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Salad King - What the !@#$%^&*

I had the worst Asian meal that I have ever had. So called cashew chicken and pad Thai.
No one in Thailand would cook like this. But inauthenticity doesn't matter. It was not at all tasty. The goals in the cooking seemed to be expediency and stinginess.
What I thought of was that this is what my eight year old 's school class might make if she lived in an area where Thai ingredients were relatively unavailable.

The place was quite busy. Life isn't fair if you are in the restaurant business.

VVM

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

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  1. Salad King is basically fast food Thai style so your expectations may have been too high. Pretty sure you get what you pay for at this place...

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

    16 Replies
    1. re: Georgia65

      Thanks right, it's basically there to feed Ryerson students. If it was truly a Thai reataurant, it's name would indicate that. I don't know why VVM expected anything else.

      1. re: foodyDudey

        I think of it as cheap and cheerful and a quick bite when I'm in the hood.

          1. re: JennaBean

            Agreed. It's not a destination, but it's cheap and cheerful and some items are very tasty. And if you're in that neighbourhood, it's a good lunch option.

            1. re: TorontoJo

              Agreed -- I work in the neighbourhood and am genuinely glad to have Salad King back to satisfy my curry cravings.

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

              1. re: caviartothegeneral

                Do you guys have any favourite dishes here? I have not been since well before the closing of the old location. SO wants to swing by before a movie on the weekend. I'd always enjoyed my meals here but some were better than others.

                I do rememeber some raves about the golden curry on this board so currently planning on that on would love to have some options!

                1. re: abigllama

                  Islam Noodle and Seafood Fried Rice were my go-to dishes. Don't know what's on now, but they would be the first things I'd order.

                  1. re: abigllama

                    Golden curry is my favourite there. I also like the spring rolls. I've never tried the Islamic noodles... need to try those next time.

                    1. re: TorontoJo

                      Islamic Noodles weren't on the menu originally and did eventually make it on to Linda's menu when they opened that up. But it was one of those off-menu things you could order...

                      1. re: jlunar

                        What makes the Islamic noodles Islamic? no pork?

                        1. re: foodyDudey

                          To be honest, I have no idea. It's just what it is called. Linda's descriptor is:
                          "Rice noodles, chicken, wild gulf shrimp, bell peppers, carrots, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, and exotic red curry made from Thai herb and coconut milk."

                          1. re: foodyDudey

                            It's sort of like a west Indian curry that sometimes has potatoes - there's a lot of Muslims in Thailand so this is typically what they eat. In real Thai restaurants it's called 'Massaman Curry' or something similar.

                            1. re: flashy_mcflash

                              What jlunar describes sounds nothing like a massaman curry which, the last I checked, was not a noodle dish.

                        2. re: TorontoJo

                          Thanks for the suggestsions. I had the Golden Curry and SO got the Green Curry. Both were tasty but I prefered the golden. But was tasty and filling and a good deal for $10. Will try the others next time.

                        3. re: abigllama

                          I always find the bangkok stirfry a good option, it's bean curd noodles with all sorts of tofu and veggies mixed in.

                  2. re: foodyDudey

                    Whining about Salad King is like walking into Subway and complaining about the sandwiches.

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

                2. Didn't Salad King burn to the ground?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: magic

                    A simple Google search would answer your question. It has reopened across the street above Foot Locker.

                  2. I think you have to be a student to truely appreciate Salad King. Certainly it fit the bill when I was going to school, but now that I'm (apparently) all grown up it just doesn't suit my tastes anymore.

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

                    1. I completely agree with you. The success and publicity they have enjoyed in recent years has obviously contributed to the food's downfall. Some years ago while still at their previous location when it was not more than a hole-in-the-wall and before the renovations there, the food was very tasty and portions were generous.

                      1. Agree that Salad King is basically just fast food. But we just went to Linda last weekend which is definitely not priced like fast food and it was horrible. My friend ordered a salmon fish dish and it was uncooked in the middle. They took it back and made another and it was raw in the middle again. How can they screw up twice in a row! My firend ended up a veggie dish.

