You want more Miami Spice? We’ve got more Miami Spice.
Nearly halfway into the annual summertime promotion, there are clear winners and losers. Some restaurants just do a better job giving you more for your money. We asked several Miami.com writers to tell us which spots made the most of fixed-price $23 lunches and brunches and $39 dinners.
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What We Had: Matador Room at The Edition is a must during Miami Spice. For our first entree, we ordered the Tuna Tartar with a creamy chipotle aioli, chilis and chives and warm crispy tortillas for dipping (if you are dining with a plus one, have them order the Sweet Pea Guacamole and combine the two). Our second entree consisted of the Beef Tenderloin with red chili butter, on a bed of spinach with sesame seeds (the beef comes with an extra $10 charge). We wrapped up our meal with a mouthwatering Guava and Peanut Butter Sundae.
Who Should Visit This Venue: Jean-Georges Vongerichten fans will not be disappointed with the caliber of food and service that Miami Spice has to offer. A foodie favorite, diners looking for a consistently excellent meal in an iconic Art Deco hotel.
What We Had: Katsuya South Beach at the SLS Hotel is offering all their top sellers on their Miami Spice menu. We kicked off our first course with an order of their signature Crispy Rice – sautéed sushi rice, spicy tuna with a serrano slice. For our second course, we couldn’t resist the Creamy Lobster Dynamite (an extra $10 charge) which is a half lobster sautéed with mushrooms and tossed in a creamy dynamite sauce. Dessert called for Donuts with Coco Lopez sauce and passion fruit Coulis.
Who Should Visit This Venue: Katsuya loyalists and anyone looking for luxe dining in a trendsetting ambiance.
What We Had: Norman Van Aken’s Wynwood destination is delivering the goods for Miami Spice. We ordered the Venezuelan Cachapas (think corn pancakes), with corn salad, shaved foie gras, and picked onions. For our second plate, we went with the Poached Grouper served with Bonito Butter, Shiso Chimichurri, Confit Fingerlings, and Escarole- light and flavorful. The mole sold us for our dessert selection. Ordered the Corn Nicuatole- a sweet corn ice cream with almond mole.
Who Should Visit this Venue: If you’re looking for a cool ambiance with equally cool food that is artistically whipped up, then head to Three in the heart of Wynwood.
What We Had: Located inside the W South Beach, foodies who want to see and be seen can still have a classy meal in bustling South Beach. Start with the Prime Steak Carpaccio with crunchy romesco and pickled ramp. For our entree, we went with the Truffled Ricotta Mezzaluna (pasta dish) with juicy oyster mushrooms and peas. Dessert called for the Coconut Malasadas with Dark Rum Sauce- a sweet temptation.
Who Should Visit This Venue: Foodies who want to see and be seen and still have a classy meal in bustling South Beach.
What We Had: We ordered the Hamachi Tiradito with habanero passion fruit aguachile, sweet peppers, chile frito and cilantro oil- the perfect combo of sweet and spicy. For our entree, we had the 8-ounce skirt steak (cooked medium) served with yucca, Shishito salsa, watercress and fried quail. Wrapped up our meal with the pastelitos de guava garnished with a delicious espresso cream anglaise.
Who Should Visit this Venue: Diners with a penchant for elevated Latin food and looking for that sexy hotel dining experience in downtown Miami.
What We Had: Dinner at Hakkasan can easily add up to a pricey experience so their Spice menus are a nice opportunity to try this swanky Chinese eatery. Their dim sum lunch (only offered on Saturdays and Sundays) is the stuff of legend and for good reason – their delicate dough pouches are deliciously plump and fresh – and always bring me right back to my best memories of meals in China. For Spice lunch two people can share a bamboo steamer of Chinese chive shrimp dumplings, black rice with vegetable dumplings and spicy beef with lotus root shui ma. Then it’s on to family-style grilled honey char sui and braised beef shin platter, sautéed pak choi with garlic sauce and braised diced soy chicken with noodles. Desserts of mango custard and chocolate cake round out the Asian feast.
Who Should Go to this Venue: Dim sum enthusiasts and those looking to try this usually-pricey spot.
