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REVIEW: Mengrai Thai – Summerlicious 2023

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Just a quick break between the Japan and LA posts, I wanted to share a review of a Thai restaurant I recently visited in Toronto as part of the Summerlicious program. I wanted to post my review soon so you have a chance to check out the restaurant during this promo if interested. Nonetheless, I will still provide my thoughts on other important areas so that if you do end up visiting this establishment whenever it may be, you know what to expect. Also, please note like all my other food reviews, this is a strictly vegetarian review. Before you read below, please follow on TiktokInstagram, and Facebook especially since I will be posting more food content and things to do in Toronto (and other places)! See below for a visual teaser!

@chiplifestyle

I can’t believe how many famous people came here, Allan was showing me. This is 1st time at #mengraithai & 1st time doing #summerlicioustoronto , read the review for why it wont be my last! #fyp #torontofood #thaifoodtoronto #vegetariantoronto #vegantoronto #torontofoodie

♬ i’M THE TREND – (G)I-DLE

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Location and About

mengrai thai newspaper article on the left and top right is the exterior of physical location, bottom right is inside with the various umbrellas on top

The restaurant itself is located at 82 Ontario St, Toronto, Ontario, which fun fact, is a two-minute walk from Kim’s Convenience. There are very few parking spots available in front of the door so I would suggest using the paid parking garage part of the condos nearby.

Mengrai Thai is a cozy restaurant that specializes in gourmet Northern Thai restaurant that also offers catering and hands-on cooking classes. The restaurant is led by award-winning chef Sasi Meechai and her business partner and husband, Allan Lim. Allan was the one who took our reservations, was really friendly and nice. He saw me take a picture of the photo they had on display of when Jessica Alba visited and he then showed me on his phone all the celebrities that came and visited the restaurant from Samuel L. Jackson, Jackie Chan, Rolling Stones and so much more (which can be seen in the video)! The image on the left is a photo of the printout they include in the menu which was nice to read about Chef Sasi Meechai.

Price

The price I paid per person for a three-course meal was $35. Why? Because it’s part of the Summerlicious celebration! Summerlicious is a program run by the City of Toronto where over 200 restaurants participate. Through this program, participating restaurants offer a three-course pre-fixed menu for lunch and dinner. You can select between six different price points (the cheapest is a $20 lunch and the most expensive is a $75 dinner). Make sure to check out the Summerlicious website to filter and search among the participating restaurants. The program this year is running from July 7 until July 23, 2023. Also, keep in mind that there is a Winterlicious program as well.

For Mengrai, although the menu says $39 it really is $35, and if you don’t eat meat you can choose between vegan and vegetarian items. I have to say for the number of things you get (all 3 appetizers, an entree, and dessert) it is a great deal. Tip: You can save 15% if you pay by cash and they also have an option to pay by e-transfer and of course, credit card. Also, the gratuity/tip was included in the final bill.

Taste

Since I went with two other people I ended up trying each of the menu items and will share my thoughts in each section below.

Appetizer

left to right: mango salad, Bangkok dumpling, Golden Flower with Tofu

The Golden Flower with Tofu is essentially a fried wonton which was really crispy and tasted great. It reminded me of a Tamil snack, appalalam with a savory flavour and crisp texture. The tofu cubes inside are nice and not too chewy. I feel like you can eat it with your hands and with some sauce, it can taste much better such as the sweet chilli sauce from the Bangkok dumpling. The Bangkok dumpling was not bad but it is a regular dumpling size piece which is a bit small, and the sweet chili sauce does have a little bit of a kick to it. The Mango Salad might be the favourite among us because there was something so satisfying and refreshing about eating these mango slices and bell peppers. I did eat this after the sweet Bangkok dumpling so that might be the reason why I felt a sharp cut, so I would recommend eating this first.

Main

top left: paid thai
top right: free white rice in a nice dish 
bottom left: vegetarian delight
bottom right: coconut green curry

I must say, the portions for each entree were really good and fair. I think it’s great if you do come with a few people to split amongst each other because even though it was three people, I felt a little full before dessert. All the curries were good but my favourite would be the vegetarian delight followed by the Pad Thai then the green curry. The soy-oyster mushroom sauce had a generous amount of umami which complemented the tofu, Bai Ling mushrooms, and mixed veggies (make sure to stir it up as a good amount of sauce is at the bottom). The Pad Thai was delicious as well and was comforting with a perfect amount of sauce mixed with a nice texture and the peanuts on top did add a nice crunch to the mix. I liked the green curry as well, especially the eggplant on the white rice (which came with both curries).

Dessert

mango sticky rice, mango cheesecake, red velvet cupcake

Last but not least, dessert! The mango sticky rice was an interesting item to eat since it was really warm and the sweetness of the mango pops out among the rice texture and coconut shredding. The vegan mango cheesecake wasn’t bad either but I found it a bit grainy and found the bottom a bit hard to eat and the fresh mango chunks inside a bit surprising. It still was good and I absolutely loved the colour! The best dessert out of all three would be the red velvet cupcake. It’s not vegan but it is vegetarian friendly and I love how soft and soothing each bite was.

Overall

left: Thai cultural piece and right: Chef Sasi Meechai with Jessica Alba

In conclusion, this was a great experience and I definitely recommend a visit here, especially during Summerlicious. I think for Summerlicious, you are certainly getting your money’s worth but even without it, the prices were fair and there are more menu items available. I can see myself going here and trying even more items in the near future. It would be interesting to see if Chef Sasi Meechai will add more vegan and vegetarian options in the future, but for now, I am thankful for the ones she has implemented in the menu! I hope this review helped and feel free to share it! If you have been here or are curious to try, let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on social media by following me on TiktokInstagram, and Facebook especially since I will be posting more food content in the near future!

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