>> Thursday, December 16, 2010
After tasting Mediterranean in the region of its origin, it really makes you want to taste and compare what our local jaunts are like (constantly having to travel to Lebanon or similar countries to get Mediterranean food just doesn’t seem economical or realistic…but one could dream). Since I’ve driven past Aida’s many a times and have heard good things about it. I figured that it was time to call up a reservation and pull a chair up to Aida’s table.
Atmosphere: Small contemporary space with a Mediterranean twist.
Price Range: Mid $10s - $20s
Food and Wine: I always find it hard not to order everything off the menu since all the descriptions sound amazing, so instead I opt to taste a bit of everybody elses. We ended up settling on a couple platters which allowed us to sample many different dishes off the menu without having to order them individually, which was a nice treat, especially if you’re in a bigger group. We started with my friend’s recommendation of the Mouhammara Dip, which is a red pepper dip with walnuts and pomegranate juice served with unlimited pitas (you always get unlimited pitas with your meals...yum!). It was garlicky and sweet, a perfect way to start off the evening, everyone at the table agreed that it was different and unique. I ordered the Shawarma Platter which came with a choice of Hummus or Baba Ghannouj and Fattoush or Tabbouli Salad. I opted for the Hummus and Tabbouli Salad, which I found were a little tarter that I imagined them to be, which sort of threw off the flavours of the dish for me, plus my beef was a little dry.
I also got to try a bit of the Seafood Platter for two, which included Prawns cooked in a light garlic sauce, Squid rings in a white wine tomato reduction, Baba Ghannouj, Fatayer which are spinach filled pastry triangles, Grape leaves and different cheeses; we also added on the delicious sounding lamb chops as well. It was quite a bit of food and a great sharing platter. I especially enjoyed the prawns and the squid rings, the lamb was moist and quite yummy as well. On top of that, I managed to sneak in a couple bites of Baked Halibut as well, it was relatively mild in flavour, but since I’ve never really had halibut cooked that way at a Middle Eastern restaurant, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but it did feel a little overcooked. I believe the main consumer of the dish was not overly enthused but ate it none the less, you can let halibut go to waste!
The wine list comprised of some interesting Lebanese wines which were interesting, but we opted to stick with just a few teas and coffees to end the night. Of course the coffee – Turkish style - was accompanied by some Baklava (crispy phyllo pastry filled with nuts) and Kashtaliey (a milky pudding with pistachio nuts on top). My table partners didn’t seem overly enthused about the desserts and I have to admit that I’ve had better baklava before, but the coffee was interesting and definitely packed a punch.
My Picks: Mouhammara Dip, Garlic Prawns, Squid Rings
Overall: It was a nice trip down memory lane tasting some of those Mediterranean type dishes at Aida’s. Although it’s not quite the same as being in the Middle East, it is definitely a lot more accessible and all the dishes were quite well priced for the amount of food that we received.
Aida’s Mediterranean Bistro
2208 4 Street Southwest