A Perfectly Pleasant Patio: Viphalay

Resembling more of a house than a restaurant, the second location of Viphalay on 99 Avenue and 105 Street is easy to miss. I never did visit any of its previous occupants, so the building was never familiar to me as an eatery as it was to Mack. But on a lazy Friday, when our kitchen was the last place either of us wanted to be, we wandered over to Viphalay, its patio beckoning.



When we arrived, we were surprised to find the patio empty. Sure, the clouds were looming in the distance, but right then, the evening sun was warm and the air calm – the perfect conditions for al fresco dining (that said, about a half hour later, the patio filled right up). Viphalay’s patio features a number of brightly coloured flower baskets, and though it isn’t on the best street for people watching, the quiet, mostly car-less setting suited us just fine as we unwound after a full week.

Although the McCauley-based Viphalay remains closed (the family shared that they were in need of more kitchen staff), the menu here looked identical. Mack and I didn’t stray too far away from our tried and true favourites, and we weren’t disappointed.

I will say that we think our spring roll ($8) order got mixed up, as we were served the vegetarian version instead of the requested pork. But our pad thai ($15) and green curry ($14) were exactly what we were looking for that night. The noodles were slightly sweet, integrated with a generous amount of chicken, shrimp and tofu, while the curry had just the right amount of heat, dissipated by the creamy coconut rice.


Spring rolls


Pad Thai


Green curry

We had plenty of leftovers for the days ahead, but better yet, Viphalay got us in the right frame of mind for the weekend. We look forward to many happy returns.

10523 99 Avenue
(780) 756-8118

Lunch Time Pressure: Viphalay

I’d heard much ado about Viphalay (10724 95 Street NW), from a friend, a newspaper and a chef. Dickson and I agreed on this new-ish Thai and Laotian restaurant for a lunch meet-up last week so I was finally able to experience it firsthand.

With bars on the windows, I really didn’t feel welcome approaching the eatery. Next to a school, with a tiny parking lot shared with a handful of other businesses, the location left much to be desired. But walking into the space, I was immersed in a much different feeling. The interior was modern and elegant – red walls accented the bar at the rear of the restaurant; the inset ceiling, lined with bold red and black paint, brought an unexpected jolt of vibrancy to the mostly white dining area; and lastly, the delicate spotlights that shone on the periphery of the room created a subtle but classy mood.


The restaurant was less than half full when we walked in just after 12:30pm. We were asked if we had a reservation, and when we responded that we didn’t, were promptly seated anyway at a table along one wall. The place setting included a wine glass, which seemed unnecessarily fancy, but then again, so long as the drinking vessel is clean, I shouldn’t complain.

We took some time to peruse the menu, and despite being momentarily tempted to order the lunch special (which seemed the most economical way to sample their fare), I ended up with my benchmark dish of Pad Thai ($12.99). Dickson opted for the Tamarind Chicken ($11.99) and a side of coconut rice ($2.99/bowl).

I would gather that for most on a noon hour jaunt, time is of the essence. Of course, not choosing a “15 minute guaranteed express lunch” from Kelsey’s or the like means that I was, on some level, making a conscious choice to gamble with an unknown time factor. At the same time, as the restaurant was seated with half of its maximum capacity, Dickson and I expected some expediency with our meal.

It took a good thirty-five minutes to deliver our food, leaving us with about fifteen minutes to eat. I want to press that our waitress was great throughout our meal – attentive and polite to the point of pushing formal (presenting our bill with two hands and a bowed head made me a little uncomfortable), but she couldn’t alleviate the time stress we felt because of the slow kitchen.

As for the food – we thought it was average. The pad thai was more sweet than spicy, and the number of shrimp included were a paltry three – I would choose the same dish at Bua Thai or Syphay any day. Dickson’s tamarind chicken was all right, but with a flavour that was mildly sweet but not wholly distinct, neither of us would recommend it as a standout entrée.

Pad Thai

Tamarind Chicken

I may visit Viphalay again, perhaps for supper or for a weekend lunch date, but I surely won’t be back when an acute awareness of time will impede my enjoyment of the meal.

10724 95 Street NW
(780) 423-3213
Tuesday – Sunday, lunch 11am-2pm, dinner 5-9pm, closed Mondays