Sometimes, the only way to make the day better is to start it with a Miami Spice menu.
And we are happy to report that a few restaurants participating in the annual Miami Temptations promotion serve brunch or lunch. This way you can get started on your food dreams early in the day and have time to digest the wonderful food before you drop off to sleep.
Here are some of our favorite brunch or lunch picks for Miami Spice.
What we had: The plush downtown outpost of celeb chef Daniel Boulud’s homage to Mediterranean delights is a sophisticated spot to do a fancy Miami Spice lunch. The menu changes regularly so there’s plenty of reason to keep coming back throughout the Spice promotion. We started with the babaganoush appetizer and a “Horiatiki” Greek salad both of which were fresh and flavorful. For mains we opted for the seared Mediterranean branzino with freekah and apricot and the Moroccan shakshuka with soft-poached hen eggs, which was big enough for two and came with grilled bread. Desserts were showstoppers with a lavender peach “zalabia,” a Tunisian donut filled with labneh mousse and the Mascarpone cheesecake with rhubarb sorbet. And don’t forget to save room for those special warm Madeleine cookies that are always served gratis at Boulud Sud!
Who should go: Downtown professionals looking for a great power lunch or food lovers wanting to try Daniel Boulud’s glam eatery for a wallet-friendly price.
-- Sara Liss
Boulud Sud, 255 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami.
What we had: This Eastern Mediterranean restaurant, located in the Royal Palm Hotel on South Beach, is a perpetual Spice favorite, with an outstanding menu and a lush but welcoming vibe. While the dinner options are fabulous, Byblos is also offering a brunch Spice menu for the first time, and you don’t want to miss it. Try the Byblos Big Breakfast with za’atar fried eggs, halloumi, tomato, harissa potatoes and pita or the buttermilk qatayef pancakes with rose cream, pistachio, pomegranate and date syrup. Afterward, all other pancakes are subpar forever.
Who should go: Diners who want to improve their brunch game. Let’s hope Byblos keeps this brunch menu when Spice is over.
— Connie Ogle
Byblos, 1545 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Diez y Seis
What we had: The Shore Club’s tapas-style Mexican restaurant is a fun spot to pretend you’re on vacation and indulge in a Spice power lunch. We opted for a table on the outdoor patio with prime view of the pool and the hotel guests frolicking. There’s plenty to choose from on the menu with almost a dozen options for apps and mains. We started with the smoked elote guacamole and the tuna tartare with lime aioli, both went well with the corn chips provided. For mains we got the “El Luchador” burger with wagyu beef and the tinga de pollo tacos, both flavorful and fresh. The dessert of cajeta flan made for a sweet ending.
Who should go: Mexican food lovers looking a fun scene and an interesting spin on Mexican classics.
-- Sara Liss
Diez y Seis, 1901 Collins Ave, Miami Beach.
What We Had: The truffle Cesar Salad on the Miami Spice lunch menu is far from basic and full of flavor because each lettuce leaf is individually garnished. The Prime Steak with roasted potatoes, grilled onions, romesco is grilled to perfection with the right amount of crispy tenderness.
Who Should Go: Die hard fans of grilled and smoked meats and dishes will feel right at home at Chef Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry’s globally inspired hotspot. For those that love family style dining and trying a little bit of everything after a long day of shopping at the mall, this is your destination. Come hungry.
— Kathy Buccio
International Smoke., 19565 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura
What we had: The only Spice menu this popular Asian-inspired restaurant offers is a weekday lunch menu, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Sometimes, you have to break out of your unimaginative salad rutl. And we can help by telling you exactly what to order at Kyu. For an appetizer, go with the unusual and creative mussels with toasted garlic, chili and lime, then move on to the Korean fried chicken on bao buns with with napa cabbage and parmesan dressing. The grilled seasonal fish with summer vegetable salad is a legit entree choice, too, if you want something lighter. But that chicken! For dessert, get the coconut cake with coconut ice cream. Do not fail at this. Also, make a reservation before you go - this place is packed even on weekdays.
Who should go: Anybody who wants a break from the usual, boring weekday lunch..
