Last week my team went out to a team lunch, but we needed to go someplace reasonably close because of a later meeting. Someone suggested Mandolin Aegean Bistro and everyone got excited to try it. I was a bit wary of it though only because I was unsure how many gluten-free options there’d be at a Greek restaurant. I took a look and saw that they at least had a steak so I was fine going given how excited everyone else was. I’m glad to have finally visited because it’s an very beautiful space and even though there aren’t a lot of gluten-free options there are a few. For those gluten-eaters it’s definitely a great place to check out!
Mandolin is in the Design District but up a few blocks from the main center along 2nd Ave. The restaurant is hidden behind a blue gate, which adds to the feel that you can escape to a little piece of Greece. Inside is a good-sized courtyard covered by awnings and ringed in plants, vines, and other foliage with wood tables and blue chairs. To the right is an inside section. The blue chairs and white walls just seemed so “Greek” to me! Possibly because of the quintessential pictures of Greece with the white-washed walls and blue domes (and the Greek flag!), but the everything there contributed to a great atmosphere and vibe.
Looking over the menu I was actually able to find a few more things besides the steak. Instead of the steak I went for the sirloin and lamb cheeseburger. The rest of my team decided to order a bunch of different things to try together. They got the Greek sampler (tzatziki, eggplant puree, tarama) and Turkish sampler (hummus, tomato walnut dip, and fava bean puree), the kefte (beef and lamb meatballs,) the grilled sucuk (Turkish chorizo), the french fries with Greek yogurt, a Maroulosalata (shredded romaine, dill, scallion, and feta) and one of the specials- turkish cigars with pastrami inside (which are rolled, flaky, savory pastries like large taquitos haha)
I was a really big fan of the burger! It was really moist and I really liked the flavor of the lamb with the sirloin. I’m not a huge fan of lamb in general, so I liked it being present but not overwhelming after being ground into the burger with sirloin. It was a nice combination of flavors and made me appreciate the lamb definitely. I was able to have a few of the other things- the fries, the chorizo, and the Maroulosalata. The fries were good fries in general, but I really loved the Greek yogurt on the side. I love dipping corn chips into sour cream and this was a similar taste, but with a slight kick. I’m always a fan of chorizo and the Turkish chorizo was the right amount of spice and flavor. Plus I know this might sound weird- just the right amount of grease! I would definitely get it again. The Maroulosalata was a light salad, a bit heavy on the dill, but I liked all the ingredients together.
The dips came with a bunch of bread on the side. There might be something they can serve the dips with besides bread so that gluten-frees can try them, but I was content with the rest of the food and didn’t ask. For my friends the consistent favorites of the dip were the tzatziki, eggplant puree, and tomato walnut puree. For the other food those that tried the Turkish cigars (with pastrami inside) gave rave reviews (“amazing” and “AWESOME” were what they texted me post-meal)! The meatballs got mixed reviews, as good but not amazing and a bit dry.
Mandolin has a very solid menu with many winners. For gluten-frees it isn’t as extensive but still several options to pick from (especially if you find a replacement for the bread with the dips). The space is great and beautiful during the daytime. I easily believe it’s just as beautiful, in a different way, during the night! The outside space, colors, and foliage all contributes to an awesome atmosphere and vibe hidden behind its blue gate. Mandolin consistently gets talked about around Miami, especially when talking about Greek food, and is certainly worth a look!
Mandolin Aegean Bistro- 4312 NE 2nd Ave Miami, FL 33137