Two New Must-Try Downtown Spots: Mediterranean Restaurant and Coffee Shop

Just opened: Taverna Costera and Dragon’s Alley

By Zoneil Maharaj

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After several months of construction, coastal Mediterranean restaurant Taverna Costera and its fast-casual coffee shop, Dragon’s Alley Coffee Co., are now open in the Arts District.  

Located at 1031 S. Main St. in the 1st and Main plaza, Taverna Costera makes the most of its unique space. The multi-faceted restaurant not only features the two dining concepts, but also has a rooftop patio/bar and outdoor courtyard for live music and late-night hangs.

“Music is my hobby,” says owner Jeff Hwang. “I’ve always wanted my own place with live music and food.”

The restaurant’s exterior features beautiful red bricks and large, 14-foot windows. Inside, the space boasts a sleek modern design with art sprinkled throughout.

“We’re almost like an art gallery, we’ve got so much space,” says chef Ray Samlow, who designed the health-conscious menu.

On one end is the entrance to Dragon’s Alley, which features a variety of coffee and tea drinks, such as a Lavender Honey Latte and a Dragon Mango Fruit Slushie with boba. On the food menu are flat breads, potato hash plates, crepe wraps, rice bowls, glass noodle dishes and orzo pasta.

Guests can choose their flavor profile (Farmer’s Hash, Spicy Dragon Hash or Moroccan Hash, for example) and their choice of protein: bacalao (salted fish), garlic lemon shrimp, curry pulled chicken, eggs, desert moon mushrooms or pulled jackfruit. There’s also an assortment of sides, including vegan beignets. Those on the go can grab items from their walkup window.

Open for dinner with a late-night bar, Taverna Costera features starters such as The Sultan’s Swing Fire Hummus with pita and Salt Cod Fritter served with tahini tart and slaw. Entrees include Bacalao cooked with peppers, onions, lemon and garlic and served with brown rice; Moroccan Fish and Chips; Argentine Red Shrimp Scampi; and Portuguest-style Jack Meat Escabeche with onions, carrots, olives and rice. There’s also a variety of pizzettes and desserts.

“I’m all about flavors of the season and healthy, fresh preparations,” Chef Ray says. “Every single ingredient is fresh. We even make our flatbread to order.”

“We’re super vegan-friendly,” Ray adds. “Nothing cross contaminates.”

The best part? Both Dragon’s Alley and Taverna Costera will be open late. Starting in June, Dragon’s Alley will be open 7 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Taverna Costera will be open 4 p.m. to midnight during the week and until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

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