Cambridge: Modern Mediterranean at Oleana

falafel

I would describe Oleana in Cambridge as Modern Mediterranean. A friend took me to Oleana saying they had the best falafel. I quirked my eyebrow while looking amused. I am from LA, home of a large Persian population. I know falafel.

Okay, point to Oleana. This spinach falafel is pretty frickin’ amazing. Served warm with a nice beet spread, pickle, greens and tahini on lavash, this required some serious nibbling, no, devouring. Although I was eying the other falafel, I decided this one taste was going to do me. It was best to dream of another time, another taste.

Isla

 

Oleana doesn’t have a full liquor license so I settled for a wine based cocktail. Fortunately, the Isla (bitter orange and herbs) was tasty. I also recommend having either some sherry, vermouth or apertifs. Interestingly, Cardamaro was listed. I supposed this amaro didn’t fit in the hard booze category?

kale salad

The restaurant sent out a fabulous kale salad. I loved the texture of the nubby kale, the soft fruit, the sesame flecked “crouton” and crunch of sliced apples. It was also a really great dressing I meant to ask about but then more food came out.

 

grilled octopus

I had picked out the grilled octopus. The octopus was so tender. I wanted to keep the whole grilled stick to myself but I played nice.

baba ganoush

 

My friend said Oleana did an amazing short rib. Okay, let’s get it. It came with baba ganoush which I liked but yes, the star was the short rib. It was tender and the perfect little bite.

short rib

wine

 

I was glad I ate lightly a few hours before at Eastern Standard Kitchen.

I was able to enjoy some wine and the other dish I picked out. I love moussaka and couldn’t resist this variation with whipped fava beans.

moussaka

 

This dish in a tiny Staub was the perfect side. The bottom is lined with minced lamb and eggplant. They weren’t kidding about the whipped fava beans. The layer was so light and fluffy.

Oleanna was probably my favorite meal of this Boston trip. I had a lot of great food at a lot of places in Boston and Cambridge but this is the place I’d recommend to friends for something “different.”

 

Oleana Restaurant

134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139 — (617) 661-0505
 
© The Minty  2012