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Salad King

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  • Goober May 21, 2003 06:16 PM
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After reading many good reviews about Salad King (335 Yonge, North of Dundas), I went to try their pad thai.....and it was horrible....not to mention the 10 minute wait in a room filled with hungry people.

should i try something else there?

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  1. Do you ever have anything positive to say?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chris

      Nope.

    2. I have heard mixed reviews on their Pad Thai - I think it depends on your ideal.

      BUT you must try the Green Curry Chicken! It is addictive - go low on the chili level (1 or 2) the first time then ramp it up from there. I find the spice level differs from day-to-day. Somedays and 1 chili is perfect for me, other days I find it pretty darn spicy. However, please keep in mind that my heat tolerance is pretty low.

      1. Most of their daily specials are good.
        I like the Basil Beef or Chicken. And most curries.

        1. I love the Emerald Curry and the Spicy Tofu with cashews. So good!

          1. If you don't try the mango chicken, at about a 3 heat, you've wasted a visit.

            1. YES! You should definately try something else there!! The yellow chicken curry is the best and you can get it so hot that you will be sweating like you never have before.

              1. I suspect you probably went at the lunch or dinner hour.

                Student's at Ryerson don't have much choice for chow in the area so this has always been a crowded spot at lunch.

                I'm surprised that you would be so quick to dis the Pad Thai there in that they have an explicit warning stating those who order it expecting what they have eaten elsewhere will be dissapointed as it is purposefully different.

                I bet you ordered Pad Thai cause it's your fave and you missed the warning.

                By all means try something else (many suggestions have been made in other posts) and if you don't want to wait, go mid-afternoon when the throngs have gone back to class.

                1. I love the Pad Thai there actually. And the green curry chicken. And the street noodle soup. Sure, the ambience isn't great...but the food is!

                  1. I love the golden curry chicken and golden curry tofu... and the Evil Jungle Prince is pretty good too, although I think the golden curry is much better.

                    1. Has anyone compared the dining experiences of the downstairs to the "fine dining" (the hostess's words) upstairs? I found that though the service was certainly attentive, the food portions were smaller (ie 2 Spring Rolls for the appetizer upstairs as opposed to 3 Spring Rolls downstairs). I swear the overall portions were smaller and the food was less tasty. Let me know.

                      1. I have been eating at Salad King since 1996 and would recommend it highly as long as you go "off-peak hours".
                        Try the cashew chicken, orange beef, golden curry.
                        The upstairs is a different experience, lots of attention from the wait staff, more menu choices, more peace and quiet, but higher prices.

                        1. I have been going to Salad King for over 10 years now. The food is excellent and almost always consistent. I have been to many Thai food restaurants in the city and the breadth of the menu and flavours here is excellent. Love the Orange Chicken and the Chicken Panang personally at 4 chillies of heat.

                          1. If you like overly sweetened overly thick and sticky sauces than you will love Salad King...clearly you don't like this type of garbage Thai food.

                            Their mango salad is the worst mango salad I have ever tried.

                            The guy that runs that place came from a Thai resto near my house on Harboard which is equally as sinckeningly sweet with terrbible mango salad!

                            Jenna

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: j2brady

                              The worst mango salad ever? You have to get out more! Sure, it's plain, but there really isn't much more you can complain about it. Maybe you prefer the ones doused in corn syrup?

                              As a Ryerson student, my gotos are the MANGO SALAD, CHICKEN PANANG, and STREET NOODLE SOUP. I actually stay away from the specials, as they usually remind me of cheap Chinese buffet food.

                              1. re: dlw88

                                No no...I get out plenty. Corn syrup isn't my thing...just the taste of mango in a mango salad.

                            2. I have enjoyed every meal I ever had at or ordered from Salad King going back to the days when they were a wee little shop. I like their pad thai, but I suggest eating it at the restaurant as oppose to take out. I find that if you don't eat it right away, the noodles really absorb the moisture from the sauce and become dry. My favourite hands down, is the golden curry chicken. Other suggestions are the thai noodle soup, pataya chicken and spring rolls. One piece of advice, expect a line-up, but it's worth every minute of the wait.

