Monday, April 12, 2010
2751 Lavista Rd., Atlanta, GA www.mezzabistro.com
Last Monday night my friend Milagros and I ate dinner at Mezza, located in Oak Grove Center near the intersections of Lavista and Oak Grove Roads. I was really looking forward to this, because I love Mediterranean cuisine. Mezza serves tapas (along with sandwiches and platters), another great thing in my book because it means I get to try lots of different dishes.
Unfortunately I have to admit I was disappointed. For one thing, it's overpriced. Most of the tapas are $6-$7 each, and you'll need to eat at least 3 of them if you don't want to leave hungry. I'm accustomed to tapas that range from $2-$3 for vegetarian and $5-$8 for meats, so this was an unpleasant surprise.
The other problem was that they weren't that good. They were okay, but not one of the eight dishes we tried was excellent. My favorite liked the #3 fool mudammas, which is simmered fava beans marinated in garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. This was a hearty dish. The $18 muhammara, a mix of ground red bell peppers, walnuts, pistachios, lemon juice, garlic and mild cayenee pepper, was pretty good. The #46 chicken shwarma was so-so. We also had baklava, which came in two varieties, pistachio and pine nut. The pine nut was interesting. I preferred the pistachio. Again, nothing really sticks out in my mind as special. Everything is served with plenty of warm pita. My friend and I each spent $20 for what I feel should have only cost us about $12 each.
Had it cost $12, I still probably wouldn't return. That's because there are several other restaurants that serve tapas in the city that I think make better food, or offer a greater variety of dishes. For example, if you would like to branch out from purely Mediterranean tapas, I would suggest Eclipse di Luna. Their selections are far superior, although I will admit I preferred the atmosphere at Mezza. It's not that Mezza has an awesome decor - the decor is fine, but nothing really special - it's that the restaurant is much quieter. You can have a peaceful dinner there.
On a positive note, the service was quick and friendly.
Verdict: A distant second to Eclipse di Luna.