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“The Best in Mediterranean”
Review of Phoenicia - CLOSED

Phoenicia
Cuisines: Mediterranean
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed 20 October 2011

Fine dining in a superb,friendly atmosphere. Awesome Sunday buffet offers a wide variety of sampling to those unfamiliar w/some of the menu items. Great menu, service second to none. Good value. Always our favorite!

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1  Thank Amy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (27)
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23 - 27 of 27 reviews

Reviewed 29 September 2011

After meaning to visit this resaurant for nearly a year, I finally got there yesterday. The outside is unremarkable, in a distinctly unlovely neighborhood, but inside is another story!
We were greeted at the door by our friendly waiter who was the face of Phoenicia for us during our meal, as it was nearly empty on this midweek afternoon. The spacious restaurant is nicely decorated in a sort of warm Tuscan way and made me truly anticipate my food!
I had been studying the menu online, as well as reading other reviews and had some idea of what I wanted as far as appetizers go, so I was set, but my companion hadn't and didn't order an app until he saw mine. I began with dolmades; 5 tender, lemony small rice filled grape leaves in a light olive oil, which far outshined any I'd ever had before in flavor and texture! Next was spanakopita, 4 tasty triangles of phyllo wrapped spinach with onion and cheese surrounding a container of sour cream. The upstanding tips of the triangles were darker than they probably should have been, but after the dolmades I wasn't going to quibble.
My friend ordered the Phoenician Sampler when he tasted the half of a dolmade I would begrudge him. It came quickly enough, and I enjoyed watching as he tasted all the offerings. I tried the tasty hummus on a tender, moist flavorful pita wedge (the best I've ever had of those, too!) and a complex, spicy crisp falafel from his plate that I will order again. As he finished, he pronounced it all good, the babaghanouj tasty, but also a little burnt. I told him it wasn't *supposed to* taste that way, and I tried it. ACK! My wonderful, 5 star discovery had just served a bitter, not slightly singed concoction on their most expensive appetizer! We alerted the waiter, who asked if he could take it back so it could be tasted, and even though we were not finished with the other items on the plate, we allowed it, and never saw the plate again.
I ordered lamb stew as my entree (a heavy, chilly autumn rain fell outside) and it included soup or a salad. I chose the greek salad which arrived on the side of my plate like a vegetable. I ate most of my warming, nicely prepared, tender stew before trying my salad only to find that my iceberg lettuce (ugh) was nearly all made up of lettuce rib pieces which were dried on the cut edges (which is particularly noticeable on ribs) and I doubt were cut that day. It was topped with tender moist feta, a wonderful feature, but only included 2 not-moist purple olives and 2 grape tomatoes and a small cup of a nice lemony oil; I'd rate the salad as disappointing aside from the feta, but then again, that's not why I came...
Despite the fact that we were at a medeterranean restaurant, my companion ordered the herb crusted Ahi tuna, since we'd been talking about it just the day before. When he remarked on its pinkness, I looked at it and found it cooked all the way through instead of being just seared on the outside and bright pinky-red on the inside. Again, I alerted the waiter, who told us that the restaurant cooks it to whatever doneness the customer orders it, and that he'd simply "assumed we didn't want it raw"; another lesson learned. Somehow I think this may have been an accomodation for the usual central PA palate and possibly because the unfamiliar had repeatedly sent theirs back. What other reason could they have?
Not on our menu that I saw, a single diamond of baklava was our dessert of choice. We ordered one of each- a traditional Greek one with chopped walnuts and honey, and a Syrian variety, described to us as hazelnut with a maple topping, but that was actually filled with a bright pistachio mixture and lemon zest. I halved the diamonds when they came and was worried to feel the heaviness that made them not effortless to cut, but was rewarded with one of the most flavorful (and well filled) triangles of baklava that I had tasted. The Syrian one was good too, but I would have to eat more to make a better analysis!

So what do I think? Full disclosure: one of our baklavas was comped to apologise for the burned babaghanouj. Other reviews have called the Phoenicia overpriced; I think not, possibly only if one is comparing it to a pizza place, but not even then in my estimation! Prices are certainly comparable with casual restaurants such as TGIFridays or Applebees. We ate alot, had one beer (good draught selection), one comped dessert, and the check was less than $60. It was a tale of two cities... but I AM going back, maybe repeatedly, despite the long drive.

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2  Thank kathrynwitte
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 July 2011

On our recent trip to Altoona, my husband and I chose to have dinner at the Phoenicia Restaurant. We had a very pleasant experience. We started with a couple of martinis off of their special drinks menu and enjoyed them very much. They were served very cold. For dinner, we ordered "The King's Kabob Combo," which included samples of five different kabobs along with hummus, saffron rice, vegetables and a large Greek salad. This is described on the menu as enough to serve two. And it was plenty of food for the two of us. Everything was done to our liking.
Drinks and dinner were served at a leisurely pace but we never felt as if we were being neglected. Our waiter was very helpful and friendly. The restaurant is nicely decorated and the chairs were very comfortable.

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2  Thank Barbstur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2011

We stopped here on a Saturday and were delighted with our experience.
The interior of the restaurant is spacious and lovely with hardwood floors, large windows and open design.
This is a great addition to the restaurant selection in Altoona. The Greek and middle eastern cuisine offers an alternative to all the Italian choices and some of the menu items are real standouts.
We had spanakopita for an appetizer. It was light and the filling was good. I had the egg lemon soup which was good but a little too lemony for my taste. My husband had the soup of the day which was curried carrot. It was terrific. The fragrance and flavor were wonderful. Excellent! I even took an order to go.
I had the traditional gyro and it was very good with lots of gyro meat and fresh vegetables. My husband got the star of the meal, grilled salmon with a browned butter and caper sauce served with grilled potatoes and artichokes. The salmon melted in your mouth and the sauce complimented the flavor of the fish and vegetables without overpowering it. I highly recommend it.
For dessert we tried the baklava. You had your choice of Greek sytle with honey and walnuts or Syrian style with pistashios. We tried the Syrian and it was delightful with a cappuccino. We also tried the double chocolate cake which was perfect for a chocoholics dessert.
It is clear that they put effort and skill into their offerings. We will definitely return.

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2  Thank delectablemountain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2011

Came to Phoenicia purely by chance, but what a nice surprise. If every city in America had a restaurant like this, American taste buds would definitely change.

Unassuming yet spacious building, behind Martins, in Altoona, but well worth looking for. Wonderful meals, good menu, very nice bar, and the decor was very nice indeed. Whether you visit as a group or as a romantic setting, this is a great place. Service was equally good, helpful and pleasant, not to mention knowledgeable. Music this night was quite pleasant, with Michael Buble playing softly in the background.

I had the fresh salmon burger sandwich, with homemade chips, simply delicious, followed by their own Phoenician salad. My wife who was unwell, had the broccoli soup, which was perfect, followed by the hummus and gyro meat, and it was also delicious.

I have travelled extensively in east and west Europe and this is exactly as I would expect from the Mediterranean region, just awesome.

Had some wine (pretty decent listing) and beer (Troeg's is on tap), what more could you want. Go visit, it's a great treasure.

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3  Thank BHEBfoodie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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