The Greek food scene in Chicago is a weird one. Greektown is a congested area of restaurants that all look the same, and one doesn’t necessarily stand out from the rest. There are other spots sprinkled throughout the city, but it’s tough to pin down which ones are good. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do for you – pin down the Greek restaurants worth visiting.
You need a little Greek food every now and then, and the key is knowing which restaurant best suits your situational needs. Here’s our Chicago greek restaurant guide.
Parthenon is old school and one of the oldest tenured restaurants in Greektown. How old school are they? They claim to invented saganaki. It’s an OUTRAGEOUS claim, but it also might be true.
Like SpongeBob Square Pants, Santorini is the spot for everything under the sea. Lay off the heavy meat and moussaka and flaming cheese while you’re here. OK, maybe the flaming cheese is good to start with, but Santorini is where we go for fresh fish simply done.
Athenian Room is like the Pope of American Greek food, holier than thou. It may not be pure Greek, but we’ll bow down, kiss its feet, and bless the kalamata chicken dinner any day. This is Americanized Greek food at its finest, and Tina Fey agrees.
If a gyro sandwich is all you’re after then Gyros On The Spit is the spot. It’s in contention for the freshest and best gryo sandwich of the bunch. They aren’t wasting time with a 37 page menu like some of these other places, and they keep it simple with the things they do well. They’re doing gyro sandwiches extraordinary well.
Everything we said about Athenian Room? Ya, well Cross-Rhodes is like its Evanston cousin. If you ever find yourself near Northwestern then you can’t go wrong with an easy and cheap chicken dinner here.
Atropolis calls itself a cafe, bakery, and agora (Greek gathering place), and it’s a pretty accurate description of the place as a whole. It feels very much like a casual cafe – there’s good food, but a strong emphasis on bread, desserts, and wine sold from the small shop as well. Baked goods and pastries will be taunting you from inside of their glass cases, so make sure to get a few.
Hit Athena to take advantage of their outdoor patio. It’s decorated with fountains and columns to mimic the ancient city of Athens, and for a split second on a nice day you might feel like you’re there. Then a taxi will honk and you’ll remember where you are, but it’s nice nonetheless.
Taxim is by far the nicest restaurant of the bunch and one that’s a little different. If you want Greek flavors without the kitschy gimmicks, Taxim is the place. It’s a more modern and trendy take on Greek and Mediterranean food, and the flavors absolutely deliver. The meal is meant to be shared with others, as is the really good and reasonably priced Greek wine.
A need to know spot for anyone living in Wicker Park. Greek Corner takes no frills to the extreme on the corner of Damen and Augusta, but a gyro sandwich for $6 is tough to beat. A great neighborhood carryout move when you need something quick and cheap.
Unlike some of the generic Greek-inspired spots on Halsted, this Lincoln Square restaurant has a strong personality. Mythos doesn’t feel like a cookie-cutter place. That personality can be attributed to the two sisters running the small joint and also the BYOB policy. BYOB is always a good personality trait for a restaurant to have.
Solinica isn’t a traditional Greek restaurant, mainly because it looks and feels like a local 1970’s diner in Hyde Park. You can order breakfast and burgers all day long, but there’s also a separate House Specials menu with classic Greek hits, and those hits are as good as the more typical Greek restaurants in town. You also need to spend more time in Hyde Park, and eating at Solinica is a good start.
Pegasus is the sister restaurant to Atropolis and the more formal sit-down restaurant of the two. But what it’s ideal for is, as they call it, the veranda. Does using the fancy term for rooftop make the rooftop any fancier? Of course not, but there’s no arguing with great views looking out at the Sears Tower and the rest of the Loop.
Greek Islands can be a polarizing place, but there’s nothing wrong with it being the go-to choice for heaping portions of American-Greek food on the cheap. It’s not breaking any World’s 50 Best Restaurant records, but it’s still satisfying.
A small counter-only restaurant that’s good strictly for gyros and fries. Mr. Greek Gyros is important to know for one reason and one reason only – it’s open from 7am-4am, seven days a week. You need a good place to eat at 21 hours a day for when you’re drunk or want a gyro to start your day at 7 am.