Chicago’s Greektown is solid. You never get a truly bad meal there, and are often pleasantly surprised. In the past few weeks both of us have been to Greektown (though separately) and enjoyed some pretty darn good eats.
212 S. Halsted Street
I (L), went to Athena at 4 PM on New Years day with my entire family. I’ve figured out over the years that New Years day is a great day to do pretty much anything. The town is abandoned and there are no lines, since everyone is sleeping New Years Eve off. Anyway, the place was literally empty, so the servers and host were especially happy to see us. We were seated right away, of course, and given a basket of crusty bread (no pita?). We started off with Saganaki (opa!), which was a perfectly warm and melty pick-me-up for the brutal cold. I had the stuffed chicken breast (filled with feta and spinach), which was very good, though the rice tasted like it was a Lipton package, and I left it mostly untouched. The rents had a gyros plate and lamb and endive plate. The gyros plate was served on a bed of onions and tomatoes with a side of tzatziki. It was a tasty choice, generously proportioned and nicely spiced.
The lamb plate was the special of the day and it was probably the least solid of the bunch (though it came recommended by the waiter). The lamb, though tasty and tender, was mostly bone and the endive did not hold up especially well under a thick lemon and egg sauce. The winner of the bunch, however, was the lemon roasted chicken that my sibling picked. DELICIOUS. The presentation is simple, 3 pieces of skinless on-the bone chicken, charbroiled with a lemon glaze. The chicken was perfectly tender, and came with some nice Yukon gold potatoes to boot. All in all the service was attentive and the prices reasonable (between 9 and 16 for most entrees). Though they are perhaps most famous for their outside seating, Athena’s dining room itself is pleasant and warm with murals of Greek gods and goddesses and a cozy fireplace. Athena is a great place for crowds, families or any Greek food lover, year-round.
Mr. Greek Gyros
234 S. Halsted Street
After a busy museum day, some friends and I (M) decided a quick, cheap meal in Greektown was the way to go. Greektown is generally known for its more expensive sit-down service restaurants, but the fast-food style Mr. Greek was just what we needed. The McDonald’s style seating and complete lack of decor aren’t impressive, but the food made up for it. For $5.50 I got a huge gyro with all the extras, (including tzatziki) for the price. The portions were generous, piled high with onions and the nice greasy meat that can only come from years of gyro-making experience. Fries and a drink were included with the combo meal for only 25 cents over the standard gyro price. Some of my friends tried the baklava, which was surprisingly tasty given Mr. Greek’s fast-food moniker. Overall, don’t go here expecting an amazing Greektown experience, but if you’re in the area and need a quick cheap bite, you probably can’t find anywhere much better. You definitely get your money’s worth, and then some.