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A large grilled octopus tentacle on a white plate with tomatoes and frisee.
Avli’s grilled octopus.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

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Explore Avli River North, Downtown’s New Bright and Breezy Modern Greek Restaurant

Avli River North is downtown’s first new upscale Greek restaurant in years

Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Greek-American chef Louie Alexakis’s highly anticipated third restaurant is his first in downtown Chicago. Avli River North, open for a week, brings the chef’s modern Greek food closer to the heart of the city at 702 N. Wells Street. Alexakis also has Avli restaurants in Lincoln Park and suburban Winnetka.

Entering the competitive River North market means Alexakis and partners Fox Chicago sports anchor Lou Cannelis and investor William Glastris Jr. went high end for their newest restaurant. The space is bright and breezy, in an effort to remind customers of a Greek vacation. Thomas Montgomery, the architect behind the bombastic Paradise Park in Wicker Park and shuttered bakery bar Bibliophile in Hyde Park, opts for a more nuanced design here. The space has two levels, with 30 seats on the first floor. When Chicago thaws from the winter, staff will open a 56-seat patio.

The restaurant serves a seven-course tasting menu, a family-style dinner, and an a la carte menu. The wine list is full of Greek options with plenty of natural selections. Drink options also include a few house cocktails.

Tour the space below. Avli River North is now open.

A white-bricked restaurant exterior with a lit sign.
Avli has a large patio for warmer months.
A dining room with tables on the left, a bar on the right, and hanging lighting.
The first floor seats 30.
Barry Brecheisen
A restaurant with a bar and seats on the side.
Another shot of the first floor looking at the main entrance.
A banner of the the Greek eye down some stairs.

Plenty of space on the second floor.

Avli River North is the first high-profile Greek restaurant to open downtown in some time.
Village (Greek) salad
Light-colored Greek spread with pita triangles on a plate.
Smoked taramosalata (spread)
Four oblong-shaped Greek meatballs in tomato sauce with a dollop of cheese.
Soutzoukakia (meatballs)
A dish of mussels
Mussels mastiha
A plate of chicken with lemon and potatoes in sauce.
A grilled fish with lemon and veggies.
A stew of mussels, multiple types of fish, and vegetables with a slice of toasted bread. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Kakavia (seafood stew)

Village Cooler (Roots Mastiha, Prairie Gin, cucumber mint, carbonated water and cardamom bitters)

Trellis (fig-infused rye whisky, Metaxa brandy, Roots Tentura, tea bitters and ouzo rinse)

Avli River North

702 North Wells Street, , IL 60654 (312) 643-5656 Visit Website

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