Sabai Sabai is one of the latest projects by Nuit and Jeff Regular, who also had a hand in popular Thai restaurants such as Khao San Road, Suhkothai, and Pai. This restaurant focuses on small share plates in a tapas style, and has a casual yet energetic ambiance.
Phone Number: 647-748-4225
Hours of Operation: MON-WED 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30 – 10:00pm & THUR-SAT 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30 – 11:00pm
Pro-Tip: DON’T GO HERE FOR A MASSIVE, FILLING DINNER. YOU WILL FAIL & YOUR STOMACH WILL HATE YOU.
My dining partner and I have been trying very hard to go to Santouka Ramen, hearing much of its wonderful accolades. Since it was full the day we tried, we walked around and accidentally bumped into Sabai Sabai. Quickly doing our research (on Yelp and Urbanspoon! Always do your due diligence before entering a restaurant. You can often avoid a bad time if you prepare yourself beforehand, and temper your expectations!)
Let’s start with one of my favourite dishes of the evening. These succulent shrimp were delightfully crispy, and the batter imparted just a hint of coconut flavour. The garlic dipping sauce was a good accompaniment to the shrimp as well, offering a note of sweet, garlicky flavour to liven up the dish even more. For $8, this is actually a good deal!
This was definitely my favourite dish of the night. It’s nice when there’s just a thin layer of fry that doesn’t completely obscure my teeth from sinking into the tender squash. The tamarind sauce had the texture of honey and a flavour reminiscent to a good teriyaki sauce. This is nothing too complex, but the execution of this dish is what made it my favourite of the night.
Now let’s move onto some of the misses…
We were really curious about this dish so we decided we had to get it after the waiter recommended it to us as well. I have to say, I don’t really know what to think about it…. it was definitely very unique in pretty much every way, from its odd consistency (kind of like moist cake but also kind of fluffy), to its unique flavours (hits of lemongrass, accented by fragrances of coconut and lemon grass, very very light in flavour). I didn’t like it much because of how strange it was, but it’s definitely something I’ve never quite had before. My photographer also didn’t hate it, which is a plus!
Green chilis, steamed bamboo, coconut cream, and a heap load of flavour. Sweet, spicy, savoury and salty all blended together harmoniously for a wonderful curry. The pieces of chicken were scant and flavourless, but they were never the star of the show. We had to get rice because of how strong the flavour was here (which was an extra $2.50, since it doesn’t come with rice), but combining the sauce with the rice was pretty good! Kinda weird that it didn’t come with rice but I guess it’s because of the Tapas-style.
It’s hard to complain about the quality of their food, it’s just when I think about going to Khao San, Pai, or Suhkothai and being able to get much bigger portions for just a little bit more, I kind of wonder how Sabai Sabai will end up doing. There is definitely an upswing for Tapas-esque places (izakayas and traditional tapas-style restaurants both) but the selection of dishes here at Sabai Sabai is limited, and other than that fish cake, I could have gotten all these items somewhere else. I remember being pretty unsatisfied after finishing my ‘meal’ and I had to go somewhere else for some extra food after.
TL;DR the food is good and the ambiance is nice! I wouldn’t go here for dinner since the portion sizes are TOO SMALL, and size is definitely a factor when I’m choosing where to eat out (especially when there are many restaurants that serve similar items to Sabai Sabai). However, this would definitely be a good place to hang with friends and talk! It wasn’t too packed and the servers don’t rush you.