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What's the best Greek Restaurant in Greek Town?

  • s

I'm looking for advice on which restauarant in Greek Town is the best bet. Any suggestions? Looking for traditional cuisine and wine, and would prefer not to shell out big bucks.


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  1. I can't say which is best, not having tried them all, but Santorini is excellent and reasonably priced. I had a memorable lamb dish there -- one of the rotating daily specials. They're known for their seafood, but I haven't tried that.

    In my three times there, service was fine twice and REALLY slow the third.

    Link: http://www.santorinichicago.com/

    10 Replies
    1. re: Lee

      Someone recently recommended Santorini to me!
      I checked their website - are they open for lunch (esp. lunch on Saturday), does anyone know?


      1. re: AlisonNC

        I don't think you can go wrong in Greektown. My favorite is the Greek Islands.

        1. re: Jane

          I personally find the Greek Islands too touristy, as evidenced by the tour buses that park outside.

          Count me in for Santorini, and as another option, Costas.

          1. re: CMB

            Hello, I am Greek and have tried every restaurant there. I agree that most of them have similar food (like they share the same kitchen)...

            I would recommend Santorini (more low key), Parthenon, or Rodity's. I personally think that Rodity's has the most authentic food...

            1. re: JNT

              The mention of Roditys/Rodity's leads me to ask a question. Which is it? "Rodity's", as in "The restaurant belonging to somebody named Rodity" or "Roditys" (no apostrophe), as in the greek wine? A response of "check the phone book" doesn't help much, both because I'm in Maryland (though I could check on line), and because so many signs and such massacre the use of apostrophes anyway.

              I was wondering if anybody might know the owners and know what they intended with the name. Maybe it's both, and a memorable play on words!

              1. re: Warthog

                I had never seen the name of Roditys Restaurant spelled with an apostrophe until JNT's post including meals at this restaurant going back to the 1970s.

                Metromix can be a useful reference for Chicago restaurants even if their updating leaves much to be desired due to excessive dependence on press releases. http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/di...

                1. re: Warthog

                  There is no apostrophe shown in the name on the restaurant itself, or anywhere on the restaurant's website, whose address is - you guessed it - www.roditys.com I can only conclude that its name is properly spelled out:

                  Roditys Restaurant

                  without an apostrophe.

              2. re: CMB

                LATE POSTING:
                I love greek food! I grew up eating home cooked greek food at my southside friends homes. I recommend Greek Islands, Santorini's, and Rodity's. Santorini's is slightly more expensive but has a more upscale feeling and kind of romantic...fantastic food. They also own the Tempo Restaurant/Diner on State street in the Gold Coast...totally different atmosphere and menu. Greek Island's probably has the most extensive menu. I'm always blown away by thier prices. I had dinner there the other day. The two of us ordered a whole red snapper (it was totally unbelievebly fresh and delicious), greek chicken, two avgolemeno (egg lemon chicken soup), two appetizers, and two drinks for $56 without tip! Where else can you order a fresh whole red snapper for these kind of prices and food quality? I do agree that Greek Islands is very touristy but who cares when you can get such delicious food. The lines can be pretty insane so if its just the two of us, we typically sit in the bar area for immediate service/seating. Rodity's is the most casual of my three picks. It's great as well. As far as the Lincoln Square recommendation goes, I disagree. The food is average. The greek chicken at the athenian room is tough to beat. If you like lemon, you'll love thier chicken.

                1. re: CMB

                  We've been going to Greek Islands for over 25 years on the average of once per month and have never witnessed a tour bus group....lots of tourists/visitors to Chicago and lots of family celebrations, but don't let that keep you away from great food and a fun dining experience.

              3. re: AlisonNC

                Santorini is my favorite, as well.

                Hours: Open Mon-Thu,Sun 11am-12am; Fri-Sat 11am-1am

            2. I prefer Pegasus, but I agree that you probably can't go wrong with any of the suggestions thus far.

              1. Parthenon or Greek islands

                1. Ha! Is that a trick question? The differences between them are marginal, at least when it comes to the food. In fact, it seems as if they all share one kitchen. Atmosphere-wise, they're all pretty similar, too, although Costas and Santorini appear to try to rise above the crowd. Opaa!

