Finding the Best Spots for Solo Dining in Miami and Fort Lauderdale

2018 Dinner for One; Drinks for Two. Powered by Blogger.

Mandolin Aegean Bistro - Greek/Turkish - Miami

Miami's Design District has always been a hot-bed for some of the city's best authentic dining experiences. Mandolin Aegean Bistro is no exception ... 

Exterior Entrance

Describe the restaurant in three words: 

Authentic, Inviting, Romantic

Solo dining rating:


Parking can be a little tricky if you don't know the area. I saved a few dollars and managed to snag a spot on a side street. In the Design District, however, there is a parking garage. Across the street from the restaurant you can also use the $5 valet lot. 

Can you eat at the bar? 

No. There's no bar seating at this restaurant, nor is there any hard liquor.  It is designed to be a gathering spot for friends and family. There are many large tables for six or more outside in the beautiful courtyard, and a few large tables in the very cozy interior. That being said, you must make reservations for this restaurant or you may end up enjoying your dinner in a cute, albeit small, spot at the entrance of the restaurant.  

Interior Waiting Area
What to wear:
For the dinner seating, Mandolin Aegean Bistro is not a shorts and T-shirt type of restaurant. It is by no means snobby, but the diners were dressed nicely in typical Florida Chic attire; most women wore heels and dresses or slacks, the men were comfortable in button down collard shirts There were a few suits and ties in the crowd, but they were mainly the exception and not the rule.

People watching/entertainment/atmosphere rating:

Exterior Patio Dining

Organic/Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly
Vegetarian and Vegan items are on the menu. I would be remiss if I didn't mention their fantastic herb garden.  There's an abundance of farm fresh ingredients growing in the restaurant's backyard garden; that's what I call farm to table! 

Herb Garden

What is good about it for the solo diner?
Aegean White Sangria
The best thing about Mandolin Aegean Bistro for the solo diner is hands down - the food. But before I get to that, lets look at the bigger picture. This restaurant is perfectly authentic in every way. As you walk through the large wooden blue doors, you are immediately transported to the Mediterranean. The old world charm is unmistakable: wooden tables, white chairs, blue and white napkins, and in the back house, large pillows sit cozily atop wooden banquet seats.

There are numerous little details in both the inside and outside dining areas which make this place oh-so-homey. That's not an easy feat in the usual glitz and glamour for which South Florida restaurants have come to be known. Hanging potted plants, aged pots and pans dangling on the walls, rustic lanterns, plastic Kalas salt dispensers and extra-virgin olive oil bottles on every table, and the unmistakable  melodies of Greek and Turkish music all add to the extraordinarily authentic atmosphere.  The diner demographics spanned the gamut: from elderly couples sharing a romantic evening at warmly candlelit tables, to families of four or more with young children. There is indeed a kids' menu, and the little ones sitting near me seemed to enjoy their food as much as their parents did.

It was a rainy evening in Miami when I arrived, and although the outside seating under the stars and amongst the greenery was beautiful, the tables and chairs were wet and I opted to dine inside (the back house). Laced curtains on small windows, walls decorated with Greek themed plates, and soft wicker lighting hung from the ceiling above me. I was seated in a corner with a clear view of other diners in the heart of the restaurant, as well as those tucked under the awning and beautiful trees on the patio outside.

Baked Feta
The waitress brought me three menus, each clipped on small wooden planks by clothes pins. The first order of business was my drink. I opted for the Aegean White Sangria. It contained chopped Granny Smith apples, rose water, and Mythos Greek lager beer ($14). I really wanted to like it, but the rose water threw me off. I'll stick with what I know ... ♬Red....♫Red...Wine ๐ŸทThey do have an authentic wine list, so feel free to explore.

I am a known feta cheese maniac; as such, I ordered baked feta with tomatoes, smoked Greek chillies, and pickled Turkish spicy peppers ($14). It was insanely delicious. The tomatoes were bright and fresh, and the peppers perfectly complimented the tangy and aromatic melted feta.  Not only was the dish served in a hot skillet, but it was also accompanied by warm slices of soft bread nestled inside mini brown paper bags (perfect for dipping).

For my entree I ordered the Golden Tilefish from the list of specials ($36). It was perfectly grilled, and its delicate sweet flavor was accompanied by a creative cornucopia of cauliflower, spinach, and garlic. The server brought me another bag of bread (what can I say... he offered) and I used it to soak up every last drop of the buttery sauce. Pure heaven.
Sea Bass

What may not be good about it for the solo diner?
The reason why I write this blog is to find places where the solo diner will feel comfortable and enjoy a delicious meal. I felt comfortable and very much enjoyed my meal at Mandolin Aegean Bistro. However, this restaurant is geared toward having communal diners enjoy their meals with friends, family, and/or a loved one. The servings are large and more than adequate to share. As they say, "Cooking is about food, friends, and community."

Outside Seating
Would I return?
Happy Blogger
I definitely plan on returning to Mandolin Aegean Bistro...but the next time it will be with a date  - like I said, it is a very romantic restaurant. If I can't procure one, friends and/or family will surely enjoy being taken to a slice of the Mediterranean nestled in their backyard. The food and experience here is meant to be shared and enjoyed with loved ones. I intend to do so.  

Totally Unrelated...Sort Of
I left Mandolin Aegean Bistro feeling full, but a bit lonely. There were many diners around me, but I was the only one eating alone. That does not usually bother me. But as I walked out through the blue wooden doors, I heard that familiar inner voice heckle me, "You're so lame to be eating here can't even find one person to eat dinner with you." Why do I tell you this personal information? Because even though I consider myself an expert at being alone, I do have times when I wish I wasn't alone. I too wish that I had a hand to hold or a loving face to smile at me from across the table. Being alone has a power that very few people can handle, but I'm only human, and during this solo time in my life, I have days when all I want is a hug. That's OK; I don't let it cripple me. I continue to push myself forward ... I love me ... and I enjoy spending time with me.
 #loveyourself no matter your situation. ๐Ÿ’“

Mandolin Aegean Bistro
4312 NE 2nd Ave.
Miami, Fl 33137 
(305) 749-9140

No comments