yiannis taverna

We may live without poetry music and art;

We may live without conscience and without heart;

We may live without friends;

We may live without books;

But civilized men cannot live without cooks.

- Athenaeus (as found on the menu at Yiannis)

A few weeks ago we went for dinner at Yiannis with some friends.  I had the best intentions of blogging about it right away, but after I downloaded my photos it somehow slipped my mind.

We were there on a Sunday evening, so it was busy but not totally crazy.  We got a table by the front window, which I love because it allows for good Whyte Ave. people-watching.

Because there were four of us, we decided to go for the Demitri's Platter for Four, and it included a little bit of everything.  First we received a bowl of horiatiki salad (greek salad)  and a platter with homous, melitsano and tarama with fresh pita.  Homous is made with chick peas, melitsano is made with eggplant and tarama is made with carp roe.  I love the homous, and I really enjoy the melitsano, but I have to admit that the tarama has never been my favourite.  I find it salty and kind-of mayonnaise-like - it might be better with something else; as a condiment rather than a dip.

Next was the main course.  First there was a bowl of green & yellow beans, peas and carrots in a tomato-based sauce, then there were two large platters with the rest of the main course.  One included lemon roast potatoes, moussaka and keftedes (meatballs) with tzatziki.  The other had lamb chops, chicken, garlic prawns and rice pilaf.   I loved the moussaka, with the rich bechamel sauce and ground beef spiced with a hint of nutmeg.  The keftedes were good, and I always love the lemon roasted potato.  I didn't eat much rice; let's face it, when there's this much good food, rice pilaf is just "filler-food".  The prawns were large and perfectly cooked.  The chicken was okay, but the lamb chops were tough and overcooked (not a favourite). 

After the feast, I was feeling pretty full, but I still had a little more room to enjoy some dessert.  I chose the bougatsa - a phyllo pastry filled with lemon semolina cream then dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon.  It was delicious.  I loved the lemon cream and who can resist crispy phyllo?  Trevor ordered the baclava.  He enjoyed it, but thought that it didn't have quite enough layers of nuts and phyllo, and could have used a little more syrup. 

Overall, dinner was good, and we had fun visiting with our friends and planning our summer holiday.  The atmosphere and food make Yiannis a place worth coming back to.  Oh, one more thing: the calamari there is really good...I was a little sad we didn't have any on this visit! 

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