Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Favorite Neighborhood Spot: Mina's Mediterraneo

There are so many reasons to love Mina's Mediterraneo, a Middle Eastern-Mediterranean mashup that inhabits a cavernous space (that used to be a Haitian Church) on 79th St. Causeway. There you'll find rustic Mediterranean home cooking in a sophisticated, neo-industrial spot. The steel and concrete dining room is outfitted with wood communal tables, old travel posters from the 1950's of Egypt, Syria and Lebanon and 8 foot-high windows that go to the ceiling. The place has been open for a few years and they just introduced this beauty of an outdoor patio with and an herb garden. 
Owner Yasmine Kotb is Egyptian and her mother Sonia helms the kitchen using her grandmother's recipes. Prices are reasonable with small plates $5-$8, larger plates $10-$17. Their weekend brunch features a great rendition of current "it" dish shakshuka - baked tomatoes with eggs, best washed down with one of their frozen spiked slushies. 
As for the rest of the menu: fresh pita bread accompanies dips of eggplant baba ganoush, tzatziki and "besara" made with fava beans, dill and parsley. Spanikopita shares space with stuffed cabbage, roasted brussel sprouts, and falafel sliders. Pizzas can be topped with exotic things like Moroccan merguez lamb sausage and basterma (Egyptian cured meat). The Baked Kibby is a Mid-East meatloaf made with cracked wheat mixed with ground beef, pine nuts and onions while the lamb tagine is spiced with harissa. Desserts include traditional baklava and Dark Chocolate tart with crushed almond crust.
749 NE 79th St, Miami, FL 33138 (786) 391-0300

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