Chicago is a veritable metropolitan melting pot offering an abundance of stellar restaurants that reflect the city’s wide variety of backgrounds and ethnicities. It’s not uncommon to find Indian, Chinese, Thai, Ethiopian, Italian and Middle Eastern restaurants located only a few feet apart on most bustling Avenues. If you’re looking for say, delicious Thai food, there are so many Thai restaurants to choose from that it may be somewhat difficult to narrow the list down to just one.
We did our best to highlight some of the best Thai restaurants (and values) in the city, which should keep your dining schedule, your belly and your pocketbook full!
Bamee Noodle Shop
3120-3122 N. Broadway Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657
The great thing about this Thai Hotspot is the huge open space and the genuinely cheerful staff. Even greater is the food. This is Thai cuisine at its best. With large windows and ample seating, this is a great place to grab a sliced chicken bowl while you watch Lakeview’s loveliest prance down busy Broadway Avenue. There’s a wide variety of noodle dishes to choose from including, thin, stir-fried, wide or pan-fried-in a bowl or on a plate, mixed with tofu or veggies or any kind of meat. The list goes on and on. Hearty appetizers range from the simple to the exotic. A Bamee favorite is the Crab Rangoon. Other flavorful starters include; superb spring rolls, plump pop stickers and sizzling satay (skewered chicken with peanut sauce).
Rice dishes are also abundant along with spicy Thai curries, “lighter” Bamee sauces and hearty soups such as Tom Kha (sliced chicken in spicy and sour coconut milk) and Tom Yum (spicy and sour soup with shrimp). During the warm summer months, the outdoor seating area is a popular spot for dining and people watching. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
Cozy Noodles & Rice
3456 N. Sheffield
Chicago, IL 60657
Located just a few blocks from Wrigley Field, this kitschy cool noodle shop takes retro to a whole new level. Being the new kid on the block must be tough (opened in 2003), but Cozy will stop at nothing to stand out and it works! The non-traditional dÃ?Â©cor blends American and Thai cultures together to create a visual stimulating environment filled with retro phones, retro recorders, retro toys, hundreds of Pez Dispensers and a giant Elvis statue. The tables are even fashioned from old swinger sewing machines, so your feet are resting on actual working pedals! The design doesn’t stop there-even the bathrooms are a source of entertainment with retro knick knacks and gadgets covering the walls and ceiling.
The service at Cozy is warm and friendly, and the Thai cuisine is nothing short of excellent. Popular dishes include: Pad Thai, Pad See Ewe and Lard Na as well as Panang Curry and Rama Broccoli. Substitutions are always welcome, portions are hearty and the ingredients are always fresh. During the warm summer months popular beverages include: honey dew or watermelon freezies and sweet Thai Iced Tea. During the cold winter months the smell of Jasmine and peppermint tea fills the air. Feel free to BYOB as well. Cozy hours are: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
Joy’s Noodles and Rice
3257 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657
Perfect for people watching and even better for their ever-popular Pad Thai, Joy’s delivers entertainment and good eats in a casually cool environment. During the hot summer months Joy’s has an outdoor garden in back and an open faÃ?Â§ade in front. But during the cold winter months, Joy’s transforms into a warm, cozy retreat filled with spicy scents and the smell of hot jasmine tea. Grab a booth or a small table and enjoy everything from hearty Lad Nar to fresh Rama Broccoli. You’ll be impressed with the amazingly friendly service and you’ll keep coming back for tasty Thai you can depend on. Feel free to BYOB – no cork fee. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
2053 W. Division
Chicago, IL 60622
I really don’t want to let the cat out of the bag about this one, but Thai Village is one of Chicago’s best kept secrets and it deserves a spot on our “best of” list and every where else! This place serves up fresh Thai cuisine in an environment that makes you want to grab the remote and kick up your feet. Yes, it’s that cozy. Ginger Chicken and Chili over rice are popular dishes as well as the ever-famous, Pad See Ewe and Pad Woon Sen. This Family-run establishment keeps the decor basic and the quality of the food high above the average. There are has no pretensions here and Thai village remains one of the last vestiges in this gentrified Wicker Park neighborhood. They don’t mind if you BYOB. Hours are: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday & Sunday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, closed Monday.
3332 N. Clark
Chicago, IL 60657
Kick off your shoes and grab a floor cushion at this pretty little Thai eatery. If you’re a little shy about going shoeless feel free to settle into one of Thai Classic’s ‘s western-style tables. Locals love this place for the laid-back atmosphere, quality of the food and consistency of service. The weekend buffet allows patrons to take a walk on the wild side by offering just about everything on the menu including dishes you might not order otherwise. Standards like Pad Thai, Red & Green Curries and Pad See Ewe are offered as well as dishes like Squid Salad and Crab Fried Rice. There’s also a buffet if you want to sample a variety of dishes. Hours are noon-10:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-9:30 Sunday.
