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Dying for Thai

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Hi everyone.

Just moved back to Toronto from NYC and am SO upset with recent Thai food experiences.
Does anyone make a good pad thai in this town? Places that use fresh peanuts and tamarind. Help me! Other dishes you can recommend (I only eat seafood and veggies...no meat)

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  1. The only good Thai food in town, IMO, is at the fairly new Mengrai Thai:

    http://www.mengraithai.com

    They have three different pad thais, and one (the original style) is made with tamarind. Their panaeng curry is also fantastic, and they seem to have a version with shrimp (I don't eat much in the way of seafood myself). The morning glory and pumpkin soup is out of this world.

    There are a few other Toronto places that make ketchup-free, tamarind-based pad thais, but they're few and far between.

    6 Replies
    1. re: vorpal

      You might want to try Linda's upstairs from Salad King.
      I have not found another Thai restaurant in this city that is chowworthy.
      I have never eaten at mengraithi.
      Possibly I will chance it on Vorpal's reommendation.

      1. re: erly

        I will admit that I haven't tried Linda's yet, so I can't dismiss it out of hand. Given the reviews here, I must say that I have some curiosity. It's just that Mengrai is so good after I spent years enduring such a futile seach for palatable Thai food in this city that I don't feel the need to continue looking.

        1. re: vorpal

          Linda's is ok, westernized Thai food that taste pretty good. Definitely not authentic though. (Although I must say, don't think an authentic Thai place can stay open in TO...)

          1. re: wciu

            I very much disagree with you wciu, as I suppose it might be where you eat in Thailand.
            I find Linda's menu limited but quite authentic.
            It is more refined, and not related to street food.
            I am not denigrating street food, but on our first trip to Thailand, several years ago, I became quite ill from the experience, and on our subsequent trips, we have eaten at restaurants only.

      2. re: vorpal

        I'll happily 2nd vorpal's rec for Mengrai Thai. It's a good place for a date as well.

        1. re: vorpal

          Ohmigosh. Will be there tomorrow. Thanks for the tip.

        2. Whatever you do avoid Salad King. One of the worst meal experiences I've had in this city.

          29 Replies
          1. re: Ron M

            i honestly wish i knew why you'd say that.

            the only ungreat thing about Salad King is the picnic-bench seating. the food is quite great - probably some of the better Thai you will get in the city. and the prices are still quite reasonable (even their beer prices are really cheap).

            I had Xaphire the other day (Eglinton and Avenue) and it wasn't bad. We had the authentic pad thai and i liked it more than the typical pad thai you get. was quite tasty with a small kick to it. was missing the sweetness (i.e. ketchup) you find at most places.

            1. re: atomeyes

              I suppose that it's a matter of opinion, but as someone that has studied Thai cuisine extensively for the last decade, I have to say that while Salad King may offer okay food at very reasonable prices, it fails to capture the depth that actual real Thai cuisine offers. It's essentially a severe simplification where the cutting of corners is entirely evident: the flavours are shallow and blase, and don't stimulate the taste buds in their entirety in the way that real Thai food does. I've eaten there on a few occasions and while I found the atmosphere and service to be disappointing, I found the food to be much more so. The green curry was so lacking in depth that it did a huge disservice to its patrons and to Thai cuisine in general.

              I'm of the idea that Toronto deserves to experience the intricacies of Thai food in its entirety and the profound blissful joys that it brings. Salad King is essentially the McDonald's of Thai: it gives the equivalent of a decent burger and fries that can be enjoyed, but to call it good eats is a vast stretch. Or alternatively, it's like saying that by eating at Mandarin or Ho Lee Chow, you've experienced Chinese food.

              People look to Italian and French food with this reverence that I can appreciate, but often dismiss Thai food out of hand. Thai food, IMO, is at least as complex as these two styles of cooking. I feel that the lack of good Thai food in Toronto has a negative impact on the minds of the city's population on the sophistication of this cuisine, and that is an utter shame that restaurants like Salad King are guilty of propagating.

              1. re: vorpal

                I would have to agree with Vorpal and Ron M. I had gone to Salad King once a few years back when a friend organized a get together. I swore I would never go back. So far, I have stayed true to my word.

                But to each their own - I know that Spring Rolls is also doing quite well. What's great about the city is that there is something for everyone. I would definitely bring my business elsewhere though. Mengrai Thai is currently my go-to place, though I have heard some good things about Linda's upstairs from Salad King. The fact that she's associated with Salad King though has prevented me from actually going though. But maybe I will get over my phobia one day...

                1. re: BokChoi

                  *grins*

                  BokChoi, I too, heard good things about Linda, but I couldn't overcome the Salad King association and didn't end up trying it before relocating out of the Toronto area.

                  In general, I'm hesitant to listen to recommendations from Torontonians regarding Thai food. This is not because I think Torontonians have poor taste in food, but more because they have, due to the Toronto Thai restaurant scene, very low expectations of Thai food and a skewed misrepresentation of what it actually constitutes.

                  Thank goodness for Mengrai, but boo on me for having discovered it less than a year before moving away.

                  1. re: vorpal

                    Perhaps the recent "busloads" are due to Joanne Kate's rave a few weeks ago. "Who knew there was good Thai in Toronto?" Maybe they're having trouble handling the crowds?

                    1. re: vorpal

                      Vorpal, what is your most recent overall assessment of Linda? I was thinking of trying it out sometime. Since I only have a limited amount of money, I would like to put it to best use - Mengrai or Linda? I put emphasis on trying new things, so I would like to 'discover' something new, but not if it will be a disappointment. The #54 is getting a bit old for me - any suggestions on what else to try? I have had the original pad thai, the striped bass and the lunch seafood curry. The striped bass was nice, but did not blow my mind (a bit overcooked for my tastes). The original pad thai was solid, but once again, it wasn't the revelation that the #54 was for me last year. I did not enjoy the lunch seafood curry that much (loved the appetizers - taro, soup, morning glory, and coconut rice and rice pudding). Wondering if there was something I was missing. How are her other preparation methods?

                      TIA

                      1. re: vorpal

                        Thanks for the recommendations on the dishes, Vorpal. I tried the Penang curry and enjoyed it quite a lot. To be honest though, I could not taste much of a difference between the Penang and the #54 with lychees. I felt the only large difference was the lack of the lychees (which I really enjoy). Do you know what the exact difference is between their two versions? I would like to find out. I believe their #54 (red curry) tastes so similar to their Penang and I feel like I'm missing out on some subtle flavours (or drastic and I am really quite dense). Please let me know so that I can look out for those tastes next time. I will try the fried rice next time. Is the Thai Curry Fried Rice better than the Thai fried rice? What is best?

                        TIA

                    2. re: vorpal

                      And if by chance you do recommend Linda's - can you suggest some dishes to try? Thanks so much. I really am appreciative of your recommendation of Mengrai. What a find...

                      1. re: BokChoi

                        Oh, and I have to thank Googs for introducing me to Mengrai. I can't take all the credit for this recommendation!

                        1. re: vorpal

                          TorontoJo

                          Thanks so much for clarifying that - I read it incorrectly! I read it as he didn't try it until after he moved out of the city. Darn. Thanks for the suggestions, I will give them a try!

                          OK, where did Vorpal's suggestions of "what to try" go?!

                          1. re: BokChoi

                            Hey BokChoi, if you read vorpal's message above, you'll see that he hasn't been to Linda's. The fish curry hot pot and the duck curry are both lovely at Linda's. And her homemade chile sauce is really good, too.

                            1. re: TorontoJo

                              I haven't been to Lindas in about a year, but the menu is small, and the food more refined than Mengrai which we tried after Googs and Vorpals suggestion.
                              Mengrai is more fun, and we have been back a couple of times.
                              I judge a Thai restaurant by their soup, and Lindas soups are excellent.
                              We have been to Thailand three times in the past two years, but I am far from an expert on Thai food, but Lindas although not perfect or a "wow" has been the closest to what we had there.
                              A really outstanding Thai restaurant in T.O.....no
                              We recently had better Thai food in a little local hangout in Brussels that was run by a Chinese family.

                              1. re: erly

                                Thanks erly. Good to know. I'll be checking it out and the soup will be on the list - anything in particular?

