The scores for Talia's Atmosphere: 18 Menu: 19 Food: 19 Service: 19 Value: 18 TOTAL: 93/100
Fresh off a week of teasingly warm weather and the promise of summer months to come, we headed out to a fairly new breakfast spot on Londonderry’s busy Nashua Road and found the food as fresh as the season with lots of pleasing accents on fresh fruit and healthy choices.
Talia’s is in a restaurant-heavy section of town, close by Interstate 93 at the Londonderry Commons shoppery. On a friend’s recommendation, four of us found our way to meet for a late-breakfast/lunch at this bustling morning spot on a recent weekend day.
We weren’t alone. All 16 tables were full as the noon hour arrived, along with the five stools at the small counter, so we joined others on a convenient bench near the entrance, chatting and scanning the menu as we waited.
After a short wait, we were seated, and we had a pretty good idea whether we were going for breakfast or lunch.
Hospitality is enthusiastic, friendly and ever-present from the smiling all-female service personnel; all hands share the work of clearing tables, refilling coffee cups and answering questions. There is lots of morning chatter among guests and servers, too, and the atmosphere is as friendly and welcoming as can be.
Breakfast tempted just one of us, and I enjoyed a hearty cup of oatmeal, with fresh fruit, and a wicked plate of kiwi-enhanced French toast. Elsewhere at our table we sampled two sandwiches and a sirloin steak salad, so we came away with a very good idea of what Talia’s is all about.
It’s all good, start to finish. The prices are most reasonable, and the selections and service are top-notch.
We enjoy oatmeal at home quite often, but that’s the instant variety, nothing like Talia’s Sunrise Steel Cut (cup $3.75/bowl $6.99). A variety of toppings are available, including fresh strawberries and blueberries for $2.99 more. I heartily enjoyed a cup of real, organic oatmeal, served nice and hot and covered by the fresh fruit.
To round out breakfast, I was intrigued by one of the daily specials, Kiwi-Stuffed French Toast ($9.99), featuring two thick slices of toast surrounding a thin layer of thick, sweet cream, and a generous serving of cold, fresh-sliced kiwi, topped by a large dollop of whipped cream, plus powdered sugar. The kiwi was outstanding, and the slightly cheesy sweet cream was delicious — enough so that syrup was superfluous. Straightforward French toast with just the right accompaniments made for a delightful breakfast, and at least somewhat healthier without syrup.
The Apple-Cinnamon Granola Cakes ($9.99), a pancake dish with diced apples and granola and butter and (maybe) syrup, nearly tempted two in our party, but Talia’s array of sandwiches won out. (These folks also had already eaten breakfast.)
The Reagan’s Reuben ($9.75) got one vote — a fully loaded, grilled sandwich on black pumpernickel bread with hot corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and thousand island dressing.
All sandwiches are accompanied by Utz potato chips and a half-sour pickle spear, both a cut above the norm. Or, one can pay a nominal upcharge and substitute fries, sweet-potato fries, giant onion rings or — our recommendation — a fresh fruit cup.
The other sandwich eater at our table chose from the menu section named Reagan’s Wraps, and ordered a Taste of Autumn wrap ($8.95), which was a healthy choice on a spinach wrap. And it was another totally loaded sandwich, literally bursting with grilled chicken, diced apples, cran-raisins, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomatoes with a raspberry vinaigrette.
This was a great sandwich, listed among several others that sounded just as good — char-grilled shrimp; hummus with cucumbers, olives, field greens and roasted red peppers; a Julius Caesar salad in a wrap; a steak-and-cheese with pepperoni, onions, peppers and mushrooms; and a Vegetable Garden with artichoke hearts, basil pesto sauce, spinach, onions, mushrooms and roasted red peppers.
The Savory Sirloin Salad ($11.99) led a list of gourmet salads with shrimp or turkey or vegetables or fruit, or chicken several ways (“apple-pecan grilled” caught our eye, along with the Baja-Cobb with bacon, cheese, avocado, red onion-cucumbers and jalapenos). All the salads are about $11, except the Cayenne Shrimp ($15.99).
The sliced-steak salad was another definite winner among our meals, with its large serving of mixed greens and veggies, cheddar cheese and croutons topped by thick, hot, grilled slices of juicy sirloin. It is a steak salad to be proud of, and Talia’s “Londonderry Market” list of salads offers samplings of what we’re sure will be some very tasty summertime lunches.
When most folks think of breakfast restaurants, they think of pancakes and waffles and eggs and potatoes. Talia’s, which is looking toward its second summer in business, could easily change your mind about that.
A thoughtful perusal of the menu could open up more choices — like sunshine overtaking a foggy morning. The restaurant is bright and cheerful, and its menu is oustanding — just the right ingredients to make a better day.