Asian cuisine in Toronto long surpassed your traditional run-of-the-mill take-out Chinese we knew a few years back. Now when someone mentions Asian restaurant, there are many Thai, Japanese or Asian-fusion inspired restaurants in our city you can choose from. And with so many options, there are different tastes, but they all share one ingredient: their deliciousness. Here are few Asian restaurants we think you should visit in Toronto:
Guu, although known around the town for some time now, was a pioneer that introduced small Japanese tapas in true Japanese bar-like Izakaya to Toronto scene. This restaurant is a Japanese equivalent of an old-fashioned sports bar. The patrons and staff are often yelling across the room, chanting hymns and songs or just talking, sometimes very loudly, with their table-mates. This restaurant might not be for everyone when it comes to a loud and thrilling type of dining, but for those who enjoy a bit of mayhem, Guu is a place to try. Most items on the menu are fairly inexpensive, since they are served tapas-style, so you are able to try a variety of flavours for fraction of a price. And the flavours! They serve almost anything from seafood to vegetarian options, grilled or deep-fried and seasoned with the best combinations. You can pair your meal with delicious Sake (rice wine), Umeshu (plum wine) or Shochu (Japanese vodka). And if you are not much into experimenting with your alcohol, they have cocktails and beer on tap!
190 University Avenue is 5-in-1 experience. Upon entering you will find Momofuku Noodle Bar on the ground floor, accompanied with Momofuku Nikai, Daishō, Shōtō, and Milk Bar all on subsequent floors. All these restaurants are Asian-inspired eateries, together creating a true experience for any adventurous foodie with a taste for comforting ramen or steamy buns. The menu is ever-changing and always sourced locally, so if you have the same meal twice, it may taste totally different, or it's possible, it will be long gone from the menu. Better head there now, to make sure you don't miss out on something!
Pai still has some of their patrons in a twist. Presenting itself as a traditional Asian restaurant, they serve very specifically selected Northern Thai food in a setting, that could, at first glance, seem very traditional. If you look closely, though, you will notice the irony and humour in the decor; for instance, two drawings that are made to look like the classic image of the Buddha, are actually Brooklyn-esque hipsters. There are many moments where you find similar decorations. On the other hand, Pai serves impressive portions that feel authentic despite the confusing setting you find yourself in. If you can stomach the strange atmosphere and decor, you will be rewarded with delicious food (and lots of it).
There's one thing sure in Toronto and that is the fact, Chef Susur Lee knows his Asian cuisine. From perfect Asian-inspired appetizers to main courses that embrace the strangeness of Asian-french inspired flavours typical for Lee, there's not one bad dish on the menu. But the food itself might not be the most memorable part for a visitor, considering the stunning decor that compliments the whole vibe of this restaurant. Channeling part expensive nightclub/casino vibe with glowing neon signs and red reflective glass wall, another part upscale hip eatery with exposed bricks and beams, Lee brings his schizophreniac conjunction even in decor. But the truth is, it works. Pairing traditional Asian flavours with French-cousin techniques and bold red decor with modest and elegant seating gives this place a truly unique vibe that compels you to come back for another bite.
Address: 326 Adelaide Street W.
Jamie's Review: Coming soon
Kiin is a very different and luxurious experience. Inspired by the old Royal Thai cuisine, their menu consists of almost forgotten recipes that were originally only served in the Royal Palace. Chef Nuit and Jeff Regular decided to bring back tradition and tastes of old Thailand. Inspired by Chef Nuit's childhood and with a bit of an architectural flair, Kiin serves intricate dishes that are fascinating to both see and taste. Not only the serving of the dishes but also the decor screams royal. Upon entering, you might feel overwhelmed by the amount of gold and shimmer, that is even more prominent in the daylight provided from french windows decorating one whole wall. Even though the restaurant is decorated in gold, the whole place has a very elegant flair thanks to the beautiful wooden bar and deep sea-green seating. You truly might feel like a royal upon entering.