                                1. re: erly

                                  Hi erly and TorontoJo, I agree with your comment on Linda. Have been there a few times for their tasting menu which is $30 for like 4 courses, very good value, I did get some bad dishes but I also get some very delicious dishes like the Lobster spicy coconut soup and fish curry hot pot.

                                  1. re: skylineR33

                                    That is funny, as I was just about to recommend these same dishes to Bok Choi.
                                    The Chicken Coconut soup is good as well.
                                    Skyline, we both seem to like, and dislike the same foods,...and restaurants.

                                    1. re: erly

                                      Thanks for the suggestions erly and skylineR33. I will try those dishes. Seems like this place is another winner. I will also try the Matahari Bar & Grill that Vorpal suggested.

                                      Thanks for the tips CHers. Much appreciated.

                                      1. re: BokChoi

                                        Is this the Matahari on Baldwin St.? If so, don't get your hopes up. Go in with low expectations and you may be pleasantly surprised. I had dinner there once last May and wouldn't go back.

                                        1. re: Food Tourist

                                          Thanks for the suggestion Food Tourist. I hope I will be pleasantly surprised then. I will report back.

                                      2. re: erly

                                        On my two most recent visits to Mengrai Thai, I have noticed that the quality has been slipping a bit. I am not sure if I just went on bad days, or something is starting to change. They were MUCH busier on these visits, perhaps due to the favourable reviews they have received in The Globe/etc. However I would have to say I was disappointed. There was just something missing in the curries and they did not 'enlighten' me the way they used to. Each meal about a year ago used to be a revelation of sorts. Now, it's just a good curry meal.

                                        I had the pleasure of trying Linda's Restaurant last month and was very happy with my meal. The portions were generous and the ingredients used were amazing. The flavours were more 'fusion' in a sense, but I enjoyed every last bite. I would definitely return and I believe this place has taken Mengrai's spot on my list for best Thai in the city. I would highly recommend giving it a try. The prices are very reasonable for what you get. I am surprised it was the same creators as Salad King! Too bad I have avoided this place for so long. Especially now since it is moving locations and will be out of the way for me. Alas, I plan on dining there again soon and will post a longer review. Thanks for the recs everyone. I am so happy I tried it.

                                        Cheers!

                                        1. re: BokChoi

                                          where is Linda moving to? is Salad King moving too?

                                          1. re: auberginegal

                                            auberginegal, I heard that they are moving North to this new foodie development (Eglinton or Lawrence near the DVP sounds familiar) - sorry, my memory is terrible. Salad King is apparently taking over both floors and will remain at the current location.

                                            1. re: BokChoi

                                              i wonder if this is the same thing where Zen is said to be moving to in the other thread? At Inn on the Park

                                              1. re: CoffeeAddict416

                                                That's what I was thinking as well. I tried asking the one who mentioned this (I was like - this would be heaven for me if it were true - too far away though unfortunately for me) and they said that the Linda's building would be up in Spring. As far as I heard from Zen the last time I spoke with them, they wouldn't be moving until late in the year because the building was not anywhere near completion yet. But once again, my shoddy memory is preventing me from making a definitive conclusion. I'll try to inquire again when I return to Linda's and Zen.

                                          2. re: BokChoi

                                            Was Sasi actually in the kitchen? She frequently takes a time out this time of year. Typically to Thailand for vacation/research.

                                            That aside, yes the Kates bump has been known to temporarily overwhelm restaurants stretching them to their absolute limits. I wouldn't write Sasi off that quickly. I'd just wait it out until the hype heat dies off.

                                            1. re: Googs

                                              Googs, I am not sure if Sasi was there (the staff members all claimed she was). I would have to say my last visits were during October/November, so it wasn't that recently that I went. I will probably go again, I just felt that something was missing - that she was beginning to trim down on the ingredients in her curries.

                                              In addition, I had a wonderful meal at Linda's and will probably be heading there for my Thai meals from now on. I will write a longer review soon when I get a chance. Wrote the NB and Zucca one today, so I think I'm all reviewed out for a touch.

                                              Cheers!

                                    2. re: TorontoJo

                                      Thanks for the suggestions - I'll report back once I try it. Vorpal, do come back and find some great new places for us to try when you have a chance! Too bad Toronto has lost you...
                                      Thanks to Googs as well

                                      1. re: BokChoi

                                        Bokchoi, check out this thread for some more ideas: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/406710

                                        Despite the title, there are some good recommendations there.

                                        1. re: Chester Eleganté

                                          Thanks Chester Elegante. Any recent thoughts? Those posts seem a bit dated. TIA

                            2. re: atomeyes

                              Felt the need to revive this thread to comment on Xaphire. I live in the 'hood and have eaten in and taken out from there off and on for the last several years. I've found it to be a bit hit and miss, with the hits being quite good and the misses being simply okay/meh. Last night was a new low in the miss department.

                              We ordered take out. The only really good item was the spicy beef, which we quite enjoyed. The veggie cold rolls were fine but unexciting; they were lacking the fresh mint which usually transforms them into something more flavourful than than what we got last night. The cashew chicken was meh -- nothing really objectionable about it, but nothing really exciting about it either. The flavour wasn't particularly complex, and the veggies were more overdone than usual (though, to be fair, this could be a prodcut of having taekn out rather than eaten in). The hugely low point was the traditional pad thai. I've had some crappy pad thai before, but this took the cake. It was sweet in a way I have trouble even describing; the best I can come up with is to suggest that it tasted like apple juice. Bizarre, but true. On top of the overwhelming sweetness, it had no other discernable flavours to help it redeem itself. My husband and I both ate a bit, and promptly threw the rest in the garbage.

                              I really hope that last night was an aberration and that this isn't a sign of things to come in the future. It's been a while since I last ate there prior to last night -- anyone else have any recent experiences (either good or bad)?

                              Also, does anyone have any recommendations re: better Thai take-out/delivery in the Y&E area?

                          2. I also like Ivory Thailand, at Church and Adelaide. Their red duck curry is SO good. (Avoid Golden Thai just up the street).

                            1. I tried Thai2Go on Gerrard near River St last night. Had the royal phad thai & duck spring rolls. Both were tasty and travelled well (25 min walk home).

                              A little pricer than other Thai joints and of course it is take away only but I will go back for sure.

                              1. I just made a large post for Mengrai Thai that includes photos. Check it out - it's by far the best Thai restaurant I have sampled in the city. Also, great atmosphere. Service seems a bit spotty - but they're new, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

                                Here are the photo links:
                                Pumpkin Soup: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
                                Thai Iced Tea: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
                                Appetizer Combo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
                                Flowers: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
                                #54 Red Curry: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
                                Striped Bass: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
                                Sticky Rice: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...

                                I also agree that one should avoid Salad King like the plague. Another disaster is Spring Rolls - anyone who employs ketchup to make a red Pad Thai should be forcibly removed from the kitchen.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: BokChoi

                                  Great pictures, will have to give this place a try, after Zen! Your sticky rice link doesn't work?

                                  1. re: red dragon

                                    Sorry Red Dragon! Thanks for the heads-up.
                                    When I cut and pasted the links, it got cut off:

                                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
                                    Not one of my best photos though (by dessert, the lighting was quite poor)

                                    1. re: BokChoi

                                      Looks yummy though, thanks for re-posting!

                                2. Mai Thai at Yonge & Eglinton is the best Thai in the city in my opinion - apart from Pad Thai - I highly recommend the fish curry. Not the usual but oh so good!

