If nothing else, I am conflicted about Yamas Bar & Grill in Old Town. It was great and mediocre at the same time. You’ll see what I mean.
My companion and I arrived after the lunch hour but before the dinner rush, at a prompt 4 p.m. We were a little confused which door to enter (the front door was not, in fact, labelled), but once we figured it out, we walked into a very lackluster restaurant setting.
Yamas recently renovated the outside of their restaurant, adding an outdoor patio (that looks pretty high-class, to be honest). I was expecting the same look on the interior. I was surprised when I was greeted with an average-looking bar and simple tables.
Apart from a few patrons (who were seemingly regulars) at the bar, we were the only ones in the restaurant.
Still, I’d heard great things about Yamas’ food, so I kept my hopes high.
We sat down at a rickety table near the window. House flies danced around our heads.
Still optimistic, I ordered a white wine sangria from a peppy server who never welcomed us or introduced himself. If you know me, you know I love sangria. I really wanted to love this sangria, but I couldn’t. I had two sips for the duration of our meal. It didn’t look like sangria and it certainly didn’t taste like sangria. It resembled a strong mixed drink that you’d find at a dive bar.
I had heard rave reviews about Yamas’ margaritas. I probably should have asked for the margarita instead.
With a “when in Rome” mindset, I ordered the lamb gyro, which I mispronounced. The server informed me that the traditional Greek dish is pronounced “year-oh.”
I did thoroughly enjoy the spanakopita appetizer, which was tangy, crispy and melt-in-your-mouth fantastic. It was definitely the most authentic spanakopita I’ve ever had the delight of tasting.
I noticed, mid-bite, that the servers were sitting down and eating at the bar. I’m not one to judge (I’ve worked in a few restaurants and I totally feel the double-shift struggle), but that seemed slightly strange to me. I feel for these servers. They can’t unwind at all at Yamas, as they’re still within view of their customers.
Then, my food arrived.
My food was phenomenal and I can’t act like it wasn’t. The lamb in the gyro was perfectly cooked and paired well with the tart cream taste of the tzatziki. Even the pita itself was scrumptious. I could have eaten a whole platter of that pita bread. It wasn’t too crunchy and it wasn’t too moist.
The French fries were even better than the gyro. Golden, flaky and not too hot, they warmed the inside of my tummy. I only wished I had a milkshake to pair them with.
Overall, I didn’t hate Yamas. I didn’t adore it either. I might go again, but it’s not somewhere I’d suggest to my friends who were asking for recommendations. If I found myself in Yamas on a date somewhere in the future, I would think there might not be a second date, as I would hope my date would care to take me somewhere a little better.