Restaurant Greek Salads Ranked Worst To Best, According To Customers

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Daniel Patinoas the founder of Salad and Go. This was corrected on 1/24/2024.

Greek salads, in their homespun twirl of colorful ingredients, resemble a delicacy that would have delighted the gods on Mount Olympus. But the salad that we see sit-down spots serving today is far from ancient history. Restaurants in an area of Athens called Plaka (near the Acropolis, fittingly enough) apparently started assembling the tossed dish beginning in the 1960s.

The recipe in its purest form features chopped-up cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and sometimes lettuce, tossed in an olive oil-based vinaigrette dressing. This bright jumble of tangy sauce and crisp produce makes it a hit with diners, and eateries of all cuisines have tapped into the Mediterranean staple with their own variations. 

Whether you're seeking a healthy bite to pair with a lamb kebab, or want to savor the dish as an entire meal, you won't struggle to find a Greek salad when dining out. Yet finding the restaurants that know how to make it? That's key. We leafed through customer reviews — a lot of them — and relied on their frank honesty to rank the following spots. Ready or not, here they are from worst to best. 

12. Just Salad

One thing is true about our first contender — it is just a salad. On paper, Just Salad's Modern Greek Crunch channels the bright Mediterranean with a smorgasbord of leafy greens, sliced and diced veggies, and creamy bursts of feta tossed in a cucumber yogurt dressing. Stacy's-brand pita chips, pickled onions, and chickpeas attest to an elevated experience. So what's the hold-up? In practice frankly, it's just another overpriced salad, and according to the negative accounts left by samplers, there are enough kinks in the machinery. 

Kalamata olives, easily a staple ingredient of the salad, aren't featured in the lineup by default, which ruffles quite a few feathers. Plenty of restaurants take creative license reimagining the classic Greek salad, so we're not opposed to seeing different interpretations. But for a salad that's otherwise sticking to the recipe, charging extra for a crucial topping is disappointing. Considering the bountiful garden of bright produce found in the bowl, the bland flavor reported by customers isn't helping its case. After one reviewer sampled the Greek Salad, they confessed that they would avoid the chain in the future, claiming "there's no point in eating something that you could make better yourself." 

The sustainable, fresh focus should put any salad from Just Salad at a better advantage. We're not mad, just disappointed, so we're sending this salad packing — hopefully for greener pastures. 

11. Portillo's

Chicago-style hot dogs, with their kick of relish and mustard, call for a cold salad to impart refreshment among the grilled aromas. This one from Portillo's features the telltale garnishes like feta, kalamata olives, tomatoes, and red onion, scattered on a bed of chopped romaine and sliced chicken breast. The roasted garlic vinaigrette is served on the side so visitors can control how much they drizzle on. 

The pros? You get a generous serving with toppings that are amply dispersed, two elements we would hope to see at salad joints that feature the Mediterranean dish. That being said, the hot dog chain could beef up the execution. Nothing about the ingredients sparks any fires in terms of strong, zesty flavors. One sampler found it "a bit weak" for the price point ($10.89 at the time of this writing) and the lukewarm sentiment was echoed by another reviewer who thought it was simply "an okay option for a healthy choice." 

Does Portillo's prove itself capable of delivering a good Greek salad? Somewhat. It's cooling and zesty like any village salad should be. But in our view, it's only acceptable. Sticking to the weenies and chili fries — you know, the unhealthy stuff — is where this Windy City stronghold succeeds in our opinion.  

10. Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe

Truthfully, we weren't familiar with Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe before embarking on our Greek salad search. That's because the Greek-inspired chain, founded following a trip to Greece, primarily serves the Southeastern U.S. with its health-forward takes on gyros, kebabs, and deli fare like sandwiches. 

The Greek Salad boasts a densely-chopped preparation, with sliced tomato, red onion, and cucumber on a mixed lettuce bed, with a piquant flavor pulling through in the salty flourishes — kalamata olives, pepperoncini, and feta drizzled like snow — tied together with a Greek-inspired dressing. An array of meats, including grilled lamb and spicy harissa chicken, can be tossed in for an extra charge.  

Unfortunately, tiny servings — both the salad on its own and of the various ingredients mixed in — just don't cut it for a Greek Salad that's supposed to satiate as a whole meal. The olives and cheese are reportedly used sparingly, which drags down the level of enjoyment. Unless this is a side salad mistakenly labeled as an entree, Taziki's just can't compete with the restaurants that load every bowl with the fruits of a Cretan garden. 

8. Chop't

Being a "Creative Salad Company" and all, Chop't commits to the build-your-own concept while summoning beloved classics with a mouthwatering spin. (Ever heard of a Mexican Caesar Salad? Well, you have now!) Garnering the number-one spot on our ranking of fast food salad chains could have pushed The Chop't Greek Salad higher up in theory, but after peeking at the mixed responses out there, we're not sure it's the "must-try" item the menu tries to hype. 

