The Best Thai Restaurants In Chicago

19 Thai places you need to be acquainted with.
Rémy Martin

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

There are so many options for Thai food in Chicago that committing to one spot can feel as daunting as picking a new couch. That’s why we made this guide. Whether you’re interested in fancy tasting menus, snack shops, or reliable takeout spots, check out one of these 19 places.


photo credit: Kim Kovacik



$$$$Perfect For:BYOBCasual Weeknight DinnerSerious Take-Out Operation
Earn 3x points with your sapphire card

Randomly point at any dish on In-On Thai’s menu and you’ll hit something that’s worth ordering. That’s because everything at this casual BYOB restaurant in Uptown is great. That said, there are a few stand-out dishes you shouldn’t miss. In particular, we like the crispy fish jungle salad, the wonderfully spicy red curry, and the fantastic pad see ew—which has perfectly chewy noodles with just the right amount of char and a not-too-sweet sauce. Bright lights and usually zero background music can make eating here feel more functional than leisurely. But the friendly family running the place is charming enough to make you want to stick around anyway.

Ghin Khao Eat Rice is a casual BYOB spot in Pilsen with a short menu of Northern Thai food like grilled meats served with sweet and spicy jaew sauce. This is the kind of small restaurant where the owner will probably take your order himself and then fire up the grill. While the menu is short, what’s on it is great—particularly the crispy pork belly, the larb gai, and nam tak made with pork shoulder. But keep an eye out for their dish of the month—it’s an off-menu special that rotates, and is always delicious.

Eathai is a cute spot in Logan Square. And like the ‘96 Bulls, its menu is a roster of nothing but standouts. That said, there are a few dishes you should focus on. In particular, we like the crispy duck wontons, the wonderfully sweet and spicy khao soi, and the fantastic pad see ew—which has perfectly chewy noodles lightly coated in a not-too-sweet sauce. The restaurant is small and bright, but our favorite place to sit here is on their quiet, colorful sidewalk patio.

photo credit: AK



Tock logo

This special occasion spot opened in 1987 and remains unapologetically formal—servers wear jackets and there will be a crisply ironed tablecloth on each table. Arun’s serves a nine-course tasting menu for $120, and it comes with beautifully plated dishes like khanom chine, and miang kum. They recently started serving a separate a la carte menu as well, with dishes like pad see ew and duck curry. You’ll still get the same great service and cocktails if you go a la carte, but you can also worry less about remembering to re-up your parking app.

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Tuk Tuk is a small, BYOB spot in Lakeview that specializes in Isan Thai dishes and serves fantastic food packed with lots of chilies and herbs. Besides being a great takeout option for staples like pad kee mao and green curry, grabbing a table on a weeknight isn’t too difficult—and will get you a front-row seat to dishes like the fried whole red snapper smothered in dried red chilies. The restaurant manages to stay low-key even as tables fill up, but you might have to wait a while for dishes to come out as they’re ready. That just provides more time to convince the table to add the ka prow moo krob to the meal.

Call Aroy the Cheers of Ravenswood, where the people who work here are all on a first-name basis with the regulars and their cats. This cash-only BYOB spot has a long menu of Thai staples, and the food—like pork shoulder with housemade jaew sauce—is always excellent. But it’s also the type of place where you’ll see what all the surrounding tables ordered, and then want to order it for your own table to split.

JJ’s is a very small, casual, BYOB restaurant in West Town. Their specialty is street food, so you can expect dishes like khao mun gai, noodle soups, and gai satay. The food is incredible and because the space is so small, you can expect a wait. But you can entertain yourself by watching the chefs stir giant pots of guay tiew nam sood boran under billowing clouds of steam. Come here with a friend and a bottle of wine.

Despite moving from its corner location on Sheridan to an unassuming strip mall in Buena Park back in 2017, this 40-year-old BYOB spot has maintained a loyal following. Don’t be surprised if some of the people in the busy dining room have been ordering Siam's panang curry or pad prik khing with crispy pork since the Limewire downloading days. But regardless of what appetizers or entrees you get, the one non-negotiable is dessert—their housemade coconut ice cream. It’s sweet and nutty, has a hint of salt, peanut topping, and it comes on a bed of sticky rice.

Real Thai’s menu initially appears to be a line-up of the usual suspects. But while the pad thai at this low-key Norridge restaurant is truly delicious, you need to turn your attention to the section on their menu labeled “Secret Thai Style.” It’s full of dishes that can’t be found at most of the other places on this guide: fried boiled eggs in tamarind sauce, crispy mussel pancakes with chili sauce, and a Northern Thai classic: warm jackfruit salad with fresh cucumber and crispy pork skin.