What We Had: Tap 42’s Spice menu is offered all seven nights a week and includes a gratis cocktail or beer along with your usual three courses – a very welcome touch. We started with the spicy salmon tostones and a glass of their Funky Budha and Tap 42 collaboration beer on draft. For entrees they offer their full-sized dishes off the regular menu including the flame-grilled NY Strip, rainbow sushi bowl and baby back ribs. We chose the grilled salmon Zen bowl which was a nice portion of miso-glazed salmon over veggie fried rice. We were totally full by the time dessert rolled around but we still rallied to try the ice cream cookie sundae topped with rainbow sprinkles.
Bonus: a reasonable kids menu (that includes a drink and dessert) priced at $10 means the little ones can have their own prix-fixe as well.
Who Should Go to this Venue: Beer lovers and families looking for a hip spot for high-end pub food at the mall.
What we had: Bazaar Mar at the SLS Brickell offers a Miami Spice menu for dinner Tuesdays-Saturdays. Get ready: there are a lot of options to choose from. If you’re feeling adventurous, start with the California Funnel Cake (the chef’s inventive version of the traditional California sushi roll). Or go traditional with his fun take on a bagel and lox (hint: it’s totally Instagrammable). Our favorite entree was the oak-fired grilled skirt steak, served with rosemary mustard sauce. Dessert is a surprise, so let the kitchen take the reigns.
Who Should Go to this Venue Families are welcome here and kids will likely get a kick from the giant fish heads poking out of the walls. It also makes for a great spot to grab a drink with friends or colleagues — the bar is seriously sexy.
Dining in the lap of luxury at Gianni's at Villa Cauarina.
What we had: Offered Tuesday-Friday and Sunday, Gianni’s Spice menu keeps things simple — you only get two options to choose from for each course, but you can bet they’re both delicious. As our appetizer, we chose the grilled Spanish octopus polenta a limone. It was silky soft and accompanied by baby heirloom tomatoes, savory chorizo, and basil chimichurri. Our favorite entree was the risotto ai fungi di bosco, which comes served with seasonal farm mushrooms and fonduta di taleggio — a rich creamy cheese fondue. Make sure you save room for the dessert, though, because Gianni’s chocolate lava cake is as delicious as it is Instagram-worthy.
Who Should Go to this Venue: Save this place for someone you seriously want to impress. From the white tablecloths, candlelight and dreamy architecture, to the soundtrack of Frank Sinatra hits playing softly in the background, the former Versace Mansion may just be one of the most romantic spots in South Beach.
What We Had: While Juvia’s Miami Spice dinner is spectacular, try to squeeze in a visit for their Spice brunch, offered Saturdays and Sundays. Your starter is a choice between Caesar salad, watercress hearts of palm, and farro and chicory salad served with cucumber, pomegranate and vinaigrette (our favorite). As your entree, definitely go with the chicken lomo saltado — it’s a juicy and tender treat served with jasmine rice, micro cilantro, a Peruvian potato cake and an egg, sunny side up. For dessert, beat the heat with a super-refreshing berry gazpacho, served with lychee sorbet.
Who Should Go to this Venue: Anybody who likes their meal with a side of Instagram-worthy views. Families are welcome here, but it’s also a great go-to spot for brunching with your girlfriends or romantic evenings with your significant other.
What We Had: Go with Zuma’s classic white miso soup as your appetizer. Prepared with tofu, wakame and scallions, it’s the perfect starter no matter which entree you choose. For the main, we were torn between the salmon teriyaki and the stir-fried vegetable ramen, a vegetarian option served with crunchy hearts of palm and spicy tenkasu. If chocolate’s your guilty pleasure, opt for the tropical miso flourless chocolate cake as your dessert. Our vote goes to Zuma’s pana cotta, served with lychee and seasonal berries.
Who Should Go to this Venue: The weekday crowd at lunchtime is composed mostly of suits that stream in from nearby firms to conduct meetings with a side of sashimi chirashi. Come for dinner on a Sunday, though, and you’ll find a much more family-friendly (albeit, champagne-fueled) brunch bunch.
What We Had: Helmed by award-winning Venezuelan chef and El Bulli vet Carlos Garcia, Obra Kitchen Table boasts traditional Latin American cuisine with a fresh and modern spin. Their Miami Spice dinner menu offers a perfect sampler of this imaginative style — just look at the appetizer options, which include onion soup with ripe plantain and Parmesan foam (go with that one). As your entree, dig into their arepa, served with branzino and vegetables, or go for the lamb, prepared with coconut, curry and corn. Dessert is a no-brainer: a Venezuelan flan called quesillo served with can juice rum (called rhum) and tonka beans.
