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Tatiana’s: A Unique Mix of Mediterranean & Ukrainian Cuisine

  • By Phantom Diner

Because, dear readers, your Phavorite Phantom believes in second chances, especially in a business as rough as the restaurant business can be, I recently dined at a place I visited years ago that at the time didn’t quite measure up.

I’m glad I did. Times change. And Tatiana’s, a sort of out-of-the-way, old-school eatery along the semi-rural Gettysburg Road near Mechanicsburg, is proof.

The place offers a unique mix of Mediterranean and Ukrainian cuisine, which becomes understandable once you know that chef/owner Ash Elseaidy is of Mediterranean descent and his wife and co-owner, Tatiana, is Ukrainian.

I was lured back to this restaurant by a friend who was there for a private event and raved about the food. And by the fact it seems especially appropriate to patronize a Ukrainian restaurant these days, even if it’s only half Ukrainian, given the conflict in Eastern Europe.

Tatiana’s is in a nicely-restored 1830’s house with a smallish first-floor dining room, hardwood floors, deep windows, fresco wall art and a fireplace. There’s also dining upstairs when needed, and, for warmer weather, a lighted deck out back.

Hershey area residents might recall a diner named Tatiana’s on Main Street in Palmyra some years ago. It was known for its enormous menu and for serving breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Its owners/operators were the same husband/wife team. But their Tatiana’s on Gettysburg Road is, trust me, no diner.

A companion and I visited on a weeknight with reservations. The downstairs dining room was full and there were patrons eating on the deck.

The place is BYOB. There were wine glasses on the table, and our server immediately offered to open our wine and provided an ice bucket for the white. Many BYOB’s are slow to do the same, a long-time Phantom peeve.

The menu offers a few appetizers, 15 entrees, plus salads, soups and house-made desserts. In keeping with a Ukrainian tradition, entrees Include a cup of soup or borshct.

Appetizers are priced $12 to $14; entrees from $23 to $37 to market price for a few items I’ll note in a bit.

My dining partner and I started by sharing an order of Mediterranean focaccia flatbread covered with sweet chipotle humus and roasted veggies. It’s not the kind of starter I’m drawn to, but it was exceptional, large enough for four to share; two of us ate every bite.

My entrée choice was “Ukrainian Stroganoff.” The quotations are here because the dish, in unique Tatiana’s style, had neither beef nor noodles. It was, nonetheless, wonderful. Pieces of organic chicken breast, Ukrainian sausage with roasted onions, peppers, mushrooms and basil, all in an excellent asiago marsala sauce with pasta, in this case a rigatoni-like pasta. I know the dish sounds like there’s too much going on, but it all works together well.

My fellow-dinner went with roasted almond-crusted sea bass served with a small crab cake, quinoa and broccoli in a saffron lobster bisque sauce. It also won high praise.

The aforementioned market-priced entrees include: two 8-ounce filet mignon dishes, one with blackberry honey glaze, served with cheese tortellini, and one coated with roasted Mediterranean coffee and served with a crab cake; a 16-ounce ribeye with a honey fig blackberry Dijon sauce, served with rice and broccoli; and pan-seared lamb shank Osso Buco.

I’m pretty sure the Osso Buco was served at a table next to mine. Just the aroma almost made me change my order.

Among other entrees are “Tatiana’s Signature Chicken,” coconut-crusted chicken breast with a crab cake, shrimp and broccoli in a Provencal sauce; cheese tortellini with chicken and sausage in a cheese alfredo marinara sauce; and Maryland crab ravioli with portabella mushrooms in a lobster bisque sauce.

Again, while most entrees seem too “busy,” their wonderful sauces pull various flavors together, creating truly distinctive dishes.

Tatiana’s isn’t like most restaurants these days. It’s more traditional in setting and style, and its menu choices don’t follow current trends.

But I found it a pleasure to have a meal in an atmosphere where it felt as though both food and service came from a place of deep respect for patrons and the art of dining. Plus, of course, everything I tasted was delicious.

TATIANA’S:

4601 Gettysburg Rd., Mechanicsburg

Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; reservations suggested; accepts large groups with reservations on Sundays; on-site parking; 717-695-0547; tatianasrestaurant.com.

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