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Is there better Thai than Sukhothai in Toronto?

I visited Sukhothai two weeks ago because it was on so many people's "to-do" list on this board. And I have to say thank you to each and every one of you because it's my new favourite restaurant. I've eaten my share of Thai food in Toronto (Mengrai, Linda, Real Thailand, Young Thailand, Sorn Thai, Thai Princess, Bangkok Garden, Mai Thai) and in my mind, Sukhothai trumps them all.

http://www.sukhothaifood.com/

It's located slightly out of the downtown core (on Parliament, south of Dundas) which may explain why it wasn't on my radar. (Or perhaps people were keeping quiet about this hidden gem, which is understandable and justified.) The space is tiny, I counted only 24 seats.

The one recommendation I'd make is to definitely make a reservation. I arrived on a Wednesday at 8pm without one, and it took about 45 minutes to get a table. I noticed a large party that arrived at about the same time with a reservation and still had to wait about 10 minutes. So it may still be a wait, but at least it'll be shorter with a reso.

I started my meal with the Garlic Chicken ($7.25). I’d read rave reviews about this dish and it's everything I yearn for in a piece of chicken, and more. There’s a crispy outside that’s countered by the most tender, juicy meat inside. There’s hit of garlic in the initial crunch, and a slightly spicy yet sweet dipping sauce.

The knockout dish for me is one of the their specialties, Khao Soi ($8.35). It pairs soft yellow noodles and crispy fried ones with curry gravy and the most succulent and soft slow-cooked beef. It’s the kind of meat you bite into and you’re literally shocked by how it melts in your mouth. I've got photos and a more detailed review on our blog, feel free to check it out.

The chef and one of the co-owners previously ran a restaurant in Pai, Thailand, before opening up Sukhothai. So in terms of authenticity, it feels really good.

The best part is the price. The most expensive dish on the menu clocks in at $9.39. It's a family run restaurant and the vibe is definitely casual. The ambience is certainly not upscale and the decor makes it feel like the hidden gem that it is.

Now, after all that gushing, please tell me if I'm overlooking any other hidden gems in terms of Thai food in Toronto. Is there some place out there that's better than Sukhothai?

www.platoputas.com

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Thai Princess
387 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1K1, CA

Sorn Thai
2550 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4P2J2, CA

Sukhothai
274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

Bangkok Garden Restaurant
557 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y2E2, CA

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    1. The bonus is the owners are some of the nicest/friendliest people around, and will make an effort to remember you if you're a repeat customer.

      Sounds basic enough for most restaurateurs to do, but in reality is often neglected.

      sukhothai otaku here...

        1. no i really don't think there is :). The owners are really the nicest people as well!

          1. Um...no. Not even close. Been there 20+ times now and had them deliver a few meals for a large group as well. Delicious, authentic, consistently wonderful food, great value and about the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. Welcome to the bandwagon.

            5 Replies
            1. re: peppermint pate

              It's hard to be Sukhothai. It's as close to authentic well-prepared fresh Thai food as you can get in Toronto. Mengrai is the only one that I think comes very close in terms of food. I don't eat Thai anywhere else anymore (in Toronto anyway). But, if you go to both you will see that as far as ambience goes, Mengrai is a much more of a dining experience, having a nice dining room where you can actually dine comfortably. Sukhothai doesn't really have the ambience, is very bright and is place where you mostly 'eat' vs dine in the traditional sense. But it is still a nice comfortable place and the food simply cannot be beat..

              I did ask the owner if his wife was from Thailand and he said yes. They are both very nice and friendly.

              My only gripe is that I order take out from Sukhothai quite a bit and often they don't even bother to answer the phone. I think they are just so busy (and obviously don't need more business). However, sometimes I just walk over for take-out after they haven't answered the phone and they are able to prepare something in about 10-15 minutes for me to take away.

              As an aside, with the dearth of decent Thai restaurants in Toronto I have taken to making Thai food myself more often and thank you to those of you who suggested Vientiane Trading Co.Ltd., 51B Jutland Rd, Toronto 416 743 2911 as a source of Thai Ingredients. They actually supply most of the Thai restaurants in Toronto and had some I could not find anywhere in Chinatown such as dried shrimp, preserved tamarind vs tamarind paste and actual Thai salted radish vs the Taiwanese brands that Chinatown has, which might be just as good but my recipes say 'Thai' salted radish is required!

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

              Sukhothai
              274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

              1. re: Flexitarian

                I would agree that if you're looking for any kind of a remotely elegant dine-in atmosphere, then Sukhothai isn't your place. Mengrai is a lovelier space to dine in but in my 2 experiences there, the food doesn't come close. I would also agree that their not answering the phone can be really crazy-making, plus you can't leave a voicemail. Sometimes I want to call for either take-out or just to see if I might get a table and after a few tries, I'll just move on - I don't think it's any kind of an arrogant "don't need your business" thing, more like a less than charming quirk of a sometimes overwhelmed family-run, informal restaurant. And yes, Nuit is most definitely from Thailand, the lovely little town of Pai.

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

                Sukhothai
                274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                1. re: Flexitarian

                  Is Vientiane still open? Last time I drove by it was closed.

                  1. re: neighborguy

                    Just phone the number I listed! I was only there a week ago. They also told me when I was there that they are open 6 days a week until 5pm. They have 2 different door locations on their warehouse so make sure you bang on both. (They are mostly a distribution warehouse rather than a retailer but have no problem serving retail customers).

                    Did you go to the Jutland Rd address I listed? They've moved from the Bradstock Rd location (which a lot of internet searches will still pull up).