Greek Goodness – Estiatorio Milos

If there’s one thing Chef Costas Spiladis knows well, it’s the art of simplicity. At Spiladis’ Estiatorio Milos, the uncomplicated recipes and locally-sourced ingredients magnify the natural flavors in each traditionally Greek dish. Here, Chef Spiladis tells us how his Miami outpost is especially unique, and shares his secrets to international success.

When did you decide to enter the culinary field? What prompted you to become a restauranteur?

I opened my first Estiatorio Milos [by Costas Spiliadis] in Montreal in 1979. Food in its purest form was always celebrated in my family and my culture as I grew up in Patras, Greece. Our region is rich in olives, oils, fish, fruit and vegetables, so I’ve always been fortunate to be surrounded by the most beautiful ingredients. My mother was an accomplished cook and I became a chef as I too wanted to share the stories of my heritage and culture through food. My mission is to change people’s misconceptions of Greek food as just Gyros, Rice Pudding and Moussaka.

What are the most important ingredients in creating a successful restaurant?

Hard work, loyalty, honesty and green market ingredients.

Which appetizers, entrees and desserts do you recommend?

I can’t play favorites with my menu because everything is sublime. However, our most popular items are the Milos Special (lightly fried Zucchini and Eggplant with Tzatziki and Kefalograviera cheese), Charred Octopus with Wild Santorini Capers, Red Wine Vinegar and Olive Oil and our Whole Fish in Sea Salt.

When you’re not dining at Milos, where else can we find you?

At home. I cherish Sunday dinners with my family.

What is your favorite drink?

I enjoy anything from my son George’s wine portfolio, Cava Spiliadis.

What is your favorite pastime?

After all of these years, it is still cooking. An important aspect of one’s life is reflecting on memories and dishes, like Leg of Lamb with Garlic or Stuffed Chicken remind me of the past. Cooking is the happiest moment of my day because it reminds me of home, Greece.

What makes Milos’ Miami outpost different from those in Montreal, Vegas and the rest of the world?

Our Miami Beach location is incredibly unique in the sense that we are allowing guests to continue the experience of Greece at home with our first Marketa. In Miami, we are also closer to the farmers and fishermen whom we have sourced from for years. I am very passionate about creating a new gastronomic experience in Miami and shining the spotlight on Greek food.

Similar to the cuisine, the dining room at Milos is special and uncomplicated. Tell us about the décor.

The restaurant reflects the cuisine and my culinary philosophy of simplicity, cleanliness and timelessness. Every element in the dining room tells a story from the hand-selected flowers to our authentic oversized Greek urns to the 13,000 pound hand-cut marble installation from the mountains of Dionysus.