Saturday, February 19, 2011

Restaurant Review: Yianni's Taverna

Name: Yianni’s Taverna
3760 Old Philadelphia Pike
Bethlehem, PA 18015
(610) 867-8821
Open Tues-Wed 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Thurs- Sat 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Sun 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Atmosphere: The atmosphere at Yianni’s is very homey and cozy but also includes some very modern and trendy elements. Upon entering the restaurant, you are immediately greeted by at least one hostess and usually either Yianni or Maria, the co-owners. The restaurant is dimly lit by candles on each table and by lighting along the walls. The restaurant is split into two sections; one side hosts the bar and is adorn with large white couches and smaller cocktail tables, the other side has larger round and rectangular tables. Just inside the entryway, there is a display of the fresh catches of the day for customers to peruse while waiting for their tables. Overall, the restaurant finds a balance between a mom and pop Greek restaurant and a modern, chic restaurant like Melt.

 Service: It is clear that customer service is high on the list for this restaurant. From the time you enter the restaurant until the time you get in the car to leave, the staff at Yianni’s are more than willing to accommodate your every request. Both Maria and Yianni, the owners, stop by each table at some point during the meal to chitchat and ensure that everything is satisfactory. Four of the five people I dined with here had special requests for their entrees ranging from ingredient substitutions, changing an appetizer portion to an entrée portion and eliminating an ingredient from a dish. Our waiter was able to accommodate all of their needs and we all ended up happy with our meals. The staff at Yianni’s is professional but at the same time personable and fun.


 Food: Yianni’s serves primarily Greek inspired food; however much of it appears on American menus these days. The menu is quite extensive and includes both hot and cold appetizers, salad, soup, gyros, fish dishes, specialty dishes and house favorites. Our table started with a “spread” platter, which included warm pita, creamy garlic spread, spicy feta spread and eggplant spread. We also ordered one of their infamous appetizers: “Saganaki.” This is pan-fried Kaseri cheese flambéed tableside. I personally don’t care for it however the rest of the people I was with loved it. For our main courses we ordered chicken Marsala, chicken Samos (a dish prepared with lemon, olive oil, garlic, artichoke hearts and peppers) chicken Athenian (chicken wrapped in phyllo dough stuffed with feta and mint) and shrimp Zorba (shrimp sautéed with spinach, feta, onions and tomato). Everyone was fully satisfied with their choices and, although we didn’t order dessert this time, I have had it before and everything is very fresh and completely homemade. Yianni’s also offers lunch and a very impressive breakfast selection!


 Pricing: Yianni’s is reasonably priced in my opinion. Appetizers start out at around $5 and go upwards towards $10. Entrees range from $10 all the way up to $32 for lamb and whole fish dishes. My glass of wine, chicken Marsala and 1/5 of both appetizers (we split it between 5 of us) cost me around $32. This is a great place to bring families, meet friends or bring a date to.

Yianni’s has done extensive remodeling in order to attract customers, it truly is a little hidden gem of a restaurant in the area and I encourage everyone to try it.

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