining, whether there or getting take-out, quite reasonably priced for the quality received.

              1. re: Googs

                My co-workers and I ordered from Mengrai on friday for take-out lunch.The food was very tasty, nicely prepared-no signs of ketchup in my pad thai and everyone said their curries were nicely spiced. Can't wait to try this place in person!

                1. re: deabot

                  IIRC, the "original" pad thai (which is superb... the best pad thai I've ever eaten) has no ketchup, but the regular pad thai and the special house pad thai both do (and are both quite disappointing, IMO)... so you guys must have lucked out and picked the right one.

                  Do try them in person... and even though they're only on the takeout menu, get the taro rolls (they'll make them on special request if you're eating in). They're utterly delicious!

                  I'm so glad to hear that you liked Mengrai... it really is, IMO, the best Thai food in the city.

                  1. re: vorpal

                    +

                    -----
                    Mengrai
                    82 Ontario Street, Toronto, ON M5A 2V3, CA

                    1. re: Googs

                      Is this the same people that had Sasi on Jarvis? The food there was no great shakes.

                      1. re: Herb

                        It is, and I slightly agree with you. Some of the dishes at Sasi were quite good, and others were so-so or disappointing. The overall experience didn't excite me much. Still, it was some of Toronto's better Thai food. The new place, though, is much better.

                      2. re: vorpal

                        The thing I don't understand about places like this, is why not just offer your best dishes period. Why do you have to be on the inside track to know what to order from the three pad thais offered? If the "original" is so good and made the way it is supposed to be made (without ketchup), then why offer the others. I know you are going to say because a lot of NA people are used to it this way, but so what, give it to them the way it was supposed to be made. If it is done right, they will be won over. And you shouldn't have to know that you can order special items like the taro rolls. They should just be offered.
                        I mean now I know, when I go there what to order, but I think it just doesn't make sense to operate a business this way. Many people are not going to know and will order the average dishes and will probably not be inspired to return. How is this good for business?

                        1. re: pescatarian

                          *shrugs*... I really don't have good answers to those questions. As for the taro rolls, they're a very new restaurant and in some senses, still finding their footing and perfecting things, so I wouldn't be surprised if the taro rolls ended up on the dine-in menu when all is said and done.

                          1. re: pescatarian

                            Alan (co-owner & husband) & Sasi don't strike me as elitist types in the least. I don't think taro rolls are necessarily 'special order' for people in the know. I think they're working their menu offerings out.

                            While I agree that adult patrons should be exposed to the correct versions of dishes, I also think that offering pop Thai allows children to experiment which therefore enables families to dine there.

                            Me, I like their small menu and truly enjoy surprises. I've had dishes not on the menu too. It's a blast. Kinda like Thai omakase. I'm sure they do that for everyone if only to get their opinions. Can't wait for them to start their tasting menu.

                            1. re: Googs

                              I don't believe it has anything to do with elitism. I think they should serve the best versions of the recipes period. If the menu is small, why do they offer three versions of pad thai? I just think it makes more sense to serve the best version. Children can learn to eat the authentic versions. And if they don't like them, I'm sure they can provide them with a plate of noodles while the adults enjoy the authentic ones. And I understand the idea of working out menu items, but if you offer something that is great on the take-out menu, offer it on the regular menu also. If you're willing to make it for people who request it anyways, it should be on it.

                              1. re: pescatarian

                                i think it's just a matter of survival.

                                children may learn to like that fish sauce you're so fond of but what about those adults that are just gaining their legs or the ones who refuse to even learn? sometimes you need to pander to the majority while keeping a balance of authenticity to ensure that you've got enough seats filled up during the week. i know we'd all love it if everyone was a chowhound, but that's not the case.

                                the authentic flavours may scare some but by having these more friendly dishes of pad thai they won't be entirely detered. the longer the restaurant is open the better for you and i... and maybe, just maybe those beginner thai folks will transition over and everything they eat will be the "original" version.

                                i however am not for having to ask for special dishes.. good to know about the taro though as i'm loving everything taro.

                          2. re: vorpal

                            Vorpal, I just knew you should have written your review first!
                            http://www.nowtoronto.com/food/story....

                          3. re: deabot

                            Ugh. Pad Ketchup. Total meal killer.

                            Apparently the Thai community in Toronto is only 2000 deep, which indicates to me that most of us have never, in fact, eaten Thai.

                            Thoughts?

                            1. re: gsjameson

                              Toronto has a lot of "interesting variations" on classic Thai dishes. Take, for example, the commonly found Torontonian verson of Cashew Nut Chicken...

                              I've really missed good Thai since moving here. Fortunately, Mengrai seems to deliver pretty well, although they have some problems with consistency of quality.

                    2. re: Googs

                      I have seen it pass by while being driven. I noticed there are 2 other threads related to Mengrai but it didn't have alot of info. Any other opinions about this resto?

                      1. re: geekwithspatula

                        I'm (finally) going on Wednesday and will report back afterwards.

