Mediterranea Grill turns miles into minutes by bringing authentic Mediterranean cuisine to Montclair.
There are a lot of options for dining on Bloomfield Ave., but only one that features a beautiful dining room, decorated patio area, belly dancer and fresh maza: Mediterranea Grill. Mediterranea opened in 2007, when the Homsi brothers took the space from the previous over and rebranded it. The five brothers gave it a new menu and name. Mediterranea is the result of the brother’s hard work and commitment to excellent food.
The Homsi brothers – Andy, Mike, Nino, Rami and Alaeddin – began Mediterranea by improving on the quality of their product. They searched for better meat, fresher fish and local ingredients to create the best dishes possible. Mediterranea’s appetizer selection now includes 12 individual dishes. One of their most popular items is the appetizer sampler. Each appetizer features mouth-watering ingredients, like gooey cheese, seasoned fava beans and fresh spinach. The hummus is made with fresh chickpeas and the baba ghannoush is made with fresh eggplant. Both come with endless flat, warm pita triangles to scoop up the last bites.
“We start with fresh eggplants. We peel ‘em, roast ‘em, mash ‘em up with lemon juice, garlic, extra virgin olive oil – the baba is one of the best dishes,” said Alaeddin Homsi.
Not one item on the Mediterranea menu comes from a can – and not one item exceeds $28. Their inspiration comes from traditional dishes in Lebannon, Syria, Turkey, Greece and other areas. The restaurant certainly doesn’t keep all that delicious food locked inside its doors – Mediterranea offers specialty dishes like stuffed eggplant and grape leaves for catering.
The Homsi brothers, from Aleppo, Syria, all worked in restaurants growing up, but Mediterranea is their first experience managing together. Mediterranea has given each brother experience in everything from marketing to cooking. Each brother has a hand in the business but also pursues different things, in clinical research, sales or finance.
“It can be difficult, especially because working with your family is a lot different than working with a random employee. You can let go of an employee when they don’t meet expectations. You can’t let go of a brother,” laughed Homsi.
To get Mediterranea off the ground and keep it running, each Homsi brother took out loans and dedicated time to the restaurant. In the years since 2008, they have paid off most of those loans. People kept coming back to Mediterranea because they found value in the food they created. The Homsi brothers have yet to disappoint.
On Friday or Saturday nights, Mediteranea will host a belly dancer around dinner time in the dining room. If customers come out, Mediterranea will feature the belly dancer on more nights. The dining room is a beautiful array of rich colors, featuring warm lighting and soft cream-colored cushions. It’s perfect for a dress-up date night, a family gathering or a casual meeting – and once the food comes, you’ll never want to leave. Visit Mediterranea’s website at mediterraneanj.com.