If the Greek gods made a trip to Chicago, chances are Roditys would be on the list of places to stop.
This restaurant has been serving up deity-worthy classics since 1973. In line with Greek architecture, the building that occupies several storefronts on South Halsted Street has a whitewashed exterior that looks like it belongs in Athens, and a Mediterranean-styled interior featuring murals of the homeland. Roditys, like many Greeks, believes bigger is better and encourages a crowd. The entire family is welcome here, from children to grandmothers. Just to prove it, Roditys offers family-style dinners, authentic from the saganaki (fried cheese) to the Greek coffee. Be warned: you never really know what your parents are like until you've seen them after a few shots of ouzo (an anise-flavored liqueur).
The menu includes plenty of Greek classics, including dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), spanakotiropita (spinach and cheese pie), moussaka (eggplant casserole) and pastichio (pasta and meat sauce mixture) for under $10. Roditys also carries kabobs, braised lamb and broiled fish, and there are different specials and soups seven nights a week. The not-to-be-missed item comes after the meal. The sokolatina is a house specialty, a custard cake with a delightful layer of chocolate cut into the middle. For under $5, it'll leave you with some fine memories of your meal.
Roditys turns to Greece, the Country of Dionysos (the Greek God of wine) for most of its wine list. Expect Grecian whites, reds, roses and even classic sweet wine like mavrodaphne. Wash it down with a hearty dose of ouzo and you too will be hollering, "Opa!"
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Pasha Carroll