                                  ps. also agree about Salad King - good fast food for that area but once you leave university you realize the food is subpar

                                  1. Heading NW of Toronto for a hike in the woods, etc. First, I suggest deviate in South Bolton near the Beer Store aroumd 11.30 to Noon or so, a slice of Pizza at Caruso Gourmet Pizza --- AAAAAA +++++++ OOOOKKK!! --- Skip Pizza if you dare, go to Downtown Bolton in the valley, Bangkok Thai Cuisine!!! I should have checked this place out so long ago, but being a skeptic....ouch --- I WILL RETURN SOON!!! --- A simple decision for a quick stop for lunch led to the following: A choice of about 16 Lunch Items --- my choice Vegatarian Curry with White Steamed Rice, brought after a Spring Roll and small soup appetizer ---- A loser indeed am I to not visit sooner!!! ---- The Spring Roll and Soup were brought together. We all know a Spring Roll, but this was a Spring Roll without fault,perfect in all regards, so rare, 100% terrific and with a tasty sauce! The soup, bits of chicken, onion, mostly broth, but the combined flavours of delicately combined coconut milk, lemongrass, lime, and whatever, makes you want to order a bowl size a la Hungarian Goulash Soup!!! Entree an incredible Vegetarian Curry with white rice ( small bowl shaped ) presented in an attractive manner --- curry and rice separate in a light swim with a flavourful delicious curry sauce!! The key was most certainly the perfectly cooked vegetables, but the intelligent use of more varieties of vegetables than you would expect a tremendous bonus! I talked and complimented them and asked, answer no ketchup in the Pad Thai, yes Tamirand!!! ----- FOOD 100% on a Lunch visit!! --- And for more info, so clean, cloth tablecloths,etc. ---- Go For It!!! --- I WILL!!! --- Lunch $7.45, just enough to eat and enjoy so very much!!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Jar

                                      I passed this place in Bolton last week and wondered...how does it compare to Thai places in Toronto that you really like?

                                      1. re: Food Tourist

                                        I work about 5 minutes from Bangkok Thai Cuisine, and eat there on at least a weekly basis. My regular order is the spicy beef lunch special, but everything I have ordered on the menu is definitely above average for the GTA and very consistent. Also, the server is always pleasant and service is relatively fast.

                                    2. The pad thai from Mengrai Thai sublimely answered for me what all the fuss is about -- the place in particular and (great) Thai food in general and how it's so difficult to get close to the real deal. I hope to be succinct when I say the pad thai from Mengrai combined sweet, salty, sour, spicy and savoury (am I forgetting one?) in a way where not one dominated, and this for me is what it's all about and reaching that gustatory shangi-la.

                                      Haven't been for a while and heard they moved (not far tho, from Eglinton and Keele) but Thai Shan Inn did it for me too.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: neighborguy

                                        Just came back from a dinner at Mengrai. Read about it, just have to try it out. I had the Lemongrass Coconut Soup, Avocado King Prawn, #54 Red Curry, my partner had their summerlicious menu which consisted of a platter of appetizers, fried morning glory and pumpkin soup, the main course with red snapper with coconut tamarind sauce.

                                        If I looked at this meal as a fusion meal, it would be pretty good, but it wasn't good Thai food....

                                        Overall, all the dishes were too sweet and not well balanced. The tastes on many of the dishes were also muddled together, instead of having a type of clean complexity that's a characteristic of good Thai food.

                                        It's hard to describe what I mean, but in Thailand, when you eat something, you can distinguish the different flavors and aroma in a dish easily and cleanly. All the flavors and aroma remains intact, yet all interact with each other in a way that's really pleasing. This was not the case with my meal there.

                                        Overall, I am the happiest with the Lemongrass Coconut soup. The Mango salad that came with the summerlicious menu was way too sweet, and I can hardly taste the fish sauce. (That was the case with most dishes, which was weird to me.)

                                        My Red Curry was interesting because of the Lychee in it, but using white meal instead of dark meat for it was just a mistake. The meat was completely overcooked... The fish wish the summerlicious menu was much better, but still not great Thai food...

                                        So overall, it was ok but not great. Mind you, if I looked at it as fusion, I would say it's good, but if I look at it as Thai food, it is disappointing....

                                        1. re: wciu

                                          I think you've hit the nail on the head. The food at Mengrai is very good, but I don't think authenticity is the main goal: it's supposed to be chef Sasi's creative and somewhat upscale interpretation of Thai food, as described on the restaurant's somewhat hyperbole-heavy web site:

                                          "Sasi’s cuisine is 'haute' which combines healthy cooking techniques with ingenuous food artistry and; manifests her bold interpretation of traditional Thai cooking to create rich complex flavors with layered textures and exotic contrasts."

                                          1. re: wciu

                                            Hi wciu,

                                            I'm thinking of taking my husband to Mengrai Thai for his birthday. Would it be better to order the entrees or the summerlicious menu in terms of portions? I ask because my husband eats for 2 or 3 ...LOL

                                            1. re: red dragon

                                              I know I'm not wciu, but I thought I'd pipe in with my opinion all the same (hope you don't mind).

                                              I would absolutely just order from the regular menu. My husband is like yours, and I find a couple appetizers (their taro yam rolls are a must, as is their pumpkin soup with morning glory) and three entrees (or four if he's really hungry) should probably do you just fine, and will allow you to explore more than ordering off the Summerlicious menu.

                                              Hope you both enjoy it! Please let us know.

                                              1. re: vorpal

                                                Hi Vorpal - nice to correspond with you again (and on the same topic of Thai)!

                                                I will definitely order from the menu then. We normally order about 1 or 2 appetizers, then 3-4 entrees and some rice. Lastly, their desserts sound very good. Birthday's not until next weekend, so I'll post when I get back.

                                                Thanks again!

                                              2. re: red dragon

                                                Take a look at the Summerlicious menu and see if you like what's on there. It's basically items from their regular menu but for appetizer for example, you get 4 dishes from the regular menu, but each at a smaller portion than normal.

                                                If you really would like to try different things, you can do what I did, which is one person order from the Summerlicious menu, the other person order stuff from regular menu that's not on the summerlicous menu.

                                                1. re: wciu

                                                  I did see the menu, it looked good, I've decided to order off the menu when we try it out.
                                                  Thanks.

                                          2. I'm no expert on authentic Thai food but I've enjoyed meals at both Thai Plate on Bathurst St. and also Young Thailand in the Junction. Any comments on these two places?? All I know is they both serve very tasty food and the service is great at both.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: tochowchick

                                              Young Thailand was definitely my "go-to" place for Thai (and indeed, the place that gave me my love affair with Thai food) before Mengrai came to town.

                                              1. re: vorpal

                                                Thai Plate? I've been there six or eight times since it was first mentioned favorably on this site, mainly because I live not too far away. It's good - how authentic I knoweth not, having never been in Thailand - but the menu, though seemingly ample, is quite limited, similar to most other Thai joints in Toronto, I suppose, with not enough of the imaginative Thai dishes I've enjoyed in many U.S. cities (especially the superb Lotus of Siam, in Las Vegas). But most everything on their menu is tasty and well-executed, and modestly priced to boot. And, as tochowchick has noted, the service by the couple who own and run the place - one cooks, the other serves - is first-rate.

                                                The only thing that puzzles me about the place is that, every time I've been there in the evening, never more than one or two other tables are occupied. I can't understand how they stay in business, and they've been around for years in those premises on north Bathurst Street. Perhaps the rent is low on what has to be one of the bleakest blocks in the neighborhood. But though the block is bleak, the resto itself is tastfully decorated inside, and quite comfortable.

                                                Final note: Thai Plate offers, in my view, one of the best, and most complex, hot and sour soups I've tasted in Toronto. It beats a lot of good Chinese restos I've been to that offer the same dish. I hope the place continues to stay in business - despite its seeming lack of customers - if only for its hot and sour.

                                                1. re: juno

                                                  I've yet to try Thai Plate - heard good things - but I think the fact that they even offer Hot and Sour soup speaks to their (lack of) authenticity, at least with respect to the menu. It's just not a Thai dish.

                                                  1. re: juno

                                                    I also LOVE their hot and sour soup...I was there one cold, snowy night last winter and I remember how wonderful a bowl was...yum!

                                              2. Does anyone have suggestions for the west end, south etobicoke area? The few places on Bloor make everything sickeningly sweet.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Davedigger

                                                  I like Bua Thai on the south west corner of Queensway and Royal York, another fave is Thai Signature in Port Credit just across from the LCBO (both are run by Thais).

                                                  1. re: mosport

                                                    Bua Thai is very close to me and I've seen it many times. I was always afraid to try it because no Thai is better than bad Thai.

                                                    Thanks for the reco. I'll give it a go this weekend.

                                                2. Thai Shan Inn. Very good and authentic. Family run.They where supposed to move to a new location.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: fatman0000

                                                    after reading about "baan thai" on another food website..(shame on me..LOL)...I finally went to check it out.
                                                    It is thai operated and thai owned.
                                                    I ordered a vegetarian set meal for two...$26.95
                                                    thai lemongrass sou
                                                    2 thai spring rolls
                                                    ginger tofu
                                                    cashew nut tofu
                                                    steamed rice
                                                    pad thai noodle

                                                    Everything is flavorful..everything has fresh slices on ginger in it (ok maybe not everything)..everything is spiced to perfection.

