Located at the top of Magill Road this elegant neighborhood restaurant is steadily attracting a solid fan base. Those who were loyal followers of Norwood Parade’s Yanni’s Yiros will recognise the name, and rest assured this is the same Yanni and his family at the helm of Yanni’s Taverna.
There are three essential components of every Greek menu that are scattered amongst various dishes and define the restaurants worth; Tzatziki, Greek salad and potatoes. At Yanni’s the tzatziki is super creamy, tangy and lemony. With enough garlic to make its presence felt without feeling overpowering or raw. Salad is fresh and crisp, dressed with a pungent vinaigrette that puckers the taste buds with its acidity. It is topped with a substantial slice of good quality feta which I always prefer over a frugal crumble scattered throughout. All the main suspects are present including plump black olives, capsicum and freshly cut tomato. The potatoes are a great example of those soft lightly fried, crispy, golden wedges that the Greeks do so well. They are cut thick, fluffy on the inside and salted well. So, with the three essential staples all receiving a tick in the box lets look at the main attractions.
We took a stab at something different for entrée and selected the Bouyourdi which is an oven baked Dodoni Feta and I was not at all surprised to find I loved the oven baked cheese! Reminiscent of eating the topping of a pizza, flavour of robust tomato, black olive, dried herbs slathered in cheesy goodness. With a decent kick of chilli this is cheesy, salty perfection.
Moving on to something tried and tested the Greek Style Calamari. Battered rings of calamari are mixed in with a few tentacle pieces, all well coated in a dense batter that forms a golden crust over the tubes. Dipping sauce is always important and here we have a creamy, mellow garlic aioli that is sure to keep this dish as a constant crowd pleaser.
The four fritters that make up the Zucchini Keftedes are well seasoned, crispy on the outside and fluffy inside. Flavours of zucchini and dill are predominant, I’m sure these would please the fussiest of eaters.
Lastly, from the entree menu we feasted on a very generous bowl of Saganaki Prawns. A rich tomato sauce allows the beautiful plump prawns to peek out amid the crumbled feta topping. The prawns are huge and for $25 this is excellent value. Cubes of saganki hide like treasure in the sauce which is made with lots of olive oil, time and love. Luckily wedges of pita are on the side for mopping up that tasty sauce.
What a show stopper the Moussaka is! Dramatically presented in black ceramics the almost neon orange of the bechamel crust is a masterpiece to look at. Spooning through the deep bowl, each serve has layers of thick sliced eggplant, potato, bechamel and a rich savory mince sauce. It’s billed on the menu as Anna’s Famous Moussaka and with good reason. We loved the blend of creamy sauce with the layered vegetables that brought out the umami flavour of the meat.
The Souvlakia comes in Chicken, lamb or mixed which was our choice. A skewer of each meat arrive to the table, both glossy and juicy, accompanied with a bowl of Greek salad and potatoes. The lamb has a charred outer layer and is super juicy inside with lemony notes and plenty of herbs. Likewise, with the chicken souvlakia with a little less lemon.
The usual ‘pub’ style of ribs is served slathered in a sweet, overpowering sauce. We finish. Here the with Greek Style Pork Ribs have undergone a dry rub allowing the taste of the pork to shine with its charcoal flavours. The meat needs a little teasing to release from the bone, but you are rewarded with salty, flavourul mouthfuls.
We enjoyed consistently delicious dishes at Yanni’s Taverna. Every single dish was packed with flavour, perfectly seasoned and outstanding value for money. We washed it all down with a lovely Greek wine, watching the attentive servers and Yanni himself diligently going from table to table and the satisfied customers with smiles on their faces. I look forward to being a regular at Yanni’s.
Words by Kate Wilkinson
WHERE: 613 Magill Rd, Magill