Above: Classic horiatiki, “Village Salad” at Santorini, in Greektown Chicago.
138 South Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60661
Freshness and attention to detail are the secrets to the great food at Santorini in Greektown Chicago.
Above: Grilled octopus.
But we’re not the only one who like the food at Santorini.
Above: Owner James “Jimmy” Kontos, third from left, circa 1965.
The Slow Food Guide to Chicago by Kelly Gibson and Portia Belloc Lowndes (Chelsea Green, 2008) had this to say about Santorini and owner James Kontos and his family, who have run this landmark restaurant for more than two decades:
The Kontos family represents the American dream in many ways. Greek immigrant James Kontos worked hard and opened his own eatery, the popular Tempo, which is just west of the John Hancock Building. The elder Kontos put his children to work — his two sons cooked, and his four daughters waited tables. Tempo’s success paved the way for Kontos to realize his vision of bringing Greek food in a fine-dining atmosphere to Chicagoans.
Biting into kalamari laden with olive oil and lemon sauce with fresh oregano, you are swept off your feet, and for good reason. The lemons were hand-squeezed; the pesticide-free olive oil was cold-pressed at the Kontos family’s farm in Greece, which is also where the oregano comes from This attention to detail carries through every dish.
Santorini is known for its seafood. The black sea bass is a rare treat, as is the fish roe spread. But it’s the lamb I love. Try to lamb paidakia, tender, thin-sliced lamb chops by the pound. The avgolemono (egg and lemon soup), which can be bough by the bucketful — no joke! — is to die for.
Amid all this praise for Santorini’s food comes another accolade: its service is impeccable, among the best in the city.
Above: Owner James “Jimmy” Kontos makes and imports his own olive oil from Greece.
Santorini offers a number of wines by Boutari by the glass and by the bottle.
Above: Baklava and Greek coffee for dessert.