                      2. re: Googs

                        I have to say that after reading this string, we tried Mengrai, and we really enjoyed it. The ambiance was very nice, the staff exceptionally friendly, and the cuisine was some of the best Thai I have ever eaten. I have not been to Thailand, nor had authentic home cooked thai, but we loved all the dishes we had at Mengrai.

                      3. Satay on the road is what I am used to. Is it absolutely drop dead oh my god thai food? No. Is it better than most other thai food in Toronto? Yes, for the price. But stick to beef, nooldles, etc. and not seafood.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: abscissa

                          I'm with you on Satay on the Rd. Their Pad Thai is my personal fav.

                          I get take out a lot. Ever notice how you can smell the bathrooms -- and they are in the basement -- when you are waiting to pay at their location on Bayview. Pretty off putting.

                          1. re: Vern Ryerse

                            I used to like Satay on the Road, but last time, the pad thai was soooo sweet, I felt like I was eating dessert.

                        2. Do people still eat Thai? I thought this food trend died out in the late 90's. Not to say that well prepared Thai food isn't great, but unfortubnately 99% of Thai restos in Toronto are really just chinese or vietnamese joints that throw thai basil on a plate of overcooked strir fry. Having said all that, What about the tried and true Bangkok Garden?

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Finnegan

                            Spot on.

                            Thai will never get old in my kitchen, fortunately.

                            1. re: NovoCuisine

                              I'm going to link Bankok Garden because I think it's one of the better in the city; I haven't been there since the re-open, though.

                              -----
                              Bangkok Garden
                              18 Elm Street, Toronto, ON M5G 1G7, CA

                              1. re: NovoCuisine

                                We had corporate function at Bangkok Garden twice: Lunch at Bangkok Garden, then go to Elmwood Spa for its packaged services. I'm not a Thai food expert. However, Bangkok Garden is for sure presentatble for corporate functions.

                                1. re: NovoCuisine

                                  I have tried Bangkok Garden since the re-opening (which took forever). Well it was NOT worth the wait!

                                  Really bad food. Really expensive. AVOID.

                                  1. re: JonasBrand

                                    I had the lunch buffet at Bangkok Garden today. For $17 (lunch + tax, no drinks), you get mango salad with almost no dressing, flavourless "Warrior fish curry", bland "pineapple shrimp curry", and "chili squid" which was blanched squid in bottled chili sauce. The pad thai looked and tasted like a vat of ketchup. The only good item was red curry chicken. The battered wings were OK but hardly Thai. And I believe a self-respecting Thai resto should server ginger tea and they don't have it. Definitely an AVOID.

                                    1. re: Teep

                                      Here's my suggestion for Bangkok Garden: Board the southbound subway at Dundas and get off at Queen. Grab the Queen car eastbound for the 3-4 minute ride to Ontario. Walk south on Ontario for about a minute. Dine at Mengrai Thai. Really you can do a lot better in that neighbourhood. It, too, is very presentable for corporate meetings, family dinners, and romantic dates.

                                      1. re: Teep

                                        Prior to the opening of Mengrai, I often toyed with the notion of hitting up Bangkok in my lack-of-good-Thai in Toronto frustration, but the prices there are absurd. The amount that they charge for noodle dishes just makes my mouth drop.

                                        I'm very glad that I held out and waited for better Thai food to make it to the city.

                              2. Avoid Thai in Toronto. There are much better options

                                For a VIP I think Lai Wah Heen (Dim Sum) should do the trick.

                                -----
                                Metropolitan Hotel
                                108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G, CA

                                1. if you don't mind a little fusion action, Lime is my personal fav. their spring rolls are stunning.

                                  -----
                                  Lime
                                  170 Eglinton Ave E, Toronto, ON M4P1A6, CA

                                  1. Not Toronto, but Richmond Hill, but I order regularly now from Thai Spoon. The Pad Thai has a nice combination of tamarind, fish sauce and peanuty flavours. I just had some coconut rice which was delicious. The spicy chicken (deep pieces of chicken in a spicy, oniony sauce) is very good. The mango salad is fresh and restrained. I like it.

                                    1. Golden Thai. Golden Thai. Golden Thai.

                                      (church near Adelaide or Richmond)

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: proof

                                        There is a lovely Thai restaurant in my neighbourhood called BUO THAI (located on Avenue road just slightly north of Davenport. The food is quite good, the servers friendly and a very pleasant atmosphere. The owners are a young couple from Thailand and they are wonderful hosts.. I wouldn't say it was outstanding but I feel they do an excellent job for a reasonable price and certainly no attitude (sometimes a problem in the Annex) It's a very nice evening out without the pretensions of some of the higher end places serving the same cuisine.

                                        1. re: pearlD

                                          it's actually BUA THAI and they are very good.

                                          Their whole fish dishes are great.

                                          There's another location on the Queensway but I've never been to that one.

                                          1. re: chocabot

                                            Yeah Bua Thai is the best I've found in Toronto. Not saying too much. But it is tasty. Thumbs up for sure. Good lunch prices & nice decor.

                                            Excellent fried rice. Tasty curries.