                              1. Wrong. The woman who owns Flip Toss & Thai on Harbord used to be a cook at Salad King, hence the similar menus.

                                1. I think the Pad Thai should be avoided here, it's not that good. But the curry dishes are great!

                                  1. The Salad King is alright...I use to go to Ryerson so I've had many meals there. I actually prefer Ginger which is just a bit North on Yonge.

                                    1. mmmm....golden tofu curry....8 days a week.

                                      1. The Golden Curry is highly recommended!

                                        1. I love this place! Try the chicken panag it's incredible. And the Tom Yum Mushroom Soup....sooo good.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: chillipepper

                                            I too have been eating there for well over a decade. Other favorites that haven't been mentioned are include green curry chicken, evil jungle prince, kari noodles, siam noodles and thai fried rice. I'm embarassed to say I have tried the chicken ball fried rice that an ex-bf used to order, and it's actually good!

                                          2. Never had the Pad Thai there, but I have always enjoyed it for what it is. Have to be in the mood for crowds to eat there, though.

                                            1. I always get the curries at Salad King. Green is normally the one i go for.

                                              I would REALLY RECOMMEND "Just Thai" in the Village.
                                              I went there for lunch, got the Green Curry - SO MUCH BETTER than Salad King.

                                              1. Bowl of curry is bigger than Salad King
                                              2.Meat and veges are overflowing the bowl! (thing I hate about salad king, they are stingy)
                                              3. Comes out steaming hot!
                                              4. Service s excellent and cute!
                                              5. No long wait, and you can linger as long as you like.

                                              I got the lunch special mango green chicken curry with rice, and a spring roll included for 7.99.

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

                                              10 Replies
                                              1. re: presencegirl

                                                What Village would this be?

                                                1. re: Herb

                                                  presencegirl is referring to the gay village - Church / Wellesley area.
                                                  Although I've found the quality of food at Just Thai to be wildly variable in quality and taste.

                                                  -----
                                                  Just Thai
                                                  534 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y2E1, CA

                                                2. re: presencegirl

                                                  Virtually anything short of Spring Rolls is better than Salad King; their curries are hollow, one dimensional garbage.

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

                                                  1. re: vorpal

                                                    And they're still packed (with a line-up) after 10 years. Longevity doesn't always mean quality, but when you consider how many other Thai places have come and gone, they're doing something right.
                                                    I pick and choose my dishes, but at their price point I stil haven't found anything in the area that I go to more often.

                                                    1. re: estufarian

                                                      Oh, absolutely: they have a winning formula for Toronto. For the most part, due to a lack of exposure, the majority of Torontonians don't know what real Thai food is: it has been demoted to near-fast-food Asian style, essentially, which is a ripping shame since having quality Thai food is a transcendent experience.

                                                      The expectation that's formed around this has basically led to it being near impossible for a Thai restaurant of actual quality to last in the city.

                                                    2. re: vorpal

                                                      Please elaborate on your most recent visit to Salad King, and what dishes did you have?

                                                      1. re: caviartothegeneral

                                                        I haven't been in a little less than two years, given that I no longer live in Toronto, so I can only hope that they've changed and improved.

                                                        I've eaten there on three different occasions. I don't remember every dish I had, but I do recall trying the pad thai and the green curry. (I also had quite a few other dishes, but none of them memorable: I think there was a basil noodle dish that sounded like it would resemble pad ki mow, but turned out to be a complete mess and lacking in flavour other than chillies, and there was probably another curry in there - either red or panang, I would guess).

                                                        Anyways, I found their curries lacking in roundness in flavour, as I recall: there were chillies and a few other flavours, but certainly none of the depth of even a good quality canned curry paste. It felt like key curry paste ingredients were omitted in the preparation. (Note: I make my own curry pastes at home and my diet consists of at least 50% Thai food, so I'm not talking out my ass.)