                                                    This restaurant is not in my neighborhood (i.e 13 km away)...yet I will be returning in a heart beat!!

                                                    www.baanthaitoronto.com
                                                    2961 dundas street west
                                                    416-604-0062

                                                    1. re: fatman0000

                                                      We've always enjoyed Thai Shan, although we usually order take-out now, as the wait at their cramped location on Eglinton can be daunting. (Have they moved yet? Every time I ask, the answer is "real soon now".)

                                                      We usually order Tom Yang or Tom Ka Khai soup, green mango salad, basil beef (two orders, actually, as we enjoy it the next day cold), Pad Thai, and we pick one different other dish for variety. I like their curries, although they're definitely spiced down to western tastes, and not at all as hot as the ones I had in Bangkok.

                                                      1. re: KevinB

                                                        Thai Shan, while tasty, isn't really Thai food, or at least anything like food you'd find in Thailand. When I lived in Bangkok, a Torontonian friend there craved Thai Shan! He would hit the place first thing on his annual visit home.

                                                    2. Thai Princess at King and BlueJays Way is surprisingly good -- and so is Bua Thai at Avenue and Davenport. I was also so upset when I came home to Toronto after a vacation in Thailand.. ketchup-y pad thai is just so wrong.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: juneplum

                                                        Vanipha Lana on St Clair west is pretty authentic - although Laotian...still pretty similar. I hink they even have the purple sticky rice for dessert.

                                                      2. I'd cast my votes for either:

                                                        Green Onion (Bay & Dundas): http://www.greenonion.ca/
                                                        or
                                                        Spice Thai Cafe (Queen's Quay & York-ish): http://www.spicethaicafe.com/

                                                        Both are little holes-in-the-wall, but if you're going for the food (and not the decor), give either of those a try.

                                                        1. Jean's Vegetarian Kitchen.

                                                          -----
                                                          Jean's Vegetarian Kitchen
                                                          1262 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1M6, CA

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: courgette

                                                            If you are looking west end, Thai Pepper in Brampton on Hurontario aka Main Street is the best I've had here... great menu, terrific service and in my view, totally authentic..I would highly endorse it. Magic Thai on Yonge used to be very good...not sure if it's great as I just moved back into the city after a decade and used to frequent it on trips home from abroad...

                                                            1. re: chaptwo

                                                              I have enjoyed Thai Pepper in Brampton over the past 3 years but my takeout yesterday was a little disappointing. Maybe because I had just enjoyed Sukhothai delivery only a couple of days prior, but Thai Pepper's pad thai was practically mushy with two horribly overcooked shrimps. Beef salad had a weird gritty texture and meat could have been more tender. Spicy eggplant with basil was decent but bordering on too soft as well.

                                                          2. After returning from Thailand, I as well was not impressed with the localThai restaurants. The closest flavours I have found have been at Chieng Mai Thai Cuisine (spelled differently than the Chiang Mai in Thailand). The soup is very similar to the Tom Yam soups we tasted in Thailand. Their curry dishes are quite good. Spring rolls as well. Phad Thai is not really my thing, but I thought it was well prepared. Nothing has tasted quite like the real thing, but this is the closest. I have never been to the restaurant. We have ordered in quite a bit.

                                                            We went to the Thailand Festival at Nathan Phillips Sq. last year, and nothing compared to Chieng Mai's food. Great mango sticky rice as well.

                                                            Address: 147 Baldwin Street West,
                                                            Toronto, ON, M5T 1L9, Canada
                                                            Phone: (416) 813-0550
                                                            http://www.food.ca/restaurants_and_fo...

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Derksen

                                                              Yes, there can be multiple different spellings since there is nothing like Romaji for the Thai language, so it is translated to as close as they can using soundex.

                                                              I am not really impressed by local thai restaurants either..... but I think I will take off for two months again in December sometime..... now if I could only find a good job in that area -- then I could go to Thailand on weekends for my food fix.

                                                              1. re: Derksen

                                                                I agree, Chieng Mai is the closest I can find to the real thing in Toronto. It's not great but it taste like Thai food. It quite quiet every time I go, so I am glad they are still around after all this time... :p I suspect the food is probably saltier and spicier than what people are used to in Toronto though.

                                                              2. Speaking of authentic Thai.... does anyone know where to find banana pancakes? They are called pancakes, but they are really more of a folded crepe cooked in a wok. I have had the crepes at the usual spots in Toronto, but haven't found anything close. It is typically served with sweetened condensed milk. They are made from a small ball of dough that is beat into a larger circle. They are not made with batter poured onto a griddle.

                                                                I am also looking for coconut pancakes. They are slighlty larger than a golf ball. MMM. I miss the food from Thailand. (sorry for the thread hijack)

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: Derksen

                                                                  Oh Lord! I had those banana pancakes in Bali. If they are similar to the Thai version then I too need to know where to get me some.

                                                                  1. re: Derksen

                                                                    You might try some of the (few) Filipino restaurants. My wife is from the PI, and this is one of her favourite desserts.

                                                                    1. re: KevinB

                                                                      Which 'few' do you know that serve it?

                                                                      Thanks.

                                                                      1. re: Derksen

                                                                        I don't know whether they serve the pancakes you seek, but try calling the Ritz on Donlands.

                                                                  2. I am a thai food fanatic and the best so far for me has been Our Thai. They opened another one last year on Hwy 7/400 opposite Dave and Busters/Ikea. The food is delicious!! Almost everything is super yum...the tom yum soup is to die for. Their crispy tofu in lime chili sauce is the best tofu dish i have ever tried. Service and decor very nice as well. My thumps up!!

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: tanya1

                                                                      I don't mean to put down your tastes, but looking at the menu at:

                                                                      http://ourthai.ca

                                                                      it strikes me that there isn't much authentic about this Thai food. The dishes listed sound pretty North Americanized and similar to the fare offered by Salad King and Flip Toss and Thai.

                                                                      1. re: vorpal

                                                                        Thanks to your link! Vorpal, I recognize the couple, remember his name Jack, previous owners of a wonderful Thai Restaurant on Finch W. half way between Weston and Islington. new owners/operators there now! I'm sure from previous experience, visits to ourthai will be quite pleasing!!!!!!!!

                                                                        1. re: Jar

                                                                          has anyone been to Our Thai recently? i didn't even know this place existed, but i work close by and wouldn't mind trying a new lunch option.

                                                                    2. I want to second the recommendation for Thai2Go on Gerrard. We generally get Thai delivered so that may influence our preference. We really like Mengrai but the delivery was spotty - not surprising given their focus on the restaurant - but forgetting half the order or taking more than an hour is not good. We now go to Thai2Go. I think it's just as good and the delivery is awesome. If it takes more than 1/2 hour they apologize (we are very close so that may not be true for everyone). They also do multiple versions of Pad Thai. The Royal. You also get a discount if you supply your own containers.

                                                                      1. We just tried Sukho Thai on Parliament south of Dundas. This is a very sketchy neighbourhood, though the hundred plus cabs parked along the street (the drivers were at a local mosque and hang out next door) made it less unsalubrious than normal.

                                                                        This place has a limited menu and is essentially a takeout. There are a few seats, and the place itself is nice enough, but it really isn't meant for dining. All fresh produce, very nice people, and some really delicious food. They deliver in the area. Note that everything is prepped and cooked to order - at least at dinner - and this is a tiny family operation, so deliveries aren't likely to be super quick.

                                                                        There is a website at www.sukhothaifood.com , but there's no info on it as yet.

                                                                        44 Replies
                                                                        1. re: embee

                                                                          "Aren't likely to be super quick" was over 2 hours one night for hubby and I. While I believe Sukho shows promise, they have to deliver. They also need to be clear and truthful about wait times. One can plan ahead that way. Want dinner at 8? Order at 6 kinda thing.

                                                                          Next time you're in the 'hood, give Mengrai at Richmond & Ontario a try. Dine in, take out, delivery it's all good.
                                                                          http://www.mengraithai.com/index.html

                                                                          Very well spotted BTW. Despite the sketchy appearance, that particular stretch of Parliament is amongst the safest places to walk in the whole city. The mosque and school yard attract many families. I always feel secure.

