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Jan 7, 2010 11:22 AM

Mandolin Aegean Bistro - Design District/Wynwood

Anyone been? I've heard great things about it but want to know your thoughts.

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  1. Same boat. Hear good things, haven't been. Hoping to try it very soon.

    1. I finally tried Mandolin Aegean Bistro this past Friday and I was pleasantly surprised! Its located about a block south (?) of Buena Vista Bistro in a tiny old house that has been transformed to a beautiful greek cottage complete with white walls, blue trim, and bougainvillea plants. The patio out back is fairly large with a big oak tree in one corner. You definitely don't feel like you're in Miami!

      Service was friendly, if a little slow. They were out of a couple of the dishes we wanted to try (zucchini fritters and dessert) but the server recommended the grape leaves filled with beef and lamb, which were very fresh and tasty. We also ordered the greek sampler, which came with tarama salata, smoked eggplant dip, and tzaziki dip, served with warm slices of bread. We got the last serving of smoked eggplant, which was not enough, so the server was kind enough to also bring us a little of the fava bean dip. The dips were all delicious. As my main I ordered the village salad, which was marinated tomatoes, red onion, green peppers, olives and capers served with a big triangle of feta cheese. The veggies were very fresh and crisp. Even the tomatoes were very tasty for not being in season! My bf had the traditional gyro which he devoured in about 3 bites. The fries on the side were hand-cut, but should have been a little crispier. We wanted dessert, but they were out of the only dessert, which the server described as "tea biscuits layered with chocolate mousse." She instead offered us Turkish coffee on the house.

      The owner, Ahmed, was very friendly and came by the table several times to ask how everything was. I was surprised to find out they have only been open about three weeks! I definitely would go back, if just for appetizers in the backyard.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jessicam29

        Actually we are rounding into local tomato season right around now. Past couple weeks I've gotten some decent ones in my CSA share, and when I was at Michael's Genuine a week or so ago they said they're getting theirs from up around the more northerly parts of FL now while waiting for the Homestead crop to come in. Not sure how much the freezy temperatures of late will affect them.

        1. re: Frodnesor

          That's good to hear b/c I'm tired of white, mealy, tasteless tomatoes!

      2. Made it Saturday myself. My wife described it as "Hello, cutest restaurant in Miami," though the courtyard was off limits due to Cleveland weather in Miami. Server was very friendly (do not remember her name) and kept bothering with the portable heater for our sake. I expected a little more innovation in the cuisine (had not seen the menu beforehand), but was very happy with my experience. Their quality of their ingredients is incredible and sings off the plate.

        We started with the tentacles (a must have, if you're into that sort of thing). Salt, olive oil, slight marinade. Better than Michael's. We moved on to a tomato-walnut dip which was very good and some olives, which they brought as appeasement for not having grape leaves. They bring piping hot slices of bread in brown paper bags which we used on the olive marinade and the dip. For entree Mrs. I ordered the Moussaka and I the seafood stew, after which Mrs. I confessed to me that she detests Moussaka. I don't like it either so just stared at her bewildered. Finally she explained "If I like their Moussaka, then they have proven themselves." That is the sort of judgement call I make on a regular basis and get scolded for, but in this case, it was very good. Not the usual tomatoey cinnamon concoction served at so many restaurants, but there was something addictive to this one. The stew was great and had some of the best mussels I have tasted in a rich tomato sauce. However, I think the shrimp were fresh Key West pinks and they sort of had a tell-tale mushy texture to them. Dessert was the one disappointment for us, basically tasting like chocolate jello pudding (mousse maybe) between the fluffy biscuit crumble. Still, the place really is a winner. Between the simple, high-quality food, the folky instrumental (mandolin?) music playing in the background, the locale itself, and a heavily mustachioed chef hilariously marching outside our window back and forth from their supply shed with large wheels of cheese, parseley and other fresh ingreedients, I really felt like I was off in Europe as well.

        1. I'm curious to try this place as well, especially after looking over the menu online. I noticed that the menu didn't have prices, however. Can anyone comment on that?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Nick

            Off the top of my head, I remember that our Greek sampler ran about $12 (appetizers about $6-$12), gyro was $9 (sandwiches were in the $9-$12 range), Greek salad was $9 I think. I had a glass of wine that was $6. All in all, very reasonable prices.

          2. I recommended this place after dining there to family. While I thoroughly enjoyed my experience, theirs was somewhat different. While they found the food to be very good, the wait and the service were slow and bumbling. They went at peak hour on a Saturday night. it may be in your best interest to avoid peak times for now, until they get the swing of things.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Icantread

              I went there last night (Friday) at about 8 p.m. It was just me, so there was no trouble getting a table. Still, there looked to be a few other tables open at that hour, and I saw several other small groups get seated right away. I found all of the staff to be very efficient and friendly.

              As for the food, I thought it was wonderful. I had the whole grilled mediterranean sea bass, along with a side of fries with garlic-yogurt and the "wild greens," which appeared to be just sauteed spinach. Nevertheless, it was bright and fresh, flavored only with a little olive oil and garlic, salt, and a lemon wedge on the side. The fish was also very simply prepared, with just salt and oregano, I think, and served with lemon and some kalamata olive oil.

              I'll definitely go back.