Restaurant Review – Barba Yianni Grecian Taverna

“Come for the food, stay for the entertainment” ought to be the motto of this Lincoln Square mainstay. For 31 years, Barba Yianni Grecian Taverna has said  ‘Yassas’ (Hello) with a taste of authentic Grecian cuisine on the North Side of Chicago. The multi-level restaurant features a full bar, indoor & outdoor seating,  and traditional belly dancing performances.

Think ‘Mediterranean coastal town’ for their lunch and dinner ambience, with seasonal open-aired dining, and brightly colored murals of Grecian Islands decorating the walls. 

And the food! Reviewers raved about their authentic Greek Meze (appetizers) Try Kolokythakia-Fried Zucchini with Skordalia (Garlic spread), or Loukaniko-grilled Greek sausage, or a delicious charbroiled octopus. Other specialties include meatless Dolmades-stuffed grape leaves, with rice, festooned with spices and Tzatziki. Or, for something completely different, try a Melitzanosalata eggplant cold. You can also try their take on Spanakotiropita– spinach & Feta cheese pies.

Βραδινό (Dinner) specialties include Chicken Riganati– pairing 1/2 Greek baked Amish chicken, lemon sauce, and oregano, Dolmades–vine leaves stuffed with seasoned ground beef and rice, topped with Egglemon sauce, or a traditional Gyros Plate. Other dinner options include Kota Elliniki, a Greek-style 1/2 Amish chicken, broiled with olive oil, lemon and oregano (Allow 30 minutes for preparation.) 

Yianni’s Burger is a Grecian take on an American classic—with a fresh ground beef patty, cheddar cheese, onion, tomato, and Tzatziki sauce, served with seasoned wedge fries. Or Mousaka- A traditional Greek dish featuring layers of eggplant, zucchini, potatoes and grated cheese, topped with béchamel sauce, and available vegetarian-style or with ground beef. Souvlaki (Kebobs) are served with onions, peppers and tomatoes, and your choice of meats or poultry. Zimarika (Greek Pasta) includes a Makaronada ala Barba Yianni, with chicken breast sautéed in tomato, garlic and oregano. Makaronada Me Kima is a Greek spaguetti with seasoned ground beef, tomatoes & herb sauce. 

Charcoal-broiled specialties include Lamb Chops- two thick-cut lamb chops.  Paedakia is the thin-cut version; both are served with rice and potatoes.

Finally…what meal is complete without dessert? Traditional Baklava ismade of filo, walnuts, and honey. Yiaourti Meli pairsGreek yogurt, honey, and walnuts in a delicious combination.Chocolate lovers will enjoy a delectable Chocolate Lava Cake, replete with vanilla ice cream, and their Chocolate Mousse Cake. Many other selections are available for your dining pleasure.

Barba Yianni Grecian Taverna is located at 4761 N Lincoln Ave., Chicago. They are open Monday thru Sunday: 11 am– 1 am. Reservations are highly recommended. For more information, click here

Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago