With winter on the horizon, an onslaught of blowing snow and below-freezing temperatures are right around the corner, whether we’re ready for it or not. Determined to make the shut-in season a little more bearable, we’ve gathered a repertoire of the best Thai to titillate your taste buds. Whether you prefer exclusively authentic or westernized fusion, each of these spots offers a unique take on the spicy sustenance and is sure to add a little heat to your hibernation.
This Murray Street restaurant, which opened in 2004, celebrated their certification of authenticity from the Royal Thai Government in the summer of 2019. The Thai Select designation, which has been handed out to only three other Ottawa area restaurants, ensures that at least 60 percent of dishes offered on the menu are authentic Thai cuisine and that the cooking methods are the same or very similar to those in Thailand. Furthermore, it verifies the usage of Thai ingredients and food products, meaning that you’ll be hard-pressed to find any ketchup within the vicinity here. Although Khao Thai remains completely, and proudly, authentic, owner Pai Chiturai, admittedly does have to reduce the spice level for many inexperienced Canadians.
A cozy spot in the heart of Wellington West, there’s a reason that Siam Bistro has been open for over 30 years. Generous portions, intense flavours and quality ingredients have catapulted Siam Bistro into the top tier of Thai restaurant picks. Curries, noodle dishes, soups and spring rolls make up the 75 various sweet, sour, salty and spicy dishes on the Siam Bistro’s dine-in menu, which are also available for take out.
Tucked out of sight in Bells Corners, this strip-mall eatery serves beautifully balanced stir-fries, richly flavoured curries and a plethora of Thai favourites in an unassuming dining room. Owned by a Laotian family, main dishes are served alongside a generous helping of sticky Jasmine rice kept warm in a woven bamboo basket. For a truly authentic experience, try the pla sam rot (three-flavoured fish) – a whole fish in a sweet-and-sour sauce with pineapple, lime and bird’s eye chillies.
An Ottawa based catering company run by Cameron and Corrine Fraser, Farang Thai is “committed to making Thai food that tastes the way it’s supposed to taste in the region it comes from,” according to the website. Cameron, who first visited Thailand in 2007 to study Thai kickboxing, has made subsequent trips to the popular southeast Asian backpacking destination, developing his own recipes based on his own taste tasting experiments at a variety of vendors and restaurants. All of the frozen meals are gluten-free and ingredients are sourced locally as often as possible, however, purchasing a minimum of three meals at a time is required.
Although this small stylish Centretown spot serves the typical Thai fare found in North America, like curries, stir-fries and noodle- and rice-based dishes, diners have the option to choose their preferred protein – chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu – along with the spice level – mild, medium, spicy or “Thai spicy”. They also serve some novelty items that prove more difficult to find in Ottawa’s Thai restaurants, including khan pong (shredded vegetable fritters), yum gai tod (crispy chicken salad) and yum ma muang (mango salad). Just be prepared to pay a couple of dollars more compared to similar restaurants in the city.