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“One of my best meals ever” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Banh Mi Boys

Banh Mi Boys
392 Queen West, Toronto, Ontario M5V 2A9, Canada
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Ranked #63 of 6,995 Restaurants in Toronto
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Cuisines: Vietnamese
Dining options: Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night
Toronto, Canada
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“One of my best meals ever”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2013

Had the Squid taco as recommended from one of my friends.
After some hesitation and convincing i decided to order it.
I must say it was the best taco i have ever had.
The ingredients were super fresh, the sauces were really light and flavourful.
I highly recommend this place!
Thankfully i do not work nearby or else i would eat here everyday.
I will be visiting this place again forsure!

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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130 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

Ordered the 5-spice Pork Belly Steam Bao and the Kalbi Beef Taco. The kalbi taco tasted great but the meat was slightly overcooked. The pork belly steam bao, on the other hand, was tender and succulent. I loved the 5-spice flavouring and all the pickled vegetables that went in it. It is also great value for your $$$ - two small sandwiches and a coconut juice drink was $10.15. Menu is limited but every item on is supposedly good! Will go back again and again and again....

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
63 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Great lunch spot”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

My first glimpse of a banh mi was in Asian supermarkets when I was younger. They looked unappealing, an unsightly bland combination of cold cuts and slivers of vegetables in a cold bun all saran wrapped together.

Banh Mi Boy’s version unquestionably differs from my childhood memory. The kalbi beef banh mi ($5.99) arrives with hot pieces of meat topped with kimchi, pickled carrots & daikon, cucumbers and cilantro all sandwiched between a warm toasted bun. A tangy Asian sauce tops the meat, which was unanticipated as I expected the sauce to be sweet and garlicky like the kalbi sauce at Korean restaurants.

The short ribs were tender and a good portion of vegetables were placed into the bread so that the bread to filling ratio is 50/50. The customer gets to choose the spiciness level of the sandwich (essentially how much sarachi sauce gets squeezed on). I chose “medium” and although it didn’t seem spicy at first, the last half of the sandwich certainly had some heat as it slowly accumulates with the kimchi sauce.

Bánh mì is really the Vietnamese term for bread and is influenced by the French baguette. I wouldn’t describe Banh Mi Boy’s bread to be baguette like, but rather softer, dryer and cased in a thin crumbly crust. Overall, it was a decent sandwich, though I wish they pulled out some of the middle of the bread so that it didn’t get as soggy. Although it was filled with a lot of ingredients, I still found that there was too much tasteless bread for my liking.

In my mind, they should have called the place Bao Boys, I know it really doesn’t have the same ring to it. But, the highlight of their menu is not their namesake but rather the steamed bao ($3.49). Mine was stuffed with a substantial portion of braised beef cheek, juicy and tender and caramelized in a sweet hoisin tasting sauce. The pickled carrots, slices of cucumber and sprigs of cilantro helped to lighten the bao.
All wrapped up in a hot soft white steam bun Banh Mi Boy’s version easily rivals the one found at Momofuku at a fraction of the cost.

Banh Mi Boy’s tacos ($3.99) are also tasty and superior to their sandwich. Their taco shell was interesting and unlike any other I’ve tried. Its texture is almost like a mixture between a tortilla shell and roti so that it was a bit chewy. I enjoyed that they toasted it up so that the edges were slightly crispy. The squid version I tried consisted of deep fried calamari rings topped with creamy lime vinaigrette, purple cabbage coleslaw, the customary pickled carrots and daikon and a little bit of cilantro. There was so much filling that eating it got slightly messy. However, since the squid is relatively it got somewhat lost is everything. I think one of the stronger proteins such as the braised beef cheek, grilled chicken or pork belly would stand up better in the taco.

For other blog readers, you may notice one key item not reviewed here - everyone raves about their kimchi fries, essentially a poutine made from kimchi, mayo and pulled pork. However, after reading a Toronto Star article that clocks it in at 1,180 calories and 86 grams of fat, it seemed a bit generous for one. I should have never read the article given ignorance is bliss (sorry for ruining it for you). But, will eventually try it if a few people agree to split it with me so that I can limit the indulgence to a quarter of the poutine.

As a warning, arrive early if you want to beat the lunch time rush and avoid Fridays at all costs if you don’t like lines. I made the mistake of going on Friday on my first visit and found it be mayhem. Further visits, during the beginning of the week, were much better with less than a two minute wait and actually being able to sit and dine there.

Although the initial ordering and payment line moves quickly, you then have to wait in another line to get your food which moves at a much slower pace. My visits were at the Yonge and Gerrard location and found the layout awkward. The single trash can is placed near the cash register so that everyone leaving has to manoeuver through the line-ups adding to the congestion. Patience and constant moving around to allow people in and out of the space is required if you’d like to survive the lunch hour here. But, if you go just before noon on a Monday, you can happily enjoy a steamed bao at Bao Boys (will that ever catch on)?

For pictures of the above please visit http://gastroworldblog.blogspot.ca/2013/07/banh-mi-boys-toronto.html

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“Excellent food. Busy place.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013 via mobile

Everything my family and I had was absolutely amazing. Kimchi fries were delicious and a meal on its own. The sandwiches were great - very tasty, you can't go wrong with anything you order.

But get there early. As close to 11 as possible! This place gets busy fast! Wish I lived in Toronto so I could go back :).

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Awesome Asian Sandwich Shop”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

Kimchi fries are great, my favourite dish there. A total new spin on poutine that takes the show. Great sandwiches and flavours. Wonderful and congratulations to the owners and team.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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