Best Thai restaurants in Chicago: Top spots for pad thai and more
Explore pad thai and other spicy and complex flavor profiles at these outstanding Thai restaurants in Chicago.
Just about every Chicago neighborhood has at least one Thai restaurant. But which ones are the best? And which Chicago restaurants serve the most authentic Thai food? From under-the-radar BYOB neighborhood gems to crowning jewels by high-profile chefs, these are the best places to find Thai food in Chicago.
RECOMMENDED: Full list of the best Chicago restaurants
Aroy Thai Take one step inside this Thai gem hiding under the Brown Line tracks and you’re hit with a full-color poster provided by LTHForum endorsing the authentic eats lurking on the “Classics” menu. You’ll find the sour Isaan-style sausage and sweet beef jerky other real-deal Thai joints traffic in, but take advantage of the less-common items as well: ground pork simmered in curried coconut milk then plopped over a crispy omelette, meatballs floating in sour broth that smacks of star anise and a beautiful mess of bamboo slivers slicked with green chili paste. 4654 N Damen Ave (773-275-8360). Lunch, dinner. Average main course: $9.
ATK Andy Aroonrasameruang left his longtime perch at TAC Quick Thai Kitchen to open this, Andy Thai Kitchen. It is, without a doubt, one of the best Thai restaurants in the city. Aroonrasameruang crafts his own funky pork-and-rice sausages, spoons his spicy, eggplant-studded green curry over omelettes, turns out a silky tom kha soup, pairs Chinese broccoli with crispy bites of fried pork belly and throws together a simultaneously fiery-and-cool blue crab salad. This is what Thai food should taste like. 946 W Wellington Ave (773-549-7821). Lunch, dinner. Average main course: $8.
Spoon Thai If you stick to the basics in this simple but pleasant dining room, you’ll miss out on the best stuff. Get adventurous with kung chae naam plaa, raw shrimp marinated with lime juice, fish sauce, garlic and chili—a searing Thai take on ceviche. The naem khao thawt is incredibly addictive, a crunchy, salty, tangy salad of fried rice, tiny ham bits and flecks of cilantro. Curry fans should try the kaeng som kung sot, a thin, slightly sour, shrimp-dotted tamarind curry. 4608 N Western Ave (773-769-1173, spoonthai.com). Lunch, dinner. Average main course: $7.
Sticky Rice What we love about this colorful and bustling storefront is that it keeps our interest with new concoctions every couple of weeks. Check the tiny chalkboard for specials, but supplement with tried-and-true favorites such as housemade spicy fermented pork sausage, probably the best gang hung lay (pork in sweet, garlicky, ginger-laden curry) in town, 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 abound. 4018 N Western Ave (773-588-0133, stickyricethai.com). Lunch, dinner. Average main course: $7.
TAC Quick ThaiThe basic menu appeases the masses that flood the simple, minimalist room of this top-notch Thai joint. But the true standouts can be found on the translated Thai-language menu, with never-fail flavor explosions such as tart and smoky pork-and-rice sausage; ground chicken with crispy basil and preserved eggs; and warm sweet-and-sour beef jerky. Don’t disregard the specials board; promising rotations have included basil duck stir-fried with garlic and mushrooms, and lettuce wrap–ready deep-fried mackerel with apples, cucumbers, fish sauce and chilies. 3930 N Sheridan Rd (773-327-5253, tacquick.net). Lunch, dinner (closed Tue). Average main course: $9.