The Chop't offering sticks to the formula while broadening the flavor potential with some surprise ingredients. Using sturdy romaine as the crunchy foundation, mix-ins like grape tomatoes and cucumbers collide with creamy chickpeas, crunchy pita crumbles, and olive halves sourced from SIMPLi, a brand that specializes in sustainably-grown pantry staples. And what kind of house special would it be without a house-made dressing? 

One reviewer was disenchanted by the salad they received, expressing confusion toward the haphazard dish that didn't "taste a thing like a Greek salad." On our part, we weren't thrilled with the chain charging extra for protein. Other restaurants include meat or tofu in the fixed price of the salad, and more to the point, carry a better variety. Chop't is a bit subpar in the realm of Mediterranean greens, at least when there's a broader competition. 

7. Pret A Manger

Full disclaimer: This is a side salad. If you were hoping to devour a heap of greens taller than the Acropolis, then Pret A Manger's might not be what you're looking for in a restaurant Greek Salad. Our opinion aligns with the customers who've sat down to try it for themselves, who agree that the salad is properly tossed and refreshing. For lettuce, Pret opts for a feathery mix of mesclun, followed by roasted cherry tomatoes, cubed cucumbers, creamy globs of feta cheese, and garlic croutons. Interspersed throughout is what the chain describes as a "Greek olive medley," and this dose of umami works as a salty complement to the milder herb yogurt dressing.

Having pointed to a few positives, we still have to reckon with the fact that Pret A Manger is known for pre-assembling menu items for consumers to quickly pick up and take out. This means the Greek salad won't burst with the sort of boldness inherent in a tossed-to-order bowl. Do customers mind? Not enough to avoid it out of principle. Though one review praised the taste of the "fresh ingredients," the salad didn't leave a lasting impression other than providing adequate nourishment and convenience. Good with a cold sandwich perhaps, but not first-place material. 

6. Cava

Salad-centered restaurants with a global focus have cropped up like weeds across the nation, but how often do they orbit around Greek eats? Cava, doling out grain bowls and pita wraps in 25 states, styles itself as a Mediterranean Chipotle, so naturally there's a Greek Salad on the menu for our consideration. Mellow tzatziki sauce, hummus, and a tart vinaigrette glide through a blend of romaine, arugula, feta, kalamata olives, tzatziki, cucumber, and tomatoes, complete with your choice of falafel balls, grilled meat, or roasted veggies. The D.C.-area brand offers a salad with some ingredients we haven't yet seen, along with an ample amount of protein to bulk it out. 

Textural interest gives Greek salad a refreshing air compared to other salads, and Cava clearly gets the job done. The produce is chunky and nicely chopped, and the garlicky punch of the hummus pairs well with the vinegar-heavy profile. One issue that could cause some hesitation when reaching for our wallets is the preparation. It's not always on point. A handful of testimonies confirm that portions are somewhat puny, which is far from an attractive incentive when dropping several dollars. "Two stars because the ingredients were fresh ... just not plentiful or the value expected for the $12.50 to go salad," explained a review posted in 2021. 

9. Salad Works

In the churn of catered takeout and donuts at the office, a light meal can be crafted in just four steps at Salad Works. The counter-serve chain lets you pick meats, veggies, and condiments, then watch as employees assemble them in front of your eyes. However, if the hunger pangs have leached your creative juices dry, trying a pre-made concoction can help decide on lunch in a pinch. The signature Classic Greek Salad features chopped greens (romaine and iceberg) donned with a variety of diced veggies, feta, and a zesty vinaigrette dressing. A hunk of honey oat bread comes with the salad, but diners can also order it as a grain bowl or make it portable with a tortilla wrap. 

In the course of our research, we found many fans of this Greek salad who vouched for its colorful abundance and delectable taste. One reviewer described it as "awesome," and raved over the bounty of feta cheese and kalamata olives mixed into their portion — no forking through a sparsely-tossed terrain here. The hype isn't universal, given that the sharp cheese could have been more prominently featured according to a less-enthusiastic customer. Still, enough feedback shows that visitors are apt to order it repeatedly: "The buffalo chicken salad and also the Greek salad are my top favorites here too," a reviewer shared online, while another post recommended the dish with a cozy bowl of chicken noodle soup for good measure. 

5. Panera

Without further ado, Panera Bread tosses its plate into the ring with a menu standby. Our verdict? The Greek Salad, though a simpler option on the restaurant scene, seems to draw positive attention from diners. Chopped onion, tomato, feta, and olives are piled onto romaine lettuce, and the sandwich chain's Greek dressing is splashed into the mix. The dish is served vegetarian, but meat-eaters are welcome to add chicken breast to the equation. 

Mediterranean flavors are notorious for harboring a heavy amount of acidity in the face of milder seasonings, yet fellow samplers have reported that Panera's profile achieves a good balance. The vinegary tang is present but stays controlled thanks to the well-dispersed fixings, and per one review, the "perfect" coating of vinaigrette. The heftier chunks of lettuce are well-dressed and crunchy — no wilted leaves — while the thinly sliced cherry tomatoes, as some customers note, create a nice textural sensation. 

