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“Excellent” 5 of 5 stars
Review of altThai

40 S Arlington Heights Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
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Price range: $10 - $20
Cuisines: Thai
Restaurant details
Springboro, Ohio
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2013

I can't say enough good things about this place. The service was excellent and the food was amazing. We ordered crab rangoon as an appetizer and they were not the greasy, soggy version that you get in most Asian restaurants. Even the presentation was exceptional. Our main dishes consisted of massaman curry, Thai soup, fried rice, and a stir fry dish and all of it was well worth the price. And that was the biggest surprise; especially in a nicer area of Chicago, I expected to pay twice what I did. I hope to return someday.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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28 reviews from our community

85% Recommend
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Struggles to Stand Out”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2013

altThai would have you believe that trendy is definitely the way to go when stepping into the small eatery, but boutique prices and less than ultra-fashionable quality stumble trying to satiate expectations. As is an inherent risk of aiming for suburban chic, altThai dispenses with the typical Oriental Atmosphere many places struggle with in favor of a small, cohesive locale that tries to serve an array of cuisine blended from Thailand, amidst others from Southeast Asian. While adequate though, it fails to stand out as an eatery that asks, let alone demands, a return visit.

When stepping in to escape the summer heat, my wife and I were surprised to find it moderately empty on a Friday night making the reservation I placed earlier in the day feel all the more superfluous. Quickly seated by our server, we opted to each have our own versions of their Pad Si-Ew (spelling is per the establishment) complimented by an order of Crab Rangoon. My wife also ventured to try their strawberry smoothie while I stuck with water.

To their credit, the smoothie was served up quick and cold in a tall glass that begged to be sipped. But as my wife lifted it to her lips, a look of consternation slowly spread across her face as the hungry smile turned to a scowl. Tasting it myself, her dismay was justified. The smoothie tasted of little more than watered-down strawberries without any sweetness the fruit normally conveys when consumed.

After having it replaced with a soda, we patiently awaited as our Crab Rangoon shortly followed in suit, settling on the table with a slight ting of steam still drifting upwards. Served fresh and hot, they were dabbled with a sweeter chili sauce that was disarmingly tame. I expected spicy, but was pleasantly surprised since, having not been served on the side, it would have made the dish significantly less palatable for my wife who isn't a big fan of spicy food.

Each Rangoon was delicious, despite a relatively higher than usual price tag for five, albeit small, pieces. The crispy texture was invitingly crunchy and flavorful while the mix of cream cheese and imitation crab explodes with a vigorously sumptuous flavor, uniquely and satisfying. A satiating appetizer that doesn't eclipse the main course, nor does it try to do so. We finished it within a short span and resumed the waiting game.

At this point, we wondered slightly, since we'd both waited for refills a fair amount of time by now. The restaurant was relatively empty, but if this is the one thing I found noticeably lacking, that would be it. When the server was there, and we had their attention, they were exceptionally attentive. But otherwise, they seemed almost timidly concerned with disturbing us.

Still, when our Pad Si-Ew (again, spelling) arrived, we couldn't have been more excited. The food steamed off the plate like a star cooling in the vast darkness of space, truly a beautifully enticing sight to behold - all the more so given how hungry we were. It was a lovely moment of reflection before digging in with the grace of a scene out of Jurassic Park.

And it was okay. Not weekend with Batman mind blowing, merely passable in the purest sense of the word. There was a demonstrated competence that had been brought to the table without any visible justification for the upped cost of paying for seafood and combo (pork and shrimp) meals. It was almost anticlimactically disappointing, like a wedding night that ends in both parties simply falling asleep, nothing coming of it.

We worked our way through each bite, removing shrimp tails as we nibbled through the accouterments and discarded them. Nothing was burned, but nothing was brilliant either. Very run-of-the-mill.

My wife took her leftovers home, I was hungry enough not to leave anything. But through the main course, I might as well have sat across the table from Sarah, Plain and Tall given how absolutely unremarkable the meal was, despite the final price. It just felt like a poseur-styled meal trying really hard to prove that it belonged, crafted in a way that struggled to justify the cost.

Overall, it was more disappointing than not and will be difficult to justify a return trip in the future when there are slews of alternative places that offer something a bit better of a bit less of a bill. While the atmosphere was fun and inviting, I'm usually more concerned with my food. In this case, paying for a mediocre, albeit trendy place to sample a watered-down experience just wasn't worth it.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
“Great food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2013 via mobile

Authentic with a great menu. We had curry and it was off the charts. The service was great and the setting was very comfortable. We will definitely go back.

Visited May 2013
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Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
Top Contributor
154 reviews 154 reviews
101 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 88 cities Reviews in 88 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
“TA was right!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2013 via mobile

I'm glad I went with TA's recommendation. The restaurant is on a corner so parking isn't the greatest but once inside, the atmosphere is contemporary, the dining room clean and service was great. I had the Kha soup and it was really good. The green curry was exceptional. My only advice is to go a little lighter on your usual spice level as they run a little hotter than others.

If I'm back in the area, ill definitely be back.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hewitt, Wisconsin 54441
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Outstanding contemporary Thai food!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

I have dined here several times and simply love their food! Their potstickers are great and their main courses extremely flavorful and beautifully presented.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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