Thai Classic

Jessica Geiger

Steps from Chicago’s busy intersection of Clark and Belmont, just past the boutiques and chain cafes, you’ll find an amazing hidden gem. Thai Classic on Clark has been providing excellent Thai dishes to the Lakeview area since 1989. Despite all its awards over the years, the restaurant remains a neighborhood secret.

Outside Thai Classic on Clark

When patrons enter Thai Classic, they can tell that this place is all about authenticity.  Amongst Buddhist statues are low sitting tables surrounded by pillows on the floor, offering a more casual dining area that encompasses the full Thai experience.

After I picked one of the western-style dining tables, I started chatting with my waitress, Chawalida, who has been at the restaurant for 17 years.  Between filling glasses of water and cheerfully taking care of the two other groups of diners, she explained how much importance was placed on selecting quality foods.  Chawalida went on to say that the high standards for the food partially comes from the owner, Somsiri Lertpanichpun’s, Buddhist belief in “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”  She wouldn’t eat poor quality food, and believes her customers shouldn’t either.

Thai Classic's Interior

Even in this tough economy, quality has never been sacrificed at Thai Classic.  When my plate of Chicken Pad Thai was placed in front of me, that all became obvious.  I could see the quality even before I put a forkful into my mouth by the vibrant colors of the purple cabbage, orange carrots, and green lime placed beside the large portioned noodle dish.

When I asked what made Lertpanichpun want to open the restaurant Chawalida said, “She’s just always loved to cook for people.  Even when I went to school with her, I remember her cooking dinner for all of our friends.  This is what it has turned into.”

While I enjoyed my meal, Chawalida told me what she thought Thai Classic brought to the city.  Every weekend, they offer a buffet for $11.95 filled with authentic cuisine.  My friendly waitress told me that she thinks it’s a great opportunity for people to try something new.  If you already have a favorite dish and plan on coming when the buffet is offered, this is her advice, “I always tell people to order both an entrée and the buffet.  While everything on the buffet is kept fresh, there’s nothing like getting something made just for you.”

Thai Classic also offers lunch specials Monday through Friday.  Entrees like the ever-popular Pad Thai, start at as little as $6.  Each meal is offered with a special start: light cabbage and tofu soup and a crispy curry puff.  With a deal like that, it’s no wonder locals have kept this restaurant their own little secret.

If you still have room after your meal, the restaurant makes homemade ice cream right in the kitchen.  The recipe is a restaurant secret, and as you would expect from an establishment that stresses quality, you won’t find any artificial flavoring in this creamy desert that’s serving is only $3.

When it gets to dinner time on Friday and Saturday nights, a lot of people flock to the restaurant and it  becomes much busier.  Groups of friends take advantage of the casual atmosphere and BYOB (bring your own beer) policy for a fun night out with great food.  But, if a night out isn’t what you’re looking for, Thai Classic takes orders for both delivery and pickup 7 days a week either by phone or via its website.

Thai Classic's Intricate Orchid Chicken

The menu offers something for everyone.  There is a wide range of chicken and beef dishes, as well as an extensive seafood section.  One of the dishes that Thai Classic takes pride in is its Orchid Chicken, which is served in a pineapple and is intricately presented.  Vegetarians can also enjoy Thai Classic’s menu by selecting a dish with tofu instead of meat.  The staff wants everyone to enjoy what they have to offer:  “Not everything is for everyone,” says Chawalida, but she is confident that individuals are destined to find at least one thing on the menu that will become their favorite.

After I paid my bill and talked with Chawalida a bit longer, I made my way to the door.  As I stepped onto Clark Street, I became one more person that had discovered the secret of Thai Classic.  I have definitely found my new favorite Thai spot in the city.  I am now letting you in on that little secret and urging you to visit Lakeview’s hidden gem.

Check It Out:

Thai Classic
3332 N Clark St

(773) 404.2000


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey Guys,

    It’s Tyler from class. Just wanted to share with you that one of my co-workers needed help finding a good Thai restaurant to eat and I sent her here!

    • Thanks Tyler! Make sure she let’s us know how she likes it if she ends up going :]

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