Open until 1am every day, this cozy BYOB restaurant in Ravenswood is a beacon of hope for anyone looking for late-night food. The small space has room for about 20 people and a wall full of cartoon drawings of Thai dishes. And these illustrations should guide your ordering—like the hoy lai with clams cooked in chili sauce, and the crispy pork belly salad that has the golden ratio of tart, salt, and heat. Both of these are found on “The Congee Menu.” This is an apt name: If you order five dishes from that section, a large bowl of free congee magically appears. 

Grocery store hot bars are mainly appealing for one reason: convenience. Except at Talard Thai in Edgewater. Hidden in the back of this market, just past aisles of curry paste and stacks of produce, is a fantastic cash-only food stall. Served cafeteria-style, there’s all sorts of ready-to-eat food like sweet stewed pork and boiled eggs, pad prik khing, and harder-to-find dishes like kang hung lay, a tart, Northern Thai curry. Dishes rotate regularly, and it’s all very affordable—three dishes and a side of rice only costs $10.50. Most people are just stopping by for take-out, but their convenient foldable plastic tables are perfect for a quick bite. 

Like Arun's, Herb offers a tasting menu, but you get to pick your dishes. You can choose five courses for $65 at this small BYOB spot, or seven courses for $85. The spicy fish soup is fantastic, with its light coconut broth that has a lot of heat. Even the simple-sounding grilled tofu is delicious, with roasted ground chili, shallots, and mint. The chef will probably come to your table during the meal to make sure you’re happy, and luckily, you won’t have to lie.

This is another place serving fantastic Thai street food—you’ll find a long menu of curries, noodle dishes, grilled meats, and six different papaya salads. It is hard to make a decision here because everything is good. But they seem to understand this, so there’s a section on the menu called “Thai Dinner Table” where you can order tasting portions of different dishes along with rice (or noodles for curries). It’s also easy to keep adding to your order as you eat, which is definitely what you’ll end up doing.

We’re not sure why we don’t visit this BYOB spot in Lakeview more often. It’s nice enough if you’re meeting someone’s parents for the first time, but not so formal that you’ll worry about who’s paying. Focus on the seafood—specifically dishes like the pad cha catfish, green curry fish ball pasta, or the choo chee curry with mussels. Though we normally come here for a sit-down dinner, they do a great job with takeout too.

Starting a meal at this Edgewater spot without an order of kanom buang should be classified as a misdemeanor, if not a felony. The delicate crepe is flaky and stuffed with shrimp, tofu, and coconut flakes. Follow up with the khao soi and round out your meal with mango sticky rice topped with coconut milk. Jin Thai isn’t usually too busy, so if you show up unannounced you won't have a wait. 

There was a time when it seemed like every neighborhood had an Opart, a Thai staple that’s been around since 1983. Now there’s only one in West Town, but it still makes consistently great salads, noodle dishes, and dishes like curried whole-fried fish. They’ll also customize your heat level from a range from one to seven. If you decide on anything above a five, we implore you, please order extra rice.

Noble Thai’s LED light fixtures, minimalist wooden tables, and grass wall accents make it feel a little bit like eating in a coworking space. But we’re pretty sure a WeWork membership doesn’t come with great khao soi and shredded papaya salad. And despite opening in 2021, most of the recipes at this Noble Square spot have actually been around for decades. The chef was originally at Opart Thai, and she’s carried over menu classics like tiger cry. With plenty of long tables and open space, it’s an ideal spot for large groups, but their bar (which has a skylight) is also great for a solo meal of pad thai, a cocktail, and some sunshine.

If you need an incentive to keep a few bills in your wallet, look no further than Andy’s Thai Kitchen in Lakeview. And while this cash-only, BYOB spot is great for boat noodles with brisket, the main focus should be on their specialty dishes. Som tum poo with papaya, raw crab, and dried shrimp is refreshing and funky, while the wild boar curry is sweet and savory. The parade of plastic bags exiting the restaurant suggest that Andy’s is popular mainly for take-out, but that means it’s usually quiet, and grabbing a table is never an issue.

This is our go-to spot in North Center for Northern Thai cuisine. The long menu is as comprehensive as an Ayn Rand novel. You have an array of options, but we’ll make it easy. Order the kow soy (ask for their housemade chili sauce to spice it up), kai lai, and larb. If you still have trouble choosing, just get the Northern Thai combo set. It comes with four dishes plus sticky rice for about $14.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

Suggested Reading

In-On Thai image

In-On Thai

In-On Thai is a great BYOB Thai spot in Uptown.

Siam Noodle And Rice image

Siam Noodle And Rice is a longtime staple in Buena Park with great Thai food.

Real Thai image

Real Thai is a casual restaurant in Norridge with a great secret menu of not-so-easily-found Thai dishes.

Infatuation Logo


2024 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The views and opinions expressed on The Infatuation’s site and other platforms are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of (or endorsement by) JPMorgan Chase. The Infatuation and its affiliates assume no responsibility or liability for the content of this site, or any errors or omissions. The Information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store