Ian Froeb's STL 100

Photo by Hillary Levin (Post-Dispatch)

Chao Baan

The new restaurant from the family behind South Grand Thai institution the King & I — Sue and Suchin Prapaisilp, with their adult son Shayn — is a deeply personal project. Chao Baan's menu eschews the central-Thai template of many area Thai restaurants in favor of dishes from the country's northeast (where Sue is from Loei province) and south (including Suchin's native Yala province). Family-style dinners let you explore both regions, with such standout dishes as southern kua kling (ground beef stir-fried in red-curry paste) and the northeastern khao tod nam sod (fried, chile-charged rice with cilantro, ginger, cured sausage, fish sauce and lime juice). A whole fried fish in a garlic-chile sauce kissed with tamarind is the ideal centerpiece for a table you will crowd with food.

Hours: Dinner daily, lunch Monday-Saturday

Last year's ranking: New this year

Opened: 2019

Many St. Louis-area restaurants are closed or limiting their dining options during the coronavirus pandemic.