HOME > Chowhound > Pennsylvania >


Maia in Villanova

Has anyone been yet? I'm past that intersection all.the.time and I just noticed the sign today. I read that it's the same management/ownership as Nectar.

789 East Lancaster Avenue, Villanova; 866-907-6242.

from my quick google/your reading pleasure:

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: Mawrter

      We were gonna go tomorrow for a business dinner but we were told that only the Bistro is open so far. We had to cancel the dinner anyway so we'll give it a little time to get up and running.

    2. Stopped in there today (Friday 5/9) to snoop around but didn't eat. Both the front 'carry out' counter and the restaurant in back were open. The back was absolutely packed, at 12:30 pm. I just glanced at the menu: main courses seemed to be about $15. Lots of businesspeople and a few packs of 70-year-old gals holding birthday gifts. Mucho suit and tied management folks standing around observing. Unfortunately, I didn't try any food so I can't report on that which is what I know you really want to hear about! I do know they are still hiring servers and baristas.

      1. I went to the Grand Opening Charity event they had and the place was WONDERFUL... I highly recommend. If you like Tango, Basil or Nectar you'll love Maia

        1. The upstairs, more formal Maia is now open. Has anyone tried it yet?

          1 Reply
          1. re: the dog ate my homework

            Are you sure? I was just there on Saturday night and the upstairs was still closed, and they didn't sound hopeful about opening it in the near future. My meal downstairs was pretty good.

          2. I ate downstairs this weekend and the host said that there had just been a friends and family party at the upstairs and that the official opening was maybe going to be that night (Monday)? I snuck upstairs to take a peek: looks very 'chi-chi boo-boo', with cool couches to lounge on for cocktails and cool, slick details in the dining room. Kind of Nectar-ish. I just hope the menu is more varied than Nectar; not so stuck on a theme...

            1. Set in a rather antiseptically upscale strip mall and corporate office complex, Maia, the dining and food court megaplex that opened just three weeks ago in the center of Villanova, isn’t much to look at from the outside. Inside, though, there’s something for just about everyone. At least that seems to be the idea as conceived by chefs/owners/brothers Patrick and Terence Feury, along with their partners and investors in a bevy of pan-culinary suburban Philadelphia outposts that, in addition to Feury outpost Nectar, includes Basil, Cin Cin, Tango and Yangming.

              The sheer scale at Maia is daunting. 22,000 square feet of showroom floor – the space was previously a briefly lived Fresh Grocer supermarket – allow for numerous subdivisions. Front and left, there’s a white tiled coffee, pastry and juice bar, seemingly tailored to the suburban mom on the move. Behind that is the large bar and lounge area – all brick and dark, right down to the parquet flooring – the site of both an apparently bustling weekend bar scene and of Maia’s full service but casual dining area. Beyond that yet, at rear and center, is an open kitchen clad in polished stainless steel. According to our server, it’s just a fraction of Maia’s absolutely cavernous, luxe kitchen space.

              Once past the gauntlet of hostesses in the entrance foyer, the right side of Maia’s ground floor is site to the market portion of the business as well as to its most casual dining space, more cafeteria than café. One entire wall is lined with refrigerated beverage cases, displaying an extremely deep selection of bottled beers. Following along the walls, from right to left, front to rear, there’s another coffee bar, more pastry, a charcuterie counter and, finally, the market’s prepared food selections, displayed in glass cases which run the length of the back wall, eventually converging with the open kitchen area.

              And that’s just the ground floor. There’s a full second floor as well, home to Maia’s more formal, fine dining room.

              The upside to all that space is the obvious opportunity it provides for diversity, even if it carries with it a certain lack of focus. The downside is an economy of scale in which the scale may just prove too large for the possibility of economic success. Time will tell, I suppose.

              In the Feury brothers’ own words, their menu draws on "the rich culinary traditions of Scandinavia, Alsace and the abundance of natural resources afforded by the East Coast's fertile soils." Their “bistro brunch” menu is peppered with Alsatian classics like choucroute, tarte flambé and a charcuterie platter. They take their place alongside a cured fish smörgåsbord and grilled Norwegian salmon, anchored by a balance of dishes that draw equally from French bistro and American café standards.

