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A spread of Thai food.
Room Service by Pink Salt is just one of the new Thai selections for 2020.
Pink Salt [Official Photo]

Where to Eat Thai Food in Chicago

From spicy northern specialties to the sweeter dishes of the south region, these restaurants go beyond pad Thai

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Room Service by Pink Salt is just one of the new Thai selections for 2020.
| Pink Salt [Official Photo]

Thai cuisine in Chicago has further discovered regionality in recent years, departing from the homestyle formula that so many Americans gravitated toward. There’s more room to introduce items from Northern and Central Thailand, which allows Chicago to have a more eclectic array of restaurants. While a few Thai restaurants offer tasting menus, most have become strictly carryout and delivery; many shut down their dining rooms during the pandemic. Online ordering has been noted when possible, but most restaurants also welcome phone orders.

A number of Chicago restaurants have resumed dine-in service. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Owner and chef Patty Neumson seeks to redefine Thai cuisine at her upscale spot in Edgewater. Instead of a long menu, guests have the choice of a three- or five-course prix fixe meal. Familiar flavor profiles emerge in elevated dishes including seared scallops in spicy chili lime sauce; fried prawn with sweet and sour mango sauce; and beef or tofu with green curry. The menu also changes seasonally to highlight the freshest ingredients. The full menu is available for carryout online.

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Leafy plates image via @tastemakerspbs

A post shared by Herb Restaurant (@herbchicago) on

Immm Rice & Beyond

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It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sights and smells at Immm Rice and Beyond, but don’t be afraid to dive right in. Thai street food takes center stage and if nothing looks familiar, the staff is happy to offer samples from the hot bar up front. A chalkboard behind the counter lists the day’s menu and ever-changing specials, and during lunch time guests can opt for khao rad gang, a traditional Thai lunch plate. It comes with rice or noodles and up to three curries, stews, or wok-tossed proteins. Other favorites include khao soi, crispy pork belly rice, and several varieties of green papaya salad. Indoor dining and carryout is available.

A plate of som tum pu pla ra — green papaya salad with preserved crab and preserved fish.
The traditional Thai lunch plate is a popular order at Immm Rice & Beyond.
Immm Rice & Beyond [Official Photo]

Rainbow Thai Cuisine

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A Ravenswood favorite for BYOB and takeout, Rainbow Thai Cuisine excels at traditional Thai dishes. Catering a tad to Western tastes, the menu is speckled with items such as crab rangoon, which is seemingly a rite of passage for many Asian restaurants in America. But dig deeper — ask for the Thai menu for even more options — to find dishes like spicy papaya salad and funky nam kao tod. Carryout only.

Me Dee Cafe

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Me Dee Cafe doles out all the tried-and-true Thai staples but its “secret” menu is what sets the tiny Ravenswood spot apart. Stop by in the evening (open until 1 a.m.) for a bowl of congee and complementary side dishes. The rice porridge is best enjoyed with items like crispy pork belly, sour pork sausage, and basil clams. Order pickup and delivery online.

Aroy Thai

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Even the seasoned Thai eater will enjoy finding something new at Aroy. Beef offal soup and pickled green bamboo are just a few of the funkier dishes offered here. While it’s possible to order like one would at any other Thai restaurant, venturing outside the comfort zone is recommended and yields rewards. Order delivery only through Grubhub.

In-On Thai

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A longtime favorite in Lakeview, this Thai restaurant reopened earlier in 2020 in Uptown. This is a compact menu featuring food from Central Thailand. Newbies will be drawn to the crunchy fried chicken (Larb moo tod). The salad section is eye-catching and stars the green bean salad that sits in a spicy and sour sauce flanked by hardboiled eggs, ground pork and a few tender pieces of shrimp. The grilled pork with eggplant salads is also noteworthy. It’s cold and refreshing, but doesn’t compromise on the heat level. One of the most unique Thai restaurants in Chicago. Order online for pickup or delivery.

Spoon Thai

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A Chicago mainstay, Spoon is responsible for opening many Chicagoans’s eyes to Thai food. A long list of salads includes papaya salad topped with preserved crab and pickled fish, and yum talay covered in a spicy lime dressing and chicken larb. The Thai boat noodle soup shouldn’t to be skipped, but the secret menu should be requested and perused for some special northern Thai dishes. Call, fax, or order online.

