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“Good Armenian food” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sayat Nova East Armenian

Sayat Nova East Armenian
157 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611-3107 (Near North Side)
(312) 644-9159
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Ranked #431 of 8,264 restaurants in Chicago
Price range: $8 - $15
Cuisines: Armenian, Middle Eastern, Eastern European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations, Buffet
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Near North Side
Cross street: Michigan Ave.
Transit: Red Line Grand and State Any Michigan Avenue Bus
Description: Located just steps from Michigan Avenue in the heart of Chicago's thriving Streeterville neighborhood, Sayat Nova is a cozy, romantic enclave tucked back from the city's urban sprawl. Since 1970, we have offered Armenian cuisine that presents a slightly earthier variation on typical Mediterranean fare.
19 reviews 19 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Good Armenian food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

I am Armenian, and I like this restaurant. The food is good. Go for lunch and it's the healthiest, best value right off Michigan Avenue. The staff is not Armenian, nor do they know anything about it (or they weren't chatty) but the owner is, and the food is authentic. I go when I'm in Chicago, because it's a nice change from the chains and other places.

Visited October 2012
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111 reviews from our community

82% Recommend
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“You can tell it was homecooked”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2012

The foods were definitely not canned. They were slightly different than the Armenian food I have had, but nice nonetheless. Had a drink and dessert at the bar the next night. The cocktails are very original, but wasn't crazy about the knafi dessert. Next time I'll get some good ol' baklava.

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Well developed flavors in simple and familiar forms.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2012

I am not a particular fan of Mediterranean food, but Sayat Nova changed my attitude considerably. Among the appetizers shared at my table, the sarma (stuffed grape leaves) stood out as the best I (and many others at the table) had ever had. Too often, the grape leaves ovewhelm the filling, but here the filling is the star, a smooth and satisfying blend of meat, rice and herbs with a touch of lemon. The red lentil soup was another star, praised by all who had it as creamy and flavorful. The jajic (pickled vegetables, primarily carrots and celery) were sharp, a good contrast to the sarma and red lentil soup.

My entree, lamb cous cous, was another dish in which the flavors were well developed, though I was a bit disappointed at first to see so little lamb in the dish and so many potatoes. In the end, the tender and lightly seasoned lamb was more than adequate. My wife's mixed grill kebab (shrimp and chicken) was satisfying, though the chicken breast was a bit dry. (She says she'd opt for something else, though, as it was nothing out of the ordinary.) The pilaf was excellent, so much so that I polished off the generous serving for her.

For dessert, we split the knafi (shredded phyllo dough with cream filling). A nice crunch with a smooth and only slightly sweet filling, but the dough was a bit singed, as if the knafi had been baked and then reheated in a microwave (based on the burn-your-mouth filling and the cool crust). (Restaurant owners: ask customers if they want desserts heated or, at the very least, warn them! Personally, I'd rather have a cold dessert than one run through the microwave.)

The wine and beer list is adequate. I opted for an Armenian lager, the name of which I've forgotten, but which I found to be a good match for my meal.

Service was adequate, with no major complaints or compliments earned. Ditto for the atmosphere, though our front-window table was a good nook for the group of 7.

But for the fact that there are so many food options in Chicago and I get there so rarely, I'll not be likely to return. If it were in my home town, however, it would definitely make the rotation based solely on its flavors.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Silver Spring, Maryland
Top Contributor
570 reviews 570 reviews
271 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 208 cities Reviews in 208 cities
218 helpful votes 218 helpful votes
“Mediocre Food, Poor Service”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2012

We weren't impressed by Sayat Nova. The restaurant is fairly well decorated with some nice alcoves that give you a sense of privacy. Service was slow and not particularly attentive. We were pretty much ignored by the waiter until we asked the hostess to send him to our table. Lamajoun, a kind of Armenian meat pizza, appeared to have been microwaved and wasn't very pleasant. The crust seemed very much like a flour tortilla. The wine list appeared to be overpriced. The only reasonably priced wine was a Lebanese red wine which was pretty tannic. The Sarma Dinner, a plate of warm stuffed grape leaves, was served on the same plate with cold eggplant, a very strange contrast. Neither was very good. Their signature plate of Armenian delicacies was not very well spiced; the Armenian meat ball was composed of stringy ground beef, but the eggplant and green pepper and cheese stuffed philo were OK.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plain City, Ohio
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Excellent meal, unique atmosphere”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

I had never had Armenian food before, and though it shared a lot of common elements with Turkish, Lebanese and other Mediterranean cuisines, it also had some uniqueness. The atmosphere was intimate and inviting, the service was attentive.

Visited February 2012
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