Location: 406 Queen Street West, Toronto
I’ve heard basically nothing but good things about My Roti Place, a rapidly expanding chain that specializes in spice-packed roti. I feared it might have been overhyped, but yeah: it’s very good.
You can choose your roti, your meat, and your sauce; I went pretty basic with Mom’s Classic Curry with chicken, wrapped in a classic roti. The spice level is also customizable, with mild, medium, serious, and extreme being options. I figured extreme might be a bit too intense, so I went with serious.
I guess should have gone with extreme; the “serious” level of heat turned out to be not-so-serious. It was noticeably hot, but I’d put it on the upper level of mild. A bit more spice would have been nice.
I may as well get my other complaint out of the way. The chunks of chicken, though generous, are dry and leftovery.
Everything else about this was fantastic. The roti was nice and chewy, and complemented the vibrant curry perfectly. And that curry was outstanding; I’m happy to overlook any number of minor complaints when the curry is that tasty. I don’t care what you serve a curry that good with; it’s automatically going to be delicious. The curry has an amazing depth of flavour that I couldn’t get enough of. It’s serious business.
Location: 291 Augusta Avenue, Toronto
Is it still butter chicken if it doesn’t have butter or chicken? That’s the question at TVX, a vegan joint in Kensington Market that serves what it calls “plant-based South Asian cuisine.”
Mostly, they serve a variety of vegan curries that come with rice and paratha roti. One of those curries is the aforementioned butter-and-chickenless butter chicken, which subs in fried cauliflower for chicken.
So is it still butter chicken? Not really. But is it tasty? Definitely.
It doesn’t taste quite like any butter chicken I’ve had before — the sauce is tangier and less creamy — but for what it is, it’s quite good. It’s garlicky, very spicy (you can choose your heat level — I went with the spiciest, and it wasn’t kidding around) and surprisingly satisfying.
The fried cauliflower works really well — it’s battered and fried, with a nice crunchy exterior and a meaty interior. It doesn’t even vaguely resemble the chicken in a traditional butter chicken, but the hearty crunch stands up nicely to the sauce, and it’s delicious regardless.
The paratha roti was also untraditional but tasty. It’s thicker and more substantial than any paratha roti I’ve had before, but it still had that satisfying combo of crispy, greasy exterior and chewy interior that you’re looking for.
Location: 25 Sherway Gardens Road, Etobicoke
Amaya is a (usually) decent quality chain that (usually) serves tasty Indian fare. But the Sherway Gardens location is… odd. I tried it when it first opened, and the food was so atrociously bad that it was nearly inedible.
I figured they deserved another chance — new restaurants often need a month or two to work out all the kinks. I just tried the rogan josh, which features big chunks of lamb in a mildly spicy curry sauce on top of basmati rice.
Yeah, it was pretty bad. It’s so weird, because the other Amaya locations I’ve tried have been pretty reliable, but the Sherway Gardens location is almost like a completely different restaurant.
The flavour of the curry wasn’t bad, but the chunks of lamb were mostly tough and rubbery (with a few tender pieces interspersed throughout to mix things up), the rice was ice cold, and when I got to the bottom of the bowl, there was a big pool of greasy water that was tremendously off-putting.
Location: 4155 Fairview Street, Burlington
I showed up at D Hot Shoppe at around 2:00 on a weekday, and it was absolutely packed. They also had a section of the wall dedicated to framed plaudits from various publications (which didn’t even include the article that brought me here in the first place).
Suffice it to say, I was fairly certain I was in for a tasty meal.
I ordered the small chicken roti, which costs seven bucks and is actually quite generous, so it’s a great deal.
They have six heat levels you can choose from, ranging from mild to suicide — I went with hot, which is right in the middle. It was a great level of heat. It’s noticeably spicy, but not unpleasantly so.
It’s very, very easy to see why the place is so popular. Everything was just right, from the richly flavourful curry sauce, to the big chunks of tender chicken and potato, to the satisfyingly chewy, spice-packed roti shell.
It’s a fantastic, affordable lunch. What’s better than that?
Location: 11 Charlotte Street, Toronto
The Khao Soi at Khao San Road is improbably good. It’s the type of dish where you have your first mouthful and think “wait… is this as delicious as I think it is?” Then you take another mouthful, and yeah: it really is that good.
Khao soi is a Thai noodle soup that features a super rich curry broth topped with crispy fried noodles for texture.
The version at Khao San Road is outstanding. That restaurant is one of those places with a perpetual line out the door; once you try the food, it’s easy enough to see why.
The curry-infused soup — made indulgently rich thanks to creamy coconut milk — is so damn satisfying.
There’s nothing subtle about it; it’s an absolute flavour bomb, but with a complexity that ensures it never feels one-note or overwhelming, despite how assertive the flavours are.
I had it with chicken, which complimented it quite well; you can also get tofu, beef, or shrimp.
The combination of the crispy noodles on top, the chewy noodles in the bowl, and the ultra-creamy soup is seriously addictive. It’s ridiculously good.