Dee is a Thai restaurant with a space so photogenic, it might be worth a visit for the photos alone.
Located on a corner lot, the restaurant calls to pedestrians on the walking stretch of Yonge south of Eglinton with a patio and a glimpse of its brightly coloured walls through glass windows.
Walking into Dee feels like entering a painting, with an exuberate interior covered in elegantly chaotic splashes of colour, courtesy of renowned Thai artist May Zonzon.
A large canvas mural next to the bar acts as the restaurant's main attraction, with parrot and floral motifs surrounding an image of Sita — an avatar of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. Matching upholstery covers the couch seats that line the wall.
The owners are the same people behind the now shuttered Shanee on College. Hit items from there, like the fried cheese bites with tom yum sauce ($9), have keep a spot on Dee’s menu.
Spilling gooey cheese, this trio of cheese chunks goes well with a side of spicy and sour tom yum sauce, served with a wedge of lime.
Liu suan rolls ($10) are filled with veggies and colourful flowers, served with strawberry and mango sauce as well as Dee's signature sauce, a refreshing cilantro dip. Served on the same tray are the goon sarong ($9), deep fried shrimps in crispy rice noodles with sweet chilli sauce.
The yum khai dao ($18) is a mix of grilled chicken or fried soy with chopped fried eggs and onions, topped with an egg that's been baked to achieve a fluffy, cloud-like texture.
The signature Pad Thai is a standout dish for me, since not all Thai restaurants tend to nail the dish down quite the way I like it. The plate isn't too saucy and the texture of the noodles are just chewy enough.
Arriving on a big plate, it's served with crispy wonton wraps, shrimp chips, cashews and mangos with a choices like battered red snapper and grilled chicken.
There are also tiger prawns served in the shell, which are marinated, battered, then fried. For anyone who hasn't ventured into the realm of shell-eating, just know that you're missing out on all the flavour, especially when it tastes this good.
The Jim Jaew dishes come with different protein options, like tender strips of steak ($23) and chicken ($18) on a bed of rice, marinated for 11 hours in sweet and spicy jaew sauce.
Traditional Jim Jaew is super spicy, but at Dee the kick is toned down so you can enjoy the flavours without burning your mouth off.
All desserts here are made in-house. Dok jok ($9) are crispy, flower-shaped coconut cookies served with chocolate sauce and another Cha Yen sauce, flavoured like Thai iced tea.
Alua rose coconut candies top the mor gaen puekh, a flan made of taro for a sweet finish to our meal.