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Oct 18, 2007 08:43 AM

Best Thai Restos in Toronto...

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. 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


                    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!

                          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.


                            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