                                                                          1. re: Googs

                                                                            Your experience was probably typical. So a meal from here really does require advance planning or luck. It's a couple plus his dad. She cooks, dad delivers, and he seems to generally tidy up and occasionally makes a delivery. I was told that two orders were ahead of mine, so she would need twenty minutes.

                                                                            I returned in twenty minutes and she was just starting to make our three dishes. Everything was prepped (slicing veggies, for example) and then cooked to order. So the twenty minutes was actually almost an hour. That said, they did offer me a drink and feed me a dessert while I was waiting. But a delivery call at the same time would have, indeed, taken well over an hour, and much longer if dad was out when the food was ready.

                                                                            However, the coconut chicken soup was the best I have ever eaten, the pad Thai had interesting flavours, a good heat level, and no ketchup, and a "northern" beef curry (can't recall the name) had a fabulous sauce, though the meat would have benefited from longer simmering.

                                                                            I don't think time estimates are their strong suit. I was also lucky about parking. I was able to park at the door but, as of five minutes later, both sides of the street were lined with cabs from Queen to Dundas. Next time we'll order, and we'll do so well in advance.

                                                                            1. re: Googs

                                                                              I was in there tonight. I think the meal may have been the best meal I have ever had in my life.

                                                                              Anyway, they are working hard at speeding things up. Tonight I just walked in and had everything ready to go in 10 or 15 minutes. They are pre-making most of the bases and some entire dishes in advance. It is working out well and I think the food is even better than before.

                                                                            2. re: embee

                                                                              Discovered Sukhothai a few weeks ago. Had meant to go to Mengrai Thai but they looked closed and noticed Sukhothai up the street...hard to get parking with all the taxis lining the street. So happy I found this place as they haven't learned to Westernize the food yet. As for the long waits, it's because the cook is making the food as they would make it for themselves - from scratch. Although, I think to survive they're going to have to learn to be more efficient. Funny though, what they don't know is actually what makes their food so delicious.

                                                                              The best meals I've had in Thailand have also taken forever to arrive. Real Thai food is not fast food. I've taken cooking classes in Thailand and it takes 30-45 min. just to pound out the spices. The cook, Nool, at Sukhothai does not use prepackaged sauces so that may be why it takes so long to get your food. A big plus (for those
                                                                              who preplan) is that she can make stuff NOT on the menu. Nool will only do this on weekends and you need to call at least a day in advance so she can get all the ingredients...if there's a dish you've had in Thailand that you've never been able to have here, now is your chance!

                                                                              I'm wondering if our culture of convenience, where we emphasize speed over deliciousness is partly to blame for making ethnic foods very generic over time. Particularly where we don't have a huge base of that ethnic group.

                                                                              1. re: fk500

                                                                                There's also a widely held perception that we won't like their food. The Chinese restos do this most extensively, but almost all Asian/South Asian restaurants are guilty to some degree.

                                                                                I don't get it and I never will. I can understand that "ethnic style" foods will be modified for a western mass market when they hit the menu at a North American chain. But when a place proudly trumpets "authentic Thai cuisine", I expect an interplay of flavours dancing around my mouth and not candied food. Ditto for "authentic" Sichuan, or Japanese, or Indo/Pakistani food.

                                                                                Perhaps I'll like something and perhaps I won't. but why would I eat there if my own, totally inauthentic, home cooking is more interesting? Unfortunately, I know I don't represent the societal norm.

                                                                                I've never been to Thailand. I was asked, and perhaps that's why I wasn't told about custom orders. Can you suggest some wonderful dishes at Sukho Thai that aren't on the menu?

                                                                                1. re: fk500

                                                                                  I'm sincerely prepared to wait as long as it takes for a great meal to arrive. This is where wine and conversation come into the dinner equation. I emphasize quality over convenience in everything I do. This over two hour wait for Sukho to deliver would have been fine if they had just been up front about it. Try having a hungry hubby staring at you as you explain it'll be worth the new place food adventure. And I mean hungry!

                                                                                2. re: embee

                                                                                  I first tried Sukho Thai about 2 months ago. It was recommended to me by a friend who lives in the area. We ordered the Phad thai, spring rolls, and fried fish with green mango salad. Since the first meal, we have been eating here on a weekly basis. here's why:
                                                                                  1. Service: the family that runs the resto is very genuine and friendly. it's very clear that they work hard, and put a lot of effort into the food. the food is prepped by the Thai wife who does everything from scratch. Either her father-in-law, or her husband will take the orders, and deliver. Occasionally they have a family friend who comes to help out at the counter.

                                                                                  2. Authentic Thai food: When i traveled in thailand, this is exactly what we were eating. The same flavors, cooked in the same way. They do their fried menu items very well. Extremely light, and crispy, without being oily and greasy. Their fried fish is wonderful, very tender and soft, with a crispy exterior, but the green mango salad that comes with it, wasn't anything special, it was a little bland, but very fresh ($8). The spring rolls are also excellent. They are fried to perfection, and very tightly wrapped, with a nicely seasoned filling. Again, not greasy (3/around $3). The curries are also delicious here. The best green curry i've had in Toronto! I find though that the oil settles on the top after a while, if you get it in the take out container. It's very flavorful, and a favorite amongst my circle. The phad-thai is different from the other phad-thai's i've had in Toronto. The noodles are flatter and wider, like a ho-fun noodle. The sauce has a smokey flavor to it. There aren't any raw bean sprouts or coriander to mix into the noodles (which i've never seen done in thailand anyways). It's not like other offerings in Toronto, but it is authentic, i think it comes does to personal taste if you prefer this style or Western version of the dish. The first time i had it, i was immediately transported back to Thailand, so i am personally fond of their noodles here. Oh, and try their chili sauce, it's not like Sirracha, it's like dried chilies and fried garlic in hot chili oil. It's delicious, very smokey, it's made in house i think. We eat this with everything we get from Suhko Thai.

                                                                                  3.Good prices: Very affordable, esp for the amount of work tha goes into food prep.

                                                                                  Limitations: This place is still getting up on its feet so they don't have any Thai drink offerings (thai iced tea, fruit shakes, etc), only canned pop, water, and coconut juice; and they serve their food on paper plates. True, the decor is simple,and the place is tiny: there are only 3 tables with a side bar area that seats 4. The resto itself is nothing special, but what the resto lacks in ambiance the food def makes up for. If you haven't try it, i would def recommend this place for take out or sit in if it's a group smaller than 3. It's a small resto, run by a very hardworking family, that produces very authentic Thai food.

                                                                                  1. re: chalenegirl

                                                                                    From the positive reviews, I'm sorry I missed the chance to try this place prior to moving...

                                                                                    1. re: vorpal

                                                                                      Vorpal, Sukho Thai hasn't moved. Have you?

                                                                                      1. re: Googs

                                                                                        I have! I'm back in Ottawa, where I'm from originally. I was only in Toronto for several years for school, and now I'm back here to wrap things up academically before probably relocating again.

                                                                                        I can't complain: Ottawa has some great eats, especially when it comes to Thai food. Nothing quite so good as Mengrai, but plenty of decent contenders.

                                                                                        Hope you're doing well, Googs!

                                                                                        1. re: vorpal

                                                                                          I was visiting a friend who lives in Ottawa recently, she took me to an Italian Deli at Byward market (La Bottega (sp?), i think it was called that) and i had an awesome sandwich there for $5.50. Fresh bread, good ingredients, affordable too. Do you know of a place where i can get a good sandwich, similar to that in Toronto? possibly in the east end (I live in riverdale, so anywhere in the beaches, or downtown). Right now i LOVE the sandwiches from Bonjour brioche, if i get take out, when toasted up in an oven...mmmm.

                                                                                    2. re: chalenegirl

                                                                                      I tried Sukhothai the other night.....walking along Parliament. Had the Pad Thai, nice taramind sauce good spicing and interesting with the broader rice noodles. The owners here are very genuine and friendly and I scored a free spring roll from them. Truly a mom and pop operation. And the prices are very agreeable!!!

                                                                                      1. re: deabot

                                                                                        Thank you CHers for this recommendation! We had our first take-out experience at Sukho Thai and are totally hooked. I've been looking for good Thai food at reasonable prices for the last 3 years. Now it's found. We didn't have a menu, so from the posts here I ordered chicken phad thai, spring rolls, and green curry with chicken. It was so delicious.