                  1. Greek Islands is No.1 (Try the Swordfish shishkabob)
                    Santorini (right across the street) is a close second.

                    1. k
                      Kent woloson

                      I also love the Islands.

                      If I was to suggest what to order at Parthenon, I go very basic there as it's been perfect every time:

                      (you share obviously or you wouldn't be able to walk!)

                      1) Saganaki (flaming cheese)
                      2) Lemon Chix Rice Soup
                      3) Basic Greek Salad
                      4) Gyros Large Platter (served just with onions and nice suble yogurt sauce)
                      5) Baklava for dessert


                      Make sure you try their House Greek Roditis Wine...very good

                      1. s
                        scotch hound

                        I've lived in Greece and have searched extensively for a restaraunt that serves food that tastes authentic and fresh. I agree that a lot of the food in some of these restaurants tastes like it is from the same kitchen.

                        There are some smaller restaurants, a litte more off the beaten path, that serve pretty good Greek food in addition to the Greektown bunch. Athenian Room is cheap, simple, delicious and good for families. Artopolis and Nine Muses in Greektown are good places to sip a frappe and smoke a cigarette. Barba Yianna in Lincoln Square has pretty good food and there is live music and dancing. And, if you just want a juicy, sloppy and delicious gyros, I'd try Red Moon Cafe.

                        If you want the ambience of being in Greektown- definitely go, especially in the summer. Sitting outside, sipping wine and viewing the city while listening to the music smelling the saganaki is about as close as you are going to get to Plaka.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: scotch hound

                          Which of the Greektown restaurants has the nicest outdoor dining area?? We're going there for dinner on Friday night for our anniversary and would like to make reservations, but wasn't sure which one to try.

                        2. We live 100 mi. from Chicago, but have eaten at Greek Islands for over 20 years. We received a gift certificate from Greek friends, who are in the restaruant business here, to Athenia (their favorite). We had a wonderful meal, and great service. We will return agian.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: marycarol

                            We outdoors in the 90+ degree weather Athena on Saturday after attempting Santorini & Greek Islands (there were union picketers shoving flyers in our face @ both restaurants - would have made dining there a bit distracting). Athena was just ok - the navy bean soup was very good as was the eggplant/garlic appetizer. Our entrees both had lamb, which was tender, but quite fatty. The lemon/artichoke sauce was quite tasty. The vegetable platter that we brought home for our vegetarian daughter consisted of canned vegetables - very disappointing. While the service was efficient, our waither had no enthusiasm whatsoever. We both felt as if he was bothered that he had to serve us in such heat and did not make us feel very welcome. It was our anniversary and we had hoped for something a little more special. We'll definitely go back to plan A and try Greek Islands or Santorini next time.

                          2. Just got back from a week-long trip to Chicago, where a small group of us ate at Rodity's. Excellent meal! Loved the melitzanosalata, cold, very garlicky eggplant spread. My sister really liked her dolmades, husband liked his porkchops, and my bbq lamb ribs were something completely unexpected, but delicious-- meat was falling off the bone tender, nice sauce. (Probably not what southerners would consider true bbq, but good nonetheless.)

                            Service was also excellent. We would definitely go again.

                            1. I went to Athena w/a large party. It was very good. We all had the lamb chop special. MMM.

                              1. ive been to rodity's and greek islands. i also tried to go to santorini but i had a bad experience. we waited and waited for half an hour for service while sitting outside. it never came. wleft.
                                the food at roditys and greek islands is for the most part comparable, but still good. i can def see why people think that they share kitchens, even the bread was the same. conspiracy?

                                1. I'm quite surprised that the Parthenon has so little mention here. I don't live in the area anymore but remember it as one our favorites.

                                    1. re: qzq

                                      While I would say that there are some things I would expect to be better elsewhere in Greektown, for the core "classic" Greek dishes, and the convivial atmosphere, The Parthenon does what it does very well. If one goes in knowing what its strengths are, it's a solid choice.

                                      Favorite Parthenon memories -
                                      Going there with a friend (both of us with substantial appetites) and having my friend tell the waiter "We'll have the multi-course special for two (both of us rattling off our choice among the options for the various courses) , and I think you'd better hurry - my friend here looks like he may commence to eat the table if you don't make it fast!" I can't recall ever seeing a waiter laugh so hard, and he and the rest of the waitstaff took great delight in bringing us amazing portions of all the courses (far bigger than I'd ever had before or since). My friend hit his limit at dessert, and the waiter did the Wayne's World "We're not worthy!" bow when he saw that I'd made it all the way through dessert. It was one of those nights where the waiters were having as much fun as the diners.

