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Malia Mediterranean Bistro

May 27, 2011

  • 34 W. Michigan Avenue
  • Battle Creek, MI 49017
  • (269) 441-2900
  • Website
  • Menu

I thought I was going to get by for cheap today when it came to lunch.  J wanted to run to the mall to see if a store had a certain item that she has been trying to get for a couple weeks.  Since we were heading south, I suggested we keep going to a diner suggested to us by friends.  J thought to call ahead to the store to see if they had what she was looking for.  Once again, they didn’t.

I got the idea to see if Lakeview Square Mall in Battle Creek had the store or not.  She did a quick Google search, found out they did, then called to see if they had the item.  They did and she asked them to hold it for her which meant we were heading to Battle Creek for lunch.  There are a couple places I wanted to try, but before I could even make a suggestion, J already had a menu pulled up for a place she wanted to go.

Malia Mediterranean Bistro is in downtown Battle Creek on Michigan Avenue.  The area is under pretty heavy construction right now, but if you drive past the barricade, there is still some street parking right in front of the building that is open.  There’s also a parking lot near the back of the building which is where the hostess counter actually is.  We came in through the front door and that opens right in to the dining room.  We didn’t see the host stand but a waiter saw us standing in the doorway and the host came to us.

The space is pretty small, but it has the feel of a restaurant in a city much bigger than Battle Creek.  The walls are the original exposed brick and the two tiered dining room only has a few tables.  The kitchen is a small, open style kitchen where you can see the chef’s prepare the meals. 

We were a little past the lunch rush, but we were far from the only people in the place.  There were a couple tables of Kellogg employees and at least one business meeting taking place around us. While there were several four tops still available, the host took us to a six top in the corner.  He set down a couple menus and pointed to the specials which are written on a chalkboard hanging on one of the brick walls.

In what seems to be becoming a theme, it took a long time for a waiter to come to our table.  The waitress for the table next to us noticed us sitting there and she went and asked our waiter if he had been to our table yet.  He looked surprised to see us there then came over after checking on another table.

We weren’t given a drink list when we sat down so we had no idea what they had.  I had my doubts that a place like this would have Pepsi, but I saw a table next to us with a bottle of Boylan Cola.  I love that stuff, so I ordered a bottle.  J didn’t want pop and didn’t know what else they had so she stuck with ice water.

The waiter realized we had been sitting there for a while so right after he took drink orders, he asked if we had any questions about the menu or if we were ready to order.  We were.

There wasn’t much on the menu that really appealed to me.  It’s not that none of it sounded good, it’s just that I’m more of a burger and pizza guy.  Places like Malia are more of the kind of thing that J likes.  There always seems to be one ingredient in every dish that turns me off.  Some have mushrooms.  Some  have onions.  Some have peas.  To a normal person, those would be flavor enhancers.  To me, they’re a little scary.  There was one thing on the menu that sounded really good though.  I ordered the Spaghetti Pomodoro with Italian Sausage.  The thin cut spaghetti is topped with a delicious sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and a house spice mix.  It is served with two slice of grilled Italian sausage on top and Parmesan cheese.  The bowl of spaghetti is deceivingly big and the pasta is soft and perfectly sauced with the very fresh tasting sauce.  I was conflicted on whether or not to order the Italian sausage because it did add four bucks to the price of the dish, but I’m very glad I did.

J decided on a salad and went with the Wild Berries & Nuts Insalate.  The field greens salad is topped with sliced pears, dried wild berries, pecans, almonds and pistachios as well as Gorgonzola cheese with a balsamic bleu cheese vinaigrette.  She loved the salad saying the additions of pistachios was a delicious surprise.  She has never had pistachio on a salad before and she thought it was the piece of the puzzle that brought everything together.

We saw several desserts come out of the kitchen but I was getting a little concerned about the cost of the lunch and we had some other errands to run in Battle Creek.  When our server came to take our plates, he asked about dessert, but we declined and took our check.

The bill was a little over $28.  It’s more than I was thinking about paying for lunch, but Malia is worth every penny.

Spaghetti Pomodora w/Italian Sausage

Wild Berries and Mixed Nuts Insalate

Malia Mediterranean Bistro on Urbanspoon

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Probyn permalink
    June 3, 2011 11:00 am

    Wow, it’s a little eerie how much your thoughts about Malia mirror my husband’s and how much your wife’s interests mirror mine. My dear hubby (DH) works in Battle Creek and went to Malia for a business lunch. He somehow found a sandwich he could eat (I’ll pass on your tip about the spaghetti pomodoro), but told me later that I would love the place.

    We ended up going there for my birthday dinner. We were greeted promptly (and repeatedly) and our waiter was attentive and helpful. My frustration was that the restaurant ran out of three of the evening’s desserts before we were even ready to order dinner. It was my birthday and I’d hoped to splurge, but when my top two choices for a sumptuous desser were not even options, it was rather disappointing.

    I love the atmosphere in that space (we’d visited that address when it was 34 West) and will probably go back again for my birthday next year, or when dining with a friend who enjoys a mediterranean-influenced menu.

  2. T.T. Thomas permalink
    May 17, 2012 10:05 am

    My partner and I have been to Malia on two prior occasions. I am not as taken by the restaurant as he. The food is fine if you want to wallow in animal fat. The service? My first impression is I had walked into a Brownie Troop meeting. Although knowledgeable on face value, it is obvious that their knowledge is by wrote and limited to the menu. The menu? Almost illegible. It took only a little flattery to get the waitress to come clean on the menu descriptions. “Wild mushrooms”, “Hand Cut Pasta”, Artisan Bread and Crackers” were the obvious. I am sure they don’t actually use all the cheeses they list either. I am sure these items are out of boxes and come from standard restaurant suppliers. The room was overbooked, tables too close together and NOISY! This is definitely not a place for an intimate dinner. It’s intimacy is on par with a mall food court (probably where the wait staff came from)The waitress kept pressing the wine list as if the food was a loss leader for their real profit maker. I am not from Battle Creek but it would seem the downtown is dead or dying and Malia, rather than being in oasis in a ghost town is more like a rhinestone tiara on a crack whore.

    • SW Michigan Dining permalink*
      May 18, 2012 11:42 am

      mmmmm…..animal fat. That shouldn’t make me hungry, but it does… 🙂

      We went for lunch and that seems to be a different experience than what I’ve heard for dinner…especially on a Friday or Saturday night.

      • TT Thomas permalink
        May 18, 2012 4:37 pm

        My partner bitched me for this review. I told him I didn’t say anything about feces on the toilet seat and what I hoped were water marks down the wall next to the toilet or the general lack of maintenance. Also the prices are higher than the average given above or the fact that the animal fat was covered in salt 🙂 It doesn’t matter to me how impressed the yocals are with the restaurant. Apparently it’s easy to impress the hicks with money.

        • SW Michigan Dining permalink*
          May 18, 2012 5:20 pm

          Just tell your partner you have your right to your opinion. Not everyone agrees and everyone is looking for something different.

          When you’re used to eating at Applebees, it does sway your opinion.

          • TT THOMAS permalink
            May 22, 2012 3:16 pm

            Now why do want to try and insult me personally? Maybe you shouldn’t have a blog.

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