The latest addition to Bryn Mawr’s cozy culinary community, Dua Mediterranean Kitchen has taken over the former Tin Lizard Brewing location. The bi-level space maintains the same overall footprint, even if the reworked kitchen has encroached on the dining area somewhat. The décor is mid-century sleek, surprisingly hip and comfortable—and there’s now a pasta bar where drinks used to be served.
Owner and chef Bledar Istrefi effortlessly mingles Greek, Southern Italian, Israeli and Albanian fare. Known for his successful Trattoria Moma in Mount Airy, Istrefi strays ever so slightly from that Italian-heavy menu at his new BYOB. “I wanted to introduce more of a Mediterranean feel while continuing with my love of fine pasta dishes,” he says.
Recommended appetizers include an Israeli duo of hummus and spicy muhammara served with olives and house-made focaccia. The Albanian kofte mixes grilled beef, lamb and sausage atop whipped lemon feta. I opted for the Greek-inspired chargrilled octopus over a colorful canvas of Israeli couscous and chickpeas with black olives and tomatoes—superb simplicity. For larger appetites, there’s the Mediterranean chicken, a lamb shank, orata (a richly flavored fish filet) and a dry-aged Black Angus ribeye.
On weekends, request a bar seat to witness flour, eggs, water and turmeric being fed into a pasta machine that transforms the ingredients into mafalde, linguine, rigatoni and campanelle. The wild boar rigatoni ragu was seductively subtle, with just a hint of heat in the meat.
If you choose fish, I recommend toting a light pinot noir or a rose. A velvety cabernet sauvignon works well for steak or lamb. Light European beers complement the tomatoes, olives and salsa toppings on many of the dishes. There was no corkage fee at press time.
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Dessert came by way of a delicious piece of house-made pistachio cheesecake and a rich espresso. In warmer weather, the second-floor terrace is a rare rooftop experience along Route 30.
DUA MEDITERRANEAN KITCHEN
1000 W Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr, (484) 380-2053
ATMOSPHERE: Dazzling artwork makes you forget this used to be a beer joint.
HOURS: 5–9 p.m. Tuesday–Thursday, 5–10 p.m. Friday–Saturday.
ATTIRE: Dressy casual.
EXTRAS: Rooftop dining on the terrace in warmer months.
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