Thu., April 19, 2012
3 min. read
Article was updated Apr. 09, 2020
My husband and I honeymooned in Oia: a quaint village nestled alongside a volcanic caldera on Greece’s Santorini Island. Oia is world-renowned for many treasures, most notably its sunsets: a spectacular sight I missed most evenings – not for gazing adoringly into my bridegroom’s eyes (sorry, my Love), but because I was far too engrossed in my dinner plate to notice.
Experiencing authentic Greek cuisine, lovingly prepared in its natural habitat, took food to a whole new level for me. There is something so beautiful about simple, fresh, quality ingredients, prepared with pride by someone who cares. I hadn’t experienced the magnificence of the seemingly ordinary – a tomato, oregano, olive oil, feta, kalamata olives, pistachios, among other gems – until I tasted Greece; a bounty I imagined could only be cultivated atop Mount Olympus, closest to godliness.
Rediscovering this kind of splendour in the tri-cities is challenging. Conestoga River, while pleasant, is no Aegean Sea. However, there is a little place nestled alongside a strip mall in the northeast end of Waterloo called Mediterraneo, and while far from Santorini, its Greek-inspired menu is authentic, homemade, and offers good food at great value in a comfortable familial setting. And it’s around 8,000 km closer to your door than Oia.
We started with the saganaki ($9.95): Kefalotiri, a lovely sheep’s milk cheese, which was salty, gooey, flamb�ed upon arrival, not to mention fun to say. Served with grilled pita, lemon wedges and a lively “OPA!” (it doesn’t take much for me – I know), it was a delightful way to start a meal at among a bustling Friday-night crowd.
We also had the taramosalata ($5.95): a red caviar whipped spread with olive oil, lemon juice and more grilled pita wedges. I didn’t realize the taramosalata was also included in the three-dip platter ($11.25), which I’ve had before, and would recommend over the single variety as it also includes tangy hummus and garlicky tzatziki.
For mains, my husband had the ‘paidakis’ ($23.95): fresh spring lamb chops broiled to his preferred medium rare, tender, and seasoned with oil, lemon, oregano. No shortage of food here as the portions were massive and this dish included Greek salad, potato wedges and lemon rice.
I ordered a comforting moussaka ($13.95): a classic Aegean dish of layered eggplant, zucchini, herbed potatoes, creamy b�chamel sauce and your choice of ground beef or vegetarian. It’s served with Greek salad (which was good, but go for the ‘village salad’ for a more authentic experience) and out-of-this-world rice. I know – rice! But it was outstanding.
We finished with the baklava (5.95) and the tiramisu ($5.95) – both prepared in-house and sensational. I’ve never really gravitated to baklava before but after experiencing Mediterraneo’s rendition, I am forever changed. And the tiramisu had just the right kick of espresso and quality chocolate. Oh, I should add that we took these desserts to go because there was no way we could have eaten them after the quantities of food we ingested throughout our meal.
As we reminisced about our big fat Greek honeymoon, I was pleased to learn that a little taste of Oia exists right here in Waterloo.
Mediterranean. 2010 and 2011 platinum winner of KW Readers Choice award for best Mediterranean restaurant and best European cuisine.
Comfortable and contemporary: high-back chairs, classical decor, and lively Bouzouki music strumming in the background.
Extensive wine list, including a couple Greek varieties (e.g. Kouros). Cocktails, spirits and specialty coffees.
Kind, polite, cheerful and very hospitable.
$74.25 (including tax, before tip) for two appetizers, two mains and two desserts.
Dining Out restaurant reviews are based on anonymous visits to the establishments. Restaurants do not pay for any portion of the reviewer’s meal. Tanya Sood can be reached at email@example.com
FULL ARTICLE LINK: https://www.therecord.com/life/food-wine/restaurants/2012/04/19/a-big-opa-for-mediterranao.html