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Oct 11, 2006 02:30 AM


I have read the posts on both restaurants, but was looking for comparisons or why you like one over the other. I am coming in from out of town (use to live in Chicago) and would like to go to the best thai restaurant around. I am not interested in americanized dishes, nor do I care if one restaurant has better ambience than the other.

Also, any recomendations on dishes? I have ideas, but anything outstanding I need to try? I will be ordering off the Thai menu.



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  1. Hmmm - have you narrowed your choices down to just these two Thai restaurants? We've never been to TAC QUICK, but our experiences at Spoon Thai - have been OK but nothing special. We go there mostly becauce of the BYOB policy.

    1. First of all, visit for Erik M.'s translated Thai menus. I'd also throw Sticky Rice into the mix -- personally, I think Spoon Thai, Sticky Rice and TAC Quick are fantastic, and they offer many different choices so check out the translated menus and see what appeals to you.

      My usual choice is Spoon Thai, but that is really because it is so close to my home. Some of my favorite dishes at Spoon are the banana blossom salad, the dried beef jerky, the spicy wild boar stir fry, the Isaan-style fish, the fried chicken with tamarind dipping sauce and the mango and sticky rice.

      Here are links to some wonderful pictures and reviews of both Spoon Thai, TAC Quick and Sticky Rice:

      1. I live a block from Spoon Thai. It was better a few years ago and now is nothing special. TAC Quick is very solid, and the people are very nice, although I have not been in a year. Do make a point of trying Opart Thai, on Western south of Lawrence, which I think is the best casual Thai place in the city. Try the Tiger Cry and Moo Ping appetizers, the Nom Sod salad and a catfish dish. Sticky Rice is at Western and Irving Park and features more Northern Thai dishes. All of the above are BYO. Also, use the Chicago Reader and Metromix websites as references. Both have extensive restaurant reviews.

        1. You will find my translation of Spoon Thai's current (2006) menu here:

          And, you will find my translation of TAC Quick Thai's current (2006) menu (including the current special offerings) here:

          These two restaurants are remarkably different, with the offerings at Spoon *greatly* outnumbering the offerings at TAC Quick. Me, I happen to like the aggressively sour and sweet flavour profile that marks the TAC Quick Thai style, so, where there is any menu overlap between the two restaurants, I tend to prefer the versions made at TAC Quick Thai. These items include khanom jiin naam yaa, khao khaa muu, kuay tiaw reau (boat noodles), yen ta fo, sukii, neua naam tok, sai krawk isaan, kai thawt, muu ping, neau taet diaw, thawt man, kaeng khiaw waan (green curry), kung chae naam plaa, kaeng som, naam phrik ka-pi, and somtam.

          Spoon is where I go when I want laap, luuk chin plaa (housemade fishballs), soups (spicy or bland), kaeng karii, kaeng phanaeng, and dishes which include exotica like muu yaw (steamed sausage), sator beans, bitter melon, "wild boar," banana blossoms, and gouramy fish (plaa salid).

          As you may already know, we are blessed with a number of very good Thai restaurants in Chicago, and each one does a distinct set of dishes exceedingly well. Your choice is a difficult one. Lucky you.


          1. Two good choices food-wise. I guess I'd narrowly favor TAC because it is a more spacious layout. My only gripe about TAC is their TomYom soups which are made with a chili-paste base rather than clear broth and chilis. That's about the only dish that isn't extremely authentic there... but most of Chicago's great Thai restaurants make it with Chili paste so that's not a knock on them really.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Chicago Mike

              Did you ever think to ask that the tom yam be made otherwise? It's really that simple.


              1. re: Erik M

                Erik... I've asked many times... at all these restaurants (my ex is Thai)..

                The only place I currently know that you can get clear-broth Tom Yom is at Tie Me Up on Diversey... they often have excellent authentic Thai, but they don't offer it as a "mainstay" and it does depend on who's in the kitchen...

                1. re: Chicago Mike

                  Mike, if you ask Andy (directly) to make tom yam without naam phrik phao, I know that he will happily accomodate you.

                  At any rate, my very favourite version of tom yam can be had at Thai Avenue. It contains bone-in chunks of chicken and the broth is made without naam phrik phao, just as you describe. You won't find it on either menu, but just ask for, "tom yam kai mai sai naam phrik phao."

                  Oh, and for good measure, here is my translation of the Thai Avenue Thai language menu:



                  1. re: Erik M

                    Fantastic, I appreciate that tip. But I can tell you that I have asked several times and never been offered it... But next time I'll have the ex ask Andy (is he the owner or chef or ??)

                    Because clear tom yom is alot better and more authentic, in our opinion.

                    The Thai Avenue version(s) are okay, but again, we were just there a month or so ago, it was made with chili paste OR with the "bone in chunk" version you speak of...

                    So we tried the bone-in chunks and I found it almost inedible. It was like 80% bones!