Thai Basil

467 Bloor Street W
Hours: Daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m.

Thai Basil is located in the Annex at Bloor near Brunswick, in the former space vacated by 350 Fahrenheit. There are some friendly touches at this airy, Pan Asian restaurant. Prices are ridiculously low and I am certain they will go up in due time. At the time of this review (March 26, 2005), Thai Basil was only one month old.

This place is a no bullshit kind of restaurant. I ordered a Thai Green Curry, and i asked for them to remove the fish stock and all other animal products and they said “no problem”. I asked if i could add tofu to my dish, they said no problem and they would not charge me extra. I also asked if they could add cashews and they said no problem and they would not charge me extra. So, my Thai green curry with tofu and cashews was a decent portion and only cost me $6.95. A no bullshit place i must admit. I will definitely go back for sure. The decor is identical to 350 Fahrenheit (see review). It’s like they moved in and just kept all of the original decor and just changed their name.
Thai Basil offers a six-page menu with dishes from across Southeast Asia, but it seems that Thai dishes were the focus. The curries were good, homemade, but alittle salty claims Daniel. He ordered the Thai green chicken curry and he thought it was quite good and spicier than the curries at most other Thai restaurants. He enjoyed the unusual addition of the oriental eggplant (they look like small green tomatoes) and peas (plump like grapes) which added a nice texture and subtle flavour to the dish. Daniel, like I, thinks that they could have used a little less salt, but otherwise, he felt it was a very good (but not the best) green curry. For our side dish, we shared an appetizer of deep fried tofu in a light batter of red pepper, garlic, and dried onion. I have never had such delicious tofu before. It was SO GOOD!.

For my drink , i ordered a lycee smoothie called the “Thai Basil Lycee smoothie” a thick lycee slushy drink, not to sweet, and quite thick and delicsious. It came with Vodka ($5.50) and I ordered a virgin ($3.50) so i was disappointed to find out the price. I complained and they lowered the price immediately. I did not even notice that i may have become intoxicated. I think there was very little vodka. Daniel had a King Fisher beer and he really enjoyed it. The music played was great. Throughout our visit, we listened to the entire album of Sarah McLachlan’s “Afterglow” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Greatest Hits”–one of my two favourite musicians/bands.

The only 2 issues we had with the restaurant were “temperature” and “menu orgazaniation”. Since Daniel and I sat by the window, we felt very cold, as Thai Basil’s exterior wall is only glass. We felt that insulation was a problem. In the future, if we go again, we will sit closer to the centre of the restaurant where all of the body heat is retained.

The other issue is really from the perspective of 2 Librarians. I felt, in particular that all of the vegetarian dishes were “hidden” in the menu when in fact there should have been a distinct section entitled “Vegetarian dishes”. While there was a list of dishes called “Vegetables” this list was not vegetarian as it listed some fish and seafood entrees. Most of the dishes listed on the menu gave options, like the Pad Thai. The regular pad thai was described and had a price, then below was the shrimp version, chicken version and veggie version, all with different prices. In other words, it seems all dishes seemed to have a veggie version but they were all listed within the main heading of the dish, rather than compile a list of all of the veggie dishes and list them under the heading “Vegetarian Dishes”. It seems every industry needs a Librarian to organize their life.

Accepts all cards. Prices are surprisingly affordable, but the whole decor and ambiance is misleading since it looks like overpriced Serra or Sassafraz. Food was excellent but slightly too salty. Liquor license.