Taverna Yamas

Last night I was lucky enough to attend Folio Weekly’s Bite Club as the +1 of Stephanie. Bite Club is a monthly dining group hosted by local independent newspaper, Folio Weekly. This month’s private tasting event was held at Tinseltown Greek eatery, Taverna Yamas.

All I’d heard about Taverna Yamas was people danced on tables.

They weren’t kidding.

I started my evening in the bar area with a lovely glass of pinot noir (big shocker, I know. But it’s been nearly two weeks since I had wine… Thanks, Acid Reflux).

While I was waiting, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely & new Jacksonvillian (Jacksonvilleite? What do we call ourselves?), Jessica.  She’s witty & clever & you should definitely check out her blog.

Taverna Yamas is all about the Greek Family-style way of dining. All tables are set up to accommodate the experience:

Just FYI, the tables are pretty sturdy too.. You know, if you’re interested in dancing on them (but you do so at your own risk).

The menu promised 5 courses of traditional Greek fare, starting with a variety of Cold Pikilia (cold appetizers):

The taramosalata honestly surprised me. I’m not much of a fish person, but this caviar spread wasn’t overwhelming & tasted delicious on pita. The hummus was fantastic (you can rarely go wrong with hummus) as was the melitzanoalata (eggplant spread) & dolmades (grape leaves stuff with rice). While the tzatziki was good, I prefer a creamier tzatziki than theirs.

Then came the traditional Greek Village Salad:

Look Ma! Not lettuce & massive chunks of feta!

& a belly dancer entertained us:

& wine was poured:

& then there was flaming cheese.

Yes. Flaming cheese. Melty, delicious, salty flaming cheese served with pita bread:

Be still my heart (it will be still cause it’ll stop beating soon due to the amount of butter amazingness I consumed).

& then Hot Pikilia (hot appetizers) were served:

Oh heavily breaded calamari, come to mama. & please, please, please don’t ever sing “Mary Had A Little Lamb” to me while I eat lamb. I will cry. It won’t be pretty. Spankopita proves you can put anything in phyllo & I will eat it. I’m not a huge fan of cooked spinach, but put it in phyllo & I will eat the shit out of it.

Since I wasn’t busting out of my pants yet, main entrees were served:

Note: Please correct me if I’m wrong on either of those. They were a surprise addition & I can’t remember what they were.

The Chicken & Filet were wonderfully spiced, juicy & mouth-watering. The rice was perfectly cooked & the lemon potatoes were a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about lemon potatoes, but since it wasn’t overwhelming it was a nice complement.

Then the moment all fat kids (like me) were waiting for…. Dessert:

I’m not going to lie: Dessert was by far my favorite part of the meal. Heaven on a plate. Flaky, sticky Baklava? Yum. Creamy, custardy Ek Mek? Get in my mouth. Flaky, custardy Galaktoboureko? Consider yourself eaten.

& at that point, I was wishing I wore stretchy pants & had someone to wheel me out to my car.

Overall, Taverna Yamas was a fun experience with pretty decent food to go along with it. Nothing was disappointing, but there were definitely stand outs of the evening: Filet mignon, flaming cheese, soft pita bread, & the entire dessert plate.

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