Whether you choose land or sea, count on your entrée ticket costing under $20 — unless you order the $29 center-cut eight-ounce filet mignon, which is accompanied by a choice of any two of a dozen side dishes. They include sautéed bok choy, grilled asparagus, sweet potato mash, French fries, and polenta ($5 each à la carte).

Like everything else here, prices have remained steadfast. A shrimp spring roll on the 2003 menu was $6; nine years later, it's $8. Desserts were $6 to $8; they're still $6 to $8.

A wine list favoring California and Italy features bottles averaging $30 to $50. Some 20 wines poured by the glass cost on average $7 to $9.

Yellowfin tuna two ways.
Yellowfin tuna two ways.


Pilar Restaurant & Lounge, 20475 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura; 305-937-2777; pilarrestaurant.com. Lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner daily 5 to 10 p.m.

Yellowfin tuna two ways $12

Rock shrimp and goat cheese risotto $19

Grilled mahi-mahi $18

Yellowtail snapper with polenta $19

Chocolate chip banana cake $6

Just about anything you order here feels like a steal, including desserts such as homemade chocolate chip banana cake (more chocolate flavor than banana) — two moist and generous hunks that can easily be shared. Warm walnut-apple pie paired with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream likewise satisfies. Key lime pie and ice cream are the alternate choices.

In an interview many years ago, Fredel charted his mission: "To show that a restaurant can be friendly and affordable without sacrificing creativity, style, and quality."

With his steady hand at the helm, Pilar has stayed that course.

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