There are lots of Thai restaurants to choose from here in Toronto, each with their own take on Thai classics such as pad thai, chicken with peanut sauce, and green curry. The one restaurant I consistently go back to, however, is The Friendly Thai on Yonge and Isabella, because of its location, tasty dishes, and price.
The Friendly Thai actually has several locations in Toronto, but finding all of them is quite a challenge. The website friendlythai.com provides the address to two locations, 678 Yonge St. and 810 Bloor St. W. There is another website, myfriendlythai.com, which provides information on a Friendly Thai location at Roncesvalles and High Park. However, a quick keyword search on the internet yields additional Friendly Thais at Queen St. W. and Manning; at Queen St. E and Curzon in Leslieville; at 3032 Dundas St. W. close to Keele St.; and a location uptown at 961 Eglinton Ave. E. close to Bathurst St.
Whether this is a symptom of confusing management is up for debate; blogTO published a story in 2009 where the author attempted to contact and locate all operating Friendly Thai restaurants, to no avail. However, I will say that in all the times I visited the Yonge St. location, I have never had a problem with the service or the food. Its location on Yonge St. and Isabella St. is also a big plus for anyone looking for Thai food while in the downtown core.
One of the things I enjoy about The Friendly Thai is its food selection. The menu is categorized in a similar manner to many Asian restaurants: appetizers, rice and noodle-based dishes, and meat and veggie-based dishes. Each section presents an abundance of possibilities to choose from.
Appetizers include hot and cold spring rolls, Thai chicken wings, a wide variety of soups, salads, and an appetizer platter to sample a little bit of everything. The rice and noodle dishes include pad thai done in three different ways, an assortment of fried rice, and sticky rice with peanut sauce. For the meat and vegetable dishes, Friendly Thai offers beef and lamb options, including the popular curry option, a delicious array of chicken dishes (marinated and grilled; with ginger, basil, lemongrass, cashew nut, mango, or peanut sauce), many shrimp entrées (like the intriguing crispy shrimp with lychee), and lots of vegetable options such as Thai eggplant, mixed vegetable and cashew nut in coconut sauce, and a personal favourite, the mango tofu. And if you feel that still isn’t enough, the restaurant also serves Malaysian satay and curry.
Finally, I dine at The Friendly Thai regularly because of its great prices. Vegetarian spring rolls are $3.99, salads and soups run from $4.99 to $9.99, and entrées generally go from $10.99 to $12.99, with salmon and the combination satay topping out at $16.99. I will mention that a bowl of steamed rice costs a few dollars extra. Also, during my recent visit, I noticed the eatery was offering $5.95 lunch specials.
So, if you and your friends find yourselves wandering on Yonge St. searching for a decent meal, or if you like affordable, tasty Thai food, I recommend visiting The Friendly Thai on Yonge. It’s open 7 days a week, from 11:30a.m. to midnight.
Location and Hours of Operation
Address: 678 Yonge St.
Phone contact: (416) 924 – 8424 (THAI), (416) 924 – 5804
Hour of operation: 11:30 am to Midnight 7 days a week
All pictures courtesy of Friendly Thai on Yonge.