                                            1. re: JonasBrand

                                              we just ordered delivery from bua thai, it being super close to the house. was very fresh, well prepp'd and quite good if not excellent. curry tho was excellent. last week had thai basil delivery. was pretty not good. and too expensive for the amount of food. for under 40 bua thai we have 2 mains, 1 large app platter , steamed rice and perrier. we will order here from now on, unless we order from Satay on the road our usual.

                                              1. re: zed1984

                                                Five years after these postings on Bua Thai, I feel I should jump in.

                                                I used to love this place. The food was tasty, fresh and authentic.

                                                Just ordered from Bua Thai (on Avenue Rd.) -- the basics, nothing fancy. Noodle dishes were fine. I've had better spring rolls from Costco. (Nothing wrong with Kirkland Farms, but I'd expect a better product from an authentic Thai restaurant.) Asked for extra hot sauce -- no show. No big deal. The Angel (chicken) wings were undercooked and extra-doused in what seemed like sweet and sour sauce from the 80s.

                                                Ordered Coconut Juice, and what arrived was a styrofoam soup container filled with some coconut-water-y substance that clearly came from an industrial-sized tank.

                                                But the nail in the coffin: paid $4 for two cans of Diet Coke. What arrived were two cans of Compliments Diet Cola. Sorry, but when you charge $2 a can -- I expect the real deal.

                                                Strike Bua Thai from your list of acceptable Thai delivery spots in Toronto.

                                        2. re: proof

                                          I'll second Golden Thai.

                                          We usually go there for lunch, great food and portions!

                                          Atmosphere is pretty authentic too, lots of Thai decorations from elephants and jewel encrusted picture frames.

                                          1. re: jay319

                                            Around 7 years ago, I was going past the the Golden Thai with a thai person (immigrated within the previous 5 - 7 years), and she had very strong opinions about the Golden Thai - and they were not of a positive type. I just cannot get myself to try the Golden Thai after that ringing anti-endorsement..... But I do walk by there on a regular basis and personally I find the decorations to be a bit much... yes, elephants are thai, but I don't find the atmosphere (overall) to be that authentic (looking at it from the outside). The ideal thai restaurant decorations for me would be a very softly decorated restaurant, with a picture of the King prominently displayed, maybe a small corner dedicated to a place of respect for Budda, but not over crowded etc.

                                            1. re: cacruden

                                              Really, you're not missing much. With regards to the food, it's very mediocre and not particularly interesting.

                                              1. re: cacruden

                                                Cacruden, you have described the room at Thai Plate!
                                                The cooking is not authentic- very few of the customers would be able to eat it.- but is very tasty. However the kitchen will cook much more authentically if you ask.

                                                1. re: cacruden

                                                  If that's your definition, cacruden, then you'll love the decor and the portrait of King Mengrai at Mengrai Gourmet Thai. Plus, from what I glean from more knowledgable types than I, it's as authentic as it gets in this city.

                                            2. Was really happy (and surprised) to see that no one had mentioned Salad King yet. Worst Thai ever.

                                              1. Tough request, in that Toronto hasn't really gone up-market with Thai cuisine yet. Many of the places that have been mentioned provide decent food, but the ambience leaves something to be desired. I was surprised to not see Young Thailand mentioned here, as it's latest incarnation on Dundas in the Junction is still serving up great innovative food. Not a bad setting, either.

                                                A step behind in food is Thai Magic on Yonge, in Rosedale. The food is good, the presentations are good, and the ambience is much better than the standard Thai. Your VIP could also dine in the company of politicians and Canadian celebrities.

                                                11 Replies
                                                1. re: Snarf

                                                  Like who?

                                                  1. re: Snarf

                                                    Thai Chef Spring Roll over on Ronces is pretty bang on. They have some absolute standout curry dishes, fish dishes and even chef specials which are generally family favorites from the Northern Region of Thailand. And yes...the two owners are from Bangkok. The pad thai? ehh...its nothing to write home about. but then again, who really cares when you have a Panang Curry that is to die for, a tamarind Red Snapper that comes stuffed with cilantro, ginger, red peppers and crushed chili, and a Goong Oap that is...i'm convinced...spiced with fire.

                                                    1. re: goodcookiedrift

                                                      mmm, that red snapper sounds delish

                                                      1. re: pescatarian

                                                        Pesc...it is. The sweet/spicy is a winning combination. And with a side of coconut rice its always a fan favorite. i almost always go there for this or the panag curry. One thing i would warn though, is because it is authentic Thai done by Thai's, the heat is well....typical Thai heat.

                                                        Thai Chef Cuisine
                                                        233 Roncesvalles
                                                        Toronto ON.

                                                        1. re: goodcookiedrift

                                                          oh, now you're speaking my language - I looovvve coconut rice!

                                                          forgive my ignorance, but what's a Goong Oap?

                                                          1. re: pescatarian

                                                            Goong Oap is a noodle dish that's somewhere between soup and solid consistency. It sometimes appears to be a soup simply because of the amount of liquids used to make the sauce, but i guarantee you its not a soup.

