Getting authentic Thai in Toronto has never been easier. Gone are the days when the best we could hope for was ketchup-drenched pad thai and overcooked drunken noodles; now there's a variety of options from different regions and influences. Here are our five faves. Tell us yours in the comment section below.
Pai (18 Duncan St;, www.paitoronto.com)
Chef Nuit Regular has been dishing up authentic Thai to Toronto diners for years at Sukho Thai, Sabai Sabai and Khao San Road. Now she's bringing the traditional northern cuisine of her hometown to her and her husband's newest venture, Pai, which just opened this summer and has already become a foodie destination. The fried fish with curry sauce and Burmese-influenced Khao Soi keep us coming back for more. (Read the full review here.)
Khao San Road (326 Adelaide St; www.khaosanroad.ca)
Chef Regular's former gig was at Khao San Road, another Toronto Thai standout. Lineups for tables stretch out the door at lunch and dinner (their "no reservations" policy doesn't help). But you'll find their food is worth the wait, especially their tamarind, dried shrimp and fish sauce-flavoured pad thai, and pad gra prao with your choice of beef, chicken, pork and tofu.
Mengrai Thai (82 Ontario St; www.mengraithai.com)
It's a little pricier than some other restaurants on this list, but it's worth it. This Corktown staple serves up traditional Northern Thai in an elegant setting. You can't go wrong with Chef Sasi's legendary #54 red chicken curry with lychee, which is served with fresh pineapple and kaffir lime, or her Banker's braised curry lamb with peach.
Linda Modern Thai (11 Karl Fraser Rd; www.lindamodernthai.com)
A spinoff of the casual Ryerson hangout Salad King, Linda Modern Thai offers a more upscale experience at The Shops at Don Mills. It was the first restaurant in Canada to be awarded the Thai Select Premium badge, signifying its authentic cuisine. The crispy duck is served with steamed mandarin pancakes, while the beef panang, crispy beef in a panang curry sauce, is a standout.
Golden Thai Restaurant (105 Church St; goldenthai.ca)
Another Corktown favourite, Golden Thai is one of Toronto's most established Thai restaurants. The chandelier-filled room is only matched by the excellent service and food. Chef Kiem Thung has created nearly 100 flavourful dishes, including a large selection catering to vegetarians and patrons who are gluten-free. Finish your meal with their delicious rum-fried bananas.
Honourable Mentions: Sukhothai, Thai to Go, Thai Noodle, Flip Toss and Thai Kitchen, Sabai Sabai Kitchen and Bar