Sukhothai is the only Thai restaurant that I'll always go back to now and then. The food is consistently delicious and arguably the most authentic Thai you can find here in Toronto (although the term "authentic" is rather ambiguous and any Thai food that originates from Thailand can be considered authentic, regardless of style).
The story behind Sukhothai is none the more captivating, as owners Jeff and Nuit Regular met while Jeff was traveling through Northern Thailand. They fell in love and proceeded to run a successful restaurant in the town of Pai. The locals loved Nuit's unique cooking style (as we do here) and years later upon moving to Canada they set up shop and opened Sukhothai.
In an earlier incarnation, Sukhothai started as a tiny hole-in-the-wall on Dundas and Parliament that was locally famous for the impeccable food quality. It became much talked about and hyped about, rising above the said mediocre others and quickly gained its reputation as the best Thai in the city. I'd attribute that to Nuit's perfectionist standards as she spends a lot of time sourcing fresh ingredients to recreate the smells and tastes of home which comes alive in every dish.
Their second location on Wellington boasts more space and a modern look, which also provides delivery to the locals who know to order ahead and pick up later. If you're dining in, be sure to make reservations, as the wait during weekends and weekday evenings can go as long as 30 to 45 min.
To start, I'd highly recommend the garlic shrimp served with their homemade sweet and sour garlic sauce. If crispy spring rolls are what you're into, take a bite out of Sukho's vegetarian rolls with glass noodles, mushrooms, carrots and beansprouts - also served with the sweet and sour sauce.
The house signature Pad Thai is a big hit with the customers. It has just the right hint of sweetness to it. Expect a Northern Thai version of this classic dish with crushed peanuts and fresh herbs tangled with rice noodles cooked to al dente perfection.
Get a little messy with the stir-fried garlic beef whilst you hold the glory of popping that fried egg which immediately cascades onto the pile of jasmine rice. It comes with a small side of sliced cucumbers, like a splash of cold water on a scorching day.
The Gaeng Garee is deliciously flavoured with yellow tumeric, but my top ranked curry has to go to the Gaeng Masaman; an aromatic coconut curry with peanuts, tamarind sauce, onions and deep fried shallots. It's an unspoken rule for me to order the Masaman every time I frequent this place. The Panang is also a good option if you want to dig your palate into other curry dishes.
If you're already capped for menu options and must pick which ones to forgo, might as well be the stir fried vegetables. They're a little underwhelming next to the other dishes, but still a fantastic vegetarian option if there's a person at your table that always insists on ordering a veggie dish.
My favourite dish is the Khao Soi, which is also aesthetically pleasing so you'll likely see many pictures of this on Yelp. A specialty from Northern Thailand, the yellow noodles boast a ton of texture in a curry gravy flavoured with coriander, green onions, coriander and light, crispy noodle perched atop. You really can't go wrong with this.
Sukhothai is moderately priced so you get great value for the price you pay. Perhaps it's worth noting the inconsistencies in the service, as the waitstaff weren't as pleasant during my first visit as the second time around. But all caveats aside, Sukhothai will instantly warm you up even on a stormy day. Literally. Like stepping into a faraway Northern Thailand kitchen with its homemade goodness in the comfort of your own city.
This post has been brought to you by a love for Thai food.