If you’re looking for high-brow, high-price-tag dining, then you won’t be eating at Yanni’s The Little Greek.
This isn’t the kind of place where you pay $12 for a baked potato on the side, and your server is dressed better than you are.
No, Yanni’s, at 1101 N. Wilmot Road, is the kind of place where you order at the counter. And, you better make sure to stop at an ATM, or have a check handy, because they don’t take credit cards. Interestingly, if you’re writing a check, a sign directs you to make it out directly to the owner.
Yanni’s The Little Greek is a reboot of the Kranis family’s restaurant of almost the same name. (It was just The Little Greek when it was off East Tanque Verde Road near the Pima County Sheriff’s substation nearly 20 years ago.)
“We try to keep it small and authentic,” says Yanni, whose father, he said, was a four-star chef who taught him the restaurant ropes. “That’s our whole game plan.”
Service at the year-old, family-run restaurant is attentive but not uncomfortably hover-y. And the menu serves up all the favorites: pastitsio, mousaka, dolmades and an outstanding spanakopita ($6.95 a la carte; $12.95 meal). Buttery, flaky phyllo dough added crispness to the hearty spinach filling flecked with feta and Parmesan. The spanakopita aficionado declared it the best she’d ever had.
Another winner was the Greek-American fusion Zorba hamburger patty sandwich ($8.95). A trio of Greek-spiced patties, a mix of ground beef and lamb seasoned with garlic, onions and fresh parsley, were wrapped in a soft pita along with juicy tomato wedges, raw onions, copious amounts of feta — there can never be too much in our book — and a tzatziki sauce that was lap-it-straight-out-of-the-plastic-container good. Sour cream rather than the traditional yogurt made the cucumber-dill sauce thicker and so much richer.
See the full review and more restaurant news in Thursday's Caliente.