Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Resto Review: Khao San Road in Toronto

A Perfectly Reasonable Thai Place/ A Far Cry from the Real Khao San Road

You've just met your friend's 'meh' boyfriend. He's not someone you would call up for a drink or anything, not that you have anything against him but when your friend eagerly wants to know what you thought of him you struggle to respond. And so with that polite enthusiasm when  describing someone we had no exceptional opinion of, you reply, "'he's nice." You know what I'm talking about, that over-compensatory upward inflection tinged with a sprinkle of defensiveness as if our unspoken thoughts had been exposed nude to the world.  Khao San Road, the new Thai restaruant in Toronto is a nice place.

This article summed up in one big Larry "meh" face

I had been very excited to experience this restaurant, as I am back in T Dizzle for my French visa and looking to update The Indie Guide with some rare ethnic gems, but the only experience I had was a remarkable amount of ordinary, like the sedimentary rocks of the resto world or something.

First of all, it doesn't do justice to its namesake, the infamous chaotic and scummy but loads of fun backpacker spot of Khao San  Road in Bangkok (think opening scene of The Beach with Lionardo Dicaprio). I had a very interesting experience there a couple months ago that is still seared into my memory. I will blog about it someday.  Anyways, an unremarkable Khao San Road may seem rather like an oxymoron but not in Toronto. This version of dining is fine; the ambiance was rather basic with only a cool chalk board wall that stood out. It was actually quite loud making my reunion with my highschool friends into a shouting match. But not the sort of loud that gets you excited about life and socializing as say the real Khao San Road, just annoyingly so. Definitely do not take an intimate date there! The demographic is mid 20's to older and the prices are nothing to tweet about. However, one good thing Sibel, an old friend of mine dining with me observed, "The tables are sturdy." Score! You don't get that just anywhere.

In the Holy Restaurant Trinity of food, price, and ambiance, at least one thing must excel to find parking in my heart..which Khao San Road fails to do.

Yet the place has been drawing a lot of attention. On Twitter it was recommended to me by @wucandoit who had heard good things but hadn't been there herself and my close friend had told me of the same place (sorry ans!). The line was huge to get a table, so the publicity is definitely good (good hype from its sister resto Sukhothai), but somehow this location just failed to impress. I had got my staple of red curry with rice for 12 CAD. While the portions were pretty large, the taste lacked the spicy dynamic you find in more authentic and smaller Thai restaurants in Toronto, like my beloved Chiang Mai on Baldwin that passed away in 2010. The Thai Ice Tea was pretty expensive at 4.5 CAD and just way too sweet.  Service was slow but nice at least.

My beloved, if you had a gravestone I'd leave flowers for you.  Truly the best Thai food in Toronto. Where did you go?

As I said, the place is perfectly reasonable, not much to complain about but not really my thing. In my Holy Restaurant Trinity of food, price, and ambiance, at least one thing must excel for it to end up in my Indie Guides slash my heart, which Khao San Road fails to do.  It's my firm belief that Toronto is the best place in the world to eat ethnic foods (read here), but this catchy named fake  Khao San Road just does not do Toronto nor its namesake justice.  If people love it I think it's because it's easy and accessible decent Thai food in the centre of the entertainment district and people feel part of the resto culture scene going there, unlike the badass and sometimes risky mom n' pop shops this guide goes gaga over. But as I said, I would not take a date there, it's not even that trendy.  Know that there is definitely better in this city, and I. Will. Find. It.

Khao San Road: 326 Adelaide St. West (between Peter St. and Widmer St.), 647-352- 5773,

Alas, the hunt for a great Thai gem in Toronto continues, as well as any other resto gold nuggets in the city! I am only here for a couple more weeks so please share your summer's top resto picks! I apologize if this has come off too harsh, it's only my opinion (which probably suffers from being spoiled on Thailand's food itself too recently). But whateves, looking forward to going food hunting some more.  The next Thai place best make the cut, yo.  Next on the exploration list is definitely Guu, a new Japanese place that everyone is raving about!

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Music: The Way My Heart Beats

Whether it be 'Meh' feelings about girls or restaurants,The Good Shoes, an Indie English Pop Band says it best while giving you a melodic pop/indie rock song to sing your heart out too! It's not this-week new or anything but still will find a warm place in your playlist.

Download: The Way My Heart Beats-The Good Shoes.mp3


  1. How dare you! This is a Toronto institution!
    Juuuust kidding. Let's try something else. Like bacon waffles, yes?!

  2. let's go to kensington !!! bacon waffles sounds like something out of Epic Meal Time

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