                                                        Don't even get me started on the pad thai: again, lacking dramatically in flavour, and overwhelmed with a shrimpy taste. It was entirely lacking in the sweet-and-sour notes of tamarind, lime juice, and fish sauce.

                                                        If this is what passes for Thai food in Toronto, it is sad indeed; Thai food should enliven your mouth and stimulate as many of your taste buds as possible. Salad King was a complete disappointment to me and failed to do so on all three occasions that I went (the first willingly, the next two to appease friends). The only enjoyable part of the meal was the ice cream at the end (they do have a nice selection of tropical flavours), and I doubt they can take credit for making that.

                                                        Anyways, the head chef from back when went off and started her own Thai restaurant, "Flip, Toss, and Thai" on Harbord (a few blocks west of Spadina), and while it was still lacking by Thai food standards, at least it was good for fast-food Thai food and quite flavourful. It has essentially the same menu as Salad King, only the food actually tastes good and is prepared with care. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend that place for a quick fix and healthy meal.

                                                        I am very eager to visit Toronto again to try out Sukhothai, seeing as I've heard so many glowing things about it. I'm also looking forward to returning to Mengrai Thai, and I'm hoping that the few comments I've heard about it going downhill don't hold water. *fingers crossed*

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

                                                        1. re: vorpal

                                                          I recently had Salad King's Panang Curry with chicken (3 chilies on their spice scale) for lunch takeout and don't concur that their food is 'garbage'. I found it to be much more pleasing than Spring Rolls (which might as well be Jack Astors -- in fact, acquaintances who don't eat a lot of Thai cuisine have claimed that Jack Astors makes a better Pad Thai than Spring Rolls) and certainly vastly superior to any of the steam-table 'Thai' restaurants popping up in the PATH's many food courts. I don't think it's the best Thai in Toronto but I don't also think anyone credibly makes that claim.

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

                                                          1. re: caviartothegeneral

                                                            I have to agree with you on most points: Salad King is leagues ahead of Spring Rolls and the steam-table "Thai" takeout places. That being said, it's still far behind anything resembling real Thai, or, at least it was when I was last there.

                                                            I wouldn't even consider Spring Rolls to be Thai. It's pan-Asian at best, but absolutely horrid and an insult to any specific Asian cuisine. Most of the Thai steam-tray places don't give a damn about Thai food, either: they just want to serve garbage Thai-inspired food quickly at a low price.

                                                            You should try one of the few higher quality Thai restaurants in Toronto, or, even better, go outside Toronto and try Thai food, and see how it compares to Salad King.

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

                                                    3. re: presencegirl

                                                      I just have to ask, how can service be "cute"?

                                                    4. I take Salad King for what it is. Cheap Thai food that's great if you're a student or on a budget. Their menu is massive and items are reasonably priced considering the portions. The place can also seat a good amount of people and the turnover is fast. Is it the best Thai food in the city? No.

                                                      If you want WAY better and more authentic food that's only slightly more in price, go to Sukhothai (Dundas and Parliament). I went for the first time a week ago and was blown away. It's been open for two years and previously the owners also ran a restaurant north of Chiang Mai in Thailand. The only drawback is the place is tiny. Always make a reso.

                                                      http://www.sukhothaifood.com/

                                                      In terms of what I get from Salad King, I'm a fan of their Pattaya Chicken ($8.50), but admittedly for nostalgic purposes. It's fried breaded chicken breast with thyme, onions, bell peppers and carrots in honey and lime chili sauce, served with a side of steamed rice. I usually take half of it to-go, making this a great two-meal dish.

                                                      I agree that their Pad Thai definitely does suck, so I opt for the Bangkok Stir Fry with Chicken ($8.85). It's a plateful of bean vermicelli, broccoli, bell peppers, green onions, egg, carrots, tofu, peanuts and bean sprouts. I've got photos of both items on my blog.