                                                            Traditionally, the dish includes tiger shrimps (or prawns) steamed with butter, house wine, basil leaves, coriander, and glass noodles served in a lemongrass sauce.

                                                            1. re: goodcookiedrift

                                                              ohh, I need to try that

                                                              1. re: pescatarian

                                                                Best Thai I've ever had outside of Thailand is the Siamese Gekko in Collingwood. It's run by the sweetest Thai family. Everything we've ever had is amazing and they will definitely give recommendations if you are unsure what to try. They also didn't hesitate to make something special for my young nieces when we took them there.

                                                                It's not Toronto but is definitely worth checking out if you are heading up to Collingwood.

                                                                1. re: Baggins

                                                                  I love "Real Thailand" on Bloor St. W. just west of Spadina. Their Pad Thai can be off some days but the majority of times I've had it (a lot!) it's great.

                                                                  It's never mentioned on any sites about Toronto's Thai food, anyone have an opinion on the place?

                                                                  1. re: smyhal

                                                                    I haven't been in some time, but I also enjoy Real Thailand.

                                                      2. re: goodcookiedrift

                                                        Thai Chef Cuisine for sure!!
                                                        Red snapper and panang are delicious, good portions. their salad rolls also are like none i've ever had before, but are the best i've had.
                                                        the best part is, when ordering delivery you pick up and "Thai Chef is downstairs with your order!" ... hah, just makes me feel a little special that you can pretend he delivered your meal.

                                                    2. Don't know if it's the BEST but I had a very enjoyable and delicious meal at Thai Plate on Bathurst last Friday evening. See my separate post.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: tochowchick

                                                        Thai Plate is pretty close to the worst, actually.

                                                        1. re: Fwagra

                                                          You're entitled to your opinion but I obviously disagree...I enjoyed the food and the service...will be going back for sure...

                                                          1. re: Fwagra

                                                            Sorry, but I must disagree vehemently with Fwagara See my separate and recent post . Thai Plate's (TP) cooking is impossible not to like, unless you focus on the very strong tastes in authentic Thai cooking. I don't, and I can't wait to return to TP. To group TP with the don't- give- a shit -its -just- a- business Chinese operated Thai places is simply wrong. If one is to criticize Thai Plate, it should be against authentic- and good- Thai restaurants. Is there an authentic Thai restaurant in Toronto? Does authenticity matter if the food is tasty? The owners after all are not running a Thai cultural centre. Tomatoes in Italian cooking and potatoes in Irish cooking were not authentic ingredients until fairly recently, and no one complains.

                                                            Now the history. Allan and Sasi got married. Allan is an accountant, Sasi is a chef. They took over Big Al's on Bathurst and converted it to a Thai restaurant called MeThai. Allan stuck his wife behind the woks, he worked the front. The cooking then was good, but as if with a man's hand. Heavy. Too much coconut milk. Similar aesthetic as German cooking. Yeah, I know: this is my taste, what do I know about Thai cooking, and there are regional styles. They sold their location to the new owners, who changed the name to Thai Plate. Allan and Sasi opened their location on Jarvis. Never been. I liked Thai Plate better and it was convenient. Of course both Sasi's cooking and Thai Plate's cooking were westernized. Very few people would like authentic Thai cooking. Fwagara may one of them, and this may be his standard, and I respect it. But I would also from time to time show up late as TP was closing and just order from what the two couples who owned and operated the place had prepared for their own supper. Only some of which I could eat. This cooking as well was superior to Sasi's standard restaurant offerings.

                                                            The cooking at Thai Plate has now evolved. It is now lighter, brighter, and I think even more delicious. (Comparable to very good Lebanese cooking; Lebanese style cooking exists at the "D+" level in Toronto.) But then again, my idiosyncracies: in cooking I don't like heat, grease, or murky; I don't like anything too much other than the size of the portion.

                                                            I can't wait to return to Thai Plate. See you there at the Friday lunch buffet, if not sooner.
                                                            VVM

                                                            1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                              Vinnie,

                                                              I couldn't agree more with your post...Fwagra seems intent on insisting this place is horrible...certainly not my experience. Is it the "best Thai" in Toronto...I don't think I'm at all qualified to judge by that measurement...all I know if that their food is tasty and their service very attentive...I will certainly be back!!

                                                        2. I hate to say this, but I went to Mengrai two days ago for lunch and the food just mediocre. I was quite disappointed. Speaking to Alan, he told me that they are having trouble in the kitchen getting good Thai chefs, but that the problem should be rectified soon. Sasi, the head chef, was in Thailand that day.

                                                          If I go back, I will call in advance and make sure that Sasi is in the kitchen during my visit. When she is, the food is exquisite; otherwise, it is just mediocre by Toronto Thai standards.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: vorpal

                                                            Do you know when she's back? I have a hankering...

                                                            1. re: Googs

                                                              I think Alan mentioned something about a week, and that was on Monday, but nothing seemed definite. She was in Thailand doing some charity work, I believe, and looking for chefs to bring back with her.

                                                              1. re: vorpal

                                                                Thanks Vorpal. Charity work and bringing a Thai chef home with her. You just have to love these people.

