Chiang Mai Etobicoke
Chiang Mai is a stylish Thai spot serving up cocktails and modern renditions of traditional dishes.
It sits in a fairly new plaza located on budding Park Lawn, built to service the growing number of condo-dwellers in the Humber Bay area.
The decor alone is enough to qualify this restaurant as one of the best destinations for a night out in the area, with impressive 24-foot-ceilings and fashionable red and teal banquettes.
It's a versatile space, with cozy booths for intimate dates or meetings, while a giant TV adds a little sports-bar vibe.
Looks aren't everything, though, so it's a good thing the menu is on par with the aesthetic.
Presentation is obviously important here: even simple dishes like the Thai shrimp rolls ($9) come neatly arranged with Thai sweet and sour sauce.
Sweet and tangy lemongrass soup ($9) comes in a metal soup heater with a candle in the centre. Using shrimp paste, galangal (a ginger-like root) and kaffir lime, it's flavourful and pretty sizeable, too.
You can never really go wrong with khao soi, and this recipe's pretty fool-proof, using fresh egg noodles in a golden curry. You can get it with chicken ($16) or shrimp ($17).
It's always good to judge a Thai spot by its pad thai, in which case, these rice noodles are do the place justice.
The noodles manage to maintain the perfect amount of chew even after sitting in the tamarind sauce for a while. Get it with veggies ($12), chicken, beef, or shrimp ($16).
Shrimp fried pineapple rice ($16) comes spilling out of an actual pineapple, and is as fun to look at as it is to eat.
For dessert, house-made coconut ice cream is a vacay-worthy reat, coming inside a young coconut bedazzled with cocktail umbrellas and drizzled with raspberry and chocolate sauce.
A Thai iced tea is non-negotiable here, using black tea imported from Thailand.
A menu of specially-crafted cocktails, all $13, includes the Tamarind Margarita, a simple concoction made with Tequila Gold, brown sugar, and tamarind syrup.
The food at Chiang Mai is good enough to lure most customers in to a humble hole-in-the-wall, but still, it helps that the inside of the restaurant is pretty nice to look at too.