Arun's Thai Restaurant

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While most Thai spots in Chicago lean toward the casual side, Arun’s serves a pre-fixe menu with eight-, and 12-course options. Each is elegantly presented and served in an equally adorned restaurant space filled with chef Arun Sampanthavitat’s Thai baubles. A dungeness crab cake and a poached lobster tail are a few menu highlights that exemplify his ornate take on Southeast Asian flavors. In addition, interestingly crafted cocktails that contain intriguing ingredients like pineapple and peach barbecue sauce purée make for a fascinating meal. While Arun’s remains open for dine-in service, customers can also order to-go online.

An elegantly plated dish of Thai food.
Arun’s offers an elevated take on Thai cuisine.
Arun’s [Official Photo]

Sticky Rice

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Spice lovers praise Sticky Rice, which specializes in northern Thai cuisine alongside house creations. Find a spicy sai-ua, or northern Thai pork sausage served simply with a smattering of veggies on the side, and larb, made with ground pork and intestine with spicy Thai herbs. The restaurant’s own dishes provide seafood lovers with an array of sole fish, snapper, and more. Order online.

A bowl of egg noodles and chicken in coconut soup.
Sticky Rice focuses on Thailand’s northern region.
Sticky Rice [Official Photo]

TAC Quick

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TAC Quick serves a large menu of Thai food along with outstanding “secret” dishes such as roasted duck in spicy red curry with bell peppers, tomatoes, pineapples, and grapes. Excellent renditions of traditional staples are also available, such as prik king with crispy pork, string beans, and jalapeño.

A plate of noodles, meat, and veggies.
The “secret” menu at TAC Quick contains some of the restaurant’s best dishes.
TAC Quick [Official Photo]

Same Same

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Bangkok-style street food is the specialty at Same Same in Roscoe Village. Find fried chicken — which smells terrific thanks to the coriander root — the comes with a spicy honey sauce. There’s a nice selection of curries and noodles. This is drinking food, and the cocktails here are available to drink on a sidewalk patio. Order pickup and delivery online. There’s also weekend brunch with fusion selections like tiger cry and eggs. 

Andy's Thai Kitchen

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Andy Aroonrasameruang’s Lakeview spot brings the tastes of central Thailand, right outside of Bangkok, to Chicago. The menu is extensive, including dishes that can be found all over Thailand, like spicy tom yum and pad khe mao. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the choices as chef Andy learned his craft from his mom. Just be ready to leave with a full belly. Andy’s has moved to a bigger location, a few blocks north of the original. Order online.

A plate of basil pork leg.
Andy’s That Kitchen’s basil pork leg.
Andy’s Thai Kitchen [Official Photo]

Paula's Thai Kitchen

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This Lincoln Park restaurant, in the original home of Taco Burrito Place No. 2, has been noteworthy for years for its convention menu, and a “secret” menu. The conventional menu is available online and it’s formidable with all the classics: papaya salad comes topped with pork belly. The crispy rice with sausage and grilled meatball are favorites. There’s also outdoor seating.

Amarind's

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Former Arun’s vet Rangsan Sutcharit draws on his fine dining experience to craft dishes that are elegant yet also affordable. His modern approach to Thai cuisine results in creations like crab rolls and house spinach noodles tossed with shrimp, crab, scrambled eggs, bean sprouts, and garlic chive. The beef Penang curry is another highlight, featuring a tangy and spicy sauce.

Room Service by Pink Salt (Split-Rail)

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One of 2019’s great culinary disappointments was the unfulfilled promise left at Fulton Galley, the food hall that quickly closed and thus stranding its talented food vendors. Pink Salt, a vivacious Thai spot, was one of the victims, as the restaurant has seemingly turned a corner, ready to conquer Chicago. From the ashes, Pink Salt is offering pop-ups with a new menu. These are one-plate classics of comfort food that require a little at-home assembly. It might be deviating from the restaurant’s original mission of Northeastern Thai food, but it will tied people over until Pink Salt emerges with a more permanent space. Pickup is from Split-Rail. Check Instagram for the next ordering window. 