                                                          2. I like Salad King personally, but it's not exactly high-class. Linda, on the other hand, seems to be their higher-class setup, though I have no direct experience with the food.

                                                            Spring Rolls is ok, the one at Yonge & Dundas is classy-looking. Not the most exciting Thai, so if they're used to better, I'd skip it personally (though I usually recommend it for those who are new to Thai, since it feels a little more approachable).

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: CityMatt

                                                              I don't want to slam anyone's opinion, but Spring Rolls isn't even really Thai food. They have a few Thai-inspired offerings, but really, the depth of flavour is really very shallow there. I have no idea how this place has achieved the level of popularity that it holds.

                                                              1. re: vorpal

                                                                Spring Rolls is watered down, bland pan-asian cuisine that has managed to appeal to the masses by offering a clean, hip, "safe" environment to eat "asian" food. Blech.

                                                                1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                  Agreed

                                                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                    A friend who won't eat Thai food loves Spring Rolls. Enough said.

                                                                    1. re: Full tummy

                                                                      enough said. i would rather eat nothing than eat at spring rolls and one is on the corner of my street.

                                                                    2. re: TorontoJo

                                                                      Oh so vile! The food is so unauthentic, you have to look at the menu again to double-check the description. Don't eat there! The food gives non-Asians a terribly incorrect idea of what Asian food is.

                                                                      1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                        I think the $5 martinis help a lot, too. Though frankly, they are so sweet they are barely drinkable anyway!

                                                                  2. I don't believe that Thai Basil has been mentioned as of yet. I have really enjoyed their Thai Steamed Fish Fillet on Stove, and find that their soups are much more complex than other local offerings. It has a nice ambience as well and quick, friendly service.
                                                                    Interestingly, they also have a sign outside their door reading "Thai Cooks Only". So I suppose "authenticity" can be vouched for.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Thai Basil
                                                                    467 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S1X9, CA

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                                                      I've also heard some good things said about Thai Basil, but cannot eat there due to their use of MSG. I just wanted to point out, too, that MSG is generally frowned upon by Thai chefs, who are usually quite MSG-savvy and avoid it, in my experience. Given how flavourful Thai food naturally is with its extensive use of fresh plants to provide taste, use of MSG makes me suspect that there are some shortcomings in the kitchen for which they're trying to compensate. I could be wrong, though.

                                                                      1. re: vorpal

                                                                        Thanks vorpal for pointing out their use of MSG. How did you find out? Did you ask the chef, or just get an allergic reaction? I hope it was the former...

                                                                        1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                                                          Oh, yes... I called after hearing good things about them and asked, and they told me that they do use it!

                                                                      2. re: Yum2MyTum

                                                                        Drove past the newly opened 'Thai Basil' - Richmond Hill branch located at 1070 Major Mackenzie and decided to give it a try.. (Largely Influenced by their sign - ' Thai Chefs. Thai Food. Thai Taste')

                                                                        The place was very nicely decorated, modern with Thai influence. Service was friendly but most of all, the food surprisingly delicious!!

                                                                        The two of us had:

                                                                        - Chicken and Beef Satay skewers
                                                                        - Fresh Mango & Green Papaya Salad with Tiger Prawns
                                                                        - Tom Kha Kai Coconut Chicken Soup
                                                                        - Thai Tiger prawns Red Curry
                                                                        - Mussa-mun Curry Beef Brisket
                                                                        - Jasmine rice

                                                                        Seasoning and flavour of all the sauces were very well balanced and extremely delicious. Not too sweet or overly spicey. Each sauce/dish has its own charcteristic and unique taste and definitely NOT variation on a generic sauce base. I rate them as good if not better than Linda's!!
                                                                        The complex and flavourful chicken soup actually has chicken pieces that taste like chicken!! Beef brisket was ultra tender and the Satay meats were nicely seasoned and marinated before charbroiling. The peanut dipping sauce was tastier than Restoran Malaysia across the road!

                                                                        Total bill inclusive of tax and 15% tips comes to $64.

                                                                        Glad to see a more than decent Thai Place in Richmond Hill!!
                                                                        One observation! Since a lot of items in both Thai Basil and Restoran Malaysia's menus overlapped each other, the long un-challenged RS will surely have a fight in their hands!!

                                                                        1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                          I've had some nice take-out from there as well. I used to favour RM exclusively, but now I think Thai Basil will be getting my food dollars. And the space is really nice inside! Not that I've sat down for long to enjoy it. :)

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Thai Basil
                                                                          467 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S1X9, CA

                                                                      3. Unfortunately the level of Thai food in Toronto is quite depressing. Thai food is my favourite cuisine. I will give Mengrai a try when I am back in Toronto.

                                                                        Around 5 years ago I started making a yearly (except on year) pilgrimage to Thailand. Each time I have been here I have taken some Thai cooking courses. This year I took a professional level (condensed - 6 days; 12 day course is the standard length) course in Koh Samui. For anyone interested in Thai cooking (professional or not), I highly recommend this school. Additionally, if you are opening a Thai restaurant, they will provide thai chefs for the restaurant. A fringe benefit is that Koh Samui has some very good resort beaches.

