The two-month Miami Spice promotion runs Aug. 1 through Sept. 30 at more than 160 Miami-Dade restaurants.
The idea: Give locals an incentive to check out area restaurants during the dog days of summer, when tourists are in short supply. The deal: Prix-fixe lunch for $23 or dinner for $39 (no different-priced “tiers” as in previous years).
Some restaurants pull out all the stops, trying to earn repeat customers by putting out their best food and service. These are the ones that serve their actual menu items or new, creative ones during Spice to entice you back for another spin.
Others are reluctant participants, offering uninspired food (if we see chicken breast on one more menu …) and servers who resent the promotion for lowering their check averages. These are usually the places that refuse to show you a Spice menu unless you ask, and they accept the discount only on say, Tuesdays and Sundays. At lunch.
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We’re here to help you avoid those places and suss out the very best that Spice has to offer. Here is our A-to-Z guide to restaurants doing Spice right.
For more tips, check out the Miami Herald’s Weekend section or Miami.com every Friday in August and September for a Top 10 list of Spice restaurants in various categories.
An appetizer-entree-dessert combo at the Mandarin Oriental’s showstopper restaurant usually costs north of $80. During Spice? $39. Same food. One of the best deals of the promotion.
Dinner Tuesday-Saturday. 500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami, 305-913-8358.
B: Bazaar by José Andrés.
If you want variety, check out Bazaar at the SLS Hotel (just not on a Friday or Saturday). Choose one of five appetizers, any three of 13 second-course small plates, and one of three desserts.
Dinner Sunday-Thursday. 1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-455-2999.
C: The Cypress Room.
Rarin’ for rabbit minestrone? The Cypress Room’s your spot for unique, high-end adventures in game, caviar, oxtail and more.
Lunch and dinner Monday-Friday. 3620 NE Second Ave., Miami, 305-520-5197.
D: db Bistro Moderne.
Want to eat like the French but can’t afford a vacation to Paris? Let Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro transport you through comforts like coq au vin, beef bourguignon and stinky cheeses for dessert.
Lunch Monday-Friday, dinner Monday-Saturday. 255 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami, 305-421-8800.
We know a double deal when we see one: The new El’eat includes a free glass of house wine or a craft beer with the price of its Spice menu.
Dinner daily. 3207 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach, 786-440-7104.
F: The Forge.
Judging from its 3.5-star review in today’s Miami Herald, Miami Beach’s original steakhouse is still going strong. What better time to revisit its opulence than Miami Spice?
Dinner daily. 432 W. 41st St., Miami Beach, 305-538-8533.
If the romantic views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline don’t get you, the grilled veal chop over truffled artichoke-brussels sprouts hash will.
Lunch Monday-Saturday, dinner daily. 4 Grove Isle Dr., Coconut Grove, 305-857-5007.
Family-style dining at Hakkasan means the Spice menu includes more “ands” than “ors.” You’ll get plenty of food, so bring a friend: This Spice menu is for two or more.
Lunch Saturday-Sunday, dinner Monday-Friday and Sunday. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 786-276-1410.
I: Icebox Cafe.
Icebox’s savory dishes make a fine meal, but its skyscraper desserts like German chocolate cake put it on the map. And for Spice, you get your pick of all of them.
Lunch Monday-Friday, dinner Monday-Friday and Sunday. 1855 Purdy Ave., Miami Beach, 305-538-8448.
J: J&G Grill.
Hamachi tartare. Crispy blue crab. Duck confit. Wagyu au poivre. Pistachio semifreddo. J&G Grill’s dynamic duo of chef Brad Kilgore and pastry chef Antonio Bachour wants to wow you.
Dinner daily. 9703 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour, 305-993-3333.
K: Katsuya by Starck.
Don’t expect a conveyor belt of unlimited sushi for Spice (or to eat on a Friday or Saturday), but you will get to try plenty of Katsuya’s mighty-fine fish at a lower cost than usual.
Dinner Monday-Thursday and Sunday. 1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-455-2995.
L: L’echon Brasserie.
Haven’t been to the Pubbelly Boys’ latest creation, a French-style brasserie in the new Hilton Cabana Miami Beach? Here’s your chance: The Spice menu is available all day, every day.
Lunch and dinner daily. 6261 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 786-483-1611.
M: Milos by Costas Spiliadis.
At a restaurant that doesn’t post its regular menu prices on its website, you know a $23 lunch or $39 dinner is a good deal. Grilled octopus, dorado royale and Greek yogurt with thyme honey would be our pick.
Lunch and dinner daily. 730 First St., Miami Beach, 305-604-6800.
Both the downtown and Key Biscayne locations of Novecento are participating in Spice, giving you two places to get your fill of churrasco and fries.
Lunch Saturday-Wednesday, dinner Saturday-Monday and Wednesday-Thursday. 1414 Brickell Ave., Miami, 305-403-0900.
Lunch Monday-Friday, dinner Saturday-Monday and Wednesday-Thursday. 620 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne, 305-362-0900.
We can’t tell you what you’ll find on Ortanique’s Spice menu, because chef-owner Cindy Hutson is changing it every single day. She must like cooking or something.
Lunch Monday-Friday, dinner daily. 278 Miracle Mile., Coral Gables, 305-446-7710.
Spice goes tapas. At dinner, Perfecto delivers four first-course bites and four second-course dishes before dessert. Try it all.
Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. 1450 Brickell Ave., Miami, 305-372-0620.
Q: Quattro Gastronomia Italiana.
Know what’s rare during Spice? Truly great Italian food, available seven days a week, that’s not served in a hotel restaurant. Quattro is that rare find.
Lunch and dinner daily. 1014 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, 305-531-4833.
R: Red Fish Grill.
Here, fishy, fishy. Octopus, oysters, snapper, tuna, swordfish and more make up the bulk of the sea-driven menu at Red Fish.
Dinner Tuesday-Sunday. 9610 Old Cutler Rd., Miami, 305-668-8788.
S: Seasons 52.
Dietary restrictions are often hard to accommodate on tasting menus. Not so at Seasons 52. Vegan and vegetarian Spice menus are available.
Lunch and dinner daily. 321 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, 305-442-8552.
Former Top Chef contestant Carla Pellegrino makes a mean meatball. Start there, and move on to her Neapolitan-style pork.
Dinner Tuesday-Saturday. 15 NE 11th St., Miami, 305-358-9848.
U: U pick.
Have a Spice experience you want to share? Tweet us at @MiamiHeraldFood.
V: Villa Azur.
Consider the money you save on food as a down payment on a bottle from Villa Azur’s wine cellar.
Dinner Friday-Wednesday. 309 23rd St., Miami Beach, 305-763-8688.
W: Wine Depot 555.
Be your own sommelier and pick a bottle from Wine Depot’s shelves to pair with your Spice menu. Like pinot grigio with plancha-grilled halloumi cheese.
Dinner daily. 555 Jefferson Ave., Miami Beach, 305-672-6161.
As in, that’ll cost you extra. At Red the Steakhouse, everything from oysters to extra ounces on a steak carries a supplemental charge.
Dinner daily. 119 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, 305-534-3688.
Spice is a great time to try new restaurants, yes, but it’s also prime time to revisit old favorites, like Yuca’s modern take on Cuban classics.
Lunch and dinner daily. 501 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, 305-532-9822.
Forget dinner, since Zuma only offers it Monday and Tuesday nights, and instead head for lunch. The sashimi options are divine, and service is spot-on.
Lunch Monday-Friday, dinner Monday-Tuesday. 270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami, 305-577-0277.