As you stare into your cupboard and consider rehydrating a bag of brownish red beans for the second time today, it’s important that you know there are still plenty of restaurants around the city doing takeout and delivery. If you’re looking for Thai food in particular, here’s where to start.
Randomly point at any dish on In-On Thai’s menu and you’ll hit something that’s worth ordering. That’s because everything we’ve eaten here 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.
JJ’s specialty is Thai street food and it’s fantastic. You can expect dishes like khao mun gai (with a delicious dipping sauce), satay, and incredibly spicy noodle soups. The kitchen here is small, so there might be a wait for your delivery or pickup, but it’s 100% worth it.
This is another place serving fantastic Thai street food, but Immm Rice is in Uptown. You’ll find a long menu of curries, noodle dishes, grilled meats, and six different papaya salads. There’s even a section called “Thai Dinner Table” where you can order tasting portions of different dishes, along with rice or noodles. Long story short, that’s what you should get so you can try as much as possible.
We like ordering from Andy’s in Lakeview because it has a great selection of curries that always delivers on spice. From the jungle curry and pad pred (we like ours with the wild boar) to the sweet and spicy duck curry made with roasted duck, grapes, and pineapple, they’re always flavorful and delicious.
This is our go-to spot in North Center for Northern Thai. Order the kow soy (ask for their housemade chili sauce to spice it up), kai lai, and larb. If you have trouble choosing, just get the Northern Thai combo set - you get four dishes plus sticky rice for $13.95.
I’m Vegan And Vegetarian is a Thai restaurant in Lakeview that (as the not-very-subtle name hints at) is completely vegan. You’ll find appetizers like mushroom steam buns and tofu satay, along with entrees like curry (we like it with the mock duck) and khou yum made with soy chicken. Everything has a nice balance of sweet and spicy, and even if you normally eat meat, you probably won’t miss it. Much.
Aroy Thai is the type of comforting and reliable spot everyone wants in their neighborhood. The food here - like papaya salad, sour and spicy sausage, and plenty of curries - is always very good. Order for curbside pickup or delivery.
Indie in Edgewater is affordable, and while it’s not the best we’ve had, their food is pretty good. Their massaman curry is satisfying and they have solid noodle dishes, too. Plus, you get 15% off food for carryout and delivery, and 20% off any wine, beer, and sake for pickup.
Aside from some great curries, this small Edgewater restaurant has some sleeper hits on the menu you need to know about. Mainly the kanom buang (crepes filled with shrimp, tofu, and coconut flakes) and the miang kum (betel leaves with dried shrimp), but Jin also has a fantastic crab fried rice - make sure to ask for extra chili sauce.
You might know Cozy Noodles & Rice as the Wrigleyville Thai spot decorated with all sorts of toys, Pez dispensers, and Cubs stuff. But it also has some very solid food. Get any of the noodles or curry dishes and you’ll be good to go. And you get 10% off if you order directly from the site.
TAC Quick’s menu is huge, so it might take you a little bit of time to figure out what you want. But the food is similar to nearby Cozy Noodles & Rice, so a good bet is focusing on the noodles and curries. And here you can also get wine and beer delivered, too.
Urban Vegan is a casual vegan Thai spot. You’ll find things like tofu satay, soy chicken with peanut sauce, and a number of curry dishes. This is a must-know spot for vegetarians and vegans in the neighborhood, and perfect for a midweek dinner.
This is where you get Thai food near Lincoln Square. Rainbow Thai has a great sai krog isan - in fact it’s worth getting a second order of this sour pork sausage just so you have some to eat for breakfast the next day. Their naem khao tod (crunchy rice salad) is another must order, and they have a very good pad see ew, which you should make sure to order “crispy-style.”
Three Wheels Noodle in Wicker Park has some stand-out noodle dishes. We’re fans of the drunken noodles, khao soy, and egg noodles with BBQ pork, crab, and topped with crispy wontons.
We’re not sure why more people don’t seem to know about this upscale spot in Lakeview. Though we normally come here for a sit-down dinner, they do a great job with takeout meals too. Focus on the seafood - dishes like the pad cha catfish, green curry fish ball pasta, or the choo chee curry with mussels.
There are a few locations of this reliably good Thai spot in Chicago, and chances are there’s one near you right now. But when we’re in Chinatown and want Thai food, it’s our first choice in the neighborhood. Order pad thai or pad see ew, and plan on having a lot of leftovers.
Bodhi in Pilsen is just a great Thai restaurant. Order any of their noodle dishes and some starters, like the chive dumplings or spicy wings. They also have some great specials (like pad prik king) that are normally posted on a little chalkboard inside the restaurant. So make sure you call to ask what they are before you order carryout or get it delivered.
The Thai menu at Ghin Khao is short, but 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. You’ll find it on their Instagram.
We’re not going to lie - Noodles, Etc does not have amazing Thai food. It does have just fine Thai food, large portions, and everything costs around $8. And if you’re stuck in your apartment near UIC on a quarantined college student’s budget, this spot is a good option.
If you’re stuck at home near UIC and not on a college kid’s budget, consider ordering from The Snail. This place has a nice list of curries (like fried catfish in red curry, and a salmon panang), and a very good pad thai. Available for curbside pickup and delivery.
For all your Hyde Park pad thai and pad see ew needs, order from Siam Thai. They also do a nice massaman and panang curry, too.