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Last night I finally had some free time after a semester of stress. So, I called up my Florence roomie Bria and we planned a night out, starting with a visit to Pai Northern Thai Kitchen in Toronto.
Though we were a little late in making reservations, we showed up to the restaurant at around 7 on a Friday night. Though there was a bit of a wait, it was definitely worth it. However, I will say that by the time we left, the line of people waiting to get a seat extended down Pearl St.!
Walking down the steps into #Pai, Bria and I were instantly aware of the uber cool and funky vibe of the restaurant. Vibrant colours, sights and sounds all spoke to what would be in store for our dining experience as this same vibrancy echoed through each dish we tried.
To start off, we ordered a Thai Mojito and Thai Iced Tea, boozy and super creamy, respectively. After clinking glasses and taking the obligatory selfie for Instagram, we got down to studying the menu with care. But as the dishes kept flying out of the back kitchen, I became more and more excited about all that Pai had to offer, knowing that we would probably be in good hands!
Bria and I decided to share all of our dishes for optimal tasting. That said, we ordered the vegetarian Spring Rolls, Ai Satay and Chef Nuit Pad Thai with shrimp.
Spring Rolls: 10/10
Filled with mushrooms, sprouts and carrots, these fried rolls were the perfect amuse bouche before digging into our other main dishes.
Ai Satay: 10/10
These chicken skewers were served with both a curry peanut sauce and a Thai cucumber dressing. I’m not joking when I say that I could not get enough of these sauces and I think Bria would agree. One rich and velvety and the other light and tangy, these dipping sauces elevated the charred flavours of the skewers!
Chef Nuit pad Thai: 10/10
Fried noodles with tamarind sauce, beansprouts, eggs, tofu, peanuts and scallions. This dish was the ultimate balance of sweet, salty, savoury, creamy and acidic. Taking the first bite, my mouth was pleasantly surprised and hungry for more!
Then for a nice palate cleansing dessert, we shared an order of Mango Sticky Rice. Underneath a bed of warm coconut sticky rice was a beautiful piece of juicy mango layed out all nice and pretty with a scored design. It was just what we needed to end our Thai dinner date.
Seeing as we couldn’t taste it all, I’m looking forward to dishes like the Papaya Salad, Grabong (buttercup squash fritters) or the Tom Yum Shrimp next time I'm in the neighbourhood!
Also, the cool thing about this restaurant is that they have many vegetarian and vegan options. Likewise, there is lots of flexibility with spice levels ranging from no spice all the way to Thai level super spiciness! Bria and I opted for a mild spice as I do like a little bit of kick but I’m also not a fan of completely scorching my tastebuds. To my surprise, mild was just the kick that I needed.
To be honest, I was actually surprised at how much I loved this restaurant. I never knew that I liked Thai food so much but Pai really peaked my curiosity. The intense and contrasting flavours of all the spices and ingredients was unlike anything I have ever tried.
Overall, I strongly reccomend this restaurant. Plus, if you’re seeing a show at at the Princess of Wales or Royal Alexandra Theatre, this restaurant is within walking distance too!
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