TIQA, the brainchild of couple Deen Haleem and Carol Mitchell, swings for the fences today. The restaurant covers 7,000 square feet and, with the private dining room included, seats close to 300. Tony Lindvall is the general manager, while Bryan Dame, formerly of Gather, Duckfat, and other local eateries, is in charge of the ambitious kitchen. He and his team are making their own bread to go with the cuisines of copious Mediterranean countries. Patrick Morang, most recently of David's Restaurant, is running the bar program.
Peek at the menu on TIQA's Facebook page, and check out MaineToday's coverage of a friends and family event held last weekend for a preview. Descriptors like "glitzy" and "stunning" are used to describe the space, while "delicious" and "memorable" are connected to the dishes coming from the kitchen staff.
Its Facebook info section claims that TIQA is "The Old Port's first pan -Mediterranean [sic] restaurant, bakery, lounge and private function room!" It's a dubious claim, considering the existence of recently opened Commercial St. neighbor Ebb and Flow, a Mediterranean restaurant and bakery with room for private functions in its 130 seat space. Still, Mediterranean is by no means common cuisine in Portland, and diners are unlikely to get decision fatigue despite two new options.
Becky's Diner is one of the only other eateries in the same section of Commercial St., which means foot traffic will not be in TIQA's favor. If the Marriott Courtyard is packed during tourist season, though, the restaurant will have a substantial built-in audience. Will TIQA attract a crowd outside of the typical Old Port comfort zone and disprove Mister Meatball's prediction, "That new place opening in the Marriott on Commercial won't make it to 2016"?
327 Commercial Street, Portland, website. Open Sunday - Wednesday 11:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m., Thursday - Saturday 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.