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Toronto’s best Thai dishes

Happily, Thai spots are starting to serve Thai food the way it’s meant to be (not sickly sweet). Here, the city’s most authentic dishes.


Red curry with lychees from Mengrai Gourmet Thai (Photo by Daniel Shipp)

Exposed brick and tablecloths elevate Mengrai Gourmet Thai into first-date territory. So does a dish like this: a hollowed-out pineapple is loaded with chunks of fruit, soft bites of chicken and plump whole lychee in a rich, medium-spicy red coconut curry sauce topped with a chiffonade of fresh lime leaves. $18.

A family-run spot with just six (usually crowded) tables, Sukhothai makes this go-to classic the way it should be: chewy rice noodles, tofu, egg, shrimp, chicken, crisp bean sprouts, sharp chives, peanuts, fresh lime juice and the crucial sweet-and-sour tang of tamarind. Guaranteed ketchup-free. $10.

Mong-Kut Thai Gold’s papaya salad spurs images of bustling Bangkok street life. It’s cooling, pungent and addictive: crisp shreds of green fruit are tossed with long beans and chunks of tomato, then dressed with fish sauce, lemon juice and peanuts. It’s properly incendiary, with plenty of fresh chilies for a post-meal buzz. $8.

Insiders know to request this Penang curry, seafood and chicken dish at Salad King (it’s not on the menu, but the kitchen is willing to oblige). Sweeter than pad Thai, it brings a comforting tangle of flavoursome rice noodles. $11.

  • Suzanne

    The Thai Islamic noodles are not great. I tried them yesterday after reading this article.

  • jennifer

    By far the best and most authentic thai food is Vanipha Lanna on ST. clair. W. Have been around forever, serving awesame Laotian and NOrthen thai specialties!

  • Heather

    Bankok Garden is the best by far!

  • Pamela

    Bangkok Spoon on the Danforth is our favourite restaurant – we take guests of all meal preferences there. And they deliver!!

  • Caroline

    I have spent some time in Thailand and was so happy when I discovered Pi-Tom’s at Jarvis and Dundas (there are 2 other locations in the city I believe). Their Authentic Pad Thai is by far the best one I have had in the city that truly brings me back to what I used to eat in Thailand. No ketchup, the real thing. I pretty much don’t eat pad thai elsewhere due to being disappointed so many times over with poor quality ketchup sauces

  • Susan

    If you want food from Laos, go to Vanipha Lanna.

    If you want Thai food, go to Sukothai.

  • Vince

    If you’re in the 905, Thai Pepper, run by a family from Yala in southern Thailand is awesome..

    Thanks for the update on Vanipha Lanna. I definitely need a Lao food fix !

  • Janice

    I am 100% thai and I have to agree with Caroline and Susan. We do not put ketchup in pad thai dish ever!! I have no idea how that tasty (supposedly home-made) thai sauce has turned itself into ketchup in North American restuarants and people love it!! Also, Lao and Thailand are 2 different countries. Thus, we do not have the same kind of food. The restaurant that specializes in Laotian and Thai food is kind of confusing me…as well as Chinese-Thai, Vietnamese-Thai and so on. I do not believe that people can excel 2 things at the same degree. One must dominate the other. So pick one and advertise yourself accordingly!!

  • Janice

    I forgot to say that I would love to try that red curry with lychee dish. If they came from Thailand and have learned how to properly cook that dish, it is going to be heavenly delicious. FYI: In the old time, this dish was solely served to royal families. Now it is available for us, non-royal people :), lets try. Oh I forgot I am not in Toronto..

  • Noel

    Pi-Tom’s Traditional Padthai is the best. No ketchup, Good presentation.
    I had it at Yonge & Alexander location. Good food, good service and nice patio.
    Talking about the service (as I work in service industry myself), I would say this place has a great service.
    The restaurant was quite busy that Thursday evening, but our waitress was quick, polite, friendly and always had a nice smile on her face.

  • Danny

    Sukhothai will change your life. Definitely the BEST pad thai in the city! Super-tiny restaurant, so best to order to go, but well worth the wait. A life-changing Thai food experience. Also, try their thai iced tea – yum!

  • shine

    A great Thai place is Sit in Bangkok on College.
    One of my favorites.

  • Sam

    Never again. We waited over a half hour for our entrees. During that time no one came to our table to check on us or apologize. Then they had forgot that we had ordered our dessert at the beginning so we waited for that, too. No sooner had the dessert arrived, but someone came over and asked us if we were almost finished. Really?? Rushing us after making us wait for that long? On top of that, the food was just ok. Nothing special. Nothing to rave about. I’ve had better food and service from other thai restaurants in the city. Way overrated in my opinion.

  • Pingback: Club-goers rejoice: Sukhothai expanding to entertainment district | (Mar 28)