[Thai] Pai Northern Thai Kitchen

Restaurant: Pai Northen Thai Kitchen
Location: 18 Duncan Street, Toronto, ON M5H 3G6
Price Range: $$

Pai Northern Thai Kitchen
Pai Northern Thai Kitchen

[wp-review]

I love Pai. No seriously, I f***king love it. Located near TIFF, Pai is a fantastic Northern Thai restaurant in Toronto that serves authentic cuisine with sophisticated flavors. Without reservations, even during the weekdays, you can wait up to an hour for a table. Some opt to sit at the bar when seating is scarce in the main dining area, or you can make use of their fantastic system where the host will text you once a table is available.

Inside Pai restaurant
Inside Pai restaurant

The ambiance and decor is fantastic – feels like you’re in a market in Thailand and the restaurant have previously held a “Thai Market” event inside the restaurant. The noise level can get quite loud sometimes with the music and surrounding conversations, but it was never to the point I had to yell across the table.

Left: The DeMartini - $10 Right: Thai Ice Tea - $4.5
Left: The DeMartini – $10
Right: Thai Ice Tea – $4.5

If you haven’t notice, most of the cocktails are named after basketball players! For those who don’t know what drink to order in Pai, I recommend the Thai ice tea! It consisted of a robust tasting black tea mixed with plenty of ice and evaporated milk, a great combination to tackle the spiciness level of Thai dishes.

Tom Yum Nam Sai Kung Mor Fai (A savoury, spicy and sour shrimp soup with lemongrass, coriander and green onions. Served with jasmine rice) - $15
Tom Yum Nam Sai Kung Mor Fai (A savoury, spicy and sour shrimp soup with lemongrass, coriander and green onions. Served with jasmine rice) – $15

The soup arrived with a tiny fire at the bottom to keep the broth warm. The soup was fantastic and had a perfect blend of sweet, savoury and spicy. However for $15, there were only 5-6 tiger shrimps and chopped pieces of mushroom, thus I would say this dish wasn’t necessary worth the $15 price tag and it would have been nice if fish was included as well.

Khao Soi (Fresh egg noodles in a golden curry topped with crispy noodles, coriander, green onions and your choice of Chicken Breast) - $15
Khao Soi (Fresh egg noodles in a golden curry topped with crispy noodles, coriander, green onions and your choice of Chicken Breast) – $15

I never liked egg noodles so I can’t comment on the taste of the khao soi here, however my friends ordered this and he loved every bites of it.

Gaeng Kiaw Wan (Green Curry with bamboo shoots, kaffir lime leaves, basil leaves, green peppers and coconut milk. Served in a coconut! Served with jasmine rice) - $16
Gaeng Kiaw Wan (Green Curry with bamboo shoots, kaffir lime leaves, basil leaves, green peppers and coconut milk. Served in a coconut! Served with jasmine rice) – $16

The green curry arrived at the table in a young coconut shell and you can scrape off the coconut “meat” from the inside which enhanced the eating experience. The curry itself was packed full of fragrant and aromatic flavors, and had the perfect consistency and richness. The chicken pieces were tender and soaked up all the curry flavors. Though it was quite spicy, there was just enough sweetness from the coconut milk to counteract the heat.

*Quick tip: Pay attention when you order any dishes that are being served in a coconut or pineapple shell (like fried rice). If the restaurant is cheap, they will reuse the shells!! However if there are still some “meat” or fruit in the shell. most likely they are freshly used :).

Sai Ua Platter/Northern Thai Sausage (Grilled pork belly sausages with fresh tumeric, kafir lime leaves, lemongrass, garlic and shallots served with sticky rice and a northern thai relish) – $14

I found the sticky rice to be on the dry side but the pork belly sausages were perfectly cooked. The greatest part of the dish had to be the relish that contained yster sauce and shrimp paste, with some intense flavors, binding all the components together.

Not pictured is the squash fritters, which was also another must. The fritters were piled high and it was not as sweet as sweet potato fries, yet still had the “fries” texture. They were light and crispy on the outside, and fluffy and sweet within, paired up with a nice tangy bright tamarind dip. If you still have room for dessert, I recommend ordering the Mango sticky rice! Occasionally they would run out of mango and serve with a Thai custard instead, and I dislike it as the custard made the entire dish way too sweet. The mango that they use is a bit more tangy which complemented perfectly with the sweet sticky rice, however it would have been nice if they used incorporated black sticky rice for textures.

The only complain I have about Pai is how the service is consistently bad to horrible. The servers always seemed a little forgetful at times when we’d ask them to refill water or extra bowls. Otherwise, my friends and I always had a great meal at Pai. The food was delicious and I’d expect nothing less from the Regulars!

 

Pai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



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