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“Great Food, Great Ambiance, Great Service, Great Price, Great Line Up....”
Review of Khao San Road

Khao San Road
Ranked #113 of 8,473 Restaurants in Toronto
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Asian, Thai
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Highchairs Available, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer
Neighborhood: Downtown West
Toronto
Level Contributor
289 reviews
201 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
“Great Food, Great Ambiance, Great Service, Great Price, Great Line Up....”
Reviewed April 22, 2013

I don't quite get it. Maybe I'm getting grumpy, but I can't get my brain around the idea of standing in line for hours, or waiting for hours to get something to eat and have to pay for it. I'd stand in line for free things. So, let's this out of the way. You need to stand in line. Because they don't take reservations.

What I do get is that the reason why there are line ups and why they don't reservations is because the food, ambiance service and price are great, and because they don't have to.

This place has been on my radar for some time -- I was discouraged by the line up several weeks ago, but given a few hours when we had to be downtown with time to kill, we decided to bear the wait (hanging out at The Rivoli), as the food, we had heard, is excellent.

And it is.

We had their pad thai -- and it's fabulous -- maybe once in a while you'll get a better rendition of this remarkably over served dish, but this was right up there in terms of being the best.

We also had a beef curry with noodles -- something I've never quite had the same of in any other Thai restaurant, and it was lovely. Spicy, flavourful, and was a nice foil to the slightly sweet pad thai.

That, and the rice crackers and a shared tapioca dessert, and one walks out the door happily sated for under $50.00.

If you can bear the line up -- go for it. If not, go for a drink and give them your phone number. Just don't be starving.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank StephenM465
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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417 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
NSW, Australia
Level Contributor
198 reviews
105 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 145 helpful votes
“Good Thai,tasty and hot”
Reviewed April 21, 2013 via mobile

On a cold Toronto spring night, nothing beats a nice hot curry and this did not disappoint. It was packed at 9 pm and I decided on take out. It was 30 mins wait but was worth it. The portion sizes are a lot smaller than what I am used to, but the quality is fantastic. Would eat here again

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank Portia1972
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barrie, Ontario
Level Contributor
103 reviews
59 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Good food but service is odd, portions a bit small”
Reviewed April 14, 2013 via mobile

Can be very busy so go early. Limited drink menu. I told server I needed gluten free choice but he chastised me later for not stating allergy. I would think saying I need GF would be equivalent to declaring I have an allergy. Good tasted great but portions were smaller than average and I was hungry after. Massive group waiting outside when we left so I guess most don't mind my complaints.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank melmobarrie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
64 reviews
63 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“The food is good, but there are other options”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

Khao San Road is a location in Thailand where backpackers go for reasonably priced hotels, bars & partying and right before Thailand’s New Year the Songkran festival. The festival marks the start of the year where people splash water on each other to express love and goodwill towards each other; after all, what could be friendlier than getting a bucket of water in the face? The Khao San Road in Toronto follows custom by organizing a water fight in April, if you’d like to join in the tradition without leaving the city. On this visit we didn’t partake in the water fight but just enjoyed the food.
Ordering “family style” we tried a number of dishes. To start we had two deep fried appetizers. First up was the arhan whang taud samoon prai (deep fried garlic shrimp) ($10) consisting of six butterflied shrimps coated in garlic, spices & breadcrumbs and then deep fried. The waft of garlic hits your nose as soon as the dish arrives. However, it’s not overpowering in taste, especially if you dip it into the accompanying sweet tamarind sauce. There is a hint of spice in the batter so you’re left with a hint of heat on the tongue. The dish is definitely worth a try.
For the second appetizer we tried gra bong (fried squash fritters) ($10), which is an impressive looking dish with the plumes of deep fried tendrils. Made from spaghetti squash, the fritters are sweet and remind me of a crispier funnel cake. If you like batter then this is the dish for you; for me it was a bit much and I wouldn’t order again.

Khao San Road offers patrons a choice, in most dishes, of:
Protein – tofu, chicken, beef, pork or with a $1 supplement shrimp; and
Level of spiciness - mild, medium or spicy. We opted for medium to be safe, but with the exception of the green curry I couldn’t really taste much heat. Accordingly, feel free to order up a level!

One of my favourite dishes of the night was the gaeng kaew wan (green curry) ($13). Tender pieces of chicken breast were mixed with bell peppers, bamboo shoots, Thai basil and Kaffir lime leaves in a green chilies and coconut milk sauce. I normally don’t like coconut milk, but it had just the right amount to add to its aroma and give the sauce a rich taste. Although it comes with a bowl of rice, there simply isn’t enough of it for the quantity of curry you’re given. Tip, order a side of jasmine rice ($3) so that you can eat ever last drop of the delicious curry.

It’s refreshing to see pad thai that’s not bright red, but rather a caramel colour, which is more in line with the noodles I had in Thailand. Khao’s Sam Roas (Chef’s special pad thai) ($15) is less saucy, but still has a robust flavour which is more sour /savoury and less sweet than you may be used to. I liked it but wasn’t blown away. I can’t put my finger on what I felt the dish was lacking; it could be it wasn’t spicy enough or I’m so used to pad thai having the crunch of bean sprouts and other vegetables that I miss them in this dish.

The pad phed pha (beef with red curry paste and vegetables) ($13) was the most disappointing dish of the evening. Even though the beef was tender, there wasn’t a memorable taste; I recall it was savoury, had a hint of spice, but was mostly oily tasting. The dish arrives disheveled looking compared to other dishes. The dish could benefit from being plated like the green curry – sauce in bowl and rice in another bowl on the side – given it’d look more appealing and the oil would pool at the bottom.

Khao San Road’s wine list is written on a chalk board. Depending on where you’re sitting, it can be quite difficult to read. We ended up getting a bottle of the Dienhard “green label” riesling ($32) which was quite good for the price. Fruity and crisp tasting, without being overly sweet, the wine went well with the spicy food.

Ultimately, the meal was respectable. The mark Khao San Road earned could have been a 7, but I’d likely not return due to their no reservation policy. After two failed attempts, I was finally able to try the restaurant by opting to go by 6:00 on a Wednesday evening. Luckily, we only waited for 10 minutes. But, upon leaving at 7:30 there was a huge line out the doors. Maybe others don’t mind the wait, but it’s not for me.

Khao’s food was good, but I visit a Malaysian restaurant called Restoran Malaysia that tastes very similar. But Restoran Malaysia takes reservations, offers a more extensive menu and the serves larger dishes that cost less. So, next time I’m craving spicy comfort carbs, I’ll just make my way up north.

My full experience is above; if you’d like to see pictures of the dishes that accompany the review above please visit Gastroworld. You can find the link by clicking on my picture  full profile  under “about me”

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Gastro_World
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
“Amazing Pad Thai!”
Reviewed April 3, 2013

This place has the best Pat Thai I have ever had ever!!! All the items on their menu is delicious, including squash fritters and their curry!

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank foodies808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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