Chaopaya Thai Restaurant in Barrie

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The inside of the Thai restaurant has sections divided off in nestled open concept rooms which add a nice ambience. The entire place is filled with very ornate and beautiful Oriental decorations. Right above where I was sitting there were two stuffed blowfish that you would likely be able to find only in the Orient.

Although the restaurant has probably seen its better days, it’s been a favourite of Thai food lovers in Barrie for many years now. In the summer the patio is absolutely fantastic; it’s in fact probably one of the largest I’ve seen downtown. Because the restaurant is a little nestled from the busy Dunlop street, the restaurant affords you to have a very easygoing and quiet lunch or dinner on the patio.

The food at Chaopaya is very exciting, tasty and very affordable too. They offer main course dishes ranging from the $10 mark up to around $16 for the duck stir-fry. I was able to try two Thai curry dishes and a very generic chicken stir-fry meal. Both curries were very flavourful, not too spicy and quite filling.

Even though the curry is considered to be medium spice level, the servers let us know that they can be made hot or very hot. I’ve been to a few Thai restaurants and the medium spice was perfect for me. Thai curry isn’t much like its Indian counterpart; it tends to be lighter and oily as opposed to a thick and pasty Indian curry. Either way it makes for a lighter healthy dish that tastes great. Both the Red Beef Curry and Green Chicken curry are made with a coconut curry sauce.

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The Chicken with mixed vegetables came with broccoli, bamboo and carrots, as did most of the other meals. However some of the other dishes were a little different like the Golden Curry Chicken and Tamarind Curry Beef with potatoes or the Chicken with Peanut Sauce with peppers and onions.

Sadly, I did not try the Duck with Ginger which is one of the most expensive dishes on the menu but looks absolutely fantastic. Most dishes are served with rice making the overall bill very affordable. But what’s more, if you go there for lunch, many of the main course meals are offered at a reduced lunchtime price of $9.95. The lunch dishes are also served with a small hot and sour soup and spring roll as an appetizer. It’s quite a deal.

As far as Thai restaurants in downtown Barrie, Chaopaya is easily the best value for your money, and the food is just great and the atmosphere is very charming. If you’re looking for a quick, light and healthy lunch option, Chaopaya might be a little bit away from the main part of downtown but it’s worth trying. Dinner at Chaopaya is also great and even checking out the patio for afternoon drinks with a few friends would be quite relaxing as well. It’s a very nice spot. I liked it, and for now, it’s my go to place for Thai food in Barrie. If you haven’t yet, you should definitely try it.

Written by Michael Whone

Follow Michael on twitter @whoneranger and check out his website www.rivervanstyle.com

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Painters Hall Bistro

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It was some years back when I first walked through the doors of Painters Hall Bistro, down the narrow hall lined with local artwork, and found myself in this wonderful restaurant. I followed the gentle scent of fresh linen, flowers and what I can only describe as “good kitchen”. I knew then that I was about to experience a lovely dinner, every meal since has been consistently great.

Flash forward to a recent Barrielicious, when darling daughter choose Painters Hall Bistro as her summer dining treat, she with the good camera for food pictures to temp your appetite. I realize that Barrielicious is not the best time to review a restaurant; the menus are shorter, the venues are hopping, but the staff at Painters Hall juggle this summer dining frenzy with ease, the kitchen dishes out great plates, and the overall experience is as delightful as any other time I have dined there.

Owner Erin Burrows shared with me that the art work lining the walls is “all local and revolves every six months”. Having original art on display “changes the atmosphere and adds to the ambiance”.

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There are three rooms at Painters Hall Bistro, each with a distinctly different feel; the front room seems brighter and is larger, this to me is the spot for a celebratory night out, the overall volume slightly louder. The regulars gravitate to the middle room; this is where the bar is located, strong and stately, where the musicians set up on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, where the banter is familiar between guests and staff, a sense of camaraderie is palpable. The back room has the date night feel to me, more intimate, a wee bit darker and cozier.

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Whichever room you choose, the service will be consistent and your dinner will be grand.

Painters Hall signature menu items have stood the test of time. While there have been changes within the kitchen, the glorious Surf and Turf; “Butter Braised Pork Belly & Cider Scallops” appetizer gets a slight tweak from the Chef, and is simply divine, served with compressed Watermelon Salsa.

My daughter’s choices of; “Painters Hall Organic Cookstown Greens Whipped Almond Brie, Baco Noir Blueberry Vinaigrette, served on the side for her, with Crisp Asian Pear & Blueberries”, a perfect summer salad.

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In winter I always indulge in the signature main of Braised Beef Short Ribs; but for summer I chose the “Stuffed Chicken Breast, Sweet Potato, Ricotta, Fresh Basil and Spicy Chorizo, Ontario Spring Pea Barley Risotto, Micro Green and Veg Chip Salad” and was suitably pleased. As was darling daughter, with her “Fresh Black Pasta, Organic Shrimp, Fresh Sautéed Tomato, Creamy Pesto Sauce”.

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Desserts were delicious; the only unfortunate moment was while posing for the camera my Bourbon Honey Ice Cream with Roasted Ontario Peaches and Lavender Drizzle began to melt, oh the pressure! The Dark Chocolate Moussed Layered with Vanilla Bean Chantilly and Macerated Berries held up under the photographer’s demands much better, but certainly didn’t last long once the tasting began!

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While my experiences at Painters Hall Bistro have always been positive, there may be some who have feedback either positive or not, they would prefer to share privately. Erin Burrows explained that guests often find it difficult to do so while actually at the restaurant. A unique solution has been offered for just this situation; “Text the Boss” cards are on hand with the phone number boldly printed, this differs from the reservation phone number and the message is clear, if you have feedback, we want to hear it. Great idea!

Another unique option offered at Painters Hall Bistro is the “dinner meeting”; a three course meal is presented and A/V equipment and screens are available.

I commend the originality of this working while dining experience!

I asked Erin Burrows what is next for Painters Hall. With six years staying power, where does she see the restaurant going? “Where do I see us going, I really listen to my regular clientele, I listen to those that dine here frequently, and I meet their expectations, everything from the wine list to new and upcoming cocktails. We are getting into the old fashioned drinks and the cocktail culture, we are really trying to develop that.”

I raise my glass to toast the continued success of Painters Hall Bistro!

http://www.paintershall.ca/
17 Clapperton St. Barrie, ON L4M3E4
705 797 8844
hey@paintershall.ca

Written by: Penelope Morrow

Penelope Morrow is a writer, editor and local food aficionado from Barrie, follow her tweets @penelopejmorrow

Photos by Celeste Morrow-Bailie – CMB Photography