- Connie Ogle
Kyu, 251 NW 25th St., Miami
La Petite Maison
What we had: You do not have to know the secret of the tomato on the table to enjoy a Miami Spice lunch or dinner at this classic but unintimidating French spot, but let us make you feel special. Take the tomato. Cut the tomato. There’s a lemon there, too. Cut the lemon. Squeeze it over the tomato. Add olive oil, salt and pepper. Voila! There’s your first appetizer (one of the impeccable servers will bring you crunchy bread to go with it). Along with plenty of other Brickell business types, we tried the lunch Spice menu. There is one absolute: Get the ratatouille appetizer. It’s perfect. For an entree, try the flawlessly roasted baby chicken. We suggest ordering a side to share if you’re hungry. Just don’t forget the tomato.
Who should go: Diners who crave that white table cloth-and-salon style.
-- Connie Ogle
La Petite Maison, 1300 Brickell Bay Dr., Miami
What we had: The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne’s in-house restaurant is named for the lighthouse keepers who watched over Key Biscayne’s historic Cape Florida Lighthouse in the 1800s and as such specializes in Florida-centric coastal cuisine. The outdoor patio remains as desirable as ever with views of the Atlantic and poolscape available on the tiered terrace. We dined with our kids who were able to order off the well-priced kids menu that included things like steak and grilled chicken breast. We started with “Rocco’s Burrata” which is sourced from a local cheesemaker and came dressed with tomatoes and figs. The sweet pea and bean salad was also a lovely starter all dolled up with Meyer lemon chili dressing. For mains the Teres Major steak was a generous slab of beef grilled in the josper oven while the steamed red snapper came with scallop potatoes and PEI mussels. Desserts of St. Domingue chocolate custard and raspberry soft meringue were just the right amount of sweet and satisfying.
Who should go: Families looking for a sophisticated spot where the kids and adults will be happy.
-- Sara Liss
Lightkeepers, 455 Grand Bay Dr, Key Biscayne
Market at Edition
What we had: Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Market at Edition’s global cafe/patisserie/salumeria is one of our favorite spots, simply because there’s so much tempting food on display– from the crisp pizzas to the insane charcuterie display. For our spice lunch we started with the crispy salmon sushi and sucrene and arugula salad - both refreshing and light starters. The poppy-seed crusted salmon was a generous portion and came with an addictive sweet and sour carrot sauce, quinoa and roasted baby carrots. The mushroom and farm egg pizza will please any carb lover. For dessert choose between the strawberry sundae or the passion fruit cheesecake (or splurge for a slice of the carrot cake - one of the best in town).
Who should go: Beach-goers needing an upscale-yet-laid back spot for lunch and those looking to try a bit of the JGV culinary magic.
-- Sara Liss
Market at Edition, 2901 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
What we had: Food is almost beside the point at this South Beach party spot, which is about sun, beach vibes and booze, but hey, it’s Miami Spice time, so let’s eat while we day drink, shall we? All three of the appetizers on the Spice menu are good, but the standout is the Sexy Salad, with lobster, shrimp, crab meat, kanikama, avocado, mango, cucumber, tobiko and lime aioli. For an entree we recommend the Spaghetti aux Fruits de Mer, with sauteed shrimp, clams, mussels, garlic, tomatoes and red pepper flakes (it’s a little spicy, but not enough to make you sweat). Speaking of sweating: dress appropriately. Umbrellas will shade you, but you’re still eating outside in the Florida summer. Cool off with a mango smoothie or - even better - chilled rosé.
Who should go: People who enjoy day drinking.
— Connie Ogle
Nikki Beach, 1 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
Yardbird Southern Table and Bar
What we had: Truth be told, we had not been to Yardbird in over five years so we were excited to check in with this Southern food mecca and get our fried chicken on. Thankfully, the Miami Spice lunch menu (and it’s only offered at lunch, mind you) made our dreams come true with a Nashville hot chicken sandwich that made our lips blister and was sweet agony with every bite. But before that main attraction we started with the avocado focaccia toast made with whipped ricotta and roasted garlic, along with an heirloom tomato soup that was pure rainy day comfort. If the fried chicken sandwich isn’t your thing (are you even human?) you can opt for the country cobb protein bowl which includes roasted chicken, field peas, corn, apples, avacado, kale, crispy quinoa, tomato and a farmers egg. For dessert you’re choosing between a fried oreo and a fruit cup which is probably a choice best left to sinners and saints.
Who should go: Lincoln Road shoppers looking for a down home meal and a lively atmosphere.
-- Sara Liss
Yardbird Southern Table and Bar, 1600 Lenox Ave, Miami Beach.