It’s hard to think of Montreal restaurants without thinking about Milos. The restaurant opened in 1979 and has since contributed to the city’s cultural and culinary history.
Today, Milos has more than 7 restaurants worldwide (!), offering some of the best of Greek cuisine.
In 1979, Milos is the beginning of an adventure for its leader, chef and owner Costas Spiliadis. At the time, Park Street was the centre of the Greek diaspora in Montreal. Among a panoply of Greek shops, Mr. Spiliadis opens his restaurant with a simple goal: to make people discover true Greek cuisine, the food he grew up with that does justice to the country’s gastronomy.
The restaurant got the name Milos because “I was looking for a name that was round, light, that was easy to pronounce and evoked thoughts Greece. When I opened a map of the country, I found that the name of the islands of Milos were perfect for this purpose. ”
With the little money he had at the time, Mr. Spiliadis bought his small premises on a street he described as having a strong relationship with his cultural landscape. Still with his goal of making the true cuisine of his country known, Mr. Spiliadis worked on the expansion of his restaurant; in the 90s, the neighbouring premises became available and allowed the expansion of the restaurant to the 160 seats we know today. Since then the chef and owner has gone on to open in New York and gradually, worldwide – Athens, Miami, Las Vegas and London, in addition to a Milos culinary cruise on his private yacht.
The original restaurant occupied less than half the space it occupies today.
Different architects have left their mark on each subsequent restaurant, but always keeping a part of Milos’ original identity. The first architect Nick Tsontakis, gave the restaurant its first visual identity in 1979. In 2015, the restaurant was renovated again; the architect Alain Carle added his own vision to Milos, marrying wealth and sobriety with lightness and beauty. The restaurant is among the most beautiful in Montreal. Everything is reworked, dressed, recreated with elegance. The décor testifies to the opulence of the place, with large drapes that dress the structure of the restaurant giving it a reminiscent air of the Greek islands. Through the restaurant, you can see the open fish bar, witness to the origin and freshness of the products that are then served. A wide central staircase gives the room its direction and a certain dynamism in its shape. The waiters brilliantly orchestrate the show, coming in and out of the room in what is described to us as « a collective leadership », the result of the collective experience of the team. The richness of the experience and the visuals of the of the restaurant are reflected in the abundance of flavours coming from the kitchen.
What can we say about Milos cuisine, except that it is one of the best restaurants in Montreal? Mr. Spiliadis remains the executive chef of the establishment, and it his recipes that can be enjoyed at Milos to this day. Spiliadis does however attribute his experience and knowledge to his mother ; It is thanks to her that he got involved in the culinary world without any formal training. “She is the chef through my memory and her cooking, the food she put on the table. As a child, I was very curious about the process of cooking; peeling a potato here, helping there, I learned how to cook. “Mr. Spiliadis admits that not everything was perfect at first, and that his kitchen has continued to grow to become what it is today with the help of his very first customers. “I learned a lot. My clients accepted my mistakes and sometimes showed me how to do it. Now it’s my turn to do the same and show them how to cook as I do today. »
The menu at Milos is composed of Greek dishes prepared with high quality ingredients that above all are always very fresh. During a visit, we strongly recommend the Milos Special, a plate of thinly sliced eggplant and zucchini served with tzatziki – the best $26 spent on spoiling yourself. It may sound simple, but that’s the strength at Milos; the elegant marriage of simplicity and flavour. We also recommend the famous Greek salad, octopus, squid or sardines. For the main course you must try the fresh fish (be careful to ask the price before ordering !), and for dessert, you can’t leave without tasting the yogurt: delectable !
Milos also offers a special lunch and evening menu (after 10 p.m), that are both $25. Each includes a selection of appetizers, main courses and a dessert – enough to enjoy a great meal at an affordable price at one of the best restaurants in town. As far as wines are concerned, Mr. Spiliadis’ son George Spiliadis, has worked to restore the image of Greek wine internationally like his father did for Greek cooking before him. The wines at Milos come from their own export company, Cava Spiliadis. Milos is one of the restaurants of choice for a high quality gastronomic meal in Montreal. Asking Mr. Spiliadis what he likes best about his very first restaurant, he simply tells us: “I like coming here on Saturday, early, to eat and see my customers, to see faces I’ve recognized for 40 years. With them come their children and sometimes grandchildren, friends, girlfriends; I get a sense of progress, from the passage of generations. For me, it’s the most satisfying thing. ”
καλή όρεξη – Bon appétit !