Thai Restaurants/Thai Chef Cuisine Review
This topic has been kind of beaten to death, but after reading Toronto Life's most recent article, I can't help but feel that the dearth of Thai restaurants out there are being under-represented.
When talking of Thai, the default in this city seems to be Mengrai and Mong-Kut Gold. Which is great, but in a city of such cultural diversity, you can't seriously blanket an entire culture with two restaurants. According to the TO Life article, there should be roughly 60 restaurants in this city that are Thai owned and operated.
I'd like to find these.
Currently, I'm blessed with the luxury of having an authentic Thai restaurant in my neighborhood (Thai Chef Cuisine - 233 Roncesvalles Ave.) where all the kitchen and wait staff are originally from Bangkok. Funny enough though, it seems like the yuppie crowds that dominate this area, would rather flock to the chain/westernized Thai spot a few doors down than experience authentic Thai food at TCC.
I've eaten there quite a while now and have sampled virtually every dish on the menu. I generally try to stay away from Pad Thai's and westernized menu-traps that many Can-Asian restaurants feel they need to pepper them with (ie: spring rolls, hot and sour soups stir-fry, etc). But if you ignore those items and focus on the traditional dishes like tofu and taro (fried app), papaya and mango salads, and Khow Soy - a traditional northern Thai dish which is a curry soup with egg noodles and chicken laced with Thai pickle and lime, it sure won't disappoint.
Plates like Tamarind Red Snapper - the whole fish is brough out to the table - is fried then loaded with shallots, cilantro, ginger, chilies and covered in a sweet, tangy tamarind sauce has authentic Thailand fingerprints. Even their curries (panang curry) which is a creamy coconut and peanut curry that has hints of thai lime leaves and if requested, comes piping Thai hot.
And this is just one place. I know more of these restaurants exist but it seems the Thai resources are lacking.
If anyone else knows of other authentic Thai restaurants, please do inform. It be nice to find these unearthed gems.
Mengrai is in a league of its own - and I mean this is many ways.
First, its a very pretty location.
Second, their presentation is phenominal.
Third, their fusion of flavours is creative and a nice spin on Thai.
Fourth, their price is a lot more than your typical Thai joints.
Mengrai is very good. but sometimes something as regular as Satay on the Road (which i think does certain dishes very well) is a cheaper and more accessable option. and it is probably more authentic then Mengrai.
I am thoroughly in favour of Thai Chef Cuisine. Every time I go, I'm surprised at how good they are. I too have loved their whole red snapper; it looked like a daunting project to eat, but they actually prepared the fish quite well for the fork + knife.
How thai food can be bungled is beyond me. Fresh ingredients and not buying your sauce in a jar - how hard can it be?
When I'm downtown and starving, my go-to is Salad King.
I love Thai Chef!! My husband and I live in the 'hood and go there all the time. The atmosphere isn't the greatest, but the service is excellent and the food is sublime. Fresh, authentic, always delicious. I recommend it wholeheartedly (and certainly don't recommend it's "Thai" neighbour two doors south).