Nestled in a cozy basement spot right in the heart of Toronto is Sabai Sabai. Located at 81 Bloor Street East, you might walk by and not notice it, but down a few steps is a bustling and super hip bar and restaurant offering up a unique menu of traditional northern Thai and Laos dishes in a funky, casual atmosphere.
Owner Jason Jiang and his partner started the business a few years ago down in the Church and Wellesley area. As the story goes they became friends with Chef Nuit and her partner Jeff who run the well-known Pai restaurant in downtown Toronto. The group decided to work together to start Sabai Sabai, offering a lighter menu and incorporating some aspects of Laos cuisine, since the owners are originally from Laos, which shares a border with the northern part of Thailand.
The original location was scheduled for redevelopment, so the team moved to the current Bloor Street location in September of 2016. They have already become a favourite spot for both workers and residents in the area, as well as encouraging many of their old patrons to venture a bit further north to the new spot.
We first tried the morning glory, which is a tropical plant prepared with both the shoots and leaves. The dish was cooked and served in a delicious sauce that brought out the excellent flavour of the vegetable but wasn't too spicy or oily. Overall an excellent and fresh tasting start to a meal.
Pad Ka Pow
Next we tried the Pad Ka Pow which is a pork dish served with rice and an egg on a bed of vegetables. The pork was prepared with a sweet sauce and basil. The sauce was a bit spicy but not too much for most people. The egg was a nice touch and the presentation was great.
Lettuce Wrap with Chicken
Finally we tried the lettuce wrap with chicken. The chicken was minced and had a light and refreshing flavour with the basil. The crispy shallots and fresh looking presentation made it a very nice light dish.
If you live or work in the Bloor and Yonge area of Toronto or are just looking for a unique and comfortable spot for drinks and some delicious food with friends then Sabai Sabai is definitely worth a visit.