                                                      Again, nothing's a stand-out on this menu. And nothing will blow you away. But it'll fill your belly and won't hurt your wallet.

                                                      www.platoputas.com

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

                                                      Sukhothai
                                                      274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: Platoputas

                                                        I've almost given up looking for a somewhat authentic Thai restaurant in Toronto, but I shall give Sukhothai a whirl based on your recommendation. I realize that it's near impossible to recreate the exact same experience outside the county, but I get really bummed when I'm served half-assed dishes using ingredients not found in the cuisine -- thyme, for example.

                                                        Having said that, I've been very impressed with a couple Thai restaurants I've eaten at in and around Tokyo, so it's not a completely lost cause, I suppose.

                                                        Fingers crossed.

                                                        -----
                                                        Sukhothai
                                                        274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                                                        1. re: sokoto

                                                          Some of the best Thai food I have ever had was in Kowloon City in Hong Kong, which has become HK's Little bangkok. It is certainly possible to find authentic Thai food outside of Thailand. All you need is a significant concentration of Thais living in the area, as in HK. You can get great Korean and Ethiopian food in TO, because there are big enough populations of these ethnic groups to support the existence of authentic restaurants.
                                                          Any ethnic restaurant that is forced to rely on local clientele for its bread and butter is inevitably going to adapt the cuisine to local tastes. Let's face it, they would be stupid not to.
                                                          There is no real concentration of Thais in one area here, hence no real demand for an authentic, down and dirty Thai joint. Sukhothai is rather good, but it is a long way from being anything like authentic.
                                                          What we have on this thread is a disconnect between two very distinct groups; ordinary folks who have never been to Thailand and for whom pad thai with ketchup is their understanding of the cuisine and purists/travelers for whom the local variants are an abomination. Never the twain shall meet. The Ryerson students etc. who frequent Salad King find the food to be good and I'm sure it is. It is probably a good standard of preparation of the local version of Thai food and that is the only yardstick they have to measure it. For someone like me who has lived in Thailand, of course it will be a joke. That does not make me superior in any way, it just means I have had different life experiences and developed different tastes. If I had Spent my whole life in Lindsay, for example, a meal of chop suey, fried rice and sweet and sour pork would seem both exotic and entirely acceptable. My point of comparison would simply be between local restaurants serving the same thing and I would know that Ho's serves better chow mein than Lee's. If someone were to come along and make a comparison between Ho's and Fook Lam Moon in Hong Kong, it would be totally meaningless to me. It is thus comparing Salad King with anything that has come within 500 miles of Bangkok.

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

                                                          Sukhothai Restaurant
                                                          11 4th St E, Cornwall, ON K6H2H7, CA

                                                          1. re: munchieHK

                                                            You've eaten Chinese food in Lindsay?

                                                            1. re: munchieHK

                                                              I spent five weeks traveling throughout Thailand (including five days in an advanced cooking class) and I think Sukhothai does a pretty good job for a city which is totally lacking in real Thai food.

                                                              -----
                                                              Sukhothai
                                                              274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                                                        2. I enjoy Salad King, but I've never known it bills itself as a Thai restaurant. As that, I agree it is a spectacular failure. But as a place to go for cheap quick Asian cuisine, I like it.

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: Pincus

                                                            Salad King isn't strictly Thai, and all of the other dishes that I have had there have been "so so". This is not true for the Golden Curry. Once you've had it, there is no other dish worth ordering there. Get it. Feast on it. Let it's deliciousness curl your toes and haunt your dreams and cause you to regret every sad word you've ever thought of saying about the great, the venerable, THE SALAD KING!

                                                            And, if you ever get the recipe for the Golden Curry contact me (legend has it that the owner concocts it at home to avoid sharing it with his chefs). ALL HAIL SALAD KING!

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

                                                            1. re: scarborough

                                                              From what I understand, this place has been closed for the last few months because of the wall collapse on Gould. No word on their final plans and I hear that the owner of the building wanted to demolish it but the city is trying to get the building designated as heritage (not sure of the outcome of that).

