Top-notch Thai or Malaysian in Toronto?
My brother's birthday is coming up, and he wants Thai or Malaysian. I'm not familiar with these restaurants (I prefer continental cuisine). Any recommendations? He wants inexpensive (probably because we're treating him), but I'd like upscale, if possible.
Not the most authentic Thai food, but the environment is nice and in the upscale category you are looking for - perfect for a birthday:
Circle Thai on Yonge (and St. Clair).
a good Thai restaurant in the city is Thai Basil on Bloor (and Spadina
Be warned: Thai Basil, unlike most Thai restaurants, uses MSG. Seeing as Thai food is naturally tremendously flavourful, this, IMO, is generally a sign of shortcomings in the kitchen.
I have to agree with Googs and DDD. If I'm going out for Thai, the only place I'll consider in the city is Mengrai Thai, and Matahari Grill offers up fabulous Malaysian. Two of my favourite Toronto restaurants.
Mengrai is probably a good combination of upscale and affordable--unless you want to go ultra-chic and go for something like Lemongrass or Riz on Bayview. Unfortunately, the prices at the two latter are probably higher than at Mengrai, and they won't be as good.
Does location make a difference to you?
How many will there be in your group? At Mengrai, there is a great little alcove with tables surrounded by comfy Thai-style "sofas". It seats about eight or so. You could probably reserve that space, if you decided to eat there.
Matahari Grill on Baldwin will do the trick quite well for Malaysian - it's a little more upscale upscale, but has a good menu, and the alternatives that I'm aware of are too casual - Gourmet Garden in Scarborough which has good food but is a greasy spoon, and Lion City in Mississauga (Singaporean food, but very similar to Malaysian).
Bangkok Garden on Elm Street is very good but way too pricey ($20 for a dish of green curry, come on now!) since they revamped their menu a few years ago and ruined a good thing. Nothing in my opinion really qualifies as a really good Thai restaurant in comparison if we're talking 'top notch'.
For Thai that's very good quality, and a warm, elegant ambiance but not too flashy, I highly recommend Green Mango. There are several locations in TO, but the one I frequent and can vouch for is in Bloor West Village. Also their dishes offer a variety of dishes suitable for people that haven't tried Thai before and may be intimidated by unfamiliar ingredients. Prices are also great value given the quality, expect spend about $9 to $13 per dish. My personal favourite - the calamari appetizer.
Here's another vote for Mengrai Thai. In my view it's really the best Thai food in the city, and the atmosphere is quite nice as well.
I personally think the new Ivory Thailand on church (which replaced the Young Thailand, I think that's what it was called) is quite good. The prices are a teensy bit higher than most thai places but it's got very nice Thai style decor and the service is quite good.