Granted, it isn't the most exciting Greek salad on the block, especially upon digging into the choices that scored higher. But we'd be hard-pressed to find an offering that's not only faithful to the traditional flavors but served in all 50 states. Those sensitive to spice might want to skip the black pepper garnish, since feedback confirms that the chain heaps it on. 

4. Sweetgreen

Forget counting calories. Sweetgreen is staking a new frontier in the fast-casual showdown by counting the carbon footprint behind its sustainably sourced — and deliciously inventive — leafy salads. The Hummus Crunch Salad has the internet abuzz for good reason, though it arrived too late for us to properly rank against the chain's core lineup. It isn't the usual peasant's fare; consisting of red cabbage, spice-inflected za'atar crumbles, and chickpeas, along with hearty romaine, kale, and diced vegetables that tango with a pesto vinaigrette and hummus sourced from Little Sesame, a small business based out of D.C. 

Sweetgreen previously sold a different Mediterranean salad on the menu called the Hummus Tahina. While customers frequently yearn for its return, the good news is the Hummus Crunch Salad stands on its own as a solid replacement. One reviewer called the bowl their "new obsession" and praised the large helpings — packed with nutrition to boot — as the key to this successful salad. Though it might sound strange to top a Greek salad with pesto dressing, the Italian sauce adds a nutty feel that's delightfully unexpected with the creamy hummus and crisp add-ins. 

3. Luna Grill

The closer our round-up gets to greatness, the more traditional and authentic(ish) the Greek salads become. Simple and refreshing ingredients define the nourishing staple as a meal or side dish, and Luna Grill, located in just two states on the West Coast, boasts loads of acclaim that can be judged by the positive responses pouring in: "The Modern Greek was one of the best salads I've had in a very long time," a delighted reviewer reported back, an impression shared by another customer who revealed that they "crave it at least once a week." 

Unlike dining out at most restaurants, incorporating the Modern Greek Salad into your daily diet will be an easy feat — this is a dish that radiates pure nutritional goodness. Fiber-packed lettuce tumbled in a hand-crafted vinaigrette dressing is combined with tomatoes, cucumbers, toasted chickpeas, and pickled onions, and served with a choice of proteins (falafel, chicken, or tender gyro strips).

The vibrancy of the dish, served at a temptingly affordable price, drives intense desire in diners left enchanted from bite one. Pair it with a kebab or dolma (stuffed grape leaves) to see why the chain itself has it bookmarked as a "lunch favorite." 

2. Tender Greens

Though we're always happy with a conventional Greek salad, Tender Greens doles out a gourmet version that's undeniably spectacular and deserving of the five-star reactions. The franchise (presently limited to California) boasts unique specialties courtesy of professional cooks who are assigned to every restaurant to concoct mouthwatering recipes. Mind you, this is a fast-casual spot, not a culinary school. 

Among the meal-appropriate green bowls, the Mediterranean Steak Salad will stuff your belly shut and might demand a second mouth to polish off the rest. Sliced steak, ever-so-pink and juicy, is fanned out like a winning hand onto locally sourced baby lettuce, a chorus of sliced veggies, and sharp feta to boost the tangy quality. For the dressing, a lemon vinaigrette infuses a citrusy flair that plays fair and square with the lip-puckering olives and ripe red tomatoes. 

Suffice it to say, the upscale attitude teeming from this offering has consumers chomping at the bit for more. "The steak is medium rare with great flavor," an impressed reviewer wrote, adding, "It's tender and delicious to say the least." Another customer similarly raved about the red meat, confirming that the restaurant doesn't skimp on the beef: "You get a healthy portion of steak." 

1. Salad And Go

Behind Salad And Go's cheerful green-and-orange facade, there's a highly-regarded chef who made the fast-casual concept spread its wings and soar to the forefront. Daniel Patino, a culinary master with years of experience in the nation's top eateries, helped founders Tony and Roushan Christofellis launch the spot out of Gilbert, Arizona around a decade ago. Although the Christofellises sold the business in 2021, the chain has grown to 100 storefronts to date. 

This background is crucial to explaining how the Greek Salad remains so lush and authentically crafted, coming highly recommended by the fleet of satisfied diners. Take it from this one reviewer who prefaced how they're indifferent to salads, much less a Greek one: "The flavor hit my taste buds like a bird hits a plane," they exclaimed, a vivid description that's fitting for "the absolute best salad" they've devoured in their entire life.

Accounting for whatever customizations you choose, selecting the Greek bowl will deliver a bounty of blended lettuces with cucumber, tomato, red onion, and kalamata olives. Chunks of feta and the creamy Greek dressing provide a tart background, and the lineup of proteins round it out, ranging from cubed tofu to buffalo chicken. That's another thing about this salad: The humungous heap won't leave you hungry, as demonstrated by a commenter's promise that it can feed two people.

How we selected our restaurant Greek salads

Our methodology for choosing the Greek salads assessed opinions held by online reviewers and considered the ingredients and cost of each dish. Internet platforms, including but not limited to Yelp, Trip Advisor, and personal blogs, composed the sources that were factored into the following list.