JJ Thai Street Food

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Perhaps one of the best examples of Thai street food in Chicago is JJ Thai. Sticky rice comes wrapped in banana leaves, gyo tod is crispy and unctuous, and bamee haeng moo dang arrives with a side of soup. Anyone who’s ventured through street vendors in Thailand will harken back to those experiences at this West Town restaurant. Order pickup and delivery online.

A plate of grilled squid with seafood sauce.
The West Town restaurant specializes in the fare found on Thailand’s streets and markets.
JJ Thai Street Food [Official Photo]

Star of Siam

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For a place that satisfies all types of palates, check out Star of Siam. The lengthy menu has something for every diner to love, and the atmosphere is cozy and unique. Dishes on the “Star recommendations” section are a sure bet, as is the hearty and comforting sesame-oil-topped chicken rice soup and the lard nar. Order pickup and delivery online.

Opart Thai House

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Beloved Opart Thai House has served for several decades and continues to operate with consistency. The Thai stalwart has locations in the South Loop and West Town, and the menu is rife with classic dishes like pad kra praow and pad prik king. But make sure to start with an order of “tiger cry,” charbroiled beef served with house-made spicy sauce. Order online.

Ghin Khao

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Over in Pilsen, this casual eatery makes a mark with Northern Thai street food and other home-style dishes since its debut last year. Owner Nova Sasi cooks up a modest selection of delights, including green papaya salad, crab fried rice, grilled pork shoulder, and fried pork belly served with Jaew sauce. Delivery and carryout available via Caviar.

Legend Tasty House

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Ice cream comes in many different forms. At this Chinatown shop, workers pour ice cream mix over a frozen pan and form it into rolls in front of customers. The frozen treats, popularized in Thai street markets, are then topped with mix-ins such as fruits, candies, syrups, and whipped cream. Order online for carryout.

Four cups of rolled ice cream with toppings.
Legend Tasty House puts a unique spin on ice cream.
Legend Tasty House [Official Photo]

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Herb

Owner and chef Patty Neumson seeks to redefine Thai cuisine at her upscale spot in Edgewater. Instead of a long menu, guests have the choice of a three- or five-course prix fixe meal. Familiar flavor profiles emerge in elevated dishes including seared scallops in spicy chili lime sauce; fried prawn with sweet and sour mango sauce; and beef or tofu with green curry. The menu also changes seasonally to highlight the freshest ingredients. The full menu is available for carryout online.

View this post on Instagram

Leafy plates image via @tastemakerspbs

A post shared by Herb Restaurant (@herbchicago) on

Immm Rice & Beyond

A plate of som tum pu pla ra — green papaya salad with preserved crab and preserved fish.
The traditional Thai lunch plate is a popular order at Immm Rice & Beyond.
Immm Rice & Beyond [Official Photo]

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sights and smells at Immm Rice and Beyond, but don’t be afraid to dive right in. Thai street food takes center stage and if nothing looks familiar, the staff is happy to offer samples from the hot bar up front. A chalkboard behind the counter lists the day’s menu and ever-changing specials, and during lunch time guests can opt for khao rad gang, a traditional Thai lunch plate. It comes with rice or noodles and up to three curries, stews, or wok-tossed proteins. Other favorites include khao soi, crispy pork belly rice, and several varieties of green papaya salad. Indoor dining and carryout is available.

A plate of som tum pu pla ra — green papaya salad with preserved crab and preserved fish.
The traditional Thai lunch plate is a popular order at Immm Rice & Beyond.
Immm Rice & Beyond [Official Photo]

Rainbow Thai Cuisine

A Ravenswood favorite for BYOB and takeout, Rainbow Thai Cuisine excels at traditional Thai dishes. Catering a tad to Western tastes, the menu is speckled with items such as crab rangoon, which is seemingly a rite of passage for many Asian restaurants in America. But dig deeper — ask for the Thai menu for even more options — to find dishes like spicy papaya salad and funky nam kao tod. Carryout only.

Me Dee Cafe

Me Dee Cafe doles out all the tried-and-true Thai staples but its “secret” menu is what sets the tiny Ravenswood spot apart. Stop by in the evening (open until 1 a.m.) for a bowl of congee and complementary side dishes. The rice porridge is best enjoyed with items like crispy pork belly, sour pork sausage, and basil clams. Order pickup and delivery online.

