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I found a taste of Greece, Italy, Turkey, and Israel in a little store-front restaurant in Ridgewood. Located on North Broad Street across from the railroad tracks, Mediterraneo embodies the true essence of – you guessed it – Mediterranean cuisine. I went there for dinner a few weeks ago with some close friends and the food was fresh and delicious, the ambience was vibrant, and the service was excellent.

The restaurant is very small…almost cramped (which would be my only complaint). There’s also patio seating in the front, but we opted for a table inside because you never know when a stray thunderstorm will roll through during the summer months. We did make a reservation, which I highly suggest. Our reservation was for 8:30 on a Saturday night, and the restaurant stayed packed until 10:30. So if you show up and put your name on the waiting list, you may not be eating until very late.

When we arrived, we were greeted by a smiling hostess and seated promptly. Like most of the restaurants in Ridgewood, Mediterraneo is a BYOB. It wouldn’t be a Mediterranean meal without a glass (or two or three) of red wine. Our bottle was opened before we could ask, which probably wasn’t a good idea because we were drinking and chatting away, barely paying attention to the menu. But our waitress was very patient, checking up on us every ten minutes or so to see if we were ready to order.

Thirty minutes later, we finally got to the menu, which has a large selection of salads and tapas as well as main-courses. We ordered a few tapas items and a salad to share amongst the table. First came out a hummus and tzatziki platter served with unlimited fresh, warm pita. The hummus was so tasty and the tzatziki was refreshingly cool and perfectly infused with garlic and dill.

While we were leisurely eating our first course of tapas, the salad was brought out. It consisted of incredibly fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, feta cheese, and crispy romaine lettuce, all tossed in a flavorful vinaigrette. The portion was huge, and between the three of us, there was still some left over. Shortly after the salad was served, our third item came out – warmed Greek cheese. My friends and I are cheese fanatics, so this was the highlight of our meal. The cheese was goat based, but simpler in flavor and thicker in consistency. It was drizzled in honey and served in wedges. Needless to say, the cheese was demolished in under five minutes. And what meal would be complete without dessert? So we shared a vanilla-infused crème brulée topped with a caramel drizzle. That, too, was demolished ever so quickly.

After our fresh and tasty meal, we continued chatting while finishing our second bottle of wine. The waitress was very kind and didn’t bring us our check until we requested it. When I go out to eat, especially with friends, I try to forget about the prices and focus on enjoying good food that I didn’t cook. So I was absolutely floored when the bill was under $50 for the three of us. But after realizing what we had ordered, it made sense. I was just pleased to leave the restaurant with a full wallet after having eaten a delicious and memorable meal with great friends.

So the next time you’re craving fresh Mediterranean food, I highly recommend Mediterraneo. Be sure to make a reservation, and be prepared for a simply delicious meal.

Here is Mediterraneo’s contact information:

23 N Broad St
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
(201) 447-0022

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