Warming trend: Mega mediterranean spot opens Wednesday in Portland

One of the largest restaurants in the Old Port, Tiqa Grille, is scheduled to open Wednesday at the Courtyard Marriott. The 7,000-square-foot giant serving up Palestinian, Moroccan, Syrian and Grecian fare arrives right on time for those of us not jetting off to an exotic destination this winter.

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House sausage flatbread on wheat topped with roasted tomato, grilled zucchini, local feta and basil.

Chef Bryan Dame unveiled a sea of mouth-watering samples at private tastings last week. If these pixel previews can be believed, Tiqa will be a key pillar in Portland’s burgeoning gastronomic empire.

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Marouzia-honey braised Maine lamb with creamy eggplant puree, toasted almonds and leeks.

The sleek chef’s bar is the place to eat your way through this gutsy global menu. “I’m no stranger to the dining scene here,” Dame told us last month.

His past work at Gather in Yarmouth, helping Harding Lee Smith open Boone’s Fish House, Duckfat and the Inn at Ocean’s Edge in Lincolnville has paid off. Tiqa’s in-house “bread program” may make voluntary gluten-freers change their tune. 1012964_390162247824825_8373492529977596856_n

Look at this house salt cod bacalao flatbread topped with anchovies, grated black olives and olive oil and try to defy it!

Flatbread Company, down the street, must be quaking on the pier.

At a menu tasting Friday, 300 people packed the space. Roasted chicken and a Palestinian cheese custard dessert were reportedly outrageous. A known Portland marketeer called the dessert worthy of a return trip post haste. The rest of us, whose invites got lost in cyberspace, will have to wait till Wed. to experience Tiqa first hand.

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Bryan Dame, chef of Tiqa

Sunday brunch would be a good test run. The coffee program (featuring a Coffee By Design custom roast) is not to be missed.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for food and later for drinks on weekends. Tiqa, 327 Commercial St., Portland, Maine.

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.