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Mandolin Aegean Bistro

4312 NE 2nd Ave.
Miami, FL 33137
305-749-9140
Critics' Pick
Best Of
Mandolin Aegean Bistro +

Natalia Molina

Details

  • Mon-Sat 12pm-11pm Sun 12pm-10pm
  • $$
  • Vegetarian Friendly, Wheelchair accessible, Delivery, Kid Friendly, Patio/Sidewalk Dining, Private Party, Takeout
  • Lunch, Dinner
  • Beer/Wine
  • Street Parking
  • Reservations Recommended, Reservations Accepted
The teeny Mandolin Aegean Bistro is housed in a former 1940s home adorably adorned in blue and white; quaintness fills the air as tangibly as extra-virgin Greek olive oil fills vials on each table. There are just 17 seats indoors, but the outdoor garden patio in back seats twice that number. Homemade pide bread precedes the fare, described as "simple, rustic, and authentic to the villages of Greece and Turkey." The dozen-plus mezes ($7 to $12) include steamed mussels, fried calamari, flamed cheese saganaki, and some Turkish delights such as a stunningly flavorful tomato-walnut dip, one of three spreads in the "Turkish sampler." Mandolin performs straightforward cooking best, whether it be an assertively grilled whole yellowtail, whose pristine white flakes are primped with lemon and olive oil, or a sweet, tender curlicue of grilled octopus misted with the same Mediterranean lubricants. Even chicken kebab, which is usually just menu fodder for timid eaters, turned out to be unexpectedly rousing: five huge, juicy hunks of deliciously grilled white meat enhanced further when dipped into a side dish of tzatziki. Moussaka was middling at best, which makes the $17 cost that much harder to swallow, especially at lunchtime. Main courses run $15 to $19, which except the moussaka is fair enough. Don't miss the rousing Greek salad: large ripe wedges of tomato, cucumber, and green peppers mingled with smaller shots of red onion, capers, and Kalamata olives, the radiant medley grabbing shade under a wide white plank of feta cheese. Chocolate cake, on the other hand, is eminently miss-able. A few such inconsistencies aside, beneath Mandolin's bright-eyed façade beats a sweet spirit and some tasty fare.

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