We're branching out this top list to include restaurants just outside of Chicago because there are some amazing Meditteranean choices. If you didn't know, Chicago has a rich history of Mediterranean culture, with a large number of citizens that have Greek roots. Unlike other nationalities, Greeks believe that anyone with a drop of Greek blood is Greek.
That makes Greek dining a truly welcoming experience. The family restaurants that once dotted throughout the Chicagoland area were mostly Greek-owned. So they had some of the more popular dishes, like spanakopita (spinach pie) and saganaki (cheese with a shot of brandy set on fire and put out with lemon juice). For the more traditional dishes, such as stuffed grape leaves or the many seafood options, you would do better with the traditional larger Greek restaurants.
But staples, like the gyros, are everywhere in Chicago, from nice restaurants to little neighborhood hot dog stands. For our list, we're going to center on Greek and Greek-inspired cuisine. We'll give you a rundown of some of the best places to get the traditional food your YiaYia used to make. And if you're not Greek, you'll still love the tastes, smells, and welcoming atmosphere of these great restaurants.
If you're thinking about taking a special someone out for a fantastic Greek meal, pick up a virtual GiftYa card that you can use for the experience. You can also grab one as a gift for someone you love to use at any of these awesome eateries.
This little gem opened way back in 1979. If you want to know how authentic it is, just look around. If you ask an actual Greek person, most of them will recommend this place over any of the more well-known Greektown establishments. Central Gyros is located on Central just south of Belmont. There's a free parking garage directly across the street making it easy to find parking and go enjoy your dinner. If you've been in and around Chicago often, you know what a big deal the parking is.
Central Gyros has a traditional menu and you can find some more American fare for those who are not quite certain of the traditional cuisine. Everything from their Avoglemeno (traditional egg-lemon soup) to the lamb is out of this world. Some favorite dishes here include gyros, pastitsio (Greek lasagna), and lamb. The decor and staff are all amazing, too. With traditional Greek decor, you'll feel welcomed and right at home. Central Gyros is family-run and owned, it's an amazing option if you like supporting local businesses.
This amazing little restaurant is located in Oak Park, which is just outside of Chicago to the west. The Oak Park area itself has a very artsy, quaint vibe. So this is a fantastic little restaurant if you want to have a nice lunch and then wander some of the shops, used book stores, and galleries in the Oak Park area.
The food and staff here are simply amazing. The staff is especially awesome. If you don't know much about Greek food, this is a must-visit location. Because you can ask your waiter or waitress and they will give you a complete explanation of pretty much anything on the menu and make recommendations for you.
If you're a big Greek food fan, you'll find Papaspiros is authentic and delicious. If you're trying something new, you will fall in love with the atmosphere as much as the food.
This little delight is located in downtown LaGrange. So it's quite a bit of a trek outside of the city, but it's located right on the Burlington railroad line, so if you're traveling through it might be the perfect spot.
This is a cute little restaurant that bills itself as a Mediterranean gourmet cafe. They have outdoor seating in the nice weather and ample seating inside. The staff is always super friendly and the food is beyond good. Greek chicken and the avgolemono soup are especially amazing. They also have fresh baked Greek bread that is perfect for dipping in your sauces and soups. Like the Oak Park location above, LaGrange is a place known for quaint little shops and a fun walkable environment. If you have an afternoon to shop or walk around, this is a good place to do it.
You can't have a list of Greek restaurants in Chicago without including Greek Islands. This is a literal gem and is widely considered one of the best Greek restaurants in the entire area. It is definitely worth the visit. They cater to locals, Greek food snobs, and tourists alike. Anyone can find something on this menu that they will love.
The food is fantastic but the wait staff is really amazing. They go out of their way to make sure tables are well taken care of at all times. The staff can make recommendations and they have a great welcoming vibe that makes the patrons extra comfortable and at home here. The decor is also something spectacular. Greek Islands is everything you would think of in Greek culture all rolled into one amazing little restaurant. It is right in Greektown, which is a busy part of the city. But they have valet service at the door to make the experience nice and convenient.
This is another traditional restaurant in the heart of Greektown and it is highly rated. One of the big draws here is the ambiance. It has a beautiful outdoor patio that is amazing in the nice weather. But the inside ambiance is also pretty fantastic. The photo above will give you a good idea of the beautiful and vibrant colors that will surround you during your meal.
They serve traditional Greek dishes. The food is beyond excellent. If you love Greek food and like being out and about in the city, this would be a go-to spot. It's also a great restaurant to check out if you haven't tried it before. The staff is friendly and the menu is fairly extensive.
Also known as Greek Corner Restaurant, this little corner restaurant has a big following in the neighborhood. One part fast food, one part traditional Greek, you go up to order and grab your food from the counter. There is ample seating. They're most well known for their Gyros which are awesome and Greek fries which are a treat.
But they do have other Greek traditional menu items, like avgolemono and the Grecian Chicken Plate. It's a more relaxed place to grab a bite, rather than a sit-down and be served restaurant. But the prices are good and the food is highly rated.
This is a favorite quick stop stand kind of restaurant that specializes in Greek food. It doesn't look like much from the outside. Little counter to order, a few tables for seating. But if you pay attention, you'll notice the place is always packed. That's because the food is really that good.
Prices are reasonable and you'll get good-sized portions with your order. This is a good spot for a gyros platter or any of your favorite lunchtime foods. They boast their traditional tzatziki sauce, which is great. They also have a good selection of more American offerings, like patty melts.
Located in Niles, Mykonos is the real deal. This restaurant is as authentic as you can get. The owner was born in Greece and they even used his own YiaYia's (grandmother's) Baklava recipe. The food here is amazing. The atmosphere is also worth the trip.
Food items include all the traditional favorites, like pastitsio, mousaka, and dolmades. They're happy to walk you through the offerings if you don't speak Greek. You'll still love all of the amazing tastes.
If you can overlook the cutesy name, this little restaurant in Andersonville is the real deal of Greek food. The owner just opened in the last few years with the intention of bringing Greek street food to the neighborhood, and she has totally succeeded there.
For traditional Greek food fans, things like misspelling Gyro as yeero are a little offputting. But to be fair, she's at least getting people to pronounce it right. The hard G sound grates on people's nerves. The food is excellent and people are raving about it for a reason. If you like good food, you'll love what they're serving up here.
The atmosphere is warm and inviting and the owner is usually on hand to greet you personally. It feels like eating in your mom's kitchen if your mom can cook.