Yanni's Grill and Restaurant
NEW ADDRESS: 1500 22nd Street, West Des Moines (in the Gordman's shopping plaza)
A and D were intrigued by the 4-star review in the Des Moines Register DateBook for Yanni's at its new location. First a bit of history.
Yanni's has two locations, one in West Des Moines and one in Ankeny. After the former owner sold to the present owner, he opened La Dolce Vita in West Des Moines with a similar theme and menu (half Greek and half Italian). Under the previous owner, Yanni's was less than rewarding for diners, so the 4-star review was surprising and promised improvement by the new owner.
The new location on 22nd Street in West Des Moines is a small restaurant with the same faux Greek Island decor. It is cozy and comfortable.
The menu offers a variety of dishes in the $8 to $20 range and features about half Greek and half Italian choices. The wine selection is limited and the standard down-market wines; wines by the glass are available and are the usual small glasses found in Greek restaurants and having small pours.
The wait staff is adequate if inexperienced, but eager to please. The owner stopped by the table for a very brief greeting, but did not inquire as to the food or meal experience; a true missed opportunity to get to know what the customers think.
The salads were pedestrian; the lettuce was not crisp or chilled and there was little in them except lettuce. The dressing was 'okay' but unremarkable.
A and D ordered an Italian and Greek main course respectively. These were also 'okay' but unremarkable. The food is flat, turned out as a plate rather than a passion for creativity and flavors. The owner 'cooks' but doesn't excite; dishes are 'acceptable' but not remarkable. Prices are okay.
Yanni's is an 'okay' restaurant. You will have eaten, but you will not have had an interesting experience or an adventure in either Greek or Italian foods. There is no 'flavor.'
The previous owner's new restaurant, La Dolce Vita, has gone in the same direction. At first it was trying hard, but after a year it had descended into mediocrity. Unfortunately, the new Yanni's owner is producing the same symptoms -- average food, average service; an unremarkable experience that one quickly forgets because there is nothing memorable.
A and D have to conclude that the Des Moines Register either was being very generous or views 4 stars much differently. This is, at best, a 2.5 star experience and Yanni's is just another so-so restaurant with unexciting food and service.
Rating: 2.5 stars
Yanni's Grill and Restaurant
Great food. Great service. Best gyro in town.
Ambiance is a little lacking, but when we were there last week, found out they are moving. Maybe next place will be better.
Site has Yanni's tagged as Italian, but their Greek food is outstanding. Mousaka or lamb are good choices
We visited Yanni’s on Saturday night around 6:30 and I was completely surprised that there was no wait. I wasn’t really impressed with the outside décor and the inside was not what I expected. I generally enjoy the atmosphere at most Mediterranean places, this just felt cold to me, not inviting or cozy.
However, the staff was really attentive and friendly. The bread and garlic knots were served to us right away, both were just ok. We tried the Yanni’s Build Your Own, (choose 3 appetizers) we choose: Saganki (Flaming asiago cheese with lemon and marinara sauce) Their Famous Onion Rings and Toasted Ravioli. I really loved all of these. They all really had great flavor. The Saganki was actually set on fire at our table, so that is neat to watch. And their marinara sauce is wonderful.
My main course was Pollo Piccata (Chicken breast sautéed with lemon caper & butter sauce, Broccoli and Potato croquette) served with a dinner salad. I choose their Italian dressing for my salad and it was a perfect. The Pollo Piccata didn’t “wow” me, the sides were actually better.
I would like to try it again and I heard their pizza is really good. (pizza is only offered at the Ankeny location)
I wanted a gyro, and got a gyro. A good one. Didn't try anything else, but what I had was good and the service was extremely friendly.