Toronto certainly has its share of Thai spots, but none do it with the flair of CHIANG MAI. Contemporary and flashy are what come to mind when stepping into this Etobicoke location at 84 Park Lawn.
High ceilings, bright interior, intimate booths and sleek design make this space feel right away like a special experience. Our eyes kept migrating to gorgeous cocktails coming from the bar, just breathtakingly beautiful. And lucky for us, their ’22 Summer Cocktail selection is highlighted by some stunning Mojitos.
Since launching in 2019 and going-on to win two back-to-back Toronto Star Readers’ Choice Awards, the momentum keeps going for what has since become a Franchise, with locations opening on the Danforth and also Liberty Village. Those of you north of the City will wonder if there might be any relation to popular Chiang Rai, and we can confirm yes, there is! Though the Pandemic resulted in some altering of course, they became a huge hit among locals on the neighbouring strip of condos and now that indoor dining is back, the flow of traffic seems endless on weekends. We hear their picturesque patio will be back as well in coming weeks, meaning some extra chances for those trying to nab a table.
Giamena, Manager of Chiang Mai’s Park Lawn location, tells us what makes them stand out from the others is their insistence in using authentic, fresh ingredients. Many ingredients are imported and we learned for one of their signature dishes Holy Basil, the herb is actually brought-in fresh every few days from a special distributor. One of their exciting upcoming new Cocktails, the Dragonfruit Mojito contains both scoops of white and red dragonfruit, the latter a bit harder to find locally. Trust me, we noticed the little details and commitment to honouring Thai tradition. Chiang Mai does all this and does it in a way that is accessible, thoughtful, trendy, and romantic.
You’d think from how I’m talking this up that a meal here would cost you an arm and a leg, but the value is the most amazing thing about Chiang Mai. Portions are beyond generous, presentation impeccable – maybe even too pretty to eat at times!
If you’re concerned about spice level, diners can customize to their own preferences. But if like me, you live for hot sauce, you must ask for their homemade Chili Oil with Garlic. Many customers apparently buy it by the bottle it’s so good! And it is!
The signature Famous Pad Thai comes with a variety of different protein options including, yes, LOBSTER. And yes, confirmed, you get a beautiful meaty portion with your order. If you love Tom Yum Soup, you’ll love their Tom Yum Pad Thai, boasting fragrant lemongrass notes and savoury Tom Yum Paste. They offer an extra-large Hot Pot-style portion of Tom Yum Soup also, which isn’t listed on the Menu. The Khao Soi is a must-have with egg noodles soaked in a golden curry sauce, adorned with a Tornado Twist of crunchy egg noodles. We lost count of the tables ordering the eye-catching Pineapple Fried Rice.
Looking for an appetizer to share? The Thai Shrimp Rolls were a hit and if you have any room at all for dessert – doubt it – their Mango Sticky Rice (coloured with Blue Butterfly Pea) is the thing to get.
Again, these are staple dishes you can get at many other places, but others don’t give it the glossy finish, innovation and love that Chiang Mai does.