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Restaurants

Sabai Sabai

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on December 10, 2012 / review policy

Sabai SabaiSabai Sabai is the new thai kitchen and bar helmed by chef Nuit Regular of the ever popular Khao San Road. The new 65-seat eatery sits just south of Dundas on Church in the space formerly occupied by Wimpy's Diner and more recently the Tropical Palms.

Co-owners Nuit Regular, Jason Jiang and Seng Luong are ready to offer a fast, filling lunches and an evening menu of small, modestly priced sharing plates to sample alongside a full bar menu that includes Beerlao (the national beer of Laos) as well as Ontario wines and Thai inspired cocktails.

Sabai SabaiThe eclectic interior aspires to recreate the feeling of being in Thailand with brightly coloured collages of vintage graphics and oversized posters mounted on neutral toned walls. Comfortable booths offer relaxed seating for small groups and a private dining area in the back provides room for large parties up to 16.

Sabai SabaiChef Nuit Regular notes that at Khao San Road patrons typically order the same dish again and again, but here she hopes to find an outlet to experiment and introduce Torontonians to Thai cuisine that goes beyond traditional Pad Thai and curry options.

Though the lunch menu features hearty a la carte options, the dinner format features a snack bar menu to encourage sharing, tasting and drinking. Sharing plates like The Grilled Northern Thai Pork Skewer ($5) offer four generous skewers of salty grilled meat so flavourful that it hardly requires the accompanying dipping sauce.

Sabai SabaiThe Grilled Pork Salad ($5) sees crispy bite-sized pieces of pork lightly dressed and served with a simple Asian slaw.

Sabai SabaiThe Steamed Curry Fish in Banana Leaf ($5) arrives alongside the Crispy Fried Fish with Tangy Tamarind Sauce ($6). Though the curry flavours in the steamed fish offer some nice spice, I don't especially love the fish-cake texture. The fried fish on the other hand is perfect and fried to a golden crisp that leaves me considering a second order.

Sabai SabaiThe Morning Glory ($6) is an off-the-menu Asian green sometimes known as Chinese spinach. Here it is lightly sauced with chili, tamarind and fish sauce before being flambeed in a wok and served steaming hot.

For Sabai Sabai's three co-owners - who all hail from Thailand or Laos - the menu offers many authentic comforts from home. For me it is instead, all deliciously new and a welcome alternative to the standard Thai fare available throughout the city.

Sabai SabaiSabai SabaiSabai SabaiSabai Sabai is open for lunch 11:30am to 2:30pm and for dinner from 5:30pm to 11pm. Reservations are accepted.

Photos by Morris Lum

Discussion

9 Comments

duder / December 10, 2012 at 11:09 am
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Beerlao! I've been looking far and wide for that stuff...can't wait to try out this joint.
jordybobby / December 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm
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nuit regular is a boss
Matt / December 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm
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I ate here for my first time a couple of nights ago. Brilliant food, greats servers, awesome atmosphere. I love the communal wooden tables. Going back this week. Such a welcome addition to the neighbourhood.
SillyGoose / December 10, 2012 at 01:07 pm
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The red-haired waiter who served me was most disconcerting. He repeatedly remarked upon my soft blue eyes and young looking face...he also had weird dance moves. He repeatedly referred to my girlfriend as "Khaleesi"...it was later explained to me that this is a reference to Game of Thrones. When I asked for his name he told me that we could refer to him as "Big Daddy", unclear if this was a reference to the Adam Sandler film. Food was good though.
brent / December 12, 2012 at 02:11 pm
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Incredible that in a city like Toronto, with such a multicultural population that surely includes many Thais, nobody other than Chef Nuit is willing to make good, authentic Thai food. Seriously, it’s not even close. It should be and can be, but everywhere else sits back and churns out overly ketchupy noodles and bland soups/curries.
Kelly / December 17, 2012 at 01:02 pm
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best tom yum ever i had! do not mind to go back there!!!!
AK / January 4, 2013 at 08:23 pm
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I'm a Lao girl who painfully misses her mom's cooking. I highly recommend this place for authentic food from the Laos/Thailand region. The green papaya salad, morning glory stir fry and the shrimp in panang curry was legit. Can't wait to bring my parents here when they visit and I hope Sabai Sabai expands their menu in the newar future!
AA / February 13, 2013 at 02:22 pm
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This place is great!

The owner, Seng Luong, organized for our party of 4 to have a chef's tasting menu, complete with Beer Lao.

It was a great dining experience. Will be back for sure.
Heather / March 5, 2013 at 11:41 pm
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So yummy! Went there for lunch around a month ago and the place was empty. Went back for dinner a few weeks ago and the place was packed...Excellent value for your money (especially at lunch)
My partner and I shared the fried fish and beef massaman curry at lunch and we were more wonderfully satiated.
At dinner the highlights were the tom yum soup and the khao soi noodles (can you say lick the bowl!!!) The grilled pork salad was an interesting and tasty dish compared to what you get in a lot TO's Thai restaurants.

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