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Restaurants

King Palace

Posted by Joshua Chong / Reviewed on August 5, 2013 / review policy

King Palace TorontoKing Palace may be tucked out of sight at the Yonge and Church bend, but many have it pinned for their generous helpings at affordable rates. Nearly a decade in business (if you factor in time served at their former Richmond location), it's a popular stopover for taxi-folk and late-shifters due to its daily midnight curfew. While not exactly courtly in look, when other Pakistani kitchens have closed and you're central, King Palace may suddenly take on an air of regal proportions.

King Palace TorontoOnce nearby, you can't miss it. A wand-like, refitted donut sign looms imposingly over the lot and the wall adjacent to the entrance features a large-scale version of the menu. The modest seating and ambiance, as well, speaks to its former digs but it serves its purpose. If it's your first visit, the extensive glass counter actually seems to justify the near limitless number of combinations at your whim. Overwhelming for some patrons, indeed, but most goers will be impressed.

King Palace TorontoThe most divisive point about this spot is likely their reheating method. Like New York Subway on Queen, King Palace opts for the microwave shortcut, a fleet of them lit up, awhirl behind the counter. In addition to the juice I bet they consume, and the unsavoury effects of long-term exposure, they're a minor ear and eyesore for those who dine-in.

King Palace TorontoWish they had an oven in the back for those who don't mind waiting, but to be fair, there were no uneven hot or cool spots in the food which can often be the guilty outcome. Nonetheless, places like Lahore Tikka House, where dishes are made fresh to order and tend to be spicier, win hands down.

King Palace TorontoYou'll notice the counter is just about evenly divided between meat and vegetarian dishes and it's usually a tough go singling out just one or two mains. Most combos will run you $9 to $12 so it's worth going with friends so you can mix, match, and share. All combos are served with a drink and salad that comes with a refreshingly tangy yogurt-based dressing.

King Palace TorontoThe "black label" route is worth the extra dough, so to speak, for their deliciously soft, slightly toasted, not-too-buttery naan. Word of advice, though: commit to leftovers. Long after I was full, I found myself tearing off more naan to scoop up the saucy remainders.

King Palace TorontoWhich brings me to the main attractions. Luckily, I got to sample my fair share from both the meat and veggie camps. The butter chicken was unique in that its creamy sauce was sweeter than most I've had, and though their popular curry ginger chicken packed a nice punch, I found the chicken on the dry side, and did not taste any ginger whatsoever.

Out of all the poultry dishes, the boneless Kashmiri chicken was the most balanced in terms of spices and tenderness, thanks to its puree of garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, and sprigs of coriander. If I were to double up on meat, I'd opt for a chicken kebob as a side. Juicy and sumptuous, the majority of their recipes seem to have achieved the right textures and ratio of spices, and the kebobs were no exception.

The veggies held their own, too. A favourite was the bhindi masala, which is stir-fried okra with tomatoes, onions, and garlic that's sparked with the heat of red chilli and tumeric. The aloo baingan, an eggplant dish was not so distinguished in flavour profile, perhaps because that particular veggie absorbs oil so readily or that it was slightly overcooked.

As well I had come excited to try the palak paneer but unfortunately it had a much softer consistency than I prefer, the recipe otherwise pleasant. For this particular dish, I tend to enjoy indulging in curds of cheese that take on a meatier disposition. However, most vegetarians will be satisfied with their selection.

For instance, the channa masala could not really be faulted, its chickpea mixture quite mild tasting but still a satisfying counterpoint to the other rich flavours. The dal mash lentil dish was similar in this regard, proving that it's not all just comfort food here.

If you've still (somehow) got room leftover to eat, and you're looking to finish on a sweet note, I'd say the fruit cream with fresh strawberries and kiwi is the way to go.

King Palace Toronto

Discussion

20 Comments

Hector / February 4, 2011 at 11:58 pm
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This place is the best in Toronto for Indian food. I can't go anywhere else since. Their new location is Yonge/Church right behind the Toronto Reference Library and next to a carwash. Since trying this place on the recommendation of a friend, I've tried several "gourmet" Indian restaurants in the city and each has been watered down on spices and overpriced for what you get. Portions are big for $7-$11 dishes, the people are nice and it's somewhat reminiscent of a diner/fast food joint. It's the kind of place you get in and get out but man oh man is it the best. I go at least once every 2 weeks and am never disappointed. Try the chicken biryani combo or the chana masala.
Maria / September 20, 2011 at 08:30 pm
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umm this is completely Pakistani (including the owners) - not "Indian" food. So you cannot really compare with the Indian eateries. (Despite the "& Indian" outside which is done by many Pakistani restaurants to attract a wider clientele).
The kebabs could be better, but overall, awesome place. If nothing else, they make up for everything in the variety they offer. Never before have I seen this many varieties been offered in a Pakistani joint (i.e. away from home)
Abi / August 5, 2013 at 12:42 am
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Everything tou could want. Great selection, great taste! Everything I've had has been more than tasty I though...ALWAYS GOOD
Alex / August 5, 2013 at 06:34 am
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This place is the worst. Avoid this place at all costs. The food here can easily be substituted for rat food and the prices aren't cheap for food that's been festering in the open all day. It's a pure scam to serve food that has to be microwaved. Just filthy.
BillyO / August 5, 2013 at 07:53 am
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This place is horrible. Kathi Roll Express just down the street from here on Yonge is what this place should be: fresh, clean and good food at a reasonable price (plus no microwaves)
Yum / August 5, 2013 at 10:17 am
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There is also a King Palace at Sherbourne and Dundas and it is amazing also!!!
Lauren / August 5, 2013 at 10:44 am
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I've lived at Yonge/Bloor for ten years now and visit this place at least 1-2 times a month. I know several people who are afraid to try this place because of how it looks and how the they run things but it's one of the few places in Toronto where you can get legit Pakistani food. Never been sick, completely safe and cooked well. Don't be a wuss, try it.
Shawn replying to a comment from BillyO / August 5, 2013 at 02:01 pm
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You can't seriously be claiming that Kathi Roll Express is a reasonable price....aside from having to wait ~15-20 minutes when there's not that many people (which isn't good if you're on a lunch break), the jumbo paratha isn't substantially larger than a snack wrap at McDonalds. I was really disappointed with TKRE.
Shawn replying to a comment from BillyO / August 5, 2013 at 02:03 pm
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I accidentally clicked okay....but needless to say, I wasn't happy that I barely made it back in time to work from my lunch break and ~$8-9 got me nothing but a dry chicken lunch that was really an appetizer.
Ben / August 6, 2013 at 12:47 am
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@Yum The Dundas and Sherbourne restaurant is actually "King Place", a spinoff by an old employee. Pretty much the exact same food though, and well worth visiting.

