Pai Northern Thai Kitchen, Toronto

Pai is one of the best restaurants in Toronto and I really urge you to find out why. This wonderful place is not only named after a city in Thailand – where the chef started her career – but it is also a great reflection of an authentic Thai restaurant hangout. 

Located at the basement of a building at the heart of the entertainment district between, Pai is a bustling place which is opened daily.  The atmosphere is lively, fun, casual and relaxed. There is a hippie and free-spirit vibe which is similar to the busy backpacker hangouts which you can find in Thailand.

The decor is fun and colourful.  There is a mix of seating areas available including regular tables, high top tables, bar seats and a cushioned area with floor sitting. The rustic brick walls are covered with colourful paintings, soul posters and record covers. Also, the restaurant is a cosy, warm and inviting place with dim lightning.

The food menu aims at delivering the most authentic Thai experience. It is divided into two parts: snack & starters and main dishes. It includes many old  Thai favourites such as pad thai or yellow curry but, also plenty of northern thai specialties like papaya salad or massaman curry with chunks of tender beef. Portions are very generous and as a bonus, you get to customize the spice level of your dish. Service is friendly and casual.

To start, we ordered some deep fried squash fritters with a tamarind dip, called Grabong. Oh boy, this dish was not only impressive to see but it also was damn delicious and addictive.  The squash fritters were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. You should definitely not miss out on this specialty.

As main dish, I ordered the green chicken curry served in a fresh young coconut, accompanied with sticky rice. The green curry was creamy, rich and so flavourful. I really loved scraping off the coconut flesh that was soaked in the green curry sauce… it was so delicious.

My friend ordered Chiang Mai Noodle Soup, which consisted of a meat of her choice braised in a peanut, tamarind and lime broth served with noodles, green onions and in-house roasted peanuts. This dish was also mind-blowing.

Unfortunately, there was no more room for dessert but the mango sticky rice was looking awesome.

Overall, Pai is a party from the second you walk in. It is one of the best Thai restaurants I have been to in the Western part of the world. It is a buzzing and bustling joint which will bring back all your sweet memories from Thailand. The restaurant is a fantastic choice for a range of occasions especially for a friends get together. Finally, Pai is very well priced and offers incredible value for money.  Hence, there is no reason why you should hold on grabbing your phone to make a reservation now.

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