Friendly Thai - a brief rant
This place might try and ride on the dubious
coattails of those annual NOW surveys, but
I'd care to offer a slightly less glowing
review. Well, review's difficult, because
I can't say I actually ate at the Friendly
Thai today. Nope. Sat there for 35 minutes.
Had a tall glass of water. My friend had
ordered the standard, Pad Thai. Me, soup.
Kind of stuff that takes 3 minutes to prepare
in most kitchens. Takes 30 minutes for the two
staff members to recognize that we don't have
food. The other eight people in the restaurant
do, though. The ones that arrived after us.
No explanation other than, 'there's a problem
with the computer'. No, there's a problem
with the service. We shake our heads and put on
our coats. The only effort to keep us there
is to suggest it will only be a minute. We say,
really, only a minute? Well, five minutes actually.
Uh-huh. And we'll give you the pad thai free.
I just recently went to the one on Yonge, and I have to say my experience was very different - very friendly waiter (who kinda looked like a pirate.. arrr) who apologized for any kind of delay that was coming our way even though we did not thought any of it. Was also very nice in taking the time to explain some of the dishes. The sticky rice was excellent, the springrolls as well, I'm still trying to decide whether the dish itself was too sweet or not. Overall a good experience, and I'm still thinking about that sticky rice!
I've been a number of times to the Yonge street location between Wellesley and Bloor, and definitely find this place to be middle-of-the-road by Toronto Thai standards (i.e. not particularly good nor authentic, but not horrible). The flavours in the dishes are generally pleasing, but the meats are almost always overcooked. Avoid the beef, because I have had beef dishes here that have been inedible due to tough, fatty meat. The Malaysian dishes are not very Malaysian at all, but they are still tasty (some of the better on the menu) and worth a try in and of their own right. The service has always been *awful*; it's frustrating to be sitting in a restaurant that is mostly empty while two waitresses sit at the bar and gossip, ignoring you completely when you want a refill on your water. This is pretty much par for the course.
Yes, the service from the Queen location is terrible, but the best Pad Thai ever!! Delivery consistently takes around 2 hours, and they also forget the additional chili sauce we also ask about (repeatedly). I've found, quite by coincidence, a place at St. Clair & Christie called Thai that has the exact same menu and same owners as Friendly Thai.
Yes, I agree the Freindly Thai on Queen is not up to par. I practically live next door and I have stopped ordering takeout. For Thai takeout try Vicky's Thai (and fish&chips) north of Howard Park and Roncesvalles or Flip, Toss and Thai on Harbord West of Spadina. Flip.. is alot like Salad King North of Yonge and Dundas on Gould.