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Looking for a top pick for dinner on the Miami Spice 2013 promotion? Reserve quickly at Milos by Costas Spiliadis ,730 1st Street in Miami Beach (Tel.305-604-6810.) I say reserve quickly because the word has gotten out about the quality, value, service and casually elegant ambiance. Last Friday night the 300 seat restaurant was full, no small feat in the dead of summer in Miami. Of those diners, 80% were doing Miami Spice. Why? Last year I wrote a mini series on Miami Spice picks, asking chefs along the way about their approach. Many said they used it to try new dishes for the fall menus, others didn’t say it, but it was obvious they looked at the promotion as a way to boost the number of diners (what they call in the biz, “covers”) in summer. Not here. Executive chef Joshua Wahler,  formerly at Nobu, said they want to showcase their best, not “just do” the promotion.

The Miami Spice menu, priced at $39 per person for three courses, has two menu items in each category. We each ordered different selections so we could try everything. What held true regardless of the dish, the fish was super fresh  and highest quality, flown in daily from around the world. Our starters were grilled octopus with kalamata olives, peppers and delectable white bean puree; and Lavraki sashimi, tuna tartare and raspberry and pickle point oysters . Both were excellent. This was followed by charcoal grilled Colorado lamb chops — two meaty, very flavorful chops or, in my case, Lavraki — Mediterranean Seabass that was a whole fish that had been fileted into half (a portion was a half of a fish), grilled and served with the right touch of olive oil, parsley and lemon capers. The chops and the fish each came with a medley of steamed vegetables (and the chops with fries as well). Plus, there was a Greek salad with ripe, juicy ,beefy tomatoes and feta cheese. Portions were well sized. Desserts were a super creamy,rich ,honeyed Greek yogurt unlike any I had ever had, and a walnut cake with a dollop of whipped cream. I went to Milos last year for lunch, also for Miami Spice, and enjoyed it. Since then, the new chef has come on board and has taken everything up a notch, and it shows.

Photography by William Oberheiser

Estiatorio Milos by Costas Spiliadis on Urbanspoon

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