              In addition to the aforementioned tremendous selection of beers in bottle, Maia also pours a solid lineup on draft. Choices are listed by style followed by brewery, name, location and alcohol information. Standouts on the current list include locals like Troegs Pale Ale and Sly Fox Pikeland Pils, and Belgians such as Grimbergen Dubbel and Géants “Goliath.” I whet my whistle with a crisp, refreshing Kölsch from Gaffel, a brewery in Köln, Germany, and then settled into a pint of Founders’ “Centennial” American IPA to accompany my burger. The list of wines available by the glass is a touch less exciting but does include a few reliable choices such as Weingut Huber’s Grüner Veltliner “Hugo” and the Crémant d’Alsace Rosé of Lucien Albrecht. Prices, running anywhere between 2x to 3x markups, are moderate relative to the oft outrageous PA scale.

              It will take at least another half-dozen trips to Maia to really come to grips with all it has to offer. The temptation level is certainly there. Heck, even the ham and Gruyere sandwich in their to-go case looked damn good.

              Maia Restaurant and Market
              789 East Lancaster Avenue
              Suite 150
              Villanova, PA 19085

              Photos and food details can be found at: http://mcduffwine.blogspot.com/2008/0....

              5 Replies
              1. re: David McDuff

                i guess the bar has been set very low in the suburbs. I ate upstairs at Maia last Saturday for my wife birthday, and to say that the entire experience was marginal at best is generous. The food, muscle soup-ok main course - fluke= bad and desert sorbet was ok. The service was slow 2 of us sat down at 6:30 and left close to 9:00 because our waiter disappeared.. Nectar was a little shaky when they opened, maybe that is the case here, chances of going back anytime soon are slim.

                1. re: rsenator

                  Uh oh...was planning on going for an early dinner at the bistro tomorrow. Any one else been there lately?

                  1. re: bluehensfan

                    I stopped by there for lunch a couple weeks ago, it was the same as on my first visit. Keep in mind that rsenator was in the upstairs dining room. The bistro is the downstairs, more casual area, with a different, less expensive menu.

                    1. re: Buckethead

                      And it was pretty good still (as in so-so or not that bad?). I think it would be really convenient for us to stop by there (but not for the hockey puck burger). Any suggestions as to what's good?

                      1. re: bluehensfan

                        It was about as good as I was expecting for the price, it's hard to say it lived up to the hype only because the hype over Maia has been kind of ridiculous. The best thing I had was probably the pastrami, they make it with beef from Snake River Farms. I actually liked the burger, but mine wasn't overcooked the way Mr. McDuff's was. It wasn't the best I've ever had but it was definitely in the 'good' column. I'd rather eat the pastrami though.

              2. Here's what we tried and liked alot: the pizza with whole clams ....the bratwurst/knockwurst/sauerkraut in a casserole dish ... the soft shell crab sandwich. (this was in the downstairs bistro)

                2 Replies
                  1. re: the dog ate my homework

                    Well we tried the Bistro at Maia and in a word...wow! It was that good. The fact that we had the chef to ourselves for a late lunch (we got there at 3 and nobody else was dining there) may have helped but just about everything was fabulous.

                    First of all, the meal started out with a few in-house baked rolls. They were really good. One had olives and thyme, another was a whole wheat, and a ciabatta. We actually had a second order of the rolls because they were so good.

                    For an appetizer we tried the baby artichoke flatbread salad with saffron aioli, arugula, and parsley salad. I'm not one to get really excited about salads but this was one of the freshest I've ever tasted. And the combination of ingredients worked very well.

                    The one "miss" had to be the crispy calamari appetizer...the squid was a little chewy. Maybe they need to get a washing machine like Estia for their octopus but no big deal.

                    We also tried the softshell crab sandwich which was served with bacon, roasted tomato aioli and lettuce on fresh roseary potato bread. It was excellent.

                    Finally, we had the roast pork and homemade mozzarella sandwich with roasted peppers. It too was very good (but no DiNic's or anything like that).

