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Kyriaki offers complete Greek dining experience

A pair king-size portobello mushrooms baked with garlicky shrimp topped with melted cheese are served atop bed rice. | RICHARD

A pair of king-size portobello mushrooms, baked with garlicky shrimp and topped with melted cheese, are served atop a bed of rice. | RICHARD A. CHAPMAN~SUN-TIMES PHOTOS

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Kyriaki ★1/2

301 W. Northwest Hwy.,
Barrington; (847) 842-7005

Hours: Open for lunch and dinner at 11 a.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Open at 4 p.m. Monday for dinner.

Prices: Appetizers, $10-$19; entrees, $16-$28; sandwiches, $11-$17; desserts, $2.50-$5.50.

Try: Grilled octopus, chicken-stuffed sweet peppers with Greek cheese and custardy galaktoboureko for dessert. Kuriaki roasts whole lambs and pigs on Saturday and Sunday.

Tips: Daily food and wine specials. Reservations accepted. Carryout. Catering. Seasonal patio.

In a bite: Kyraiki’s friendly service, inviting atmosphere and authentic Greek food make this recent arrival a good choice for Barrington area diners.

KEY: ★★★★ Extraordinary; ★★★ Excellent; ★★ Very Good; ★ Good; Zero stars: Poor

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Updated: November 30, 2011 12:22AM

Kyriaki, a relative newcomer to Barrington, serves up a generous helping of authentic Greek cuisine and atmosphere.

The casual eatery, which opened in late March, seats about 50 inside plus a similarly-sized crowd at a seasonal outdoor patio well-shielded by a brick wall topped with potted plants. Recorded Greek music plays in the background, and the dining room is decorated with costumes, urns and other artifacts; wine bottles are perched on wood beams.

Dishes are homemade and mostly traditional, though some lesser-known options occasionally enter the mix. The kitchen uses imported olive oil, as well as herbs and spices from Greece.

It’s tempting to make a meal of hot and cold appetizers. The starters, served with grilled bread, are priced from $10 (flaming saganaki) to $19 (imported Greek cheese platter).

A shareable order of tender, smoky grilled octopus (at $17, on the pricey side) came with nicely charred eggplant and zucchini in a mild vinaigrette. Among other options were chicken or pork souvlaki, hot or cold dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice and ground lamb and beef), taramosalata (fish roe), tzatziki (yogurt, cucumbers and dill), and marinated artichokes and roasted peppers.

Entrees include soup or salad, and I can vouch for the lemony chicken-and-rice avgolemono soup, a fine rendition of the classic recipe.

My entree, also excellent, consisted of two king-size portobello mushrooms baked with garlicky shrimp and a cap of melted cheese, the whole works served atop a bed of rice.

Another special the night of our visit, sweet cubanelle red peppers stuffed with chicken and Greek cheese, found favor with a fellow diner. Both of our entrees provided leftovers for a subsequent meal.

Kyriaki also offers the traditional mousaka and pastichio, plus a number of lamb, pork and chicken dishes. On the seafood side of the menu, wild salmon, red snapper and basa filets are represented.

A dozen or more sandwiches — including gyros, meatball, chicken souvlaki and Greek sausage on pita — further widen the range of choices.

An all-Greek wine list features reds and whites at $40-$85 a bottle, plus a number available by the glass. In addition, there are two Greek beers, Mythos Lager and Hillas Lager.

Greek yogurt, baklava and other treats are among dessert possibilities. The galaktoboureko, a custard confection with honey-sweetened phyllo pastry on top and below, was a sound choice.

Thomas Witom is a local free-lance writer.

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