                                                                        BTW, although I don't personally use ketchup in my pad thai..... I noticed the last time I bought a pad thai at the food court in the Siam Paragon Shopping Centre (Bangkok) that one of the ingredients was a dap of red stuff. Since I don't know any other red coloured ingredients used - I assume that it is probably a dab of ketchup. So yes, some of the pad thai cooked in Thailand has ketchup (although it is not an original ingredient).

                                                                        If the Mengrai is run by a Thai chef, maybe he will have a better idea where to get quality thai produce in Toronto. I have never found Kaffir Limes, and the Thai eggplants that I have bought in Toronto have black seeds (a sign that the eggplant is old).

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: cacruden

                                                                          Are you sure that the red blob wasn't sriracha sauce? That seems much more likely to me, and it does really resemble ketchup.

                                                                          I agree that Thai eggplants in Toronto are generally not great. I thought kaffir limes were generally considered inedible and it was only the leaves that were used in cooking. Is that incorrect? Kaffir lime leaves are extensively available.

                                                                          1. re: vorpal

                                                                            Not absolutely sure.... but I have not used any red ingredient before for pad thai. I have been told by some thai cooks that sometimes ketchup is used as an ingredient; but I am sure it is hard to distinguish when it is one ingredient among many - like tamarind juice, fish sauce, palm sugar. It certainly looked like ketchup. At least the pad thai does not look red - the absolute worst pad thai I had was in a food court in Toronto - a "Special" Pad Thai ..... was red - looked like they used sweet and sour sauce in it :p

                                                                            Kaffir limes are used. The juice is generally not used (3 recipies maybe tops out of thousands - not regularly used); the rind of the kaffir lime is used to make certain curry pastes - although kaffir lime leaves may act as a substitute if absolutely necessary. Kaffir lime most commonly used in wash basins (to wash hands). I am looking for the rind of them. I have used curry paste that I bring back from Thailand - which can keep for up to a year - although those that keep longer usually have a higher salt content. I figure that since I already make my curries out starting with the coconut cream from coconuts - that making my own paste would not add that much work. Coconut cream from cans has a very different taste than fresh coconut cream.

                                                                            t I have a hard time finding things like fresh green peppercorns. I just wish we had a small thai grocer in downtown Toronto.

                                                                            1. re: cacruden

                                                                              cacruden, if you find fresh green peppercorns please let us all know. I'm really tired of the ones that look like little green raisins.

                                                                          2. re: cacruden

                                                                            I've seen kaffir limes at:

                                                                            Vientiane Supermarket

                                                                            * 2 Bradstock Rd. (at Weston Rd.)
                                                                            * 416-743-2911

                                                                            The guy I always see there, possibly the owner is really nice and he must have spent 15 minutes with me telling about all the herbs and leaves and what they are used for. Bit of a trek from downtown but one of my favorite grocery stores in the city. Also great jasmine rice, they import their own brand.

                                                                            1. re: s0rce

                                                                              Thanks, I will have to travel out their to take a look some weekend - and yes - it is waaaayyyy out there (for TTC bound person).

                                                                              I have 11 frozen kaffir limes right now for emergencies (from gray market dealers :p)

                                                                              1. re: s0rce

                                                                                Thanks s0rce. I visited the place on Saturday and yes, they had the kaffir limes there. They did not have everything but they had enough for it to be worth it to travel out there sometimes (it took 10 minute walk, 35 minutes by subway, 5 minutes waiting for bus, then 20 minutes on the bus).

                                                                                There Eggplants were of good quality - and the first ones in Toronto where I have not had black seeds in them (means they are old). The lemongrass was in a bucket with water which kept them in better shape, and of course the Kaffir Limes. I picked up a thai sticky rice steamer when I was there (did not have any more room last time coming back - my luggage was already running around 100kg). They had some Thai brands for oyster sauce and fish sauce was not crystalized. Overall, worth the trip.

                                                                            2. Mengrai Gourmet Thai by Sasi is some of the best Thai in the city.

                                                                              1. THAI MAGIC on Yonge is the only one worth it. The owner is a wonderful man. The service is spot on. The food is consistently good...must have the The Royal app. platter and the Holy Basil Beef, lobster and whole snapper are definetly worth the trip. The atmosphere is intimate and nice (although a little dated).

                                                                                This place never gets the respect it deserves.

                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                1. re: kingkolo

                                                                                  Just wondering if anyone has checked out the new thai resto on Queen east of Jones? Sorry don't recall the name offhand.

                                                                                  1. re: millygirl

                                                                                    Are you referring to the Friendly Thai? I haven't been to that specific location, but I've been to others, and found it quite mediocre. Decent taste, but extremely poor cuts of meat. Awful service. Nothing authentic about their "authentic" Malaysian. I wouldn't bother.

                                                                                    1. re: vorpal

                                                                                      Yup, that's the one....thanks vorpal!

