If there’s one thing we love about Mediterranean food (besides its vibrant flavors), it’s that it’s ideal for sharing. We’ve had some of our best conversations with close friends while scarfing down mezzes, flatbreads, rice and other signature cuisine. The fare just inspires conversation and camaraderie, and Cleo takes it to the next level with not just good food but a homey ambiance to boot.
When people have asked us for restaurant recommendations lately, we’ve been finding ourselves naming more and more restaurants from 79th street and the surrounding areas. With new spots like The Anderson, PINCH Kitchen and Antica Mare opening in the neighborhood, NOT bringing up MiMo/El Portal/Ironside/Upper East Side (or whatever you want to call it) in culinary conversation is a glaring omission.
But before all these new spots started coming in, there was Mina’s Mediterraneo. The restaurant, which specializes in Middle Eastern cuisine, has been serving up Turkish, Greek, Spanish, French and Italian flavors since 2013 — pretty good for a Miami restaurant. It wasn’t until just this year, however, that we discovered this local favorite. Shame on us because the food is exceptional.
Saffron Supper Club, our favorite pop-up dinner club, took over the dining room at Byblos on May 15 for an unforgettable Persian New Year celebration. This ode to Nowruz featured an array of traditional New Year dishes along with top sellers from the Mediterranean restaurant’s regular menu.
When we heard that celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli was opening a restaurant in Miami Beach, we were ecstatic. With a culinary resume like hers, we knew the 305 would be in for a treat once Driftwood Room opened its doors. But while we expected some stellar food, we weren’t prepared for this level of awesomeness.
After our Taco Tuesday haunt Mercadito shut down last year and took its Mexican bites with it, we wondered what would take over the huge Midtown Miami space. It wasn’t too long before we saw new window coverings with the name “Brasserie Azur” across them.
A few months ago, that paper finally came down and the French Brasserie opened its doors. Having visited sister property Villa Azur and enjoyed ourselves, we expected a similarly enjoyable experience. Our expectations were blown out of the water.