An early Saturday night dinner at “Bar Meli69,” my favorite neighborhood hang-out.
Warm, welcoming and unpretentious, “Bar Meli69 Greek Bistro & Wine Bar” is one of my absolute favorite places in Miami. I think a lot of it has to do with its owner, Liza Meli and the people she surrounds herself with.
Liza is gracious, intriguing and has spent the majority of her life exploring her passions like music, dance, travel, food and her restaurant is a direct reflection of those experiences.
Aesthetically, “Bar Meli69” is a beautiful mix of bright colors, twinkling lights and flickering candles. Even its ceiling has a rustic charm, covered in rattan wicker. The restaurant evokes a unique feeling: it seems you’ve discovered a special hideaway that only a few lucky people know about.
Coincidently, that’s exactly how this hidden gem got its start…
The eatery opened quietly in 2014 on 79th Street as “BarMeli79”. Its intimate wine bar, delicious Greek tapas and neighborhood feel made it an instant hit with the locals. Fast forward a few years later, and one of the best-kept secrets in the Magic City grew into a bonafide hot spot.
To keep up with its impressive foodie following, “BarMeli79” moved further south to MIMO, snuggling itself into a bigger and better location becoming “BarMeli69”. I stopped by last week for an early dinner to get a feel for their new digs.
I started Spotlight with a refreshing glass of Greek white wine (Tsantali Agioritikos) paired with one of my favorite appetizers, “Flaming Saganaki” (a yummy cheese set ablaze at your table with the help of a little brandy.) If you like ooey-gooey goodness, this is a must-try.
If you prefer watching your waistline, the “Amalfi” is healthy and delicious (made with grilled zucchini, goat cheese & mint.) I washed it down with a glass of Liza’s famous house-made “Exotic Red Sangria” (don’t let its fruitiness fool you; it packs a punch, you just may not feel it coming on.)
My favorite dish of the night? “Grilled Lamb Loin Chops” (made with house pesto.) The meat was exquisitely tender and the pesto added a nice flavor without overpowering the lamb. Liza paired the dish with a deliciously light red wine (a Greek one of course) called Dafnios Liatiko.
The “Whole Mediterranean Bronzino” is another one of my favorite dishes, not just because it’s healthy, it’s also to-die-for. It’s cooked with Greek olive oil, lemon juice and oregano drizzle. If you’re not into deboning fish, no worries, they’ll do it for you right at the table.
I don’t always love ending dinner on a sweet note, but “Chocolate Baklava” (filo-wrapped pistachios, walnuts, dried apricots with honey-syrup drizzle) can quickly change one’s mind. Hmmm…
There are so many wonderful reasons to fall in love with “Bar Meli69” — with its extensive wine bar, amazing food and enchanting atmosphere — my neighborhood hang-out is definitely one of my “Favorite Things”.
Thursday-Saturday: Bar & Tapas until 1am
Monday-Friday: Happy Hour is from 5-7pm.
6927 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, Florida 33138
(There’s plenty of parking behind the restaurant, but I think Uber’ing is your best bet if you don’t live in MIMO. That way, you can imbibe until you’re hearts content.)
FYI — Liza has turned “Bar Meli69’s” former location on 79th Street into a wine shop with light bites (like cheese). Try it, you’ll like it!
*Shout-out to Chef Maykel Solis, he’s the bomb-dot-com.
Styling: Jackie Kay
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Ooey-gooey” Auerbach