Anyone who has been living in downtown Toronto for a long time knows that Young Thailand is something of a legend in the Toronto restaurant scene. I remember visiting their original location at Queen and John (now the Umbra store) many years ago. They now have two locations, although this article features their location at 446 Parliament Street, and 934 King Street West.
Young Thailand claims to be the first Thai restaurant in Canada and first opened in 1980. The original owner Wandee Young ran the business at its former location. Although Young Thailand changed hands when it moved to the Parliament location about six years ago, Wandee's son is still the head chef and is carrying on the same tradition of bringing authentic Thai cooking to downtown diners. The current owners Nida and Dang continue to carry on the tradition of excellence that Young Thailand has built up over the last 35 years.
The interior is clean and modern with a lot of lovely decorations and excellent lighting. A ramp up the centre of the room divides the diningroom into three areas, offering a cozy atmosphere while also offering lots of seating. Our group sat near the window and found the atmosphere to be relaxing and spacious. Although we visited on a quiet night, the layout would still be comfortable with a full diningroom.
The most popular dishes are Royal Pad Thai, Cashew Nut Chicken and Tamarind Duck. The King Street location opened about 8-10 years ago and is open every day. (open for dinner only on Sunday)
Young Thailand Parliament Street Diningroom
Young Thailand King Street Diningroom
Served with a warm peanut sauce these chips are crunchy with a nice spice.
This generous helping of beautifully flavoured beef is topped with crispy red onions. Has a distinct flavour with a tinge of lemon.
Spicy Thai Salad
A crisp salad with fresh vegetables, chicken and shrimp. There was just enough dressing and the taste was nice and sweet.
The lemongrass soup was an excellent contrast to the salad. Two of us had shrimp, and one order with tofu. There is a tanginess that comes through the spicy flavour of the soup. We are told that this is from the sweetness of the vegetable broth.
Royal Pad Thai with Chicken
An interesting presentation for Pad Thai, this dish comes wrapped in a golden egg crust with crushed peanuts, spouts and onions. The taste was light and pleasantly mild.
A rich tasting dish served with rice, the basil shrimp were perfectly cooked and the vegetables were fresh. Not too spicy, but we are told that it can be made hotter if you like.
Cashew Nut Tofu
A very interesting dish, the cashew nut tofu was sweet and spicy with slightly crispy tofu. There was a surprise of mango pieces within the dish which added a very pleasant contrast to the sauce. If you're interested in a vegetarian dish, this is definitely it!
We have a very nice time at Young Thailand. The chef did a great job and our host Molly was very friendly and helpful in explaining the food and the history the restaurant. If you're in the area and looking for a great meal you should definitely stop in at Young Thailand. They'll be launching a new menu soon so look for it in the fall/winter of 2015.