Like Juvia, Mila also offers panoramic views, indoor/outdoor spaces, and both have an element of water, although at Mila they have a more glamorous and alluring decor. Lots of greenery in both places abound. Both attract well-dressed groups of tourists and locals, and globe-trotting couples. Although Mila does have a few dishes that were quite good, both restaurants have expensive menus and serve mediocre food. And both places will set you back a few dollars. While both try to serve creative dishes and signature craft cocktails, the kitchen Mila draws influences from the shores of the Mediterranean as well as Japan and offers an eclectic fusion of Mediterranean and Japanese cuisine, whereas Juvia offers a fusion of Peruvian, Japanese, and French cuisines.
Located above a Sketcher’s store at the corner of Lincoln and Meridian Avenue, Mila is accessed via elevator only (a top a three-story building, as we noted after we tried using the stairs). The entrance is actually on Meridian.
We were welcomed warmly, but not so much on our exit by the front of the house staff. Mila is huge, and seats about 250 indoors and 150 outdoors. Outdoors is where you want to be weather permitting. Inside the dining room is finished in earth tones, with a fabulously large teardrop lighting installation, a beautiful sculpted wooded accent wall and an open kitchen and large bar. The design features reclaimed wood, organic materials, unpolished floors, and beautifully placed knick-knacks. Walking outside to the 5,000 square foot terrace, you’ll find a large water feature, luxurious landscaping with 2 exclusive cabanas, more greenery, another bar, and a feeling of tranquility dining under the stars. This space is even more beautiful than Juvia’s which is much older and showing its wear and tear by now.
Mila is brought to us by Gregory and Mary Galy. Gregory was the past president of the Fig and Olive chain. The food here is reminiscent of a chain restaurant, it’s not offensive, it is just not outstanding. The executive chef is Nicolas Mazier, who hails from the south of France, and has worked in establishments like NOBU, and was also head chef of Tatel’s (not a personal favourite of mine … feh). I actually found the Japanese part of the menu to be the weakest. Especially the rice, which should be the most important part of the sushi, and be the right texture, temperature, consistency, and with proper seasoning. Then the marinades, which should increase the flavour, and boost the umami. And sadly, also the fish, which should be at room temperature and be sushi grade cuts, bought from the best fish markets. The sushi, the takaki, and nigiri were nothing to write home about.
They offered a great selection of craft cocktails. The wine list is not Miami’s most extensive, but it was carefully chosen to pair well with the foods. There is also a nice selections of sakes too. But for me, it is the trendy cocktails that rule. You can also just dine at the outside bar and select from eight omakase-style cocktails, that are whimsical, avant-garde, and theatrical, utilizing things like liquid nitrogen, foams, gels, dry ice, and fire.
If you know in advance that the food won’t blow you away, but you are looking for a coveted, sophisticated, and chic setting, with a romantic outdoor space, then Mila will be for you.