A Toronto Thai restaurant has become a celebrity hotspot over the past few years and there’s a good reason Hollywood stars keep coming back.
Various big-name stars and athletes like Simu Liu, Alexander Skarsgard, Finn Wolfhard, and Leafs and Raptors players have all dined at Pai and the celeb guest list continues to grow each month.
Pai was opened nearly 10 years ago by husband and wife duo Jeffrey Regular and Nuit Regular. They are both co-owners of the restaurant and Jeffrey is also the general manager while Nuit is Pai’s executive chef.
The Northern Thai restaurant prides itself on serving authentic and traditional Thai dishes and it’s the food that draws in so many stars visiting the city, according to the duo themselves.
In the past month alone, Succession actor Alexander Skarsgard and the cast of Guillermo del Toro’s new Netflix film Frankensteinhave stopped at Pai.
During the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival, Stranger Things actor Finn Wolfhard was spotted at Pai. He loved the food so much, he came to eat there more than once.
In an interview with Narcity, Jeffrey and Nuit say they love when these visits come together and while they see a lot of celebs, there have still been times when they’ve been starstruck by who walks through their doors.
While it’s clear celebrities love the food as some have dined at Pai on multiple occasions, the co-owners say they count themselves as “very lucky” and “fortunate” when these visits happen.
Here’s everything they shared on how the celebrity visits come together and which stars are some of their most memorable visitors.
How are the celebrity visits to Pai organized?
When it comes to the celebrity visits, Jeffrey tells Narcity for the most part, especially when a celebrity is visiting for the first time, they’ll often just show up at the restaurant or they’ll send a friend beforehand to come and make a reservation.
“Eventually we create a bit of a relationship with them and they contact us directly and we set it up for them ahead of time,” Jeff said.
As for why these celebrities keep coming back to Pai, it’s all about the food.
Nuit says thankfully the stars love the variety of dishes and a lot of the time they hear about the place by word of mouth or read online reviews.
What are some of Pai’s most memorable visits over the past year?
If you check out Pai’s Instagram page you’ll see an incredible number of photos showing various celebrities and athletes who have come for a meal at the Thai restaurant.
So it’s no surprise that when it comes to which visits were the most memorable, Jeffrey and Nuit have more than a few.
“For me it’s always basketball because I love basketball,” Jeffrey says.
“Any one of the Raptors that come in, coaches, the other teams really get me very excited.”
That includes Toronto Raptors stars Scottie Barnes, Gradey Dick (who celebrated his birthday at Pai in 2023), Precious Achiuwa and OG Anunoby who used to come in quite a bit before he got traded.
“Some of the bigger ones like Dominique Wilkins came in, which is huge for me,” Jeffrey also noted.
As a big movie fan as well, Jeffrey says he always enjoys it when a big-name director like Guillermo del Toro comes in.
Actors Andrew Phung and Ronny Chieng, Max Kerman of The Arkells, and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ William Nylander were also highlighted by the general manager as some of the incredible visits in 2023.
Canadian actor Simu Liu is also a regular customer.
“It’s always a treat when he comes in,” Jeffrey said.
For Nuit, her most memorable visit happened in October 2023 when French chef and author Eric Ripert stopped by.
“He’s a chef I really admire and respect so I felt starstruck when I found that he came to eat at the restaurant,” she told Narcity.
“Every new NBA player and the stars that come, it makes me very starstruck but I have to control it.”
Are there any celebrity visits you haven’t share on social media?
While they enjoy sharing all the fun visits from Hollywood’s biggest stars, Jeffrey and Nuit do choose to keep some of those celebrity dinners private.
The Pai co-owners tell Narcity there are some interactions they’ve had where they decided to keep it to themselves.
“We share all the ones we feel comfortable with,” Jeffrey said.
Are there go-to dishes for celebrities?
With so many incredible dishes on the menu, celebs have a lot to choose from when they go to Pai.
However, some stars have their go-to dishes whenever they visit.
James Harden always orders the Khao Soi and Nuit remembers how much actor Jason Momoa loved the Pad Gra Prow.
“During the pandemic, we were catering for a lot of the stuff he [Momoa] was filming in Toronto,” Jeffrey added.
“Also J. Cole is very connected to our Pad Gra Prow.”
Simu Liu also gave the Khao Soi, which is a dish of fresh egg noodles in a golden coconut milk curry topped with crispy noodles, a shoutout during an appearance on Buzzfeed’s Worth It series.
Are there any dishes that celebrities have inspired?
Jeffrey and Nuit say they haven’t named any food dishes after celebrities.
Nuit says that’s because her main focus as executive chef is keeping Pai’s Thai dishes as authentic as they can be.
Nuit is the first Thai SELECT Ambassador for Canada, meaning she’s been recognized by the government of Thailand for how authentic her cooking is.
“It can go extinct if you don’t keep tradition so that’s why at Pai we specialize in the tradition and I also add on the Northern Thai dishes which is where I grew up,” she explained.
However, the co-owners do like to have fun with their cocktail menu and have dedicated several drinks to past and present Raptors players.
There’s the “Cherry Trent Jr.” named after Gary Trent Jr., “Scotchy Barnes” after Scottie Barnes, “The Lowry” in honour of Kyle Lowry and the “Goji Anunoby” after OG Anunoby.
If you’re interested in checking out Pai for yourself, you can visit their location at 18 Duncan Street in Toronto.
The Northern Thai restaurant tends to get busy so a reservation is recommended to ensure you get a table.
While you’re there, keep your eyes peeled because your favourite athlete or star could be enjoying a meal close by!
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.