Gyros, baklava and feta cheese. Oh, and stuffed grape leaves. That’s pretty much the extent of my knowledge of Greek cuisine. After a couple visits to Mediterrano, a Greek restaurant on Babcock Boulevard in the North Hills, I can’t say that my knowledge of Greek food has expanded all that much but I have learned that Mediterrano serves up some delicious food.
Mediterrano describes itself as rustic Greek Mediterranean cuisine. The expansive menu features more than a dozen small plate appetizers, salads, skewered meats and a lot of lamb and fish entrees. It’s a small restaurant; I’m guessing it has seating for only about 24 to 30 guests. While this limited seating may increase the likelihood of waiting for a table on busy nights, it makes for an intimate dining experience. When you walk in, you immediately notice the large wood-burning oven. Terra cotta colored walls, rustic tiled floors and tasteful directional lighting add to the warm and inviting atmosphere.
On a recent visit to Mediterrano on a Saturday night, my girlfriend and I were promptly seated and greeted by a friendly waiter. He brought a basket of warm pita and a delicious hummus spread containing garlic and kalamata olives. I think we would have been content to nosh on that all night, but of course we didn’t. While explaining the evening’s specials, our waiter stressed the freshness of the specials several times, explaining that they had all been purchased that morning. Three seafood specials were offered that evening—red snapper, tilapia and wild black bass. Each fish was offered as a single filet or a whole fish for a few dollars more. One non-seafood special was also offered, a veal chop.
My girlfriend ordered the red snapper, coated in fresh herbs and garlic, cast iron seared and served over spinach and rice pilaf. She doesn’t like a dead fish staring at her from the plate, so the waiter had the chef prepare just the two filets from the fish sans the head, tail and pesky bones. I ordered the veal chop special which was seasoned with rosemary and garlic with a cremini mushroom sauce. The veal special came with my choice of two sides, and I opted for the spinach and rice pilaf as well.
Our entrees arrived and were delicious. The red snapper was moist and flaky and seasoned nicely. My veal chop was excellent. Served bone-in, this thick chop had a nice crust on the outside and was tender and juicy on the inside. The veal chop was so good that we observed one patron eating his veal chop like a chicken leg with his hands, gripping it by the bone a lá Fred Flintstone. The deft preparation of the veal chop showed me that Mediterrano isn’t just a one trick pony. There’s more than family recipes behind the traditional Greek fare being served; there’s real culinary skill in Mediteranno’s kitchen.
Although we were both rather full after finishing our entrees, we couldn’t pass up trying one of the many Greek sweets on the dessert menu. We decided to share a choclava, layers of phyllo with walnuts, almond filling, honey, and cinnamon with a layer of milk chocolate. All I can say about it is damn, it was good.
If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, check out Mediteranno. I don’t know of any restaurant in Pittsburgh serving traditional Greek food like this. And if you go, save room for dessert.
Mediterrano is BYOB.
Find Mediterrano on the web here.Mediterrano,