One of my favorite RTP-area lunch places is Cafe Meridian, located off of Highway 55 near Meridian Parkway. This place has a variety of hot and cold dishes, some with a Mediterranean flair. The place was originally called Doce and was owned by George Bakatsias, but he sold it a few years ago to Rich and Gina Kazazian. It was a good move. The Kazazians take pride in their restaurant and consistently produce fresh, high quality foods.
The menu has some standard favorites, such as the poached salmon, served with lemon and dill; or the spanakopita, a Greek dish featuring spinach and feta served in a Phyllo dough. I love to go there to indulge in one of their many great salads. I love the Greek salad, with romaine lettuce, Roma tomatoes, red onions, Kalamata olives, cucumbers, banana peppers and feta cheese. The salad is topped with a yummy lemon vinaigrette.
The other day, I went to Cafe Meridian and wanted to have a light meal to go. I ordered the three salad plate and chose a kale salad that was served with shredded carrots and Craisins. The kale was a bit on the salty side, but had a nice oil and vinegar dressing. I also had the corn and black bean salad with green bell peppers, red onions, tomatoes, parsley and olive oil. The only thing I would have changed would be to have cilantro instead of the parsley. The third salad was an orzo dish with sun-dried tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, and spinach topped with a great little balsamic vinaigrette.
Another time, I was dining with my friend, Tammi. She had the salmon with a mandarin, orange & soy-ginger glaze. It was a beautiful, thick, pink piece of salmon served with a side of orzo salad and sautéed vegetables.
Cafe Meridian is very casual. The walls a rust and gold and there are lots of tables scattered throughout the “L” shaped dining room. The food is served cafeteria style, so you enter and read the blackboard to find out what the specials are, then order on the line. Drinks are available as you turn to the checkout counter and there are some desserts available at the checkout counter, which are usually some homemade cookies.
Cafe Meridian is a place you will quite likely bump into other people you know because it’s so close to RTP. The staff makes people feel welcome and like you are a part of the Cafe Meridian family. In order to entice you to come back frequently, they offer a rewards card.