Mediterranean civilizations invented many lasting concepts, developing astronomy to explain the cosmos and democracy to equally divide lamb kebabs. Split a skewer with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Mediterranean cuisine plus two cups of coffee (a $3.50 value) at Mediterannea in Montclair (a $33.50 total value).
Inside Mediterranea’s ornate oasis, diners can explore a menu of dishes brimming with the carefully prepared spoils of the Mediterranean. Like a freshly pressed Hawaiian shirt, the baba gannouj readies guests for a night of exotic flavor with roasted eggplant and fresh bell peppers that blend in a delectable purée soaked in lemon juice and olive oil ($6.95). Char-grilled kebabs are the menu's mainstay, with six different options sating omnivores' varied appetites such as vegetarian ($13.95), filet mignon ($21.95), or the trio-grilled platter of kufta, lamb, and chicken ($23.95). Stolen fresh from the hands of a sad marine biologist, a cast of clams, shrimp, lobster, and calamari simmer in a red or white sauce in the Mariscada ($23.95). After entrees, the baklava's ($4.95) flaky dough embraces layers of pistachio or walnut and pairs wonderfully with an included cup of steaming coffee.
Mediterranea’s dining room is decked out in fine furnishings imported from the Mediterranean coastline. Patrons can plant themselves in chairs made in Damascus to tipple beverages brought from home in the BYOB establishment, as eyes feast on beaded chandeliers imported from Turkey. The outdoor-seating area illuminates evenings with multihued light fixtures, and a burning fire warms chilled evenings or dates who forgot to wear pants.
Founded in 2007, Mediterranea’s cuisine pulls influences from all around the Mediterranean Sea, integrating village traditions from places such as Syria, Lebanon, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Morocco, and Spain. The restaurant is owned by the Homsi family, who emigrated from Syria in 1987. Their roots shine through with healthy and natural menu items including baba ghanouj, spicy shrimp arrabbiatta, half-roasted chickens, and kebabs. While making kebabs, chefs marinate morsels of filet mignon, lamb, or chicken before grilling them and serving them with a yogurt garlic dip. The chefs continue to innovate and create by adding new menu items inspired by home cooking.
The Homsi brothers decorated the space with custom-made furniture from Damascus and illuminated it with delicate beaded chandeliers from Turkey. Colorful artwork adorns the walls, coordinating with the cream and gold hues that dominate each chair or pillow-strewn bench.