                                                                                      1. re: millygirl

                                                                                        hey Vorpal, what about the new thai on the danforth? I think its called bangkok spoon? Its right at logan

                                                                                        1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                          Hey hungryabbey: that one is news to me! I haven't checked it out yet, but it's in my neighbourhood, so I just might, especially if they deliver. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

                                                                                          1. re: vorpal

                                                                                            no problem, let us when if you do!

                                                                                2. Hi,

                                                                                  We recently had the pleasure of being cooked for by Wandee at Young Thailand's new restaurant on St. Clair.

                                                                                  I exclaimed, "Wow! This is the first authentic Thai food I've had since I was in Thailand".

                                                                                  It hasn't been for a lack of trying.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: chowfoodie

                                                                                    Anyone know a good Thai food place on the west side of the city, around Bloor West Village, the Kingsway or The Queensway?

                                                                                    1. re: TheGimp

                                                                                      I go to Young Thailand at Dundas and Keele, in the Junction. Their tamarind whole snapper is amazing. Curries are decent (better than most). The Friendly Thai a block west has really good curries, and really good noodle dishes. May not be as authentic though, but really yummy.

                                                                                      1. re: TheGimp

                                                                                        Thai 4 You, Simply Thai Cuisine, and Thai Queen are all decent choices west of Keele and east of Islington.

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Simply Thai Cuisine
                                                                                        2253 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6S1N8, CA

                                                                                        Thai 4 You
                                                                                        1675 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6P1A6, CA

                                                                                        Thai Queen
                                                                                        3058 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M8X1C4, CA

                                                                                    2. Golden Thai is great...a few already mentioned it but there's also a place on Yonge, north of Eglinton...Green Papaya...you'll never have better spring rolls and green curry!

                                                                                      1. Best Thai Food: a highly contentious toronto subject, but must say Sorn Thai, actually owned and operated by a thai family North of Eglinton. everything is authentic and amazing. need i say more?

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: zed1984

                                                                                          I like Sorn Thai as well but even better is Joy Thai, at 3192 Yonge just north of Lawrence on the west side just above the Metro store. It really is the best Thai in T.O. - maybe the pad thai are just OK but other dishes are flavourful and fragrant, the way I was taught to make Thai food. Family run. Open after 5PM. Worth a try.

                                                                                          1. re: tuttebene

                                                                                            I mean no offense, but I really have to disagree about Joy Thai: after reading a number of favourable reviews of this place, I was so excited to try it, but found it mediocre. There was nothing particularly bad about the food or service, but the dishes were somewhat bland and lacked depth of flavour, which should not be the case with Thai food. (Note: I did not order the pad thai.)

                                                                                            Overall, being from Ottawa, where we have excellent availability of Thai ingredients and fantastic Thai food (even the less good restaurants here are fairly decent), I found Toronto an incredibly frustrating city when it came to trying to find even moderately acceptable Thai. I'm possibly spoiled by having studied it and cooked it for years, though.

                                                                                            As for Toronto recs, I don't know how the new Sukhothai is that people are raving about, but it sounds promising, and if Mengrai and Young Thailand haven't let themselves slip, they're both good choices.

                                                                                            1. re: vorpal

                                                                                              I couldn't agree with you more. I didn't say (or mean to imply) that Joy Thai has great Thai food but rather by Toronto standards, it is quite good. I rarely order Thai food in this city because it always disappoints. I rely on my own kitchen.

                                                                                          2. re: zed1984

                                                                                            I LOVE Sorn Thai! I've enjoyed pretty much all dishes that I've tried. I can't speak to how authentic it is but it is much better than most of the run-of-the-mill places in Toronto.

                                                                                            WON
                                                                                            http://whatsonmyplate.wordpress.com

                                                                                            1. re: wontonfm

                                                                                              after hearing all the recommendations of sorn thai, i decided to eat there yesterday for dinner. ordered the "famous" pad thai and an order of springrolls. i gotta say, i was not impressed with the pad thai at all! the noodles were actually undercooked (had chunks throughout the dish) and the sauce was nothing special. however, the springrolls were great, and the service was amazing. quality checks, and my water glass was never half empty. considering to check it out later, but ill stay away from the pad thai dish... personal faves for pad thai: sukhothai and thai bistro are amazing

                                                                                              1. re: junkie

                                                                                                If you decide to go back to Sorn Thai, try BBQ beef, Spicy Thai noodles and lemongrass chicken soup. I've had them many times and love them. Spicy Thai noodles seem to vary as far as spiciness goes, I guess depending on who's cooking, but over all they're good.
                                                                                                I also like ginger chicken, but rarely order it. It's pretty delicate in flavour, and disappears if you're trying a few dishes at the same time. Still, very nice if eaten just with rice.