                                                                                        I also wanted to respond to some of the comments upthread re: waiting time. We were told that it would be ready in 30 min. and it was ready to go when we arrived 30 min later. This was a Thursday evening around 7pm. Perhaps they've gotten better at estimating their time.

                                                                                      2. re: chalenegirl

                                                                                        Looking for good Thai for Monday evening delivery to Leslieville area - The Sukho website http://www.sukhothaifood.com/ doesn't seem to have any delivery info. My sister had wanted to try Mong Kut Gold based on the recent "review" and they definitely deliver.

                                                                                        Either way, I'm assuming Sukho has better food and may attempt to pick up takeout if they don't deliver to Leslieville...does anyone have any recent recommendations at Sukho or Mong Kut Gold?

                                                                                        1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                          i know that their furthest west delivery boundary is yonge, so if you assume the same distance east you'll get a reasonable idea. you can also call and they'll tell you of course.

                                                                                          i think the sukho style pad thai with chicken is great. good flavour and great noodle texture. i quite like the khao soi noodles and the beef with it was amazingly tender. their panang is great too though the serving was a bit small last time and double check they're making it with nut (they sometimes don't for allergy reasons i suspect but their liberal use of peanuts on the pad thai make me wonder if it's all for naught). i wouldn't necessarily get the spring rolls though the shell is quite nice... they're made with bean noodles inside and i found them a bit soft last time and not really a filling type i like (there is also pork and what not as well).

                                                                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                            Thanks pp and LTL. They agreed to deliver well past the boundary to our part of Leslieville and did so in 1.5 hours from order to doorstep. (The only problem was they agreed to waive the $5 delivery charge but there was a mysterious $3 charge on the bill.) Otherwise, this food is amazing, delicious, memorable, tender, and probably authentic (what do I know, I haven't been to Thailand as an adult). I particularly loved the stir-fried garlic beef with egg on rice. Amazing Sukhothai pad thai with chicken (seasoned as customers would season in Thailand). We also enjoyed beef guaytiaw sukhothai soup ($7.49), regular pad thai with chicken, gaeng masaman chicken curry ($7.49 comes with rice), khao soi (we ordered it medium but some found it too spicy) and they were also willing to create a garlic chicken dish to accommodate a seafood allergy. We will definitely order from Sukhothai again! I enjoyed it more than my one experience at Mengrai.

                                                                                            1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                              Glad you enjoyed it! I've been meaning to try the stir-fried garlic beef, so thanks for the review on that.

                                                                                              1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                glad you enjoyed it! had a lovely meal they put together for us with a week or so notice all off menu except for the pad thai. there was a bit of a miss with the wet rice in the fried rice (though excellent flavour otherwise) and an over cooked fish because of a swapped out cooking option but really great otherwise. the dish of the night was the wild beef which uses bamboo.

                                                                                                just curious though... while i'm addicted to the sukho style pad thai, i haven't tried the regular to the sukho head to head. what were the differences? benefits? detractors to each?

                                                                                                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                  ya i haven't tried the sukhothai pad thai myself, keep sticking to their regular version. wouldn't mind hearing any thoughts on the more "authentic" version.

                                                                                                  1. re: deabot

                                                                                                    I ordered delivery again last week, this time to just outside their boundary. Even though I gave them 4 hours notice, and they called to reconfirm an hour after I placed the order, the food still arrived 30 minutes later than the time requested (the driver said that the food had been sitting and they had forgotten to call him to pick it up). Because we ordered $100 worth of food, they waived the delivery fee.

                                                                                                    This time, I ordered the regular pad thai (medium spiced) and it was phenomenal. I am totally addicted to it and can' t wait to order it again! The spring rolls had a lovely mushroom filling and are worth ordering. Sukhothai salad (mango), green curry, and garlic beef were also pretty good.

                                                                                                    1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                      can you describe the difference between regular and sukho style in any more detail? i'm still curious but haven't eaten at sukho with a large enough group that i can safely feel i'm getting a good taste of all the other great things they offer to order both pad thais.

                                                                                                  2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                    Unfortunately I don't feel it's a valid comparison because my taste buds were already enamoured (minus the cilantro flavour which I never seem to enjoy) with the sukho version (ordered medium spiced) that when I tried Mom's regular version (ordered mild spiced) the contrast was just too stark. I'd stick to the sukho version any day because I like tons of flavour, but that's not to say the regular version lacked in any way.

                                                                                                2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                  Hi pinstripe,
                                                                                                  I found this image of the menu online:
                                                                                                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jevonmac...

                                                                                                  I can't find a reference to the Khao soi noodles you're talking about though...are these off-menu as well?

                                                                                                  Thanks!

                                                                                                  1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                                                                                    khao soi isn't off menu, just on the other side ;)
                                                                                                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jevonmac...

                                                                                                    ok so i've been biding my time writing about my off menu meal because luck of all luck, i busted my camera that evening at the restaurant and someone else took photos with their phone instead. still don't have the photos yet but i thought i'd give a bit of a recap.

                                                                                                    i dropped in with a few friends and chatted them up about doing an off-menu meal for 4 with about 6 dishes including the suhko pad thai. no holds barred, anything goes and we'd gladly pay whatever they wanted. jeff talked to nuit and she was immediately game. we gave them 2 weeks because of our schedule and to give them as much time as they wanted and discussed the possibilities over the phone a few times in between (steamed fish? cilantro? etc...

                                                                                                    )

                                                                                                    the appointed evening they were reasonably busy and fit us in quite nicely though as they were prepared. we started off with a crusted fried shrimp dish with a sweet spicy sauce that was tinged a slight green but otherwise clear, thick and gooey. the shrimp were butterflied had a wonderful crunchy exterior and were perfectly cooked (sweet, super tender and just a touch raw), the sauce really matched them well if you enjoy a good hit of sweet. considering there were over a dozen pieces, $15 was a good price.

                                                                                                    second we had a soup that had a few small bundles of ground pork, tofu, cilantro and some vermicelli noodles floating about. it was quite subtle in flavouring though predominantly fish sauce in taste and was nice but got overshadowed by the other dishes. don't recall price but very very reasonable.

                                                                                                    third was their sukho padthai, which i dont think i need to say much about. they were very generous though and gave us a larger portion for the regular price. it was great as usual! under $10

                                                                                                    fourth they brought out the steamed tilapia which was supposed to to be over a charcoal contraption to let it bubble away in front of us but a few pieces had gone awol... so they had to make due and ended up double steaming it because of timing which did overcook it but i looked past it because of it's wonderful flavours. it did show up in a fish shape dish that held it perfectly... the steaming liquid was a combination of coconut (i want to say juice because it was clear), lime, lemongrass, cilantro and dashes of spice and fish sauce. it was great. when i initially dug into the fish i was pouring extra sauce over it but near the end of the meal it had soaked in the flavours quite well. it just was a really wonderful combination and balance for me. i would definitely have this again but it is something they'd need a couple days notice for. we had a whole fish over 1ft in length for $18.

                                                                                                    next was the fried rice which i can't describe in much detail except that it was a bit wet and it seemed like they tried to have some crunchy bits in but didn't leave it long enough in the wok to get them from chewy to crunchy. it had pieces of perfectly cooked shrimp and a good overall spice combination that made it a tasty stand alone dish... can't recall this either.

                                                                                                    the winning dish for one of my dining companions was the wild beef.. it was thin strips of beef, peppers, looooots of bamboo shoots and some thai basil in a peppery looking thin sauce but it tasted more like a rich buttery spiced sauce. not curry like. there was good texture to all the veg. delicious and they readily have all the ingredients on hand and so can make it without advance notice. $10, great deal though i'd warn that if it is ordered it is heavily bamboo shoots with the beef playing a secondary role.

                                                                                                    for dessert we had a chilled bowl of pineapple stuffed rambutan with jelly cubes (very refreshing end to the meal) and i couldn't resist but ask for a small serving of their tapioca coconut dessert because they just get the texture so spot on and i love the salt/rich/sweet flavours. my dining companions were too stuffed to have more but couldn't keep their spoons out of my tapioca after they tried a bite. this was all on the house.

