Hidden among the new and flashier restaurants along Chicago’s Randolph Street in the West Loop lies an understated Mediterranean hideaway. Nia Mediterranean Tapas is a warm and homey space, serving Mediterranean tapas, or “meze,” as they are known in Greece – a dish that is served alone or with other mezedes to enhance a separate eating experience. With a menu highlighting the key elements of the Mediterranean diet, including vegetables, legumes, olive oil, fish, and lean red meat, it also boasts an extensive, award winning wine list, including selections from Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and France.
My friend and I recently dined at Nia on a weeknight. We had our choice of tables, and the restaurant was about half full while we were there. We started with the delicious Nia Salad. Mixed greens, goat cheese, dates, avocado, piquillo peppers, almonds, and a nice limoncello vinaigrette blended nicely together. While we ordered the salad with the dressing on the side, it was delivered already dressed. After going back and forth with the server about whether the salad did, in fact, already have dressing on it, another was brought to us with the dressing on the side.
My favorite dish of the evening was the Citrus Ceviche, featuring bay scallops, shrimp, Mahi-Mahi, Alaskan halibut, and Nova Scotian caviar. It tasted bright and fresh, and the citrus cured the seafood perfectly.
I was unfortunately disappointed with the Octopus, which is a mainstay on Greek-influenced menus. While the meat was cooked nicely, I did not care for the balsamic reduction, which was too sweet and tangy for my taste. A simple olive oil and lemon would have suited it much better.
The Jumbo Garlic Shrimp, with a simple lemon butter sauce, were nice, with a generous serving of sliced garlic. While the shrimp could have used a bit more crushed red pepper for some spice, they were cooked well and were a nice end to a good meal.
I would return to try some difference mezedes, including the hummus, wild mushroom risotto, and baked goat cheese. The service faltered at first, but then recovered when a new server took over our table. He was friendly, but not overbearing.
Nia is an intimate and cozy space, perfect for a date night or dinner with friends. It is open for lunch, Monday through Friday, and for dinner, seven days a week. Reservations are accepted.
While our meal was complimentary, all opinions expressed herein are my own.