Dharma Garden Thai Cuisine

Chicago, Illinois


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Everyone that I know really enjoys this restaurant. I think the food here is mediocre. I haven't had great Thai food in Chicago. I ate Thai a lot in Atlanta, but none of the restaurants in Chicago live up to my expectations. The good side is there is no questioning whether something is vegetarian or vegan here. They don't use fish or oyster sauce at all. I have tried at least 5 dishes here, and I've never though anything was bad, but I never thought it was fabulous, either.

rating star

I was driving on Irving Park Road in Chicago and I saw a storefront with a sign that said "Vegetarian". That was enough for me to stop and give Dharma Garden Thai Cuisine a try. I'm very glad that I did.

The vegetarian and very vegan-friendly Thai food is excellent and I was relieved that I did not have to say "vegetable broth only" and "no fish sauce". One of the owners is a vegetarian and she has made sure that only vegetable broth is used and fish and oyster sauce are never used. It's very unusual to find a Thai restaurant that does not use fish sauce at all.

As the owner pointed out, at most Thai restaurants, a vegetarian can request that no fish sauce be used but fish sauce is ever-present in sauces that go into preparing a Thai dish. That never happens at this restaurant.

I wish this restaurant much luck. They just had their one-year anniversary. Even though they offer excellent vegetarian Thai food, business has been a little slow due to the reliance on word-of-mouth advertising. The owners are in discussion on whether or not to add a few meat dishes (other than seafood) in order to stay in business. They assured me that they will absolutely keep the cooking areas completely separate from one another.

The foods that I have tried and thoroughly enjoyed are: Dharma Garden Tofu Spring Rolls, Thai "Egg" Rolls (vegan), Thai Vegetable Crepe, Basil Noodle, Crispy Noodle Lard Nar, Bean Sprout and Tofu in Mushroom Sauce, Sticky Rice with Mango, and Rice Pudding (vegan) with Coconut in Banana Leaf.

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