                                                                                                    one of the things that i was really happy about was the lack of coconut curries everywhere. while i enjoy them sometimes it's a bit dull to have that similar flavour over and over... during this meal we had a great variation in spicing, richness and vibrancy that i really appreciated. it wasn't upscale, all very homey but nicely presented and delicious. i would definitely do this again.

                                                                                                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                      Great review, and great idea to ask them for a special menu like that...I've got to try that.

                                                                                                      1. re: childofthestorm

                                                                                                        thanks! sometimes it can be a bit of a bust to ask people to do a special meal but they were so excited and enthusiastic that i knew i was in good hands.

                                                                                                      2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                        Wow pinstripe, that all sounds super delicious. Thanks for posting and bringing my attention to this place. I am planning on heading there this weekend and I'm really looking forward to it! Ever try the cassava cake?

                                                                                                        Oh and thanks for pointing out the 2nd page : ) <- sheepish grin.

                                                                                                        1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                                                                                          no cassava cake... i keep getting derailed from other desserts by the tapioca because it is just so gosh darn perfect in texture. i will have to try it soon but i am also very very full by the end of the meal since i want to eat absolutely everything on their menu.

                                                                                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                            Pinstripe, my dining companions and I would really like to thank you for your kind advice. We went to Sukhothai this weekend and it was phenomenal! Easily the best Thai in the city that I've had. And the price was right as well! I can't wait to go back...

                                                                                                            Here's the low-down.

                                                                                                            We had: spring rolls (crisp, not too oily, and tasty), Guaytiaw Sukhothai with beef (brisket, I think? Great comfort food, complex broth)... the BEST tom yum I've had out of Thailand (what's more the mark of a good kitchen than good broth/soup?) and Sukhothai pad thai (a superlative Toronto pad thai. We all loved this.), Panang Gaeng with chicken (probably my least favourite but still very good), and a special, stirfried ground chicken with Thai white basil, which was tasty, and very different. The friendly host/owner advised that the dish couldn't be placed on the menu as Thai basil was very hard to get in the city.

                                                                                                            We also tried out the shrimp chips and tamarind paste. While chips aren't usually my thing, my dining companions really enjoyed these.

                                                                                                            I had the tapioca for dessert which really was just so great ... sweet, a little salty, wonderful texture... The cassava cake was nice but I think, oddly, it wasn't sweet enough for me!

                                                                                                            Thanks again, pinstripe, for your recommendation!

                                                                                                            1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                                                                                              i'm glad you enjoyed it! i can't take the credit as this was apparently quite well written about but i just never picked up on it early enough. i'm just glad to send business their way as they were concerned it'd be a tough transition when they changed their hours.

                                                                                                              i'll have to ask about this ground chicken basil dish... i do have some holy basil seeds sneaking about in my closet. it might be a bit too late in the season to break em out though.

                                                                                                              1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                                                                                                Gah! You people are making me hungry and jealous! Why did Sukhothai have to open right around the same time that I moved away from Toronto? It sounds absolutely heavenly!

                                                                                                                1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                  Surely, a week-end trip from Ottawa with a straight line to Sukhothai isn't so far fetched for a guy in search of the holy grail of Thai food...

                                                                                                                  1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                                                                    It's most definitely not now that I have a car, and I plan on making that trip in the near future. My only fear, reading the posts here, is that once I taste this pinnacle of Thai food, I am going to be hooked, and that could prove to be a very expensive habit to support! *grins*

                                                                                                                    1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                      I once opted out of a direct flight to Tel Aviv so I could fly via Paris. With my 4 hour connection, I zipped into town and picked up some of my favourite chocolates. We do what we have to do...

                                                                                                                  2. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                    sorry vorpal -- : ) I suggest you totally take peppermint pate's recommendation and make a road trip out. Sukhothai is so good and I can't wait to go back...

                                                                                                                    1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                                                                                                      I'll try to do it in the upcoming weeks and report back! I very much look forward to it!

                                                                                                              2. re: Yum2MyTum

                                                                                                                ok, i tried the cassava cake tonight. it's nice but not quite my thing. i think the texture is a bit soft and that it's just a touch too sweet for me. it makes me think it's trying to be similar to these portuguese bean tarts (similar shape) that has a slightly more gel thickness and a honeycombed interior that makes it chewier. i really like the texture of that.

                                                                                                                next time it's a beeline for the tapioca for me... it's really just so great.

                                                                                                                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                                  awesome. Thanks pinstripe. I will try... both (as I have a wicked sweet tooth and usually my rule is the sweeter the better....)

                                                                                                              3. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                                Nice, an interesting perspective. I will unashamedly follow your lead and arrange an off menu meal too.

                                                                                                                I'm assuming you went on a less busy night (not Fri/Sat)?

                                                                                                                1. re: aser

                                                                                                                  we offered a wednesday with exaclty that in mind but i would discuss with them what works best. it turned out they had quite the busy monday and tuesday that week and so i was thankful in a sense that we weren't a bother for them on the wednesday (not too many customers it seemed).

                                                                                                                  i should also mention that they're pretty busy so for the most part they left us to it and often didn't explain the dish after they set it down. i did probe when i could and when there was a lull in service they did check in on us and ask us questions.

                                                                                                                  also... that chili sauce is addictive stuff! they do a good job of making sure it's all roasted and so one of my dining companions was piling it on and suffering through some severe sweats for the tasty stuff.

                                                                                                                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                                    wow thanks for the detailed description of your meal, sounds like it was very yummy and authentic. I will agree with you about the is the alternative curries they have on offer, they have a beef stew there sometimes (northern style) that is absolutely homey and tastey without an ounce of coconut milk, just spices.

                                                                                                                2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                                  Fantastic mouthwatering review and a brilliant idea. I can absolutely see Nuit embracing this challenge with passion and I'm not remotely surprised at the delicious results. I will follow your lead at some future date. I agree with your comment about a certain sameness of the coconut curry flavours - good to have some complementary tastes (even though those coconut curries are damn good and addictive).

                                                                                                                  Three little notes - it's worth stuffing your tummy just a bit more for the cassava cakes. I almost never get dessert but they gave me a few the last time I was in there and I was pleasantly surprised - the flavours work well with the coconut pearl tapioca dessert. And yes, her roasted chili sauce is fantastic - I keep the leftovers on my kitchen counter to add to other dishes. It is SPICY - only a dab is needed but it is a very unique heat. And another dish that I don't think I've seen much mention of here is her red curry squash - I particularly like the texture and flavours of this dish (but also, obviously, a coconut-based curry).

                                                                                                                  1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                                                                    tried cassava cakes and i mentioned up thread it's just not for me... a touch soft and too sweet. but i wonder if you might like this portuguese bean tart that they sell by the natas. it has a stiffer texture and a honeycomb kind of interior which i suspect might be from a fermentation or other bubbling?

                                                                                                                    nice to know about the squash curry... i'll have to ask for it next time. oh and i've been tossing around the idea of purchasing a jar of this chili oil. it's just so much more than a simple chili oil but we can't figure out what that little extra ingredient is.

                                                                                                            2. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                              They deliver as far east as Broadview, north to Bloor, south to Lakeshore and west to Yonge.

                                                                                                        2. I went to Mengrai Thai last night for dinner (w/a date), and we absolutely loved it. I'm fairly picky with my food, and this restaurant made the cut. Will definitely go back for seconds! I've tried Salada King and the other ho-hum "Thai" restaurants, and so far, this one is the closest to the foods I've eaten in Thailand.

                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: browneyedqt

                                                                                                            I can't understand all the plaudits for Mengrai. It seems like a tourist trap catering to busloads of people, the way the maitre'd pushed us so hard to have the fixed price menu "because everything on it is so special and popular". And we didn't care for the interrogation about how we found out about the place - it was relentless, had we been before? did someone tell us about it? where do we live? were we just walking past? The mixed appetizer plate was 1 shrimp in panko, soggy and heavy, 1 taro roll, soggy, heavy and too sweet, minced chicken in pastry, not greasy, mango salad, refreshing but not much flavour. The deep fried spinach was too greasy, the pumpkin soup nice. The pad thai was incredibly greasy and the ingredients were all overcooked. A brown unappetizing mess. The red curry #54 in pineapple had a strange chemical aftertaste, and those canned lychees - is that really what people in Thailand eat?..... all of this food came in rapid succession. The entire operation seems geared towards make ahead mass production. Bill for one person including 1 glass of wine was $45.22

                                                                                                            1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                                                                                              This Mengrai Thai, how does it compare with Bangkok Garden on Elm Street? I only eat thai occasionally, and I know BG is pretty expensive for what you get, but I always enjoy going there.

