Khao San Road is probably one of Toronto’s favourite restaurants, and they know it. After taking a year hiatus when moving locations, many of my friends were eager to go back for their KSR fix. While their Charlotte St restaurant is a huge improvement, being back there again reminded me of the same gripes I had with their old location.
Khao San Road
Location: 11 Charlotte St
Hours: Monday to Saturday lunch: 11:30am to 2:30pm
7 days a week dinner: 5pm to 10pm
Atmosphere: Bright and crowded
We went on a Saturday afternoon around 1pm. Nervous that there would a long wait, I was happy to see there was an empty table for 4 as well as almost 2 long tables completely empty. Therefore, we were a little surprised that our table of 3 was seated at the end of a table another party of 3 was sitting at; I had a stool at the end of the table, and there was no space to put my jacket or bag down. This seat was also in the middle of the restaurant, and despite sitting right against the table edge, I was continuously bumped by servers and customers alike.
The interior of the restaurant is definitely more photo-friendly than the last; floor to ceiling windows allow for a lot of natural lighting and the whole place feels bright and upbeat in comparison to the dark basement-like feel of their previous digs on Adelaide.
I ordered a Pad See Ew, my friends got the Khao Soi and the Three Flavours Pad Thai. We got the Squash Fritters to share, and I completely forgot that I meant to order a Thai Iced Tea because drinks were not listed anywhere, nor did they have a menu. Their prices have gone up slightly, but that was expected with their new location. I will say their Thai Iced Tea is not my favourite; there is initially good flavour but it is immediately masked by an almost-cloying amount of sweetness.
The beautifully fried nest of squash fritters came promptly, and it was warm and crisp. The sauce really tied the whole dish together, but I wish the pieces of squash was a bit more substantial in order to counteract the heavily spiced batter.
Our dishes came shortly afterwards, and while the Khao Soi remains exactly as I remember it, the two noodle dishes seemed a lot larger than I remember. The plating for them had also changed, which also added to the illusion of a larger dish. Despite being very hungry, all three of us tapped out about halfway through our dishes and had to pack it up.
While we were still eating our appetizer, the other party left and I asked our waitress if we could move down, and she grudgingly allowed it. Another party of 2 joined us later, and thankfully no one had to sit on the stool again. Halfway through, our waitress changed for our entire table without explanation, but our new server was definitely a lot more attentive and cheerful than our previous one. I also did witness a few customers raising a fuss about the service, as they were seated at the bar and were largely ignored. I think after such a long hiatus, Khao San Road should have been a bit more prepared to handle the large volume of customers they know would be flocking to eat there. While service was definitely a weak point, the quality of their food has remained the same.