Michael Mina Opens His First Greek Restaurant, in Miami

The celebrated chef adds Greek cuisine to his national restaurant group with his latest project

Michael Mina Opens His First Greek Restaurant, in Miami
Taking over the Miami location formerly occupied by Mina’s International Smoke, Ornos Estiatorio serves Greek dishes like lamb chops with oregano vinaigrette and a variety of traditional sides served with warm pita. (David Varley, MINA Group)
Oct 8, 2020

Restaurateur and chef Michael Mina has a new restaurant in Miami suburb Aventura, Ornos Estiatorio, featuring seafood-centric Greek cuisine and a similarly focused wine program. The Sept. 30 opening marks the San Francisco–based chef’s first Greek-style venture and joins the many carnivore-friendly restaurants in his Mina Group, including Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners Bourbon Steak and Stripsteak.

Managed by Mina Group’s assistant director of bars Mike Lay, the restaurant’s 55-label wine list emphasizes Greek bottles, including several Assyrtikos and Agiorgitikos, as well as Xinomavro in both red and sparkling rosé versions. “We are offering authentic Greek wines, as we feel it’s not just about recreating dishes from the Greece culture, but pairing the right products to truly bring the experience to life,” Mina told Wine Spectator via email. The rest of the list features California Chardonnays from top wineries like Kistler, as well as numerous Golden State Pinot Noirs and Cabernets. Additionally, guests can choose from one of 15 pours on the restaurant’s by-the-glass list, and fans of spirits can look to several Greek options, including ouzo and brandy, plus a range of tequilas.

The menu is overseen by Mina along with Las Vegas chefs Girair Goumroian and Nikolaos Georgousis. “Both Jerry and Niko understand that Greeks are passionate and proud about everything they do,” Mina said. Inspired by the trio’s travels to Mykonos, the dishes include avgolemono soup, tzatziki, spanakopita and lamb shoulder. Modern interpretations like ouzo prawns and Mediterranean sea bass ceviche are available too, as well steak options like a dry-aged New York strip.

“At Bourbon Steak, a surprising amount of our sales were grilled fish,” Mina said. As a result, Ornos Estiatorio also offers several grilled fish options from its wood-fired oven, including sea bass, turbot and snapper, all of which are sourced from the Aegean Sea and Floridian waters, and managed by a “fish sommelier,” a concept Mina previously explored at his Fish House at the Four Seasons Resort, Oahu. “Our goal is to make you feel as if you are eating from your yiayia’s kitchen.”

Guests can currently enjoy Ornos’ menu in outdoor seating at the Aventura Mall’s “oasis.” In what Mina describes as a welcoming and “relaxed atmosphere,” the restaurant’s interior is marked white plank walls with vibrant blue details and hanging plants that double as modern light fixtures. “During our trip to Greece, it became clear to us that that feeling of comfort through food and classic Greek kindness was what we wanted to bring,” said Mina, “Ornos transports people to Greece without having to book a ticket.”—Collin Dreizen

Grand Award–Winning Group Closes Boston’s Post 390

Tables in Post 390’s second-floor dining room
Tables on the second floor of Post 390 overlooked the streets of Boston. (Courtesy of Post 390)

Best of Award of Excellence winner Post 390, which was located in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood for more than a decade, announced its permanent closure Sept. 25. The regional American restaurant was part of Himmel Hospitality Group, the team behind Grand Award winner Grill 23 & Bar and Best of Award of Excellence winner Harvest.

“With the current pandemic causing unprecedented uncertainty and change in our industry, we are sorry to share with you that Post 390 will not reopen its doors,” read a statement posted to Facebook and signed by the group’s owner and president Chris Himmel.

The message did, however, state that “Himmel Hospitality Group is exploring new and exciting ideas with the current space.” Post 390’s first floor served as the buzzy bar area, while the upstairs dining room boasted floor-to-ceiling windows and an open kitchen where chef Nick Deutmeyer crafted locally sourced dishes. The wine program, overseen by wine director Jason Percival, offered nearly 400 selections with strengths in France, California and Italy.—Julie Harans

Chicago’s Mediterranean-Influenced Aba Lands in Texas

A bowl of hummus with lamb ragu at Aba
Aba’s new outpost in Austin, Texas, serves spruced-up hummus dishes like this one with lamb ragù. (Courtesy of Aba)

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises has expanded to Texas, opening a second location of its Mediterranean restaurant Aba in Austin Oct. 1. The Chicago-based group includes Award of Excellence winner Shaw's Crab House, and three Restaurant Award–winning branches of Joe’s Seafood across Chicago, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C.

“Traveling to Austin over the years, I have always admired the city for being a compelling food destination, one that continues to grow and incorporate a variety of flavors and influences,” said LEYE executive partner and divisional president Marc Jacobs in a statement shared with Wine Spectator. “We are excited to bring Aba’s cooking style and service to the Austin community.”

Aba (which translates to “father” in Hebrew), draws inspiration from Israel, Lebanon, Greece and Turkey, as well as chef-partner CJ Jacobson’s California roots. Dishes include meat and seafood kebabs, crispy short-rib hummus and shawarma-spiced skirt steak. At just over 40 selections, the wine list assembled by sommelier Alex Augustine mirrors the cuisine with a range of wines from Greece, Israel, Lebanon and Morocco. California, Italy and Spain are also represented. Most bottles on the value-driven list are priced under $100, and 15 picks are available by the glass. In addition to indoor dining, a multilevel outdoor patio and terrace is open for socially distanced dining.—Taylor McBride


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