Don’t let this restaurant’s name fool you: Salad King does not specialize in salads. Rather, it’s a Thai food hotspot intensely loved by Ryerson students, and it continues to gain popularity with other Torontonians at its new location near the busy Yonge-Dundas intersection.
Not that the old location was very far away, however. You might remember the collapse of the old Empress Hotel building at Gould St. and Yonge St. back in April 2010, just across the street from the current Salad King. That was where Salad King used to be located. While students last year mourned the loss of their quick, cheap, and delicious eatery, owner Ernest Liu reassured the public that it wouldn’t be the end. The Thai resto known affectionately as “the King” reopened its doors this February at the new location, and continues to serve Ryerson and downtown Toronto as it has for the past twenty years.
Salad King Exterior
by Shuichi Aizawa
Located on the second floor above Foot Locker on 340 Yonge St., Salad King shows its young, student-oriented design once you step inside. Right away you’ll notice the open dining room concept: the entire restaurant is basically one big room that can seat over 100 people. The lively atmosphere is filled with conversation and big groups of university classmates. Look around and you’ll notice the hip, clean décor that combines Buddhist imagery with high-contrast colours and eye-catching typography.
While there are seating booths like in many restaurants, the majority of the dining area is fitted with long stainless steel tables that each seat ten to twenty people. Chances are, when you dine here during typical lunch and dinner hours, you’ll be sitting beside random hungry patrons. If you prefer to sit at a more traditional and private dining area, go for the booths or the two- and four-seater tables by the windows that look out onto the bustling Yonge Street.
Golden Tofu by Andrea
Of course, for all the visual and seating designs, people really come to Salad King for the food. You’ll find many reasons for its enduring popularity once you read over the menu. First off, for the price-conscious, all dishes are under $10 — this is an eatery that caters to starving students, after all. Then, for spicy food lovers, you’ll be delighted to know that you can choose your spice level with your order, measured by the number of chili printed on the menu.
There’s also an impressive food selection, though there are only two salads on the menu. For appetizers, you can have chicken or beef satay skewers. Several soups are available, including variations on the spicy Tom Yum. In terms of entrées, there are many Thai favourites to choose from, many of them well spiced: Panang curry; meat dishes like lime leaf chicken or beef; Pattaya chicken; spicy squid and shrimp for seafood lovers; noodles like Phud Thai and Thai basil noodles served with veggies, chicken, or shrimp; yummy fried rice variations; and vegetarian selections featuring deep fried tofu with various veggies and sauces.
There are still more reasons to come back to Salad King. Their kitchen and serving staff are both very quick; it felt like my food arrived five minutes after my order. This is perfect for students who need to run off to their next lecture, but also ideal for any diner who appreciates fast service. And if you have a big appetite, fear not: the portion sizes are adequate, especially given the cheap prices. I could not finish my order of chicken ball fried rice, as deliciously fried as it was.
340 Yonge St., just north of Yonge-Dundas Square.
Monday to Thursday: 11:00 A.M.-10:00 P.M.
Friday: 11:00 A.M.-11:00 P.M.
Saturday: 12:00 P.M.-11:00 P.M.
Sunday: 12 P.M.-9:00 P.M.
416-593-0333 (call also for take-out)