Photo by Lena Nadaner, LT
Melina, a new Greek restaurant with a modern twist, opened its doors in Pike and Rose on Nov. 22. With a warm and earthy feel, Melina is a great place to go for a delicious meal with a pleasant atmosphere and impeccable service.
From the founders of Cava and Julii, Melina is a full-service restaurant that offers a variety of flavorful salads, skewers, mezze, mains and desserts made in-house.
There is background music that was enough to give the atmosphere some energy while not being too loud, giving the restaurant a contemporary feel. The restuarant is extremely popular and reservations are recommended as it was fully booked on a week-night and for that specific upcoming weekend.
Luckily, I managed to get a table without a reservation that was nicely set, surrounded by plants and decorations such as Greek sculptures and a lemon tree.
My party was greeted by a friendly server who was eager to explain the menu and background of the restaurant, as well as give suggestions on her favorite dishes, which arrived at a slower pace, one of the shortcomings of the restaurant. =
For an appetizer, I ordered the spinach salad with pickled onions, feta cheese, crispy phyllo, sesame seeds, mint, dill and honey vinaigrette. The taste of the dish was unexpectedly sweet and rich with many flavors. The crispy phyllo dough gave the salad a nice crunch while the other ingredients made for a flavorsome salad. The spinach salad was my favorite dish of the evening.
Next, I tried portabella mushroom souvlaki skewers with hazelnut miso praline, cured egg yolk, truffle balsamic dressing, smoked graviera cream and chive oil. From the first soft and chewy bite, I could taste the mushroomy flavor which reminded me of a grilled piece of meat. However, I was not thrilled with the meaty taste of this dish, but if you are a vegetarian who wants an alternative to meat, I would recommend ordering this.
Recommended from the server, I ordered the cheese pie. I was met with a luscious and slightly spicy taste when I bit into a piece of the pie containing feta, graviera cheese and chili peppered infused honey. The crispy and cheese-filled dish was a delicious refresher from the other flavorful dishes and had a more simple flavor.
With high expectations from the whopping $34 price, I was disappointed with the cod ‘skordalia’ my table ordered as an entree. While it was served beautifully, the fish was surrounded by too many flavors that overwhelmed my taste buds and did not allow me to taste the cod. The amount of fish was small for the high price and difficult to share.
Lastly, we ordered the Greek donuts, which came with a refreshing ice cream, honey, rich chocolate milk and walnuts that added a crunch to the fluffiness of the doughnuts. This dessert is perfect for sharing and a great way to end the meal.
The appetizer and skewers were $16 each, the mezze was $14, the entree was $34 and the dessert was $16. The prices were high but reasonable considering it was full service and matched the prices of other similar restaurants that are proximate in location.
Overall, I enjoyed my dining experience at Melina and trying unique, flavor-packed dishes. If you are in the area, Melina is a great place to go with friends and family for full service, a cool atmosphere and tasty Greek food.
Melina is located at 906 Rose Ave, North Bethesda, MD.