photo credit: Anthony Tahlier

Nisos  review image

Nisos Mediterranean


802 W Randolph St, Chicago
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This large, two-story West Loop Greek spot has all the usual suspects of a social media honey trap: giant hanging basket lights, infrared lighting typically reserved for reptiles, thumping electronic music, and a menu full of elaborate, expensive dishes, many of which are prepared tableside. And on the right kind of night, with the right kind of budget, all of the above can be fun. But at Nisos, it’s not.

At first things seem promising. That soft lighting makes your skin glow like polished marble, rendering filters immediately unnecessary. And the staff is nice—the hosts seem genuinely glad to seat you, bartenders are friendly, and pretty much anyone who works here smiles with actual warmth. But Nisos’ insistence on gimmicky tableside antics sets the servers up for failure, and the overcomplicated, pricey food isn’t good enough to compensate.

Nisos  review image

photo credit: Anthony Tahlier

At several points during the night—whether your drink is empty, you need the check, or you’d like fresh plates since yours is covered in lemon gel from the sea bass carpaccio—you’ll wonder where your server is. Look no further than a few tables over. You’re almost guaranteed to see them carving a salt-crusted branzino with the mild panic of someone in the middle of a nightmare where they somehow find themselves performing open-heart surgery naked. 

The long Mediterranean menu is hard to navigate, with deceptively unhelpful sections like “from the sea” and “from the fish counter” and “for the table.” And from the tableside $54 lamb shank to the $70 langoustines, your server will be putting in work: carving, flambeing, deshelling, mixing, serving. All that fussing sounds like a nice touch, but just means that the food will likely be cold by the time it’s ready to be eaten.

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Dishes are full of unexpected twists that no one asked for, like a deconstructed moussaka that involves dry ice, potato strings, and aerated gruyere. Flavor-wise it’s fine, but the eggplant is mushy, and you’re forced to wait for an uncomfortably long time for it to be plated while “cinnamon scented” tea smoke crawls across the table like an ‘80s horror movie special effect. Tiropita is also given the slice-and-serve treatment, and the dry, feta-filled pastry is topped with a pile of freeze-dried honeycomb reminiscent of Airheads candy both in texture and its affinity for getting stuck in your teeth. Even straightforward dishes, like the tenderloin tartare, are disappointing. The overly-minced meat is topped with an inch of herbs, and comes with two tiny, cow-shaped parmesan crisps that disintegrate on impact.

Nisos joins Avli, Lyra, and Andros Taverna in Chicago's seemingly endless procession of upscale, buzzy Greek restaurants. And we don’t mind places that exist to satisfy a social media algorithm when the food is at least average. But even if you have money to waste to watch someone deshelling Jurassic Park-sized langoustines at a snail’s pace in perfect lighting, the food at Nisos is too underwhelming to be worth a trip here for dinner. Maybe just for a cocktail at the bar where you’ll at least get a smile from a friendly bartender before heading elsewhere in the West Loop. 

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Food Rundown


There’s a section of the menu called fish display, and is exactly what it sounds like: a display of seafood on a bed of ice located on the second floor of the restaurant. That’s where you’ll find the oysters, which are dressed tableside with lemon and spoonfuls of olive oil. They're boring.

Nisos  review image

photo credit: Anthony Tahlier

Sea Bass Carpaccio

The best part about this dish is the giant beetroot tapioca chip covering the slices of raw sea bass. The delicate fish is obliterated by an abundance of lemon gel and garlic chips and is not a good way to spend $38.

Tenderloin Tartare

The tenderloin is minced to the textural equivalent of Fancy Feast, covered in about an inch of chives and is served with two tiny cow-shaped parmesan crisps that seem to exist only to mock the sad fate of the steak.


Nisos manages to mess up the normally delightful combination of bread, cheese, and honey. The puff pastry is dry, filled with a negligible amount of feta, and topped with an enormous pile of freeze-dried honeycomb that appears to have a vendetta against your teeth.

Nisos  review image

photo credit: Anthony Tahlier


We’ve ordered the moussaka multiple times, and can confidently say we don’t hate it. But it doesn’t benefit from being deconstructed. The steak is wrapped in thinly sliced eggplant, topped with crispy potato strings, and served alongside gruyere foam. It all tastes fine, but trying to get a bite with everything is annoying, and the tea smoke billowing out from the platter is too distracting to be fun.

Nisos  review image

Lamb Shank

The lamb shank is shredded tableside and placed in a separate bowl filled with lamb jus and vegetables. It’s tasty and delightfully simple: a stew of tender meat, carrots, and potatoes. Is it worth the $54 price tag? Absolutely not.


If you want to test the state of your spiritual condition, sit patiently at a Nisos while your server laboriously deshells these giant crustaceans. By the time they’re done and mixed into the trough of overcooked orzo, everything is cold.

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