Thinking about a hot dish of saganaki
, the famous Greek flaming cheese, and the accompanying "Opaa!" shouts heard throughout Greektown
? Forget that tourist trap and head to Lincoln Square
's quaint old-country style spot instead. You'll get the charm of authentic Greek cooking without the long wait lines.
Barba Yianni's two-room restaurant captures the feel of the Mediterranean countryside with walls covered by jagged scrapes of white paint that mesh with the landscapes painted inside faux windows. Potted plants add to the ambiance, and offer a much-needed breath of oxygen in this dimly lit space. A full bar up front showcases a display of liquor ranging from the hard stuff all the way to fine wines. Feel like you're at the Parthenon yet? Just wait for the food.
Like a good Greek restaurant, Barba Yianni does serve saganaki; in fact, it's one of the specialties. Other traditional Greek specialties on the menu, like the kokinisto, a braised lamb in light tomato sauce served with rice and potatoes ($12.95) or the arni psito, slices of roast leg of lamb served with rice and potatoes ($12.95) prove that Greeks love lamb — and know how to cook it.
Soups come in two varieties: egg lemon soup, a daily specialty, and the chef's choice (take your chances). There's $4.50 Greek salad (for dieters and veg heads alike) and spinach cheese pie that don't disappoint. It's the price that might make you turn your head the other way, but for an authentic Greek dining experience minus the cheesy (saganaki cheesy, that is) feel of Greektown, take a chance at this Lincoln Square locale.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Alicia Eler