Visiting downtown Toronto? Go to Pai for a taste of Thai!

Rhyming is fun! 😀

Pai is a small town in Northern Thailand, but you don’t need to go all the way to Thailand to experience some authentic Thai cuisine anymore. Owners Nuit and Jeff Regular brought the exotic, spicy flavours of Thailand to Toronto’s Entertainment District.  No more Pad Thai from the local food court!

Back in Thailand, Nuit Regular worked as a Nurse. But her culinary talent is what won the heart of her husband (and also restaurant co-owner), Jeff Regular. They ran a curry shop in Northern Thailand and decided to bring this fine tradition to Canada in 2004. After settling down in Toronto for a few years, the duo opened up some of Toronto’s most critically-acclaimed Thai restaurants, including Sukho Thai, Sabai Sabai, and now- Pai. And just like that, Chef Nuit went from taking care of people, to taking care of hungry people!  A true humanitarian if there ever was one.

Welcome to Pai!
Welcome to Pai!

Pai is located in Toronto’s famous Entertainment District. The restaurant is almost always full, with a dinner line up that often sprawls from the hostess stand, all the way out the door and onto the sidewalk.  Reservations are a must.  Once you step inside, you are instantly transported to Thailand. It has a very laid back atmosphere with street market-style seating, ceilings adorned with the Thai flag’s coloured banners,  with patrons chatting and eating away- just like a true Asian street restaurant.

There’s also a really cool Thai platform seating where you can relax cross-legged with your shoes off while enjoying your meal.  That way, you truly be face-to-face with the food!

Excited to eat - Thai style seating!
Excited to eat- Thai style seating!

Speaking of which-the food here was unreal. Thai dishes usually have very distinctive flavours and Pai carried on that tradition with gusto. Every dish we tried was simple, yet bursting with flavours.

Beware of the spice levels though!  They are not kidding when they say “spicy”!

Pai Menu
Pai menu
Thai Iced Tea
Thai Iced Tea

We started with some vegetarian spring rolls which had glass noodles, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and carrots. It was deep-fried to perfection. The dipping sauce was the star of this dish – just the right amount of heat to kick up the spring roll to the next level.

Vegetarian Spring Rolls
Vegetarian Spring Rolls

For the main courses, we ordered the Pad Gra Prow with chicken and the Khao Soi.

The Pad Gra Prow was a stir fried dish with chicken (or beef or pork), jasmine rice, fried egg, mixed with an oyster and basil sauce. On the side it was served with fish sauce, garlic, chili and lime. Any dish with a fried egg always wins my heart and stomach, so this was definitely a winner for me.

For dessert the Chef presented to us a specially-prepared coconut sorbet with peanuts, toasted coconuts and some sort of sweet tapioca topping- I honestly have no idea what it was! The combinations of these simple ingredients was magical. The coconut sorbet was perfect for a hot summer day in Toronto. It was just the right amount of sweetness and felt light after a flavourful meal.

If you are in Toronto and haven’t stopped by Pai yet, it’s time to book a table and see what the hype is about. I guarantee that you’ll love it. If I lived or worked near this place, I’d probably go broke from eating here very often!

Thank you to the Pai team for the great service and unforgettable meal. I will definitely be back, soon!

Categories: Eatery Critique

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