Chicago

7 Best Thai Food Chicago Restaurants that are Worth a Visit

Thai cuisine in Chicago is at a significant crossroads. In recent years, it has gained tons of attention, coming a long way from the homestyle cooking most Americans initially centered towards. This list consists of some of the Best Thai food Chicago has on offer.

Chicagoans have made space in their food-loving hearts for more region-specific culinary experiences. Therefore, options from Northern and Central Thailand have a fair chance to woo the crowds. While a few Thai restaurants offer tasting menus, most have become carryout and delivery strictly. One of the main themes in Thai cuisine is fresh and seasonal ingredients, showing Chicago’s local produce. Let’s take you on a journey through some of the best Thai food in Chicago.

Best Thai Food Chicago Restaurants

We have got you covered, from the classics like pad thai to the more ‘out there’ gastronomical dishes. There will be no food regrets here!

1

Spoon Thai

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The word on the street is, Spoon is majorly responsible for introducing Chicagoans to some of the best Thai food in Chicago. Their menu sure has the staple must-haves, like the papaya salad but not without a twist brought by the preserved crab and the pickled fish. Therefore, if you intend on sticking to the basics, you’ll surely miss out on some of the more traditional eats. 

Get a little adventurous with sai krog iesarn; it’s delectable fermented pork and rice sausage that’s deep-fried and topped off with some peanuts and thinly sliced ginger. Their $1 for each kanom jeep (steamed shrimp dumplings) are straight-up addictive with that price, a habit you can maintain. Thai curry enthusiasts should give the duck a try. The duck meat sits soaking in a spicy red curry infused with coconut milk and accompanied by a harmony of tomatoes, pineapples, and bell peppers. Did I mention their secret menu?!

Location: 4608 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 

Contact: (773) 769-1173

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2

Rainbow Thai Cuisine 

Rainbow Thai Cuisine prides itself in traditional Thai dishes. One can spot the crab rangoon on the menu; well, that’s a given Asian American restaurant. Indulge a little, seek out the Thai menu and explore dishes like nam kao tod; the plate is a fiery and funky rice salad with chopped-up ham. 

Furthermore, if that does not fancy your taste buds, the noodle menu with 14 different options will get that tummy rumbling. One of the other top dishes, the bamee moo dang hang, is a noodle dish covered with barbecue pork and garnished with garlic and fresh green onions. A meal as traditional as this only fits an equally classic close, with the sticky rice stuffed with banana. 

Location: 4825 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Contact: (773) 754-7660

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3

Herb (Best Thai Food Chicago)

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Owner and chef Patty Neumson are on a mission to remaster Thai cuisine at her upscale restaurant. She is striving to be one of the best eateries in Chicago for Thai food. Rather than an extensive menu, customers have the option of a three or five-course meal. For this reason, recognizable flavor notes are presented in elevated dishes alongside seared scallops in spicy chili lime sauce, fried prawn with sweet and sour mango sauce, beef or tofu with green curry. The menu also changes seasonally to focus on the freshest ingredients. 

Location: 5424 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640

Contact: (773) 944-9050

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4

Aroy Thai

While they are harboring all the classics on a Thai restaurant menu, being a little experimental and stepping out of your comfort zone will pay off at this hidden gem. Some of the less common and yet finger-licking picks from their menu include ground pork simmered in curried coconut milk poured over a crispy omelet. Also, meatballs stewing in a sour broth with hints of star anise and fragrant bamboo silvers laced with green chili paste. Another mouth-watering menu pick is the beef offal soup and pickled green bamboo.

Location: 4654 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Contact: (773) 275-8360

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5

Arun’s 

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While Thai cuisine’s essence lies in its street food, chef Arun Sampanthavitat is revolutionizing Thai food in Chicago as we know it. Arun’s caters to a pre-fixe menu with 8-12 course options. Hence, every dish is presented with a gastronomical flair and elegance in an equally alluring restaurant ambiance. 

Some of the dishes that amplify the chef’s flamboyant takes on Southeast Asian flavors are the crab cake and a poached lobster tail. Undoubtedly, this venue has a unique menu of in-house-crafted cocktails with fascinating ingredients like pineapple and peach barbecue sauce puree. Arun has taken it upon himself to change the scene of Thai food as we know it and brings us a must-try experience.

Location: 4156 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Contact: (773) 539-1909

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6

Sticky Rice

The tiny chalkboard listing the specials invites people into this bustling and colorful eatery. Specifically, mastering the northern Thai cuisine alongside their house creations is a celebration of the senses. As much as customers savor their experimental concoctions, the crowd-pleaser still is the stir-fried sole fish with ginger. 

In addition, this spot claims to have the best gang hung lay (pork in sweet, garlicky, ginger-laden curry) in Chicago; and khua kae, a stir-fry of chicken, baby corn, eggplant, shredded lime leaves, and roasted rice powder that has a gingery citrus tang. Vegetarian options included. 

Location: 4018 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Contact: (773) 588-0133

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7

J.J. Thai Street Food

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Probably one of the top picks for Thai street food in Chicago is JJ Thai. The restaurant is a cozy 28 seat, BYOB-friendly West town restaurant is at full occupancy most weeknights, but their takeaway service is impeccable. However, it is advisable to have a dine-in experience for some of the more delicate dishes they offer. 

Rice dishes like khao mun gai tod, breaded fried chicken nestled on top of ginger-garlic rice with sweet chili sauce on the side. In addition to the tender pla muk yang, grilled squid doused in spicy seafood sauce are also some of the options to get you excited. Anyone who’s rummaged through the food markets in Thailand will oscillate back to those memories at this West Town restaurant.

Location: 1715 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Contact: (312) 929-4435

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Conclusion

Having an overflow of options to choose from, go out there and indulge in some of the best Thai food Chicago has to offer. We hope that the information provided for the best Thai food in Chicago was sufficient and now has you all excited. Some restaurants may need a reservation in advance, so please make sure to call ahead of your visit. 

Also for the Best Indian Food in Chicago, do read the article.

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