Subway: Brown to Kedzie(773) 539-1909 arunsthai.com41.957442 -87.708462 4156 N Kedzie Ave (at Berteau Ave) Albany Park, Chicago
Dinner (closed Mon)Average degustation: $85
When chef Arun Sampanthavivat opened this stately legend in 1985, he began cultivating what would become the first Thai restaurant in America to nab four Mobil stars, an AAA award and a James Beard for Best Chef in the Midwest. These days, brilliant Thai food is prevalent in Chicago, so visit this upscale stalwart only if you have money to burn and the desire for ethnic food in an interesting, art-filled, tablecloth setting. For $85, you’ll get a 12-course tasting of excellent food, including delicate beef panang curry, ethereal lemongrass crab cake and perfectly steamed, curry-drizzled lobster. A separate tasting menu for kids under 7 is $65 and includes tasting portions of simpler fare, such as pad Thai and fried riceÑthe same dishes can be had elsewhere in town for a fraction of the cost. If you’re dining with very small kids, you’ll need to bring along your own booster seat.