AVA MediterrAegean, the highly anticipated dining destination by Riviera Dining Group, officially opens its doors today in Central Florida’s Winter Park. The Mediterranean and Aegean-inspired restaurant brings a rich and curated experience of contemporary cuisine and expert mixology, along with a warm and transporting atmosphere.
“Meaning life, water, island, bird in Greek, ‘AVA’ is a celebration of splendor, freedom, escapism and joy. With this new concept, we want to bring Winter Park the first multi-sensory experience in the area, a home away from home that transports guests to the beauty of the Mediterranean and the Aegeans,” Riviera Dining Group co-founder Marine Galy says. “The community has been very supportive and has inspired us to push the envelope, and we cannot wait for them to start the journey and to create amazing memories with us.”
AVA MediterrAegean’s signature dishes are infused with flavorful and colorful ingredients, as well as the philosophy and culture of healthy and balanced eating of the Mediterranean diet. Dishes are served in the middle of the table, meant to be shared amongst family and friends, embracing the importance of slowing down and enjoying the moment with loved ones. In Greek, “Parea” means a group of family, friends, or guests gathering together to have a great time and enjoying each other’s company. This is what the mantra Parea is all about: great food, great people, and great times.
Diners can begin their culinary journey with oretika (appetizers) and meze (small plates), including Greek spreads tzatziki, tirokafteri and tarama served with warm homemade pita bread, and keftedes meatballs (homemade meatballs, infusing fresh herbs, lemon, served with tzatziki). The signatures feature dishes such as grilled halloumi served with organic blossom honey and sesame seeds, and the truffle pita pizza, made with homemade dough, manouri cheese, onion, creme fraiche and black truffle, as well as a not-to-be-missed whole dorade crudo. The MediterrAegean sushi section contains unique rolls that guests can watch the Chef make in the open kitchen area, including a tabbouleh roll with feta, fresh herbs, cucumber, tomato and grape leaf, and a salmon roll with smoked tarama, dill and Kristal caviar.
The salad section offers a greek salad served table side, and features the freshest ingredients from local farms. Entrées include a daily fish selection that will be offered grilled, baked or wrapped in sea salt, and will be carved and flambéed table-side. Guests can also choose from a variety of other savory favorites including rack of lamb paired with flavorful sides such as Ratatouille Biyaldi.
AVA MediterrAegan’s innovative mixology program reimagines classic cocktails with a modern twist. The bar program was designed to grace guests with not only mixology, but a multi-sensory experience. The bar team combined Florida’s finest fresh ingredients, with the finest of spirits known internationally for their quality when crafting the bar menu. Guests can sip on the “Onassis Old Fashioned,” combining bourbon with fig, brown butter, mushroom, chamomile and apricot flavors, or try the unique “Greek Salad Gibson,” which includes olive oil-washed haku vodka, martini ambrato, Greek salad shrub and a feta crisp. For a theatrical presentation, don’t miss the “Smoke & Mirrors,” a take on a smoked Manhattan that features Alfred Giraud whisky, hudson peated rye, metaxa, demerara and black walnut bitters.
Inspired by the charm, untapped beauty and personality of the Cyclades and the Aegean Sea, AVA MediterrAegean’s distinguished design is simple and conservative, yet inviting and friendly. Authenticity was central to the restaurant’s design as guests are to feel transported upon entering the space, providing a truly immersive experience.
“AVA MediterrAegean’s design highlights natural beauty like the rocky shores of the Mediterranean, though with elegantly unpolished edges. We used traditional limestone plaster throughout the space, gray tone stone and other natural elements,” Olya Volkova, designer of AVA MediterrAegean says. “It was important that we embraced various aspects of the existing architecture while completely transforming the space. Fortunately there were beautiful columns and arches, reminiscent of the beauty of Mediterranean architecture that complimented our design perfectly.”
As part of ongoing efforts to support the local community, AVA MediterrAegean is partnering up with Park Avenue Gallery to feature the best of local art at the restaurant, with guests having the opportunity to discover new installations every month. For the first month, AVA MediterrAegean will feature “MUSE,” a seven-foot stoneware goddess from artist Barbara Sorensen. The piece is a part of Sorensen’s “Goddesses” collection, made up of abstracted, elongated female forms that represent an ideal of life as a process of continual transformation.
AVA MediterrAegean is open Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Reservations are now open and can be made at avamediterraegean.com/reserve
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