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What's the Early Word on Portland's Pan-Mediterranean Behemoth TIQA?

Despite a few hiccups, most diners think the huge restaurant is off to a great start.

TIQA, FB

TIQA threw open its doors a few weeks ago, promising Commercial Street its second high concept Mediterranean-style restaurant in a matter of months. Owners Deen Haleem and Carol Mitchell, along with chef Bryan Dame (Gather, Miyake, Duckfat) and bar manager Patrick Morang (David's Restaurant), seem to have struck a nerve. Early reports from diners are overwhelmingly positive, with minor improvements suggested here and there. Dim those lights and let the food shine, TIQA.

The Big, Beautiful News: Brett F. loved an early visit, saying in his Yelp review, "This is perhaps the most stunning restaurant in the Old Port. It's a near-200 seat behemoth, and the interior decorating is perfect to suit all moods. There's chef table seating, bar seating, intimate 2 person tables, large party tables and even a roomy lounge with couches." [Yelp]

The Blinded by the Light News: Yelp reviewer Betts F. digs the food but wants more mood lighting: "I know you are new. BUT turn down the lights!  Chef 's table looks into a kitchen that is lit like it is  Las Vegas!  I need sunglasses.  Same with deuces by the window. Was I being interrogated??? Food was DELICIOUS!! I'd go back but only if and  when these epic lighting issues are fixed!" [Yelp]

The Reasonably Priced News: Eater commenter Michelle Brooks reports, "Three of us with all the food, 4 martinis, 1 wine, 2 French press coffees and oh yes the to die for roasted apple and sweet seffa dessert, and our total was $150 before tip. Pretty reasonable for everything we ordered I thought. I will return!" [FB]

The Carbs Are Worth It News: A positive Facebook review from Kelly O'Connell is encouraging for the gluten lovers: "Wonderful food ! Service was exceptional, ambiance was lovely. Favorites so far -- kefta, tiqa salad, and pork belly app, and OH the bread service! worth the carbs" [FB]

The Look Away News: Allen D. suggests on Yelp that the food is bad and the service is worse, grousing, "Would not return. The entire time we were eating, there were dozens of waitstaff just watching us with little else to do. Very off-putting and made for a weird dining experience." [Yelp]

The Love of Low Sodium News: Yelper L. C. H. gushes, "I often come away from a restaurant in which so much salt has been used that I am uncomfortably full long after finishing. This chef is perfection in that regard...he does not heavily salt, his herb and spices blends are so well melded that it often taken multiple tastes to be sure of ingredients. Everything from the hummus, to fish to the vegetarian dish with winter squash could not have been served more beautifully or been more perfectly cooked and seasoned." [Yelp]

The Adequate Cocktail List News: Bill M. raves about the Bacalao and the Marouzia in his Yelp review, promising that he will be back after finding only minor quibbles with the green staff and the limited cocktail list: "The only other slight disappointment was the cocktail menu. It was adequate and everyone enjoyed their drinks, but it was a step below other comparable restaurants. I think it says it all, when I say that that several of their featured specialty drinks were made with absolute and Jim Beam." [Yelp]

The Delicious and Healthy News: John Golden notes in an early look review for The Golden Dish, "Over three dinners hence I've sampled many dishes, small and large, and, with a few exceptions, they were very well executed. What's becomes eminently clear is that the highly touted healthiness of Mediterranean fare is so true in the lightness of the cooking here where olive oil, whole grains and spices predominate." [The Golden Dish]

The Hans-On Experience News: Christopher Keene says on Facebook, "Our bartender/server Hans gave us great service. He was very attentive but not overbearing. We also had visits from both owners and the house manager while there to check in and ask about our experience. Looking forward to going back asap." [FB]

The Company Man News: Patrick Morang, the bar manager, gave the restaurant its first 5 star rating on Facebook — shortly before it opened. Hey, if your employees didn't like it, you'd be off to a bad start, right? [FB]

TIQA

327 Commercial Street, , ME 04101 (207) 808-8840 Visit Website