1320 W. Devon
Chicago, IL 60626
They say big things come in small packages and Thai Spice offers all the proof you need. Tiny, comfortable and cute – this Devon Avenue eatery serves up some of the most authentic Thai cuisine in the city. Dishes run the gamut from awesome Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice, chef recommended Satay Chicken Skewers and damn good Pad Thai. A warm and friendly staff will greet you with a smile and they will always remember you when you return, and trust me-you will. Thai Spice is open 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Wednesday -Monday and they are closed on Tuesdays.
4943 N. Damen
Chicago, IL 60625
Have you ever heard of Pad Macaroni? How about Spaghetti ki-mao? How about Thai-American fusion? It sounds strange but Muang Thai offers up some delicious and interesting Thai cuisine with a twist including American-like dishes and others such as; Greenlip Mussels served in a clay pot, Tender Beef Salad and Spicy Pad See Ewe. Portions are huge so one dish would be more than enough for two. Prices are rarely more than $7 and the BYOB policy makes it an even better deal. Hours are: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday.; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 3 p.m.-9 pm. Sunday.
727 Lake Street
Oak Park, IL 60301
There’s something comforting about watching your food being prepared while you wait. New Pot has an open kitchen so you can witness the magic. This large, open space may seem a little over-the-top to some but most consider the environment hip, but casual. Service can be a teensy bit slow at times, but once your fried red snapper or spicy curry fried rice arrives, you’ll forget about the wait and realize why it took so long to prepare. Each dish arrives piping hot and nearly perfect. Fried wontons are a favorite as well as savory soups and a well-above average Pad Thai. Don’t worry about parking, it’s a piece of cake here and don’t forget to BYOB. Hours are: 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.
1 E. Delaware
Chicago, IL 60611
Amarit is a great place to grab some quick Thai while you’re between stores along the Magnificent Mile. Whether you’re lunching or shopping, Amarit offers a relaxing environment where you can take a break from buying or a breather from the grind. Dishes are priced just right and range from Pad Thai and Pot Stickers to Crazy Noodles and Pad Dra Proa (spicy basil chicken). Service tends to be fast and friendly and waits are kept to a minimum. Weekends can get a little crazy around the Magnificent Mile, but what else is new? Hours are: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
Dharma Garden Thai
3109 W. Irving Park
Chicago, IL 60641
Vegetarians rejoice! You don’t have to worry about substituting this for that or that for this here. Dharma Garden prepares meatless dishes without MSG, processed sugar, fish sauce or artificial ingredients. You can opt for traditional floor seating or regular seating where you can sit and sample stir-fried soy duck or tasty vegetable pot stickers. Seafood dishes are also available- upon request. My how the tables have turned! Dharma Garden Thai is open Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday 3 p.m.- 9 p.m.
Royal Thai Cuisine
2209 W. Montrose
Chicago, IL 60640
This off-the-beaten path Thai emporium offers easy street parking and a whole lot of bang for your buck. This Thai palace ranks #1 among neighborhood types and other city dwellers alike. The large, attractive dining room seats about 30 comfortably while the kitchen cranks out fresh vegetable dishes and spicy seafood entrees daily. Try the Royal Thai prawns or vegetable dumplings for an appetizer and the ginger chicken for an entrÃ?Â©e. Other dishes include: Kee Mow (stir-fried noodles, lettuce, carrots, onions, bell peppers, bean sprouts, tomatoes and basil leaves), Green Curry and Royal Thai Tofu. Lunch specials include an appetizer of your choice, soup (try the Tom Yum) and an entrÃ?Â©e, all for a whopping $5.50. Hours are: 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, Thursday; 11:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; noon – 9 p.m. Sunday; Closed Wednesday.
2022 W. Roscoe
Chicago, IL 60618
Call up your friends and tell them to meet you at Thai Linda for dinner! This spacious Roscoe Village Thai restaurant is a great place for groups who want to have a good time exchanging crazy stories or who are on their way to one of the many bars in Roscoe Village. Family-owned and cozy as hell, Thai Linda always serves up fresh dishes including specialties like duck, deep-fried catfish and light and tasty lemongrass chicken. During the warm summer months a nice shaded sidewalk cafÃ?Â© offers nice views of this somewhat busy Roscoe Street strip. Thai Linda has a huge take-out business and they are also known for having the friendliest staff in town, whether you decide to dine in or out. Thai Linda is open from 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 4 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday.