I. Love. Greek. Food. Nothing hits the spot like a perfectly juicy chicken kebab with rice, greek salad, and a warm pita. If it's done right, you can taste the love and Mediterranean flavor in every bite.

You can probably imagine my excitement when I learned that Chicago had a Greekfest within driving distance of my home. I intrigued my friends with calamari and donuts, and we hit the festival together. 

We decided to buy food from as many of the restaurant booths as possible, so we could scope out the full scene. Here's the run-down of every place we went, so you can plan your next trip to Greekfest (or, if you can't wait a year, to Greektown). It was impossible to rank the places because everything was so delicious, so these aren't in any particular order. 

1. Ambassador Public House

coffee, fish
Molly Gallagher

This was the first place we hit, because we were drawn in by the Greek fries (in the picture below) and the promise of chicken gyros. 

dairy product, potato, poutine, vegetable, salt, cheese, french fries
Molly Gallagher

These were the Greek equivalent of cheese fries, and I'm still dreaming about them. The tangy feta paired perfectly with the salty fries, but neither flavor overpowered the other. It was a perfect fry experience.

Molly Gallagher

We also bought chicken gyros from here, and my friend gave it a 10/10 review. She doesn't eat red meat, so she was super excited to be able to enjoy a classic Greek dish.

paella, onion, pork, pepper, rice, chicken
Molly Gallagher

Overall, we loved Ambassador Public House. We were in awe of their heaping trays of gyros, kebabs, veggies, and rice, and their food tasted as good as it looked. The restaurant itself looks like a pretty typical sports bar, but the food is fresh out of the Greek isles.

2. Rodity's

coffee, pizza, beer
Molly Gallagher

This was the second booth we visited, because I saw someone carrying one of their kebabs and couldn't resist getting my own. 

kebab, chicken, lamb
Molly Gallagher

This kebab tasted even better than it looked. The meat was moist and delicious, and the juices perfectly infused the rice served on the side with flavor. The potatoes were perfectly seasoned, but not overpoweringly so, and the pita was the icing on the cake. I may never be able to look at a normal kebab the same way again.

vegetable, meat, chicken
Molly Gallagher

Rodity's had the same drool-inducing display as Ambassador Public House, but a more authentic Greek feel. I definitely plan to go back for a meal in the restaurant to get the full experience.

3. Santorini Restaurant  

pizza, beer, coffee
Molly Gallagher

Gyros, fries, and kebab in hand, we made a beeline to this booth to purchase the crown jewel of our meal: grilled calamari. Our Greek friend had taken us to eat grilled calamari in the past, and all of us had been craving it since.

chicken, lemon
Molly Gallagher

If you've only ever eaten fried calamari, you're missing out. The grilled version is absolutely perfect: tender, but not too squishy; flavorful, but also delicate; decadent, but also fresh. This version did not disappoint – the squid was cooked perfectly and tasted like it was prepared with love.

4. Artopolis Bakery

wine, tea, coffee, beer
Molly Gallagher

Our research would not have been complete if we didn't investigate Greek desserts, so we had to go to Artopolis Bakery and sample the traditional sweet fare.

Looking at the display, it was almost impossible to decide between baklava, the variety of traditional cookies, and loukoumades. That is, it was impossible until we learned that loukoumades are Greek donuts.

potato, honey, sweet
Molly Gallagher

Chicago is known for its donuts, so we definitely had to see how these stacked up to our favorite Firecakes or Stan's Donuts.

These donuts definitely exceeded our expectations. Fresh out of the fryer, they were warm, greasy, and sweet, and the topping of brown sugar syrup and walnuts was the perfect complement. They were bite-sized, which made devouring all 12 of them all too easy (we finished them in less than 5 minutes).

cream, fish
Molly Gallagher

5. Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

wine, beer
Molly Gallagher

This was definitely the least authentically Greek food we bought at the festival, but this lemonade was delicious nonetheless.

cake, tea, beer
Molly Gallagher

We ordered the Strawberry Lemonade, which was perfectly tart and sweet. This was the perfect way to wash down all the delicious Greek food and was the refreshment we were craving after learning traditional Greek dances.

BONUS: The Stage and Dance Floor

wine, beer
Molly Gallagher

This isn't food-related, but I can't describe the Greekfest experience without talking about the dancing. 

At the far end of the festival, there is a stage with a band playing traditional Greek music. The lead singer instructs the crowd on how to do the dances, and everyone joins in afterward. 

It was super fun to join in the dancing – which is very similar to the Hora, if you've been to a Jewish celebration – and to watch the professional dance group school all of us with their fancy moves. Even though I'm a terrible dancer, I felt totally comfortable jumping in anyway, especially when the hostess assured us that "Tonight, we're all Greek!"

Going to Greekfest was a great way to immerse myself in Greek culture and check out a part of Chicago I haven't really explored before. The food was amazing, the dancing was fun, and the atmosphere was exhilarating. 

If you find yourself in Chicago in late August next year, be sure to check it out. Between now and then, though, all the booths are run by local restaurants that I will definitely be frequenting in the interim. If what you want is delicious, authentic Greek food, you have to go to the source.