Tucked away on NE 79th Street, Mina’s Mediterraneo recently celebrated its anniversary, marking three years since it brought affordable Mediterranean cuisine to Miami’s Upper Eastside. Weekend brunch at the eatery launched two years ago, giving Miami a quaint local spot to nosh on a medley of breakfast and lunch favorites paired with bottomless bubbly.
Since then, the restaurant has made a few changes to its popular spread, which happens to be owner Yasmine Kotb's favorite meal. On Saturdays, brunch begins at noon instead of 11 a.m.; start time on Sundays is still 11 a.m. Bottomless mimosas and sangrias are still offered for $20 but are available only for two hours after your first round. And the restaurant's garden is now open, giving diners the option to make brunch an outdoor affair.
"People comment about how bright the inside of the restaurant is, so the atmosphere really does lend itself to an enjoyable brunch experience," Kotb says. "We’ve also expanded to our garden, which we anticipate will be a popular spot in the upcoming months for alfresco dining."
The relaunched menu is similar to the original, offering the coveted shakshuka plate ($12). Brought to the table in a sizzling-hot skillet, two eggs are baked with tomato, onion, peppers, and spiced with garlic and cumin. Crisp toast is served alongside, perfect for dipping in the zesty egg-and-tomato mixture.
Another favorite is the Egyptian brunch, which is still on the menu as well ($16). It's one of the restaurant's more filling dishes, an assortment of items served in several earthenware bowls. Expect eggs scrambled with basterma (cured beef tenderloin), fava beans, feta cheese, and a creamy molasses/tahini spread for warm pita.
"I chose to put the Egyptian brunch on the menu because it was truly reminiscent of a typical Egyptian family breakfast that I would have had on a Sunday morning, long before brunch was a thing," Kotb says. "My parents would prepare the fava beans and eggs with basterma. We knew once the eggs were on the range that breakfast was almost ready.
"The table would always have a spread of cheeses, olives, marmalade, and — my favorite — the molasses and tahini spread for my favorite last bite," she adds. "To this day, when we are all together during holidays or visits, this is how we eat breakfast."
While you're there, be sure to snag an order of mascarpone pancakes ($11). Three come topped with a generous dollop of mascarpone cream, along with homemade strawberry and blueberry compote, which gives the plate an even sweeter kick. It's no wonder New Times named Mina's iteration among the best in Miami.
For another sweet treat, try the brioche French toast ($11). Each dish brings four large slices of bread topped with candied pecans, homemade strawberry and blueberry compote, and maple syrup.
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If you can't decide what to order, consider the shakshuka plate or the Egyptian brunch plus the pancakes or French toast to share. It's important to get a taste of what Mina's is about, but it would be difficult to forgo the sweet stuff while you're at it.
Keep an eye out for something special New Year's Day: The eatery will offer a jazz brunch for the occasion.