Thai cuisine has become increasingly popular in Chicago over the years, with numerous Thai restaurants scattered throughout the city. As a result, there are various reviews available online that evaluate the quality of Thai food in Chicago. In this task, we’ll take a closer look at some of these reviews and gain insights into the best Thai restaurants in Chicago.
The Thai Cuisine Scene in Chicago: An Overview
Chicago’s culinary landscape is a melting pot of flavors influenced by cultures from around the world, and Thai cuisine is no exception. Thai food is known for its bold and complex flavors, combining sweet, sour, salty, and spicy elements in perfect harmony. Whether you’re in the mood for hearty soups, spicy curries, or flavorful stir-fries, Chicago has plenty of Thai restaurants to satisfy your cravings.
Exploring the Different Styles of Thai Cuisine
Thai cuisine is incredibly diverse, with distinct regional styles that showcase the country’s culinary heritage. Some of the most popular styles of Thai cuisine include:
- Central Thai Cuisine: This style of cuisine is the most well-known and is characterized by its use of fresh herbs and spices, such as lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime. Dishes like Pad Thai, Tom Yum soup, and Green Curry are all examples of Central Thai cuisine.
- Southern Thai Cuisine: This style of cuisine is known for its fiery curries and seafood dishes. Expect to find dishes like Massaman Curry, Yellow Curry, and Spicy Basil Stir-Fry on the menu.
- Northeastern (Isaan) Thai Cuisine: This style of cuisine is heavily influenced by neighboring Laos and is known for its sour and spicy flavors. Dishes like Papaya Salad, Larb, and Grilled Pork Neck are all staples of Isaan cuisine.
Top Picks for Thai Food in Chicago
Chicago has no shortage of Thai restaurants, but not all are created equal. Here are some of the top picks for Thai food in the Windy City:
1. Aroy Thai
Located in the heart of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, Aroy Thai serves up some of the best Thai food in the city. The menu offers a wide variety of dishes, including traditional favorites like Pad Thai and Tom Yum soup, as well as lesser-known dishes like Boat Noodle Soup and Khao Soi Curry. The restaurant’s cozy atmosphere and friendly staff make it a great spot for a casual dinner or a quick lunch.
2. Sticky Rice
Sticky Rice is a popular Thai restaurant located in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago. The menu features a mix of classic Thai dishes and modern twists on traditional favorites. Don’t miss the restaurant’s signature dish, Sticky Rice with Mango, a delicious dessert made with sweet sticky rice, fresh mango, and coconut milk. The restaurant’s trendy atmosphere and creative cocktails make it a great spot for a night out with friends.
Herb is a Thai restaurant located in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago. The menu features a mix of classic Thai dishes and modern creations, all made with high-quality ingredients and flavorful spices. Don’t miss the restaurant’s famous Crab Rangoon, a crispy fried wonton filled with cream cheese and crab meat. The restaurant’s cozy atmosphere and attentive service make it a great spot for a romantic dinner or a special occasion.
4. JJ Thai Street Food
JJ Thai Street Food is a casual restaurant located in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. The menu features a variety of Thai street food dishes, including Pad Thai, Green Curry, and Spicy Basil Stir-Fry. The restaurant’s laid-back atmosphere and affordable prices make it a great spot for a quick lunch or a casual dinner.
5. Opart Thai House
Opart Thai House is a family-owned Thai restaurant located in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. The menu features a mix of classic Thai dishes and lesser-known specialties, all made with fresh ingredients and authentic spices. Don’t miss the restaurant’s signature dish, the Opart Pad Thai, a delicious stir-fry made with rice noodles, egg, tofu, and shrimp. The restaurant’s warm atmosphere and friendly staff make it a great spot for a family dinner or a night out with friends.
FAQs for Reviews of Thai Food in Chicago
What are some of the best Thai restaurants in Chicago?
Chicago has a thriving Thai food scene, and there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from. Some of the top-rated places include Sticky Rice, Bangkok Thai Cuisine, Herb, and Siam Rice. Each of these restaurants has its own unique take on Thai food, so it’s worth trying them all to see which one you prefer.
What should I order at a Thai restaurant in Chicago?
Thai food is known for its complex flavors and use of fresh ingredients, so there are plenty of dishes to choose from. Some of the most popular include pad Thai, green curry, massaman curry, and tom yum soup. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try some of the more unusual dishes like larb, a spicy minced meat salad, or som tam, a refreshing papaya salad.
Are there any Thai restaurants in Chicago that cater to vegetarians or vegans?
Yes! Many Thai restaurants in Chicago offer vegetarian and vegan options. At Siam Rice, for example, you can order tofu or vegetable versions of many of their dishes. Similarly, at Herb, they have a separate vegetarian menu that includes dishes like tofu noodle soup and pumpkin curry. Just make sure to check with your server to ensure that your meal is free from animal products.
What are some of the standout dishes at Sticky Rice?
Sticky Rice is a popular Thai restaurant in Chicago that is known for its delicious food and cozy atmosphere. Some of the standout dishes at Sticky Rice include their crispy duck pad Thai, which is made with thin rice noodles and a sweet and sour tamarind sauce, and their crispy garlic tofu, which is served with sautéed bok choy and mushrooms. They also have a great drink menu that includes Thai iced tea and Thai basil lemonade.
Is it possible to order Thai food for takeout or delivery in Chicago?
Yes! Many Thai restaurants in Chicago offer takeout and delivery options. You can use apps like Grubhub or Uber Eats to order from your favorite restaurant, or you can call in your order and pick it up yourself. Just remember that some dishes may not travel well and could be less tasty if they’re not eaten immediately after being prepared.