Dining Out: MIDA

For many years I have been sharing my New Year's resolutions here on the blog, and each year I have at least one or two food-centric goals. Some are around types of meals or specific delicacies (like donuts) and others zero in on one individual restaurant. On my 2022 list, I resolved to make my first-ever trip to MIDA

The restaurant has been on my radar for a while. Chef / owner Douglas Williams is well covered in the Boston press and his pasta dishes have always looked incredible. 

The restaurant's first location was in the South End, and when I heard they were opening in my childhood neighborhood of Newtonville, MA, I knew I had to get there. Fun fact: the restaurant is a space formerly occupied by Karoun, a Middle Eastern restaurant that was known for its belly dancers. 

I arrived on a Wednesday evening, meeting one of my best friends from college for this culinary adventure. We hadn't seen each other in person since April 2021, so I was just as excited about the company as I was to try a new place. 

The front door has a wonderful and welcoming message on the glass, "You look great, come on in." 

MIDA Newton

We had made a reservation online and the hostess walked us to the very first table in the dining room. It was a four top, but I was grateful because I knew we'd be ordering multiple dishes and there is nothing worse than being stuck at a tiny two top when you're trying to feast (and photograph). 

Our table was bathed in natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows all along the front of the restaurant. 

MIDA Newton

To begin, we both ordered a cocktail. Though MIDA's menu is Italian, we felt ourselves drawn to tequila. My friend ordered the drink special for the evening: the Dante Picante. It's MIDA's version of a spicy margarita. I ordered the Alba Siesta, a tequila drink with lime, grenadine, Campari, and grapefruit. The drinks looked startlingly similar. 

MIDA Newton

Cocktails in hand, we were ready for appetizers. The first item we selected was the arancini. Each rice ball was the size of a golf ball, with a crispy outside and a very gooey center.

MIDA Newton

What makes arancini so delicious is the piping hot cheese on the inside. Sometimes restaurants can be stingy with the amount of cheese in the center, but the moment you cut into one of these, the melted cheese flowed right out and onto your plate. We both agreed these were super delicious. One order comes with four rice balls. 

Next, we ordered the insalata mista. This was a recommendation from our waitress. The way she described the salad had us drooling, but it when it actually arrived, we were very underwhelmed. She really sold us on the pistachio element, and in the end, the nuts were ground so fine you could barely taste them. 

MIDA Newton

I felt that without a protein, the salad was just too thin. My dinner date said, "I agree. Hit me with some goat cheese!" 

As you can see from the photo above, my friend also ordered the prosciutto. When I asked how she was enjoying it, she replied, "It's fine, but it needs more flavor. I wish it had hot honey on it." 

The pizza bianco came out next, which was a spot-on suggestion from our waitress. It's a white pizza (no red sauce) with ricotta, shaved onion, mushrooms, and basil. 

MIDA Newton

The crust was paper thin (leaving room to try more dishes) and the ratio of ingredients was perfect. You got a little bit of everything with each bite. I did find myself wishing I could sprinkle it was crushed red pepper. I just needed a little more zip. 

We are both huge fans of cacio e pepe, so when we saw MIDA offers a gnocchi in that style, we leapt at the chance to try it. 

MIDA Newton

Gnocchi should taste light. Like a pillow of potato, melting in your mouth. Unfortunately, these gnocchi were chewy and a bit too dense. This wasn't a memorable dish. If you find yourself being drawn to it, fight the urge and skip it.

We had decided to order the crispy polenta as a side and it was plated so beautifully that I actually thought it was a dessert as it was coming toward us. 

My friend added, "You eat with your eyes, and when I saw this dish, I immediately thought - yes! I want to eat that." 

MIDA Newton

This cube of expertly crisped polenta was topped with gorgonzola cheese and was sitting on a generous drizzle of honey, and then topped with black pepper and lemon zest. 

I took one bite and my eyes rolled into the back of my head. It was divine! As Samin Nosrat preaches, this dish was the ideal mix of salt / fat / acid / heat. 

The blue cheese melting over the top was decadent and the honey was so sweet (in the best way) that even after the polenta was gone, I wanted to lick the plate. This was definitely our top dish of the night. 

Of course, I also wanted to experience dessert. MIDA offers assorted gelatos, a citrus cake, tiramisu and a skillet cookie. Our waitress really pushed us toward the skillet cookie and I'm happy that she did! 

It comes served in a square-shaped skillet. Half of the cookie is chocolate chip and half is chocolate chocolate chip. That duo comes topped with a scoop of vanilla gelato. 

MIDA Newton

The texture of the cookie was fantastic. Light as you bit into it, but rich in chocolate flavor. I actually thought it tasted more like a brownie than a cookie. The cold ice cream helped to balance the piping hot pieces as you spooned them out of the skillet. 

MIDA Newton

We were both delighted that even after we'd made the skillet cookie disappear, we didn't feel sickeningly full. 

As we paid the bill and collected our take-home boxes, I asked my friend for her final thoughts. She said, "Overall, I thought everything was simple - simple decor, simple dishes - just stripped down. For the cost, I was really hoping for something more impressive."

I hate to say it, especially because I was looking forward to this outing so much, but I have to agree. Maybe the South End location has a different feel, but the Newton space just didn't have a wow factor. And while we certainly had some yummy dishes (the arancini, the pizza), the only one I'm still thinking about is that side of polenta. 

If you've been to MIDA, in either location, I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

*All photography by Molly Galler. 


Molly Galler

Welcome to Pop.Bop.Shop. My name is Molly. I’m a foodie, fashionista, pop culture addict and serious travel junkie. I’m a lifelong Bostonian obsessed with frozen confections, outdoor patios, Mindy Kaling, reality television, awards shows, tropical vacations, snail mail and my birthday.

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