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The Chicago Traveler

Greek Islands

by Matt B on July 6th, 2007

In the colorful neighborhood of Greektown, Greek Islands is hot, and it’s not just the flaming saganaki. This huge restaurant can seat nearly 400 people at a time, so there can be as many as 25 waiters serving a thousand diners a night. Greek Islands serves up everything from calamari to mousaka to baked octopus and imports its quality wines, herbs, extra-virgin olive oil, and cheeses directly from Greece. With the heavy competition between all the Greek restaurants in the area, it has stayed in business since 1971 by keeping prices low and food quality high.

greek wineThis casual restaurant sets the mood with white stucco walls and cool sea colors like blue and coral. The massive eatery is divided into four large dining areas, which are usually full of happy customers. The atmosphere may inspire you to explore a few unknown Greek entrees, and if your company is just as adventurous, Greek Islands offers a variety of appetizers and entrees that can be made “family-style,” which 2 or more people can share.

The menu is huge, containing nearly every Mediterranean dish you can think of and then some. Seafood plays a significant role in the selection, including tasty items like shrimp tourkolimano, broiled swordfish shish kabob, and fresh Greek sea bass. The towering gyros plate is a favorite, of course, but don’t pass too quickly over the garides (baked shrimp, feta, and tomato sauce served over rice) or dolmades (tender grape leaves stuffed with rice, ground meat, and herbs). And if you like lamb, there’s plenty to choose from: arni with spinach rice, arni aginarato (lamb with fresh artichokes), arni fournou (baked lamb served with oven-browned potatoes), kokkinisto (lamb braised in tomato sauce)' the list goes on. Be sure to finish off the meal with a great dessert like karidopita (a sweet spice cake flavored with cinnamon and chopped walnuts) or sokolatina (layers of chocolate cake and filling).

And even though the restaurant attracts throngs of people, a table is usually available with minimal waiting time… just long enough to grab a glass of wine from the bar.

Photo credit: zesmerelda

Greek Islands ($$): 200 S Halsted; 312-782-9855
Sun - Thurs: 11:00 a.m. - 12 midnight
Fri - Sat: 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.
Free valet
Public trans: Bus # 8, 126 or Blue Line train (UIC-Halsted)

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POSTED IN: Restaurants

5 opinions for Greek Islands

  • Mary Jo
    Jul 7, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    I ate at this restaurant when I was in Chicago for a conference. We had a fairly large group of people, and while that can be difficult as sometimes restaurants, they were very happy to accommodate us.

    It was a lively and fun place for a large group of people, but I had no idea just how large it really was.

  • Jon
    Jul 9, 2007 at 7:49 am

    As a lifelong fan of The Parthanon Greek restaurant (but disappointed after my last couple visits), just a few doors down on Halsted St. So I tried the Greek Islands during my last trip to Chicago. It was great. I’d recommend it highly for classic Greek food. And don’t forget to have a piece of their flakey baklava.

  • Santorini
    Feb 9, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    […] the heart of Greektown (and on the same corner as Greek Islands), Santorini invites its customers back to the Mediterranean via a charming rustic setting. […]

  • Skybridge
    Mar 22, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    […] two blocks north of Santorini and Greek Islands, the $75-million, 39-story Skybridge is a condo building that puts all the other concrete […]

  • Not Fine Dining, Mr Greek Gyros Holds Its Own
    May 27, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    […] there are plenty of classier sit-down restaurants in the area (like Greek Islands and Santorini), but sometimes you've got a yearning for something fast, inexpensive, and tasty. […]

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