                                      The other memorable moment (different night) was having a dinner-table conversation interrupted by a low "WHUMP!" sound. We turned to see a waiter with five or six orders of Saganaki balanced on his right arm from fingertip to shoulder, a lighter in his left hand hovering above the last tray (down by his right hand - the WHUMP sound having been the sound of the combustion racing up his arm from tray to tray), severely singed eyebrows and facial hair, a truly stunned look on his face, and tables full of horrified guests looking on in shock, then the whole restaurant erupting with a boisterous "OPA!!!!!" as the waiter regained his composure (luckily, he did not seemed burned, other than his hair - we all realized it could have been *really* bad for the poor guy), served the saganaki, took a bow to all corners of the room, and exited to the kitchen, presumably for some first aid. You *know* he never made *that* mistake again!

                                    2. Great story Warthog, I remember the first time I was ever at the Parthenon on a recommendation from my boss. Remind you that I have never stepped into a Greek restaurant before in my life other then a breakfast joint. We were told to start out with the Sagnaki and the Gyros and thats what we ordered. The Young waiter took our order and came back with a couple of large size shot glasses filled to the brim and then left. My brother in law and I looked at each other and wondered wow what a great place, they give you complementary booze here before dinner. We saluted each other and slammed those suckers down. About a minute later the waiter came back with the plates of Saganaki in arm and just stared at the empty shot glasses on the table turned around and went back to the kitchen. At that time we just happened to observe at a couple of tables over the procedure of lighting the cheese, you want to know how a couple of idiots from down on the farm felt you could have asked us.The waiter came back armed with new brandy and the cheese and never said a word, we still laugh about our first experience in Greek Town and at some point in my life would like to try it again

                                      1. While rumor has it that there's only one huge kitchen for all of the Greek Town restaurants we don't believe that to be true. Athena is quite nice and their lemon rice soup is the best in the city.

                                        1. Is Venus (I think that's what it was called) still around? I'm from Montreal and was on a business trip to your great town 2 years ago, this place came recommended from one of the employees of a nearby Greek CD store. Being of Greek background I was highly impressed with the food here, very fresh and great taste (it's actually Cypriot cuisine). I remember the meatballs were made to order and were out of this world. Went back the next day too for a drink and enjoyed the live music.

                                          Highly recommended.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ios94

                                            > Is Venus (I think that's what it was called) still around?


                                            820 W Jackson Blvd
                                            Chicago, 60607
                                            (312) 714-1001

                                          2. i like venus because it's the newest of all and has the most comprehensive wine list....try the Cypriot seftalies with a Cabernet/Agiorgitiko from Vatistas

                                            1. FYI - Here are the street addresses, phone numbers, and website addresses for all the Greek places in Greek Town mentioned above:

                                              Artopolis Bakery Cafe & Agora
                                              306 S. Halsted St.

                                              Athena Greek Restaurant
                                              212 S. Halsted St.

                                              340 S. Halsted St.

                                              Greek Islands
                                              200 S. Halsted St.

                                              Nine Muses
                                              315 S. Halsted St.

                                              314 S. Halsted St.

                                              Pegasus Restaurant and Taverna
                                              130 S. Halsted St.

                                              222 S. Halsted St.

                                              800 W. Adams St.

                                              820 W Jackson Blvd
                                              Chicago, 60607
                                              (312) 714-1001

                                              6 Replies
                                                    1. re: nsxtasy

                                                      Im so upset about this! Venus, was in my opinion, one of the best food options in Greek Town but didn't get the business they deserved! do you know why they closed? I'm very curious what their "various concerns" were that they referred to on their site.

                                                  1. Okay, I've been eating in Greektown almost every weekend for the last 30+ years. If it wasn't Sunday dinner at yiayia's house, it was Sunday dinner in Greektown. IMHO Greek Islands is the best in Greektown. We used to go to Roditys, but there quality started to slip about 15 years ago and now Greek Islands is our regular go to. Things not to miss there:

                                                    *Taramosalta (fish roe spread--don't be shocked by it's bright pink color. My Irish husband LOVES this stuff. Greek Islands has the best in Greektown)

                                                    *Gigantes (lima beans--not the green kind that were the stuff of nightmares when you were a kid, these are big white beans in a tomato sauce.)

