Exploring strip malls and hole-in-the-wall restaurants in search of the city's best international food

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A new location for the popular Pakistani joint King Palace—kind of

Many Torontonians are familiar with King Palace, a late night joint on Church Street with a huge array of Pakistani dishes. The place is a magnet for Pakistani cabbies, late night partygoers and downtown residents who want to spend $10 for an enormous, spicy meal. Now there's a new location of the popular chain...sort of. 

I was recently biking downtown and saw the familiar signage. I was interested to see that a new location of King Palace had opened up at 236 Sherbourne at Dundas, but as I slowed down to check it out, I realized the sign said King Place, not King Palace

Turns out King Place is pulling a Coffee Lime and mutating the name of an existing, established business. One of the business partners of King Palace, Mr. Butt, left the partnership and set up King Place on Sherbourne in April.

Inside everything is the same as the Church Street restaurant, right down to the handwritten signs on the counter. There is a large selection of dishes like kashmiri chicken, lamb curry and seekh kebabs, served with naan or rice and a drink in combos that are generally around $9 to $11. Given that the food is cooked hours before and then microwaved, it's certainly not the greatest. But what King Place lacks in quality it makes up for in quantity, and two people can easily share the enormous plates.

King Palace regulars will remember that the new restaurant is located just a few blocks north of the original King Palace location at Sherbourne and Richmond, which was torn down a few years ago to make way for a condo. And the Pakistani cabbies have flocked back to their old hood, filling the parking lot with their vehicles as they stock up on some late night fuel.

King Place is located at 236 Sherbourne Street at Dundas; telephone number is 647-352-0786. Hours are 11am to 6am, seven days a week. The food is halal.

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    1. Every time I hear someone complain about the food being reheated at King's P(a)lace I get so annoyed at the snobbery.

      Nihari, for instance, is expected to be stewed overnight. Do you expect that to be made fresh to order? Keeping it cold, by the way, preserves the food better than steaming it into oblivion would, for what that's worth.

      I'd suggest that King's P(a)lace is doing exactly what they intend to do: Make authentic, tasty, quick-service Pakistani food. The fact that the place is always busy with actual Pakistani folks makes me believe the food simply isn't to your taste. Well that and, as suggested above, you're a snob.

      Anyway, I have a serious obsession with the food here as does just about everyone I know, and there are some pretty respectable palettes in that group.

    2. FWIW, The Globe and Mail felt quite differently:


      "A hidden gem of fine pakistani cuisine"

      ..and then they didn't stop there:

      "It is outstanding, in fact. King Place serves the most richly nuanced, precisely flavoured and gloriously delicious Pakistani food in town."

      I think it takes time for many Torontonians to unlearn the expectations and tastes from the usual Indian-Buffet. It did for me. A great many meals later, and many attempts to reproduce my favourites, my tastebuds have learned exactly how good this food is.

    3. Excellent place. Reheated or not, the food tastes fresh, complex and spicy though not too spicy. In short pretty great. My favourite dish is the Mash daal, you've got to try it.