                                                                                                              Also, I like Mata Hari on Baldwin, but I think its more Malaysian! Still a really good spot!

                                                                                                              1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                                                                                                Have to agree here. Was visiting Toronto via New York via Phoenix - where I live. I found Mengrai and was thrilled at the good decor, friendly service, etc. It was a rainy cold night (how do people live in Toronto year round? :)) and Thai sounded so good.

                                                                                                                The digging into how you found us is great - but when I mentioned ChowHound I got a puzzled look and then there was just WAYYY too much talking and hovering by my table in general. I was alone and wanted to stay that way. :)

                                                                                                                Food was WAY underspiced and underseasoned. I ordered everything Thai Hot - or VERY VERY spicy and barely got the hint of a burn.

                                                                                                                That said, overall positive experience, just not anywhere I would return compared to about 4-5 Thai places where I live....but if Toronto doesn't have many choices, this would certainly be ok. Noted that I will skip Thai if back in Toronto soon.

                                                                                                                Also, yes, agree on price, 1 small soup, 2 glasses white wine and 1 curry was over $60. Perhaps I was just not used to the taxation system in CA? In Phoenix that would be about $35-45 depending on where you dine.

                                                                                                                1. re: HomeCookKirsten

                                                                                                                  Were you here recently? With the current exchange rate, that comes out to about $47 US. When the dollar was at or near parity, I used to get particularly depressed at the price disparity on everything, but now that the loonie is so low it's evening out. But yeah, as a general rule, expect to pay a little more than you think you should for everything in Toronto. The taxes are high, and prices are higher across the board, as tends to happen where rents are high and customers are used to paying a premium - I'll never forget the case of sticker shock I had walking into a McDonald's in Manhattan when I was in high school.

                                                                                                            2. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Thai Bistro at Yonge, btwn sheppard and finch. Its a small hole in the ground, but the most authentic Thai experience i've been to in the city (and i've been to Thailand 3 times in the past 4 years). Its owned by authentic thai ppl (family run) and the pad thai is to die for, not the ketchupy red crap you find at spring rolls and salad king. Its quite busy on the weekend, and not much seating so try to go on the weekdays if possible.... i was debating whether or not sharing this with everyone since its so busy all the time, but what the hell......

                                                                                                              1. Interesting Statick, not far from me...will have to check this out - - any specific recomendations?

                                                                                                                Now...a question - Apparantly some thai restaurant opened in bayview village, Thai express??
                                                                                                                Any reports on their pad thai?

                                                                                                                Second a recommendation - Thai Shen Inn, currently on Eglington west of dufferin on the south side..
                                                                                                                Amazing mango salad (still trying to find an authentic papaya salad....*grumble*...)
                                                                                                                Fantastic Tom Yum
                                                                                                                and equally exceptional pad thai (especially if you ask them to make it spicy)
                                                                                                                Run by a Thai family, grandma and mom do the cooking, daughter's the waitress.

                                                                                                                1. I went with two dining companions to Pi-Tom Restaurant at Yonge and Alexander last night and we were all happily impressed with the food. We ordered pumpkin soup, mango salad and cold rolls to start, and for mains, we shared spicy squid, authentic pad thai (that's what it's called on the menu) and Goong Pong Ka-Ree, which was stir fried shrimp with curry, egg, onion, chilli and other delicious ingredients, with pineapple fried rice.

                                                                                                                  The standout favourites were the Goong Pong Ka-Ree which had a little kick and was scrumptious and fresh, and the spicy squid. I really loved the spicy basil sauce. Yum! The cold rolls were, well, cold rolls -- hard to impress with this dish, I think. My companions loved the soup -- I found it a bit too creamy and felt like maybe there was a thickening agent used but the taste was great anyway.

                                                                                                                  Oh! And for dessert -- mango sticky coconut rice. DELICIOUS! And all portions were generous without being too huge.

                                                                                                                  I'd heartily recommend this place -- particularly in light of the awesome pricing: $25 for five courses, and mains around $12-13 each (less for noodle dishes).

                                                                                                                  http://www.pi-tom.com/index.php

                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                  Pi Tom's Thai Cuisine
                                                                                                                  6 Alexander St, Toronto, ON M4Y1B4, CA

                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                                                                                                    I've been to Pi-Tom, and while I was not terribly disappointed, I was also not particularly impressed. The food quality felt cheap, and the flavours were just so-so.

                                                                                                                    As for cold spring rolls, I must disagree: I think that, with the proper filling, they can be quite impressive, and one of my favourite appetizers. There is nothing like, for example, a cold spring roll with chicken cooked in five spice powder, vermicelli, black fungus, a spattering of carefully chosen vegetables, and fresh Thai basil, served with a variety of dipping sauces.

                                                                                                                    1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                      Mmmmmm that cold spring roll description made me hungry. Who says well made ones are unimpressive?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                        I didn't actually say that they were unimpressive - I just said it was hard to impress. I haven't encountered the type of cold roll that vorpal refers to in Toronto.

                                                                                                                        I didn't find the food quality poor at Pi-Tom; it wasn't amazing either. I felt we got good value for money. That would be in contrast with a place like Mengrai ... where the food is great but the portions (and service) are wanting...

                                                                                                                    2. re: Yum2MyTum

                                                                                                                      I went to Pi-Tom yesterday and had the $25 dinner special as well. I thought it was fabulous.. loved the rice paper roll, and the pumpkin soup was splendid. The mango salad was delish... I had the noodle duck which I wasn't too impressed with unfortunately (I like their authentic pad thai though), followed by delicious deep fried pineapple...

                                                                                                                      http://www.pi-tom.com/menu-dinner-spe...

                                                                                                                      1. re: blinknoodle

                                                                                                                        Awesome! Glad you enjoyed it blinknoodle. It is definitely good for value. Next time try out the delicious rice dessert... if you like rice pudding, you'll definitely be pleased!

                                                                                                                        1. re: Yum2MyTum

                                                                                                                          Pi-Tom's has 2 locations. Wondering if they are both as good? Sorry it maybe a stupid question but I had to ask :P

                                                                                                                          1. re: TOchowgal

                                                                                                                            Sorry TOchowgal, I have no idea. I've only been to the one downtown near Yonge + Charles. If you happen to try out the other, be sure to post!

                                                                                                                    3. Just tried Siam Restaurant in the beaches last night, AMAZING. I had the Malaysian Chicken Curry (they had a veggie one as well), and my friends had the Beef Satay, the Spicy Chicken pad thai, and the green curry, all delicious. Service was a little slow but well worth the wait! They deliver as well.

                                                                                                                      1. I really like the food at Bamboo Hut (Keele & Steeles). Their curries were good. Their tamarind pad thais and coconut rice were outstanding.

                                                                                                                        Unfortunately they don't have a website. I love Thai food and for me its a tie between Real Thailand and Bamboo Hut. I haven't tried Pi Thom's yet.

                                                                                                                        Bamboo Hut Restaurant
                                                                                                                        Concord
                                                                                                                        2150 Steeles Ave. W
                                                                                                                        Vaughan, ON L4K 2Y7
                                                                                                                        905.761.7598

                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: TOchowgal

                                                                                                                          Have you tried Mengrai or Sukhothai yet, TOchowgal? I ask only because I've been to Royal Thai, and while it is okay, compared to the other two I mentioned (well, I haven't tried Sukhothai yet as I moved away from the city before it opened, but it sounds spectacular), it's nothing to really write home again. I am a Thai food fanatic and just wanted to give you a heads up and share the Thai love.

                                                                                                                          1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                            Ang given that Mengrai and Sukhothai are essentially around the corner from each other you could sample both in one night.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                              very true! and note that Sukhothai was recently reviewed in the new issue of toronto life!

                                                                                                                          2. re: TOchowgal

                                                                                                                            Errr... sorry. I meant "Real Thailand" instead of "Royal Thai". There's a Royal Thai here in Ottawa, and I guess I had it on the brain when making this post, although I did mean Real Thailand at Spadina and Bloor :-).