Milos Restaurant Miami: Must-Experience Greek Seafood in South Beach

In this naughty nautical city, Milos is where do you go for fish and seafood

Costas Spiliadis, founder of the Milos restaurant empire
••• Milos Chef Costas Spiliadis has changed the way North Americans think about seafood. © Estiatorio Milos Miami

Why So Foodies Rave About Estiatorio Milos Miami by Costas Spiliadis?

In Miami, where great seafood has paradoxically been hard to get, a Greek restaurant is hooking raves with spectacular fish flown in daily from the Aegean. Estiatorio Milos by Costas Spiliadis opened in 2012 in glamorous South Beach. And Milos has changed Miami's luxury restaurant landscape.

Estiatorio Milos Miami is open for dinner nightly plus weekday lunch and weekend brunch.

It attracts well-heeled locals and seafood acolytes. Tourist hordes have not quite discovered Milos Miami, so it feels like a neighborhood restaurant.

Costas Spiliadis, the Game-Changing Founder of the Estiatorio Milos Empire

The guiding force behind Estiatorio Milos is Costas Spiliadis, a visionary chef and entrepreneur who is a legend in the restaurant business.

Spiliadis came to North America in 1969 as a student in New York City and later Montreal. He was disappointed by the quality of Greek restaurants and homesick for a great, Greek-style fish dinner.

Spiliadis had been taught to cook by his mother, a passionate Greek chef. He resolved to better the North American situation himself. He opened Milos Montreal in 1979.

Milos Montreal became one of Montreal's most famous and revered restaurants, and still is today. With years of success under his belt, Spiliadas decided to expand. He opened Estiatorio Milos in New York City (1999), Athens (2004), in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel (2010), and here in South Beach (2012).

Milos London opened in 2015.

The Dining Room at Estiatorio Milos Miami by Costas Spiliadis

Estiatorio Milos Miami occupies 12,000 square feet in an industrial-chic former warehouse. It comprises an airy, modern dining room; an open kitchen; a raw bar and seafood counter; a retail market area; and an event room.

The deluxe, modern dining room at Milos Miami, designed by Jeffrey Beers, has a Mediterranean air that recalls breezy, sun-drenched Greek isles. Tables are set well apart, allowing for serious conversation. They are draped with white tablecloths and set with ultra-stylish cutlery.

Dramatic decorative touches include Greek fishermen's lanterns, a wood-beamed ceiling, and Grecian urns big enough to conceal Indiana Jones in a chase scene.

The Greek Kitchen at Estiatorio Milos Miami by Costas Spiliadis

Fresh fish from the Aegean Sea are flown direct to Miami daily. They are prepared in Estiatorio Milos' open kitchen. It is equipped with a double-barreled charcoal grill spewing flickering flames. Some fish are cooked on the grill, encased in traditional wire baskets called skhara.

An adjacent raw bar serves up shellfish. The raw bar features:
• Oysters shelled to order
• Mussels, periwinkles, squid, lobster, langoustines, octopodi, and more
• Avrotarako, the mullet roe often called "Greek caviar"
• Various smoked fish from Russ & Daughters in New York City
• Sesame bagels from Montreal's Saint-Viateur (Spiliadis' choice in Montreal's raging rivalry between St-Viateur and Fairmont Bagels)
• Greek salads with imported Greek feta cheese and olives

Food Highlights at Estiatorio Milos Miami by Costas Spiliadis

Milos Miami does everything well. Large parties who share dishes, family-style, have the right idea. DIners also have the option of the restaurant's three-course prix fixe finner, $49 as of 2016.

Many Milos Miami diners begin with an irresistible platter called Mediterranean Spreads, composed of three dips: tzatziki, a cucumber yogurt dip; skordalia, a mousse of potato, garlic, and almond paste; and creamy tarama, cod roe whipped with olive oil.

Another don't-miss appetizer is the so-called Milos Special, a nearly foot-high stack of lightly fried zucchini and eggplant with chunks of saganaki cheese flanking it, and ripe Greek goat cheese in the center.

The main event at Milos Miami is sparkling-fresh Mediterranean fish, each with its own texture and flavor.

Diners can count on finding sea bass (lavraki), sea bream, red mullet (barbounia), and sweet (freshwater) shrimp.

Milos Miami features these and many others in a "fish market" display on ice. Guests are invited to choose their own fish for cooking. Many varieties are priced by the pound, and tabs can be royal. (Your waiter will weigh your selection, so you'll know.)

Pan-fried jacket fish, melanouri, is a wonderful new addition to Milos Miami's menu. Perfectly fried sweet shrimp is another must. It's difficult to choose; sashimi-quality octopus, charcoal-broiled and butter-soft, is reason enough to visit Milos Miami.

For a full-fledged entrée, ask for kakavia. It is the Greek interpretation of bouillabaisse, with a rich, ocher-colored broth. (Greeks claim to have taught Marseille fisherman how to make their bouillabaisse fish stew. I believe it.)

Five Dishes You Should Not Miss at Estiatorio Milos Miami by Costas Spiliadis

• Maryland Softshell Crab, lightly fried with fava beans
• Astako-Salata: Nova Scotia deep-sea lobster salad touched with Metaxa Greek brandy
• Baby beets with roasted garlic and minted yogurt
• American swordfish simply charcoal-grilled with olive oil, lemon ,and oregano
• For carnivores, Creekstone Farms (Kansas) "Tomahawk"-cut Black Angus ribeye
• Greek yogurt with walnuts and Greek thyme honey; karitopita walnut cake  

Greek Wines at Estiatorio Milos Miami by Costas Spiliadis

Milos Miami's wine list spotlights wines from Greece that are sources and imported by Cava Spiliadis, a company masterminded by Costas' son George. They are grown in some of the world's oldest vineyards, with ancient grape varieties now tended by savvy winemakers. The result is unique and delicious Hellenic wines.

Milos Miami's wine list focuses on Greece's boutique wineries, which are putting their own unique spin on Greek's oenological patrimony. I liked:
• The subtly fruity Viognier and excellent Sauvignon Blanc from Gerovassiliou winery in Thessaloniki
• Assyrtiko, Greece's top white grape varietal, made in Santorini and other Aegean isles
• Parparoussis Sideritis Winery's "The Gift of Dionysus," made in Spiliadis' home region of the Peloponnese, and imported by George
• Agiorgitiko, a delicious red from Nemea once called St. George; fruity when young, richer when barrel-aged

Lunch at Estiatorio Milos Miami by Costas Spiliadis

Milos Miami is open most days for lunch until 2:30pm. As of 2016, the restaurant is offering a three-course lunch at the unbeatable price of $25. (There are supplements for more expensive menu items such as octopus and lamb chops.) Eater Miami called Milos' midday meal "Miami's top power lunch."

Weekend brunch is served as well. Private parties can be accommodated at lunch or dinner

Where to Reach and Reserve at Estiatorio Milos Miami by Costas Spiliadis

• OMilos Miami's website
• On Instagram
• By phone at 305.604.6800
• Estiatorio Milos Miami 
   730 First St.
   Miami Beach, FL 33139
• Check out all the Milos restaurants

As is common in the travel industry, author/eater Max was provided with a complimentary meal for the purpose of describing Milos Miami. For details, see our Ethics Policy.