Michael Mina, the Michelin-starred restaurant from SF chef Michael Mina that helped launch a national restaurant empire, is closed for good, and in its place on California Street will be a high-end Greek seafood spot called Estiatorio Ornos a Michael Mina restaurant.
Named for a beach on the island of Mykonos where Mina says he had a transformative meal, Estiatorio Ornos will be focused on seafood, and will feature different catches of the day and a choice of preparations for each — as well as both tasting menu and a la carte options, and a roving cart serving fresh breads and dips like hummus and whipped feta (tirokafteri).
Mina tells the Chronicle that he realized during the pandemic that he missed the energy of his former seafood restaurant in the space, Aqua — the place where he made his name as executive chef in the 1990s, prior to opening Michael Mina at the St. Francis, and subsequently dozens of other restaurants around the country. He would later relocate his more formal eponymous restaurant to 252 California Street after the closure of Aqua in 2010, telling Grub Street at the time that it was "beyond exciting" to get to occupy that space again.
This will be the second Estiatorio Ornos in the Mina empire, the first having opened in Miami last year — a pivot for a space previously occupied by a location of International Smoke, Mina's barbecue concept that's a collaboration with Ayesha Curry, with a location in SF's Millennium Tower. But Mina tells the Chronicle that the new SF location of Estiatorio Ornos will be much different and "more elaborate," with a different menu, and tableside plating for some items. Also there will be a "fish sommelier" who roves the restaurant to offer suggestions of preparations for each fish on offer.
This restaurant, along with the Miami location, is a collaboration with Las Vegas restaurateurs Girair “Jerry” Goumroian and Nikolaos Georgousis, owners of the casual Meraki Greek Grill. Mina tells the Chronicle that the menu will reflect what Goumroian and Georgousis grew up eating in Greece, as well as what Mina himself grew up eating in Egypt — where the food has always had a Greek influence.
In addition to seafood, there will also be lamb chops from the grill, and a roasted lemon chicken. And there will be a full bar highlighting Greek spirits.
As for losing the formality of his flagship, Mina tells the Chronicle, "We can still do Michelin-starred food. We can still do beautiful food. But we can do it in a way where it’s not all a tasting menu."
Estiatorio Ornos is expected to open in September.
The only remaining restaurant named Michael Mina, thus, is at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. Mina continues to operate seven locations of his steakhouse Bourbon Steak including one in Los Angeles, though the SF location closed several years ago; and he has three locations of his other steak concept Stripsteak, including one in Las Vegas.
In the Bay Area, Mina operates Wit & Wisdom at The Lodge at Sonoma, as well as both Pabu and International Smoke in San Francisco. And just pre-pandemic he opened Indie Superette, a market concept, in Cow Hollow.
At the International Smoke space, he's also running a delivery-only concept called Mina Family Kitchen; and while downtown has been dead, he's been running Tokyo Hot Chicken, a delivery-only concept, out of the Pabu kitchen.
This fall, Mina is also planning to open the much delayed Tiburon location of The Bungalow Kitchen, his collaboration with Brent Bolthouse, which is already open in Long Beach.
Photo: Estiatorio Ornos/Instagram