Aroy Thai

Even the seasoned Thai eater will enjoy finding something new at Aroy. Beef offal soup and pickled green bamboo are just a few of the funkier dishes offered here. While it’s possible to order like one would at any other Thai restaurant, venturing outside the comfort zone is recommended and yields rewards. Order delivery only through Grubhub.

In-On Thai

A longtime favorite in Lakeview, this Thai restaurant reopened earlier in 2020 in Uptown. This is a compact menu featuring food from Central Thailand. Newbies will be drawn to the crunchy fried chicken (Larb moo tod). The salad section is eye-catching and stars the green bean salad that sits in a spicy and sour sauce flanked by hardboiled eggs, ground pork and a few tender pieces of shrimp. The grilled pork with eggplant salads is also noteworthy. It’s cold and refreshing, but doesn’t compromise on the heat level. One of the most unique Thai restaurants in Chicago. Order online for pickup or delivery.

Spoon Thai

A Chicago mainstay, Spoon is responsible for opening many Chicagoans’s eyes to Thai food. A long list of salads includes papaya salad topped with preserved crab and pickled fish, and yum talay covered in a spicy lime dressing and chicken larb. The Thai boat noodle soup shouldn’t to be skipped, but the secret menu should be requested and perused for some special northern Thai dishes. Call, fax, or order online.

Arun's Thai Restaurant

An elegantly plated dish of Thai food.
Arun’s offers an elevated take on Thai cuisine.
Arun’s [Official Photo]

While most Thai spots in Chicago lean toward the casual side, Arun’s serves a pre-fixe menu with eight-, and 12-course options. Each is elegantly presented and served in an equally adorned restaurant space filled with chef Arun Sampanthavitat’s Thai baubles. A dungeness crab cake and a poached lobster tail are a few menu highlights that exemplify his ornate take on Southeast Asian flavors. In addition, interestingly crafted cocktails that contain intriguing ingredients like pineapple and peach barbecue sauce purée make for a fascinating meal. While Arun’s remains open for dine-in service, customers can also order to-go online.

An elegantly plated dish of Thai food.
Arun’s offers an elevated take on Thai cuisine.
Arun’s [Official Photo]

Sticky Rice

A bowl of egg noodles and chicken in coconut soup.
Sticky Rice focuses on Thailand’s northern region.
Sticky Rice [Official Photo]

Spice lovers praise Sticky Rice, which specializes in northern Thai cuisine alongside house creations. Find a spicy sai-ua, or northern Thai pork sausage served simply with a smattering of veggies on the side, and larb, made with ground pork and intestine with spicy Thai herbs. The restaurant’s own dishes provide seafood lovers with an array of sole fish, snapper, and more. Order online.

A bowl of egg noodles and chicken in coconut soup.
Sticky Rice focuses on Thailand’s northern region.
Sticky Rice [Official Photo]

TAC Quick

A plate of noodles, meat, and veggies.
The “secret” menu at TAC Quick contains some of the restaurant’s best dishes.
TAC Quick [Official Photo]

TAC Quick serves a large menu of Thai food along with outstanding “secret” dishes such as roasted duck in spicy red curry with bell peppers, tomatoes, pineapples, and grapes. Excellent renditions of traditional staples are also available, such as prik king with crispy pork, string beans, and jalapeño.

A plate of noodles, meat, and veggies.
The “secret” menu at TAC Quick contains some of the restaurant’s best dishes.
TAC Quick [Official Photo]

Same Same

Bangkok-style street food is the specialty at Same Same in Roscoe Village. Find fried chicken — which smells terrific thanks to the coriander root — the comes with a spicy honey sauce. There’s a nice selection of curries and noodles. This is drinking food, and the cocktails here are available to drink on a sidewalk patio. Order pickup and delivery online. There’s also weekend brunch with fusion selections like tiger cry and eggs. 