                                                                                          3. I went to Thai Basil on Bloor today and it was not great. I had the pad Thai lunch special.
                                                                                            -the soup was interesting but more like a Chinese hot and sour soup than anything Thai. It certainly was not like any Tom Yum I've ever had. It was murky dark brown and had mushrooms in it. No taste of galangal or kaffir lime.
                                                                                            -the speed at which the spring roll arrived and the fact that it was soggy and lukewarm leads me to believe it had been living under a heat lamp for some time.
                                                                                            -the salad, which was about 5 cubes of iceberg lettuce, had a nice dressing with coconut milk, lime and a hint of yellow curry. I'm going to try and reproduce it for home.
                                                                                            -the Pad Thai was bathed in a bright red, sickly sweet sauce which reminded me of that red sauce you get with chicken balls. The noodles were overcooked. A few bean sprouts had been incorporated into the whole wet mess and had no crunch.

                                                                                            Maybe the "Thai Chef" had the day off, or maybe they've adjusted their menu for Western tastes. I noticed they have been voted "Best Thai Food" by DineTO a few times.

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Thai Basil
                                                                                            467 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S1X9, CA

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: hal2010

                                                                                              Feel free to use dine.to as a resource...if you're only interested in the restaurants that advertise on dine.to. Their ratings and reviews are nonsense. However, their testimonials page is loaded with glowing comments about the great return on investment from advertising with them - they do an excellent job of promoting their clients. I don't think promoting the best food is their primary concern.

                                                                                              1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                Bingo! Next they'll have you thinking Stone Grill is good.

                                                                                            2. trying to avoid starting yet another thread about thai food... does anyone have a recommendation for thai in the st clair/christie neighbourhood? we used to go to vanipha lanna (which was actually lao, but close enough... mm, chiang mei noodles) but they closed last summer. i was craving tom kha kai last week and we ordered in from a place simply called "thai" on st clair near winona, and it was awful. no galangal or lime or anything, just a weak thin broth with half a box of no frills sliced raw button mushrooms. blecch.

                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: smartygirl

                                                                                                I haven't been, but I had a recommendation for Khmer Thai. Sounds like good homestyle Thai food, with grandma cooking in the kitchen.

                                                                                                1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                  excellent, merci!

                                                                                                  1. re: smartygirl

                                                                                                    Here's another vote for Khmer Thai, on St. Clair Ave., two blocks west of Oakwood Ave. It does Thai and Cambodian food at moderate prices. Mostly takeout, but it has a basic, clean dining room that I prefer - in my view, food always tastes best immediately out of the kitchen. Under appetizers, I like the shrimp tempura - which is, in size at least, a main dish - and the zippy green papaya salad. The soups, mainly about $10, serve at least four, and are all outstanding. Under main dishes, I lean to the golden beef (or golden chicken), but they'll all good. The tofu vegetarian dishes are also strong, especially the green curry tofu, which is very spicy. No liquor licence. A family business, with good service.

                                                                                                    1. re: juno

                                                                                                      have you tried many of their cambodian offerings? how are they with the prahok? i would love to have a good cambodian joint within striking distance!

                                                                                                      1. re: autopi

                                                                                                        Alas, I can't answer your queries. The menu doesn't differentiate between the Thai and Cambodian dishes, nor do I. I just steadily work my way through the menu. Most dishes seem to be Thai, but there are a number I've never seen on other Thai menus, and those are the ones which I suspect may be Cambodian. As for prahok - a smelly fish paste used to kick up Cambodian dishes - I knoweth not. Though the menu lists the main ingredients of all the dishes on offer, prahok isn't mentioned. Perhaps it's not used, or is regarded as a minor ingredient not worth mentioning. Though I understand it gives a distinctly zippy taste to anything it's added to, so it can hardly be deemed minor. After about a dozen visits there, I don't think I've ever tasted it. But I'll inquire about it next time I'm there.

                                                                                                        1. re: juno

                                                                                                          After dinner last night at Khmer Thai (Thai and Cambodian cooking), I'm now able to answer autopi's recent query as to the quality of its prahok - an exceedingly smelly, traditional Cambodian flavouring agent made from fermented mudfish that's used to kick up many Cambodian dishes. And the answer is: they don't use prahok. Though the waiter didn't indicate so, I'd imagine it might be too expensive for a budget joint like Khmer Thai to import directly. Khmer Thai instead uses a few drops of a mix that includes anchovies to impart some zip to both its Thai and Cambodian dishes. Having never tasted prahok, I'm not aware of what I may or may not be missing. For sure, though, the food at Khmer Thai (spicy shrimp with garlic, green papaya salad, tom yum goong soup, golden beef, chicken with ginger, tofu with vegetable, all consumed by a group of five last night) remains mighty tasty at a modest price.

                                                                                                          1. re: juno

                                                                                                            hey, thanks for reporting back! prahok is an acquired taste, but i love it. still, it sounds like khmer thai is worth checking out. thanks!

                                                                                              2. Sushi & Thai (Bloor West Village)

                                                                                                Great lunch specials (under $10), had the Pad Thai (came with a soup).
                                                                                                Planning to check out some of the other specials next visit.

                                                                                                http://www.sushithaionbloor.com/

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: 5andman

                                                                                                  You must be kidding. Just looking at the menu, there is little that is remotely authentic about the Thai there. Unfortunately, this is exactly what Toronto has come to view as synonymous with Thai food, which is absolutely tragic and an insult to the entire cuisine.