                        My green curry shrimp was OK at best, on par with Salad King or any of the food court Thai places. I ordered fried ice cream for dessert and it too was horrible. The ball was about 3 inches in diameter and 2 of those inches was batter with about 1/2 inch of liquid melted ice cream in the middle. Just horrible! I asked him to take it back and we asked for the billed and got out of there as fast as we could! They gave us 10% off for the trouble. Not nearly enough.

                        And like Salad King, I can't understand why Linda was almost full that Sat. What's with you people!?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: syoung

                          I went to Linda for the first time Tuesday and while we enjoyed our food (golden curry and a "street food" soup special with fish cake and other seafood), I was a little underwhelmed. I was surprised at the use of western veg that I associate with cheap take-out: bell pepper, brocoli, etc.. The quantity and quality of protein was not great for the price.
                          Salad King hasn't been good since the 90s, IMHO.

                          1. re: syoung

                            "What's with you people?" I think that many people have tastebuds that have been trained to prefer food that is adulterated with a lot of suger and salt.
                            Food courts joints understand that, and count on it to make their money.
                            So do dreadful places like Salad King and Linda's.
                            It's really sad that Toronto can't sustain a GENUINE Thai restaurant.
                            And please don't tell me to try SukoThai or its newest incarnation - I've been disappointed.

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

                            1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                              Did you try Sukothai? I'm not sure if you did by your post. I tried it three times and it struck out just as many times. Maybe I'll try it again some time, but not in the near future.

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

                          2. It pains me to say it, but Salad King's food has become subpar since the move. I've tried them multiple times and even their old standards just don't taste right, and have become stingy on the protein. Even though they've only been open 2 weeks nothing on the menu has changed, so it's not a case of 'working out the kinks.' Of course they've been rammed from the opening, so i don't think the quality drop will improve since there's no incentive to do so. And yes, I know it isn't "real" Thai food- as others have mentioned, when you work in the area it's fine for take-out.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Smorgasbord

                              Salad King is not cheerful and it is not cheap.
                              Bangkok Gardens around the corner on Elm runs a full lunch buffet for $14. The room is extravagant. The food is mangicaked down, but it is recognizable as Thai cooking and teh ingredients are good. A main at Salad King and another dish comes to teh same $14.
                              My repeated comment to my companion when we were at Salad King was "I can't believe this".
                              VVM

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                              Bangkok Garden
                              18 Elm Street, Toronto, ON M5G 1G7, CA

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

                              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                Fair point about the price of Bangkok Gardens lunch buffet (if the steamtable sneezeguard presentation suits your fancy) -- but I find the trapped-in-amber room anything but cheerful. Dinner price is another matter -- $19.95 for red curry chicken does not compete, with anyone.

                            2. Salad King is perfect. It caters to the huge downtown hipster market who regularly spend $15 for a lunch of sugar, salt, white vinegar and noodles. The place is packed and they love it. If Salad King cooked Thai food, they would all run for the hills.

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

                              23 Replies
                              1. re: ttraveller

                                Couldn't agree more. I'd be hard-pressed to think of a more overrated eatery in the city. Most of the people that love it are the students that probably haven't had a decent meal since Mom made it for them.

                                1. re: flashy_mcflash

                                  I feel like ppl are making too much of this. It is like going to McD's but the Thai version. I think once you accept that it is ok as a cheap meal option in that hood.

                                  1. re: JennaBean

                                    Amen. And I don't think I've ever seen anything that would qualify Salad King as "overrated". In fact, all the posts I've seen recommending it (including mine) are always in the context of "it's a decent, fast option if you are in the area". I would never travel any distance to eat there, but if I'm going to the theatre or the Eaton Centre or the Atrium on Bay, it's a good option. I'll take Salad King over Jack Astor's any day.

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

                                    1. re: TorontoJo

                                      But Salad King is unnecessary. There is not only Bangkok Garden (at lunch).
                                      The nearby shawarma places offer reasonably tasty food that has some integrity and for less money. Salad King was just bad , and one of two dishes was close to unpalatable. Pad Thai. Oily, heavily sweet and with an overtone of something that tasted of cinnamon, but may have been tamarind in some combination.

                                      As for the decor at Bangkok Gardens, I agree that a restaurant that doesn't look a washroom in the Zurich airport isn't for everyone.
                                      VVM

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

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

                                      1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                        There is not a single good shawarma in that area and I don't eat at buffets as they make me cringe. The one meal I had at Bangkok Garden was at dinner and it was overpriced bad Thai.

