Opa! 5 Great Places to Go for Greek Eats in Chi-TownBy Ari Bendersky
Craving spanikopita? Find it at one of the best Greek restaurants in Chicago. (Photo: Kev Vincent Photography/Shutterstock.com)
You don’t have to limit yourself to Greektown to get fantastically delicious Greek fare in Chicago. In fact, some of the best restaurants are far from the Near West Side enclave. That said, you will find truly authentic Greek eats, some much better than others, along the Halsted Street strip just north of the Eisenhower Expressway and you will be truly happy when you get your plate of saganiaki, mousaka or dolmades.
- Taxim. Owner David Schneider took a leap of faith and a lot of family history when he opened Taxim in Wicker Park. Possibly the best Greek spot in Chicago, Taxim showcases flavors typical of the Greek countryside, small villages and the islands, with higher-quality ingredients and more sophisticated platings. Get the green lentils with feta; wood-grilled shrimp wrapped in grape leaves; braised lamb shank with orzo and yogurt; and the classic oven-roasted chicken with fingerling potatoes. The wine list spotlights some of the best Greek offerings like Domaines Sigalas and Skouras to pair with the food.
- Athenian Room. A beloved classic spot in the heart of Lincoln Park since 1972, Athenian Room has some of the best gyros and chicken kebobs around. Not to mention the Kalamata chicken served with thick and crispy Greek fries, a favorite of Tina Fey, and the Greek feta charburger served on a pita. And while the restaurant doesn’t have a bar, you can pop into Glascott’s next door, get your drinks and bring them over.
- Pegasus Restaurant & Taverna. This colorful restaurant has been serving Chicago for 25 years to bring people together in a relaxed atmosphere reminiscent of the Greek islands. If the weather cooperates, sit on the roof deck with solid views of the Chicago skyline. Sample a variety of mezedes, Greek small plates like artichoke hearts braised in olive oil, fennel and herbs; baked pepper stuffed with ground beef, rice and cheese; grilled lamb kebobs; and of course creamy hummus and Greek fries with feta.
- Artopolis Bakery and Cafe. One of the more authentic European-style cafes in Chicago, Artopolis offers a relaxed space to get pastries, salads, Greek coffee, breads, wine and other Mediterranean plates like caprese salad, pastas, kebobs and wood-fired pizzas. The shop and bakery make taking sandwiches, oils and more for picnics, parties or even lunch on the go super easy.
- Barba Yianni Grecian Taverna. When you have a craving for Greek chicken and don’t want to travel downtown, this Far North Side spot satisfies. Tucked away on the northern end of the Lincoln Square strip, Barba Yianni has truly fantastic grilled Greek chicken, gyros platters and mousaka. Even better? They have live music and belly dancing shows. What’s more fun than that?