A Taste of Greece at Atlantikós Bal Harbour
Walking into the St Regis in Bal Harbour can be intimidating. The tall ceilings, crystal chandeliers, mirrored walls and gold décor feels a little like Las Vegas or Trump Tower, so it was refreshing after the long walk down the hall and into elevator to lower level to enter the cool and serene new Greek restaurant, Atlantikós.
Overlooking the turquoise pool, which felt like it could be the Mediterranean, Atlantikós opened just before the holidays to offer authentic Greek cuisine, many from family recipes.
We were invited to sample some of the key dishes and meet the Greek chef, Anastasios Chasekioglou and General Manager, Panos Nikifourou, who were passionate not only about the menu but the service and overall personality of the restaurant. Atlantikós is not your casual Greek restaurant of souvlaki, gyros and bland Greek salads.
When we were seated around 7 pm, we were the only guests, but by the time we left a little over an hour later, the restaurant was full, with a nice buzz yet an intimate noise level.
White washed stucco décor, with bright blue accents including blue agate tabletops and server’s uniforms offered a nod to the Greek Islands of Mykonos and Santorini.
Seafood is the main focus here, with local caught or fish flown in daily from Caribbean or Greece ensuring freshness. Octopus, Cuddlefish, Seabream and Sardines were all recommended by our knowledgeable server, Yannis.
Petite Fleur, a pale pink rosé from Greece was suggested to enhance the dishes we ordered, and indeed it did. This rosé had more of a light, crisp flavor than French rosés, and tasted more like a light white or Pinot Grigio.
Artisan bread with dipping sauces, olive tapenade and Greek olive oil appeared almost immediately, followed by our first course of eggplant dip and homemade pita. A full Meze Sampler is on the menu, but we found the eggplant a little bland for our tastes.
The next dish was a special and a family recipe of Cuttlefish. Cuttlefish is similar to calamari, and was prepared in a stew-like sauce with sautéed spinach and herbs and topped with a crispy squid ink cracker. The cuttlefish was tender and very flavorful.
We also ordered the fresh sardines, which were my favorite starter. Four large sardines were lightly dressed in oil and shared plate with caper leaves, minced olives, and tomato puree.
The main course was the showstopper, as we ordered to share the Sea Bream baked in salt crust. Served table side on a silver pan, it is quite the presentation, as the fish is baked whole with lemon and herbs in a thick salt crust and cut open right before our eyes. If you have seen the crazy Salt Bae videos, you will understand just how impressive this is, and more importantly how the fish does NOT taste salty.
The flavor was mild, just the right amount of lemon and herbs and delicious. Sides of Ratatouille and Vegetable Moussaka were also well-prepared and nice complement to the mild fish.
No meal would be complete without dessert, and although Greek desserts are not known for being particularly special we did order the baklava and orange pie. The baklava felt a little dry, I think more honey might have helped, but the orange pie with orange slices and a scoop of orange ice cream was very refreshing and a good choice.
The menu is quite extensive and a bit pricey so we suggest you ask your server to help you to order and not be afraid to try something new, as Atlantikós is trying to offer something different from the typical steak and seafood offerings in most hotels today. There are also Vegetarian and Gluten-free options, and an 18% gratuity will be added to your bill.