                                        I think the only other really fast option that I find decent in that area is Chipotle and that's a fairly recent addition to the hood.

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

                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                            There's good doner near the Eaton Centre?

                                            Wait, there's good doner in Toronto?

                                            1. re: radiopolitic

                                              it's not amazing, but what makes them tops to me is the sauces they have. the hot sauce is made in house and it is fantastic, lots of flavour and good fruitiness. the meat has been good in the past but my last visit it was just ok... it is my pick for something quick and very affordable near dundas square. doner kebab house.

                                            2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                              I like doner but I like it with the east coast style sweet sauce. I know I know not everyone's cup of tea but my pref.

                                              1. re: JennaBean

                                                i kind of figured that would be the case, that you're an east coast style type, because whenever anyone talks about doner here... they're always inevitably looking for that! to each their own, i haven't had the pleasure or disgust yet ;)

                                                1. re: JennaBean

                                                  Have you tried College Falafel? My BF is from out east and he says theirs is the closest to what he gets at home.

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                                                  College Falafel
                                                  450 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6G3T2, CA

                                              2. re: JennaBean

                                                I've enjoyed the shawarmas I've had at Milo's Pita in the AMC building at Dundas Square. No idea what their hours are though, I feel like they're probably closed in the evenings...

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                                                Milo's Pita
                                                10 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON M5B, CA

                                                1. re: dxs

                                                  Super erratic hours - I've been on the weekend during the day and it was closed... so I have yet to eat at Milo's...

                                                  1. re: dxs

                                                    I like them as well but they seem to always be closed when I got these days.

                                        1. re: ttraveller

                                          I thought the "downtown hipster market" eats entrails at Black Hoof -- impoverished students and harried office workers eat (really not that sweet and not that salty) at Salad King.

                                            1. re: caviartothegeneral

                                              caviartothegeneral, I see you don't know who VVM is. Generally what he finds and conquers are the best bargain restaurants in town. I may not always agree with what he says, but I always respect his opinion. Who here learned of Bistro Camino because of him? Who else would have found that gem on such a remote strip?

                                              1. re: Googs

                                                Agree VVM tends to find stuff 'off the beaten track'. But they are good places that work well for locals. Rarely,are they 'worth a special trip' (I stand to be corrected here as I no longer make any special trips on VVM recommendations).
                                                S(he) (I know, I'm being coy) is less successful with heart of Toronto places. Cost is usually a significant factor for VVM and all (?) downtown restos exceed a 'comfort point'.

                                                Also "the worst Asian meal I have ever had" screams for this review to be a troll, rather than a serious review! I've travelled to Thailand maybe 10 times over the years, and have had some of the finest Thai food there and pretty much tried every Thai place in Toronto during the lean years hoping to ffind something close. But the street food in Bangkok (and elsewhere) has dropped precipitously in the past 5 years - last visit I don't recall a single 'low end' dish being anything above awful. EVERY one was worse than anything I've had here (perhaps excepting some ketchup pad thai versions).

                                                I haven't been to the 'new' Salad King yet; but was a multiple visitor to the former one. I just have more to do in my life than stand in line-ups, and unfortunately, I haven't found acceptable alternatives in that vicinity, so am waiting for the opening rush to die down a bit.
                                                When I do go (and I will) I vow to openly admit that this is 'the worst Asian meal I have ever had' - IF it is. But there's severe competition out there!

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

                                                1. re: estufarian

                                                  Have you tried Thai One near Bay and Dundas?

                                                  1. re: garfield

                                                    No. I used to work at Bay/Dundas - but not now, so I no longer 'easily' get to try downtown places.

                                                    1. re: estufarian

                                                      Well, Its better than Salad King in my book,in the same price point without the cacophony. Service a bit on the slower side but not much.

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

                                                  2. re: estufarian

                                                    I too have been to Thailand many times, although I never have got out of Bangkok airport. I much prefer teh Thai food from my favourite place in Toronto to what I have had in the airport. But the worst is nowhere near the nadir of Salad King. I may be droll but I am no troll.

