Sukhothai (Canary District)
Sukhothai started out small but has blossomed to include locations on Wellington, Parliament, Dundas West, and this one in the Canary District, as well as other restaurants headed up by Chef Nuit Regular, Kiin, Pai, and Sabai Sabai.
The family-run business whips up what many would agree is Toronto’s best pad thai and khao soi, offering optional authentic Thai heat. Spot this microscopic Sukhothai outpost by their familiar elephant logo and neon signage spelling out the place’s name in Thai characters.
There are barely more than twenty seats in the space that shares the same industrial, modern, but exotic look as other Sukhothai locations.
There's an obtrusive pole in the middle of the room but lots of jungly plants and a central table that happily squeezes in way more hungry family members than it should be able to.
A special of lettuce cups filled with lemongrass beef, noodles, cabbage and cilantro served with Sukhothai’s ubiquitous sweet and spicy tangy dipping sauce starts us off. Attempt to fold the lettuce wrap in your hand burrito style and dip it in the sauce for a sweet, sour and savoury textural flavour bomb.
You’ll likely fail, but it’s all good as long as some of your contraption makes it to your taste buds.
Crispy shrimp rolls ($9) are adorably presented with shrimp tails sticking out of perfectly smooth wrappers tied with noodle bows. They’re super crunchy, the sweet, light, fluffy shrimp meat contrasting well with the sour sauce, and crushable at five pieces to an order.
Khao soi ($15.50) is just one of those classics that can be devoured with abandon over and over again. Thick noodles swim in a golden curry gravy with your choice of beef, chicken, tofu or shrimp, topped with fried noodles.
They add crunch at first, and as the dish goes on sink into the curry, evolving in texture. I always find the chunks of protein to be quite large in the khao soi here, but they’re tender enough to tear apart.
Lemongrass fish ($17) doesn’t bring the pop of heat or spices that many other dishes here do, but it’s an accessible sharing dish battered and fried to crispy perfection and you can always liven it up with a dip in that sauce. It’s served with rice and topped with chopped herbs, peppers and lime.
Signature swoon-worthy Thai iced tea ($4.50) stood in for the pints and cocktails available at some locations, still absent here during my visit. It’s sweet, creamy, rich, warmly spiced and refreshing.
Otherwise you could opt for lemongrass tea ($3) served hot or cold.
Expect to see those cocktails during a visit to Sukhothai, as well as a full patio.