Meraki Greek looks like it was designed on a Greek isle. LINDA BLADHOLM START WITH THESE DISHES The trio of dips including hummus, melitzanosalata (eggplant salad with lemon and garlic) and tzatziki with Kalamata olives and pita. LINDA BLADHOLM
The Greek cheese platter with brined feta, hard salty sheep’s milk vlahotiri, goat cheese and tyrokafteri (spicy feta spread mixed with red peppers, yogurt and olive oil) are all good with pita. Try the garlicky, smoky, lemony meli-salad made with charred, roasted eggplant, served as a dip with warm pita triangles.
There’s also herb-dusted fried zucchini slices, shrimp saganaki in tomato sauce with feta, and tiropitakia, crispy phyllo-wrapped melty feta cheese-filled envelopes sprinkled with sesame seeds and drizzled in honey. Dakos is Greek bruschetta with chopped tomatoes and feta on thick bread rusks that soak up the olive oil and oregano dressing. You can never go wrong with a pork, lamb or chicken gyro in pita with tzatziki, onions and fries.
SHARE THESE DISHES Shrimp and feta saganaki in tomato sauce with basil. LINDA BLADHOLM
Poikilies are family size platters. The mezze platters include loukaniko pork sausage seasoned with orange peel, fennel seeds and herbs, meatballs, lamb kebabs, feta and stuffed grape leaves. The seafood platter has chargrilled octopus, crispy calamari, and shrimp kebabs served with orzo tossed with lemon aioli. Diners can also put together their own platters of skewers from the souvlaki bar, including bacon wrapped chicken, seasonal vegetables and lamb, chicken, shrimp or pork. Or try the grilled chicken “ribs” (chopped up bone-in chicken) with fries and a traditional Greek salad. The Aegean chicken breast is stuffed with spinach, ricotta and caramelized onions, wrapped in bacon and plated with lemon potatoes and chicken gravy. A veggie pasta includes baked eggplant, zucchini and squash.
SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT Tiropitakia phyllo wrapped envelopes stuffed with creamy feta sprinkled with sesame seeds and drizzled in honey, a specialty of Crete. LINDA BLADHOLM
Galaktoboureko is a square of semolina custard, baked in phyllo sheets soaked in sugar syrup.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL
The owners, friends and business partners are Alex Karavias and executive chef Giannis Kotsos. As much as his father — who once worked as a chef on the mega-yacht Christina owned by Aristotle Onassis — didn’t want Karavias to work in restaurants, it was in his blood. After a weekend in Miami he moved here and met Kostos, a native of Athens at Kouzina in Midtown, and they opened Meraki last year. The restaurant’s name means to “put something of yourself into what ever you do,” which the partners here are doing with heart and soul.
The place: Meraki Greek Bistro Address: 142 SE 1st Avenue, Miami Contact: 786-773-1535, merakigreekbistro.com Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m, Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday; Noon-11 p.m Saturday. Noon-9 p.m., Sunday Prices: Appetizers $4.99-$12.99, entrees $10.99-$18.99, desserts $4.99-$7.99