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Mengrai Gourmet Thai?

Anybody been to Mengrai Gourmet Thai? If so what was your take? I just noticed the high number of gushing reviews about it on OpenTable, and have become curious.

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

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  1. I went a while ago. Our server gave us the impression that he had never worked in a restaurant before. He just always seemed confused and not really caring. I find the food at Sukhothai ten times better. If I remember correctly, our bill was around $65 per person, I think that included tip and I had a beer. What Mengrai Thai does is present themselves as Gourmet (fine dining?) Thai, which means you pay four times as much for mediocre food to eat on a white table cloth and have a server. My advice is skip this place and go to Sukhothai instead, its just a couple of streets north.

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

    Sukhothai
    274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

    11 Replies
    1. re: dubchild

      i think you are way off when you say it mediocre thai.
      its definitely the most interesting take on Thai that Toronto has. the food is unique and interesting and is visually stunning.

      the restaurant itself is quite nice. in all, a great dining experience.

      i do agree with you about the price. it is not cheap. but its also definitely not Salad King.

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      Salad King
      340 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M5B1R7, CA

      1. re: atomeyes

        Food served in a hollowed out pineapple impressed me when I was twelve.

      2. re: dubchild

        $65 per person is kind of high with just a bottle of beer, what did you order? I've had dinner there many times for less, including wine. I agree the service is spotty - and that white handkerchief tied around the neck of an opened wine bottle is tacky and unprofessional here in North America. But the food is, IMHO, one of the, if not the, best Thai in the city. Mengrai may be gourmet food from a Thai perspective, but it's not fine dining and nor is it priced like fine dining restaurants like George, Splendido or Kaji.

        And about "food served in a hollowed out pineapple," I believe this form of presentation is acceptable in Thailand and I don't see how this is any different than food served in a seashell at American seafood restaurants, for example.

        1. re: syoung

          It was a while ago, we both did a set menu at around $39 pp. They asked if we wanted to upgrade our dessert choices to those that were on the menu, I think this was an extra $5 pp (I could be wrong). This was a big mistake, desserts were really bad, we had, I think, a lemongrass flavoured creme brulee, the eggs were scrambled.
          If the food was around $45, add a beer, tax and tip = around $65.
          I don't find any problem with serving food in a pineapple, I'm just not impressed by the presentation. I didn't find any of the food visually stunning.
          To Graydyn who posted this, don't take my word on this. Check both places out yourself. I more than welcome having more voices comparing these two places.

          1. re: dubchild

            its funny because when Susur Lee served his lychee in a wooden boat that was cooled with dry ice, people such as yourself would have applauded it as being interesting and cool presentation.

            presentation help to visually sell the food, but flavours speak for themselves. a white tablecloth and a unique-to-Toronto presentation didn't seem to impress you and that's why there is Salad King (especially the pre-reno Salad King). to knock the presentation - and most of the food is put together with great detail - is silly. and yes, you are paying for presentation and decor.

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            Susur
            601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

            Salad King
            340 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M5B1R7, CA

            1. re: dubchild

              While I appreciate the challenge to try both, I'm not in a position to waste time on Mengrai while it's not getting a general thumbs up. The consensus here seems to be that the food at Sukothai is better but Mengrai has better decor. Frankly, I'm not driving all the way downtown for fancy table cloths.

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

              Sukothai Restaurant
              3115 Winston Churchill Blvd, Mississauga, ON L5L2W1, CA

              1. re: graydyn

                I don't think it's quite as simple as all that.

                Sukhothai has its detractors, too. I wouldn't say there's a consensus on either restaurant. Some love it; some don't. People have posted on other threads that they just don't get what's so great about Sukhothai.

                In my opinion, it wouldn't be fair to say that Mengrai is only "fancy table cloths". I have had some exceptional meals there, and if you search the board, you will find others saying the same thing. If you go to Sukhothai and are not prepared to do the phone negotiation thing, you will find their menu fairly limited, maybe not the first time, but the second and third time.

                I definitely feel they are both worth a try, and that's not about table cloths.

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

                Sukhothai
                274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                1. re: graydyn

                  graydyn, I'm not sure how you can come to the conclusion of any consensus on this board that Sukothai is better than Mengrai. As Full tummy says, Sukothai's menu is very limited, almost like a take out menu. Mengrai's menu is much more elaborate with much more interesting selections beyond the spring rolls and Pad Thai. I would suggest you try both and make up your own mind.

                  1. re: graydyn

                    graydyn, I like your attitude, lol. Personally, IMHO I feel that all those who pan Sukhothai are great. Maybe it will be less busy for me the next time I go in.

                    I have never had such a mind-blowingly good experience ever when it comes to Thai food. Simply outstanding. Nuit could be cooking at a high end restaurant and charging exhorbitant amounts of money for the quality that goes into her food.

                    To all those who complain about service, a friend of mine once said: "fast, cheap and good, pick two, you can't have all three"

                    For what you get at Sukhothai, it's really worth the wait.

                    All I will say is, make sure you carefully choose how spicy you want your dish. I find they are a bit timid with the spicing and it can dramatically improve the flavour of their curries.

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                    Sukhothai
                    274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                    1. re: currycue

                      Good point!

                      A 3* at Salad King (say) is significantly 'hotter' than a 3 * at Sukhothai.

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                      Salad King
                      340 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M5B1R7, CA

                      Sukhothai
                      274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                      1. re: currycue

                        Yeah, I got a medium and it wasn't really too spicy at all. Next time I will get the hot option.

              2. Have had two wine dinners there and Alan was very accommodating. The food is excellent, best Thai in the city I've had.

                1. We've been to Mengrai a number of times and always enjoyed it. The food is great, especially the fish dishes (if there's a fish special, get it) and the dishes from the front part of the menu. The only thing that was disappointing was a Chinese-style dish a friend ordered from the last page of the menu, for some reason. Obviously, with a Thai chef, stick to the Thai food!

                  The service there has always been warm and friendly, though I will admit that for the price point they can be a bit oddly scatterbrained. Nothing disastrous, though, and definitely worth a visit in my opinion. I've yet to try this famous Sukhothai, but Mengrai is head and shoulders above the rest of the Thai I've had in Toronto.

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

                  1. Went there in late summer and was not overly impressed. The food was ok, but I've had better at a lower price point (e.g. at Ivory Thailand). I found the service to be quite scatterbrained as well, having to ask for the bill several times. I didn't see any compelling reason to go back anytime soon. Just ok.

                    1. Lovely, friendly people.
                      Food is erratic and they tend to hustle the more expensive dishes.
                      Service is a disaster - always!

                      Better food at Sukhothai.
                      'Finer' dining at Linda's.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: estufarian

                        I agree. Lovely, friendly people. Horrible, all-over-the-place service (I recall a comment that it seems like the servers have never waited tables before - I'd have to agree.). The food has failed to impress me for the last three times I've been (most recently this past weekend). I will stick to Sukhothai for Nuit's delicious food (not to mention much better value for money)!

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                        Sukhothai
                        274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA