Miami loves its glam and now more than ever after having been day and night in athleisure wear or PJs. Team that up with inventive and delicious cuisine and it’s no surprise that handsome new restaurant MILA Miami was jumping the Saturday night we went. Unlike other restaurants here that have the let’s-dress-up-and-go-out vibe which evoke a St Tropez or Ibiza setting, MILA Miami’s décor has a very attractive contemporary, artisanal aesthetic that’s serene and warm. It’s a fusion of Japan’s Wabi Sabi philosophy and Cycladic islands design. Even the staff are attractive, looking like they came out of a modeling agency. And the Mediterranean and Asian inspired dishes are creative and different.
MILA Miami enjoys a rooftop setting accommodating 250 in the heart of South Beach. The indoor and outdoor areas are spacious, the former with a standup bar. Beautifully worked light woods undulate on the walls, interspersed with untainted stones and punctuated with sculptures, paintings and ceramic art made of metal, clay and wood. A large open kitchen adds to the visual excitement. If social distancing is important to you, I suggest you sit outside. Plus, it happens to be a beautiful setting with a massive water feature, two cabanas and over 97 lounge seats with amber lighting.
The menu is divided into tapas, Mediterrasian raw bar, salad, signatures, robata, main, vegetable, Japanese strip loin wagyu and sushi. There’s a separate dessert menu.
Mr. W who lived for a time in Puerto Rico couldn’t resist the crispy chicarron with espelette, lime and shiso aioli ($8). He pronounced it perfectly crisp and seasoned. I opted for the heart of palm ceviche with yuzu foam, a favorite of the night. With heart of palm, pomegranate and avocado, it was a lovely dish as well as being creamy, crunchy and delicate ($12).
Next up was the flavorful signature dish, wagyu beef dumplings (shawarma wagyu gyoza with butter ponzu–$26).A special feature are the three kinds of wagyu imported from Japan including miyazaki, olive and ohmi.
Never one to pass up a medley of mushrooms, we had the trio of wild mushrooms with truffle olive and shaved seasonal truffles ($24). Robata dishes are always a favorite, so I opted for the satay Chilean sea bass with a light tomato sauce. It was moist and flavorful ($25).
We ended the meal on a high note, with a wonderful olive oil cake, a beautiful sight to behold and so delicious, made with Japanese white tea, bruleed figs, fig compote, goat cheese foam and pine nuts. Don’t miss it .
There were so many dishes that caught my eye on the seductive menu like bone marrow, shiso chimichurri, mezcal-ikura and country bread ($24);
eggplant, pesto, tomato relish and feta cheese robata ($14); steamed snapper, black bean, ginger, cilantro, chili oil ($48); and the scallop crudo, shallot, truffle, yuzu ponzu sauce, dill and micro shiso ($22).
Next time I’s also like to try one of the dishes prepared tableside like a shiso guacamole with black rice chips where the ingredients are smashed and mixed in front of guests, or the whole branzino where pastis and rosemary are flamed.
Led by award winning mixologists, the beverage program includes a V by MILA experience where guests will have a front row seat to the world of bespoke mixology overlooking South Beach’s skyline. Bartenders bring the bar to you with a theatrical experience. The cocktails are prepared tableside with a flair of dramatics and playing on the five elements, such as water (dry ice and fog) and fire.
A glass of wine (5 ounce pour) starts at $14 and bottles from $50. Cocktails start at $15.
MILA Miami is open Wednesday – Sunday from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. and brunch on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday brunch is offered starting at $74 per person and there’s also happy hour Wednesday to Sunday with special programming Wednesday and Thursday. 1636 Meridian Avenue Rooftop, Miami Beach. T. 786-706-0744. Valet parking is offered for $15.