Arun’s can be considered as an important Chicago institution, having been in business for over 30 years. It could even be called one of Chicago’s first few token fine dining restaurants, for its elevated take on Thai dishes set in an elegant space.
Chef Arun Sampanthavivat is the master behind the operation, directing the day-to-day operations of Arun's Thai Restaurant, from menu creation to training staff members. However, a lucrative career as a restaurateur wasn't what he had initially envisioned for himself. Chef Arun took up literature and foreign language in Bangkok. When his Master’s degree in Political Science took him to Chicago, his friends asked him for help on a restaurant venture. The friends eventually opted out, and Chef Arun, being the dependable scholar he is, continued running the restaurant. The rest, as they say, is history.
After a brief closure when Chef Arun Sampanthavivat announced that he would be selling the place, the restaurant has returned. With it comes a brand new investor and a sleeker look. Luckily, Chef Arun is still the owner/operator, so nothing has changed as far as the cuisine is concerned.
When you enter the newly renovated restaurant, you are immediately transported to the land of the Thai people. Classic mahogany walls are adorned with lustrous Thai silks and Thai paintings from Chef Arun’s private collection. The 2,500 square-foot dining room allows semi-private alcoves, which is bordered by a small gallery that hosts intimate tables that overlook the main dining room.
The new-and-improved Arun’s also features a healthier menu and a more updated wine list. Menu options offered are now also prix-fixe and diners can choose from a 10-course or 12-course menu, presented in either sequential or family style. Dishes change from time to time, but some of Chef Arun’s (who is still running the kitchen) current specialties include Herbed Beef Salad, with sliced beef sirloin, a herbed salad and fresh cucumber and Seared Scallops, which include a seasonal vegetable medley and ginger butter.
10 and 12 courses are offered, at $125 per person, and $150 per person, respectively. Their wine list features varietals perfect for pairing with the taste of Thai featured on Arun’s menu. Monthly themed dinners are in the works, so make sure to check Arun’s website for upcoming special events of the sort.
Arun’s has been featured in the New York Times Bestseller, 1000 Places to See Before You Die. It’s elevated ethnic dishes add to the diversity of Chicago’s bustling food scene. Have you given its new iteration a try, yet? If so, let us know how it went in the comments!
Arun's Thai Restaurant
4156 N Kedzie Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60618
Feature Image Source: Arun’s