                                                    *Avgolemono (egg/lemon soup)

                                                    *Chicken Rigananti (the closest thing I have found to my yiayia's--baked chicken with oregano, lemon, garlic, olive oil)

                                                    Enjoy! Opa!

                                                    1. Based on this thread, we ate at Santorini tonight, and once again Chowhound steered us well.

                                                      We ordered a lot of appetizers (since we dine with a toddler who often requires lots of choices) and, to our surprise, these ended up being the least interesting part of our meal -- the saganaki, while dramatic, was ordinary, and of the cold salads, only the melizanosalata really stood out. Everything was good, of course! Just not exceptional.

                                                      Things took a turn for the better with the lamb stamnos, one of the weekly specials, a crepe filled with big chunks of lamb among potatoes, peas, carrots, and celery, covered over with the omnipresent red sauce and cheese. Too much for one man to eat (and I can eat a lot) but it was delicious enough to make me try harder than I really should have. The side of fasolakia, green beans stewed with tomatoes and spices, was even better -- the best single thing I ate there.

                                                      Service was friendly and fast, atmosphere was festive, no wait for two adults and a toddler on a Saturday night at 7pm. Highly recommended.

                                                      1. I'm thinking about trying out one of these this weekend. Anything new to report from Greektown?

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: bropaul

                                                          HA! They still have just one kitchen underground that services all of the restaurants. Just kidding, but not really. I have some Greek friends from childhood (grew up in detroit with a large Greek population) and they think that all the restaurants in greektown are the same too. If it's nice out, the one jewel that I always enjoy is the roofdeck at Pegasus where they serve only a greek-style tapas menu and a wonderful view of the city.

                                                          1. re: bropaul

                                                            We ended up going to Venus and it was a very pleasant experience. I thought the food was very good, but I have no reference point, since it was my first trip. So, next year I'll have to try another place!

                                                          2. Greek Islands for sure! I've tried Artopolis and the Parthenon and neither compare.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: foodlover23

                                                              We really like Venus. A lot. We used to live near Greek Town and that was where we went the most.... beside Artopolis for sandwiches and my absolute favorite salad...oh and breads and sweets, yum! Best breakfast in Greek Town is Meli... not that there are many options.

                                                              I've never been blown away by Athena and I've had two horrific Pegasus experiences. Parthenon and Roditys are also good, though, I've only been there for work events, I really need to head to both with my husband sometime soon!

                                                            2. Thanks Chicago Hounds!

                                                              My elderly mom lives in the Chicago burbs but loves to explore the cities ethnic and interesting nabes. I was visiting over the weekend and she told me she'd like to go to Greektown. So we drove in and I asked if she wanted to eat lunch and she said yes but "only at someplace really good."

                                                              So I naturally pulled out the iPhone and went to Chow and read what the experts recommend.

                                                              We decided to try Santorini and it was fabulous. She had a Sunday lamb special and ate every bite. I ordered Spanakopita and it was good but we had forged ourselves on a bunch of their reasonably priced appetizers so I couldn't eat it all. If I go back again I will def order the lamb. It was outstanding.

                                                              The room is kitchy in a cool way. The service was excellent.

                                                              Thanks again for steering us the right way. Hope I can return the favor if you visit Boston.

                                                              Santorini's Restaurant
                                                              138 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60661

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                Glad you liked it. A business colleague and I ate there on Tuesday night and it was quite good. he had the grilled octopus app and it was delicious and I had grilled eggplant with some tomato sauce and cheese, also very good. he had the lamb and artichoke special and i had the chicken in phyllo dough w/ vegetables. His was very good, I thought mine was so/so. The portions were huge - as were the pours of wine. Service was friendly and on a cold damp night, the room was inviting.

                                                              2. Athena blows. Rodities is too old school. Greek islands is good. Santorini is good for seafood.

                                                                Best outdoor dining by far is Athena. Food is average but if it's a nice night is a great place to si outside.

                                                                Santorini's Restaurant
                                                                138 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60661