Andy's Thai Kitchen

A plate of basil pork leg.
Andy’s That Kitchen’s basil pork leg.
Andy’s Thai Kitchen [Official Photo]

Andy Aroonrasameruang’s Lakeview spot brings the tastes of central Thailand, right outside of Bangkok, to Chicago. The menu is extensive, including dishes that can be found all over Thailand, like spicy tom yum and pad khe mao. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the choices as chef Andy learned his craft from his mom. Just be ready to leave with a full belly. Andy’s has moved to a bigger location, a few blocks north of the original. Order online.

A plate of basil pork leg.
Andy’s That Kitchen’s basil pork leg.
Andy’s Thai Kitchen [Official Photo]

Paula's Thai Kitchen

This Lincoln Park restaurant, in the original home of Taco Burrito Place No. 2, has been noteworthy for years for its convention menu, and a “secret” menu. The conventional menu is available online and it’s formidable with all the classics: papaya salad comes topped with pork belly. The crispy rice with sausage and grilled meatball are favorites. There’s also outdoor seating.

Amarind's

Former Arun’s vet Rangsan Sutcharit draws on his fine dining experience to craft dishes that are elegant yet also affordable. His modern approach to Thai cuisine results in creations like crab rolls and house spinach noodles tossed with shrimp, crab, scrambled eggs, bean sprouts, and garlic chive. The beef Penang curry is another highlight, featuring a tangy and spicy sauce.

Room Service by Pink Salt (Split-Rail)

One of 2019’s great culinary disappointments was the unfulfilled promise left at Fulton Galley, the food hall that quickly closed and thus stranding its talented food vendors. Pink Salt, a vivacious Thai spot, was one of the victims, as the restaurant has seemingly turned a corner, ready to conquer Chicago. From the ashes, Pink Salt is offering pop-ups with a new menu. These are one-plate classics of comfort food that require a little at-home assembly. It might be deviating from the restaurant’s original mission of Northeastern Thai food, but it will tied people over until Pink Salt emerges with a more permanent space. Pickup is from Split-Rail. Check Instagram for the next ordering window. 

Related Maps

JJ Thai Street Food

A plate of grilled squid with seafood sauce.
The West Town restaurant specializes in the fare found on Thailand’s streets and markets.
JJ Thai Street Food [Official Photo]

Perhaps one of the best examples of Thai street food in Chicago is JJ Thai. Sticky rice comes wrapped in banana leaves, gyo tod is crispy and unctuous, and bamee haeng moo dang arrives with a side of soup. Anyone who’s ventured through street vendors in Thailand will harken back to those experiences at this West Town restaurant. Order pickup and delivery online.

A plate of grilled squid with seafood sauce.
The West Town restaurant specializes in the fare found on Thailand’s streets and markets.
JJ Thai Street Food [Official Photo]

Star of Siam

For a place that satisfies all types of palates, check out Star of Siam. The lengthy menu has something for every diner to love, and the atmosphere is cozy and unique. Dishes on the “Star recommendations” section are a sure bet, as is the hearty and comforting sesame-oil-topped chicken rice soup and the lard nar. Order pickup and delivery online.

Opart Thai House

Beloved Opart Thai House has served for several decades and continues to operate with consistency. The Thai stalwart has locations in the South Loop and West Town, and the menu is rife with classic dishes like pad kra praow and pad prik king. But make sure to start with an order of “tiger cry,” charbroiled beef served with house-made spicy sauce. Order online.

Ghin Khao

Over in Pilsen, this casual eatery makes a mark with Northern Thai street food and other home-style dishes since its debut last year. Owner Nova Sasi cooks up a modest selection of delights, including green papaya salad, crab fried rice, grilled pork shoulder, and fried pork belly served with Jaew sauce. Delivery and carryout available via Caviar.

Legend Tasty House

Four cups of rolled ice cream with toppings.
Legend Tasty House puts a unique spin on ice cream.
Legend Tasty House [Official Photo]

Ice cream comes in many different forms. At this Chinatown shop, workers pour ice cream mix over a frozen pan and form it into rolls in front of customers. The frozen treats, popularized in Thai street markets, are then topped with mix-ins such as fruits, candies, syrups, and whipped cream. Order online for carryout.

Four cups of rolled ice cream with toppings.
Legend Tasty House puts a unique spin on ice cream.
Legend Tasty House [Official Photo]

Related Maps