                                                    My Thai informants tell me that there have been huge prices increases for some ingredients in the past few years. Some ingredients are now imported, even from China, or there have been substitutions , eg white shrimp for black shrimp. The imported ingredients are not as good, but the general quality has been maintained and neither he nor his friends are complaining.

                                                    I don't mind spending lots of money in a restaurant. But my working hypothesis for Toronto is that quality is inversely related to price. When one is in "flights of wine " teritory", there is a significant risk of encountering the Emperor's New Clothes phenomenon. This would be OK if I didn't understand that I am being had.

                                                    A good, interesting meal at any price is worth a special trip. And if it is inexpensively priced, one can feel good about going often. Besides, these places are usually not downtown and consequently usually have ample and free street parking.

                                                    VVM

                                                  3. re: Googs

                                                    Googs, the comment you are replying to is actually a reply to ttraveler's crack about the 'huge downtown hipster market'.... no disrespect intended to VVW, who does raise a good point about Bangkok Gardens' lunch buffet.

                                              2. I am new to Toronto and had heard a lot about Salad King, mostly due to 'Now' magazine. I had wanted to try it for a while and I was aware of the menu and price and didn't expect anything amazing.
                                                Me and my boyfriend went on Saturday hungover and starving and ordered loads of food, we were stuffed and it was a great price for what we got.
                                                First came the mango salad, which was horrible, I couldn't eat it. It was very bitter and had no flavour or dressing. Oh well. Why is it called SALAD king anyway? There are only 2 salads on the menu...did I miss something?
                                                Then our soups, I had hot and sour and I enjoyed it. We also got some spring rolls and mini shrimp rolls which were both average. Good thick dipping sauce with the mini rolls.
                                                I ordered the golden curry with shrimp which was very pleasant. One of the nicer curries I have had anyway. My boyfriend ordered the spicy fish with 10 chillies because he is a spice addict.
                                                He said it was one of the worst thai dishes he as ever had as although it was spicy it was lacking in flavour and was just hot. I tried it and yes it was spicy, but it tasted like nothing else.
                                                All in all, I don't think we will go back in a hurry but I would like to know what the best dishes are.
                                                I really was in the mood for mango salad that day, where can I get the best mango salad? The best I have had so far is at Thai Basil on Bloor, but I wasn't a huge fan of their soup! Where can I go to get all round good thai food?!

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

                                                Thai Basil
                                                467 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S1X9, CA

                                                5 Replies
                                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                                    mind you the major suggestion on that thread does not do a mango salad anymore, it was just too difficult to find a good source for mangos. they're switching to a chayote one which i'm very curious to try.... haven't really had much exposure to the fruit.

                                                  2. re: Floppie

                                                    Sukho Thai for all-around good Thai food. I'd say this is pretty much agreed by the board. Sukho Thai is takeout but they just opened up a new sit-down restaurant on Adelaide called Khao San Road (you can find lots of discussions on both restaurants if you search the thread).

                                                    I haven't been to Khao San Road yet and I don't recall if Sukho Thai has mango salad, but Sukho Thai is definitely worth checking out. Salad King has, in my opinion, gone downhill in the past few years.

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

                                                    Khao San Road
                                                    326 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7, CA

                                                    1. re: looosia

                                                      "Sukho Thai is takeout..."

                                                      Sukho Thai definitely has takeout, but they also have tables with table service. Not a huge number (the place probably seats 20 or so at the most), but enough that it can't be considered solely a takeout restaurant.

                                                      1. re: looosia

                                                        sukhothai and khao san road have a connection but they operate completely separately.

                                                        sukhothai has a mango salad on their menu and i think you can get a small portion in a combo option they have. khao san road is doing the chayote instead, its very new so i haven't tried it yet.

                                                        you definitely can sit down at sukhothai, they have seating on the main floor and in the basement and i believe are looking at opening up the upper level to have more seats. they don't have a liquor license (as per the original request in the thread they started separately). khao san road has a very reasonable wine list and offers singha beer.

                                                    2. The new Salad King is a heart break :( their padthai tastes like baby vomit and their mango sallad was amature - I mean how the heck do you mess up mango salad? I'm not sure if it's because they spent all their money on trendy decor and thus were not able to hire people with even the most basic cooking skills but.... Me and my lady friend have never returned a meal - until we visited what was once a staple to our student life.

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