                                                              1. re: ylsf

                                                                Hubby and I ate at Linda (at the Shops at Don Mills) last week. The owner of Linda and Salad King are the same lady. We got to talk to her for a bit because she was the one who showed us to our table. (She was so nice!)

                                                                When we asked her about Salad King, she told us that they plan to move across the street to the building where Foot Locker is and there they will be on the 2nd floor. I can't remember when she said they'd be opening. If I'm not mistaken it will be some time Sep or Oct. But I totally could be wrong! (Sorry!) See the thing I remember most about the conversation was that she told us she was being charged over $120,000 per month in rent in the building where Salad King was. And that crepe stall out in front was being charged close to $55,000 a month (they had the same landlord!)

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

                                                                1. re: marciebuttercup

                                                                  WOW, $120,000! Have to sell a lot of meals just to recover that...

                                                                  1. re: ylsf

                                                                    ya no kidding! I am really surprised

                                                              2. re: scarborough

                                                                Great post, scarborough. I guess you like the golden curry!
                                                                If only the other posts on CH were like yours.

                                                                1. re: scarborough

                                                                  My Golden Curry = Islamic Noodle. So. Good.

                                                                  Sigh. I miss it. I know you can get it at Linda, but it's just not the same... all those fancy-pants ingredients changes it for me somehow.

                                                                  1. re: scarborough

                                                                    If they reopen, I will be sure to try it out!

                                                                    1. re: scarborough

                                                                      I also have a weakness for the golden curry there. I can drink the sauce like a soup.

                                                                  2. Salad King will re-open in December across Yonge Street from the old location

                                                                    http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynew...

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

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                      Ahhh, the old Rieley's space.....I killed a lot of brain cells with bad draught pints in that room during my Ryerson days (daze?)

                                                                    2. Just to update, the opening of the new Salad King at 340 Yonge will be delayed until probably end of January. There was a fire early this morning that destroyed the old location on Gould but they had already closed down that location so no loss. More info here: http://theeyeopener.com/2011/01/salad...

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: syoung

                                                                        They just tweeted:

                                                                        @SaladKingTO: Hear ye! We're excited to announce that our doors will be open starting Sat, Feb 12th! Grand opening details coming soon

                                                                        1. re: jlunar

                                                                          Just read about this in the paper:
                                                                          http://www.thestar.com/living/article...

                                                                          I missed the soft opening this weekend but will try to hit them some this week! Oh I've missed them!

                                                                          1. re: Steady

                                                                            Had Salad King takeout on Friday night. Golden Curry Chicken, Orange Beef and mini Shrimp Rolls.

                                                                            The Shrimp rolls were better than before, larger shrimp, still very tasty. Orange Beef was good. Curry was a bit disappointing. Ordered it 1-chili and it was way hotter than that. I'm hoping that was just because they are settling in with new staff, etc.

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

                                                                            1. re: Steady

                                                                              Just went to Salad King this weekend. For starters, they are now open Sundays, which is amazing, and I think it definitely looks better - while it's still cafeteria style, it still feels like an actual restaurant whereas the last Salad King was almost exactly like a cafeteria and you were pretty much in the middle of another table's converstions at all times, so this is definitely an improvement now.

                                                                              As a warning, they say that their chilli rating is a little spicier than before. I ordered the thai islamic noodles and it actually seemed significantly less spicy than I remember (I usually get 15 chillis). However, everyone else ordered one less than normal (someone who usually gets 20 got 15, someone who usually gets 5 got 3, etc) and they all agreed it was definitely spicier than before.

                                                                              That aside, the food is still as good as before so definitely worth checking out again!

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

                                                                              1. re: KatTrum

                                                                                15?!!

                                                                                1. re: jlunar

                                                                                  I know! I usually get 10 and my mouth can feel it. I can't imagine 15.