                    For dessert I had the milk chocolate caramel filled tarts which were very creamy and tasty and my son had a dark chocolate and vanilla bean sorbet combo. They were good but tasted a bit icy to my Capogiro-influenced palate.

                    With drinks, the whole lunch was all of $55 bucks or so. And the service could not have been any better.

                    On the way out they have a dessert case featuring the chocolate tarts and other small bites. The problem (well *my* problem) was that all of the cookies and tarts were very small, so it was easy to try a number of different ones. Three russian tea cakes, two chocolate chip walnut cookies, one lemon butter cookie, a key lime tart, and some other cookie with raisins later, I can say they were all good and came in handy for making the blue route backup more palatable on the way home.

                    I can see going back next week because we will be up that way again...

                  2. Hi- went 8/19/08We ate upstairs at Maia, outside. The service and food were underwhelming. My scallops were served luke warm and the other meal, seared tuna, did not have any taste except for the herb crust. When our app was served we needed to ask about what was on the plate- instead of the server explaining. Our server never once asked us about our meal or even if we needed anything. When we didnt order dessert, our bill arrived w/o comment. Not even a “thanks and have a great night”. For the amount of money we spent we expected an experience similar to Nectar or any stephen starr restaurant. Not happening. To their credit, after we paid bill, we discussed our experience with managment and we had a nice end of the night(comped us on dessert downstairs) We went downstairs for after dinner drinks and had FABULOUS service. I would go back but only downstairs.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: dianemajor

                      Ate at Maia again recently and can't give a good report. We called to reserve a table for four in the more upscale, upstairs restaurant on a Sunday night. I was told on the phone by a man who turned out later to be one of the many layers of management that 'due to unforeseen circumstances, we will be unable to serve in the upstairs dining room." Bummer. I thought air conditioning problem? Water leak? So, we sat downstairs instead. We asked our waiter what the trouble was upstairs and he said, "We just haven't been gettin' much business up there so they didn't open it tonight." What was infuriating was that there was a huge blackboard on Maia's main floor restaurant, listing in chalk everything on the menu upstairs. Alot of it looked better than what we had to choose from in the lower level, but the waiter told us we couldn't order from it. He never bothered to check on us during the meal, either. Had he, we could have told him the medium rare chops one of us had ordered were way overdone.

                    2. We went for lunch July 24th. I had the veggie sandwich. It was FAB! My husband had the pastrami, I think that is what it was. It was very drippy. He didn't eat it. He doesn't like veggie sandwhiches and loved mine. Will try again, but not rushing to do so.

                      1. I was thinking of going here this weekend, though can someone give me a little more run down on what to expect? In the downstairs area, the Bistro area, is it a no reservation required? Also, if seated downstairs, do you have access to alcoholic beverages? It's not clear, as it sounds like there is a bar, though it doesn't really say if it's attached to the bistro...I'm guessing this is an experience? What things have you bought from the market?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Hellolaura

                          I read that one of the two Fleury brothers, the co-owners who started the place, has left Maia. Any insight into what's going on over there?

                          1. re: Hellolaura

                            Went here for the first time the other night, after giving the place time to work out the kinks for opening such a large restaurant. To be fair, I was seated downstairs and my expectations were not high based on what I've heard from reliable food sources but I wanted to give it a try anyway. The only positive thing I can say about the meal was that the Kobe Sliders weren't dry. Overall, the food was very bland and very uninspiring. Our waiter was not much help when asked for recommendations, and just seemed to be pushing the most expensive things on the menu. For a restaurant that so many people anticipated as finally bringing truly great food to the main line, i feel that it disappoints.

                            If you are looking for a nice place to go or drinks after work, Maia is perfect. If you're looking for a good experience with food, spend the time to go downtown.

                            1. re: MrMarsellus

                              Does anyone know if the Market is now open on the weekend? We've tried to "grab and go", only to meet with disappointment. I don't often have time for a sit-down meal on a Sat. afternoon, but would like to try some of the sandwiches, etc. Also, the one time we did eat at the restaurant, it was nothing to write home about.