I read the sign the same way the first time I saw it as well.
Umair Gorshani / August 6, 2013 at 11:28 am
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I can vouch for the authenticity of this Pakistani food, being that my family is from there. The butter chicken is decent at this joint - good for those taking their first foray into this kind of foods. And don't be fooled by the microwaves, this place is legit. The garlic naan is really tasty. The okra, when in season, is well worth the visit.
aa123 / August 6, 2013 at 02:13 pm
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I used to like eating there until a friend who lives in the condo on the next block told me how she frequently sees lots of rats in the back of the restaurant late into the night...
Ben Hargrove replying to a comment from aa123 / August 6, 2013 at 02:37 pm
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@aa123. You can't possibly judge a restaurant for the rats OUTSIDE of it. They're lurking in or near the dumpsters of all restaurants.
Bobby / August 6, 2013 at 06:09 pm
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Nah, heard this place was awesome but it's actually really expensive and just whatever in flavour, I spent over $12 on a small plate of chicken korma and naan, oh the salad was so bland and flavourless, a white tomato on top of iceberg with this white water dressing.
toronto dude / August 6, 2013 at 06:46 pm
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i love pakistani food so i tried this place a few years ago.i thought it was a good sign when i noticed all the cabbies frequenting the place thinking this must be pakistani food like their mother makes...huuuge mistake.....uggh....the place has all the food pre-cooked and sitting out in these metals tubs in the display counter. after they scoop the slop into a container they nuke it and then hand it off to you. it was so gross i would never go back but the cabbies still seem to love it.
KC / August 23, 2013 at 01:27 pm
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Just went there for my lunch break. Ordered the chicken korma with naan. The naan was delicious and the chicken was really spicy and flavourful. All meals come with a small sad looking plate of salad which I could do without. Would go back again.
Tina replying to a comment from BillyO / October 17, 2013 at 11:22 am
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You're probably a worker or owner of Kathi Roll Express right? I've been there twice and it sucks. Everything is bland and it takes forever for anything to come out. I waited 45 mins for the silken chicken wrap and it was no larger than the size of my hand. $10 for slow bland food. No thanks.
Sean Peters replying to a comment from Tina / November 2, 2013 at 01:29 pm
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You seem to be kidding,the silken is one of my favourites ,Tkre,the Dumpling place and the Capitano Burger are such a welcome change to this strip which is always devoid of good food.I live and work in the area and these are my lunch dinner options most of the times,not McDonald's .I feel that your tastes or preferences are different,not every food is for everyone,you might find something bland whereas others may find it flavourful or spicy.
Food Lover / November 26, 2013 at 09:24 pm
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I have visited both King Palace and TKRE. Both places offer delicious Indian and Pakistani food. KP has lots of choices, food might not be as fresh as Microwave is used but it still tastes good. I have tried many and their Beef or Chicken Chili are my favorites. TKRE on the other hand is good but I think it is the most expensive restuarant in that area. What one gets for 10-11$ is must less than any other Asian or South Asian restuarant. To the other food lovers, I would also suggest http://www.utsav.ca/.
Muhammad / April 3, 2014 at 07:46 pm
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This is the worst restaurant I have ever been to. After eating their tandoori chicken and rice combo, my stomach started to act up. I have been throwing up all day for two days and have made numerous trips to the washroom. I had gotten so sick that I had to go to the emergemcy.

Later on, I called the restaurant owner to let him know what happened and he refused to listen to what I had to say. I asked him why he served old food and microwaves them in an unsanitary way, and he did not respond to my question. I had let him know that it is very unethical to feed customers old meat.

I called the Poison Control Centre Canada and Public Health Canada and have informed them about this restaurant's poor and unsanitary standards that can result in various sicknesses.

Please avoid dining in this place at all means. It has gotten me so sick and I fear for other people who risk eating here. I'm looking forward to what the next inspection results will be for this place. I know without a doubt that they have failed all the standards by far in providing sanitary food.

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