Who Should Go to this Venue: Tucked inside Jade at Brickell Bay Condominium, Obra Kitchen Table attracts a mix of well-heeled Brickellites, professionals, and families from the area.
What We Had: This hangar of high-end sushi from the Juvia folks – Jonas and Alexandra Millan and Partner Chef Sunny Oh – was a great Miami Spice choice last year and didn’t disappoint this year either. The dinner is offered all seven nights a week – a major plus in our book. App choices include chicken gyoza, a ceviche mix and scallops tacos. Dinner entrees each come with miso soup and veggie fried rice for the table – another nice touch. Go for the roll combo which includes 4 pieces of spicy tuna roll, 4 pieces of salmon avocado roll and 1 hamachi roll. Desserts keep things light with lychee gazpacho or coconut matcha tart.
Who should go to this venue: Sushi lovers and people looking for an easy option for Asian in the Sunset Harbour ‘hood.
What we had: We hadn’t been to Upland in over a year since they opened an outpost of their famed NYC restaurant in South of Fifth. The good news: Chef Justin Smillie and restaurateur Stephen Starr’s perfectly-lit masculine-yet-cozy restaurant was just as good as we remembered. And even better – their Spice menu doesn’t skimp: Diners get five options for starters and five mains. We eased into our feast with the Little Gem Salad with avocado, cucumber, ricotta salata and walnut vinaigrette and another dish of crispy falafel over an avocado. The the blistery crust pizza topped with mortadella can be had as an app or a main – get it either way, it’s so good. We also loved the roasted chicken with green chickpeas, cauliflower rice, zhug, crispy pepitas and homemade pita – a carnival of Middle-Eastern flavors. Dessert brought two crowd pleasers: the California dreamsicle, a dish of blood orange-yogurt soft-serve and the banana chocolate tart.
Who should go to this venue: Couples, groups of friends, random food-lovers on blind dates, the place works for everyone. Plus, the lighting is the most flattering in the city.
What We Had: Walking in to Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Market at Edition’s global cafe/patisserie/salumeria you’re immediately craving everything in sight – from the crisp pizzas to the insane charcuterie display. We started with the broccoli soup artfully served tableside over a dollop of coconut-lime foam, one of the most inventive soup combos we’ve seen and so refreshing. The baby sucrene and arugula salad comes with an assertively-spiced sriracha dressing that paved the way for entrees of seared salmon with habanero-lime sauce and tagliatelle with sauteed mushrooms, garlic, jalapeño and herbs. Desserts were fantastic: Pick between chocolate marshmallow cake and a raspberry cheesecake.
Who should go to this venue: Folks looking for a sophisticated yet laid-back spot for date night. Families are also welcome here as the vibe is less formal than a typical fine dining restaurant.
What we had: My vegan friend was surprised when I told her we were heading to La Moderna in Sunset Harbour – a great Italian spot, sure, but not a place one associates with plant-based cuisine. But earlier this year this modern trattoria introduced a vegan section to their menu to much success and added vegan options to their Spice menu as well. We started with regular eggplant Parmesan and the vegan mushroom polenta – a melange of porcini mushroom mousse with baby artichokes served on a bed of crispy “flat bread alla romana.” Then for mains I tried the seafood pasta – a lovely bowl of pacheri noodles brimming with shrimp, calamari and mussels in a cherry tomato sauce while my friend tucked into a bowl of porcini pasta with black truffle – made vegan sans cream or cheese – but still rich and hearty. My dessert of traditional tiramisu was fluffy and espresso-tinged while my friend’s vegan panna cotta had the right consistency and subtle sweetness.
Who should go to this venue: Couples or groups of friends with vegans in tow – everyone can get their dietary needs satisfied here from herbivore to carnivore.
What we had: Diez y Seis offers a Miami Spice dinner menu every night except Friday and Saturday. You can’t go wrong with either their classic or smoked elote (Mexican grilled corn) guacamole appetizer, but if you’re looking for something a little different try their sweet and sour Brussels sprouts, served with chile de arbol and crispy bacon. Our favorite entree was the braised short rib (although the steak tacos on a sweet plantain tortilla with cilantro chimichurri came in at a close second). Dessert is chef’s choice.
Who should go: Housed inside the Shore Club, Jose Icardi’s recently opened Mexican eatery is great for families during the day and a perfect option for date night in the evening.