So, August is almost over and I’m just now writing about Miami Spice!
I’ve been busy, but I would be remiss to mention one of my favorite times of year and that of other foodies- Miami Spice. There are over 200 restaurants participating in Miami Spice this year, but not all Miami Spices are created equal. You want to get the most bang for your buck and stay away from the predictable choices of salad appetizers, chicken entrees and cheesecake for dessert. I also avoid up-charges like the plague, as what’s the point of a prix fix menu if you keep adding extra charges to the ticket?
It also never seemed completely logical to charge the same price for dinner (it used to be $39) for Casual and Ultra-Expensive restaurants; now there’s two possible price points for dinner- $45 or $60. Lunch and Brunch are also options at some restaurants, for $30 to $35, making it perfect for ladies who lunch (or brunch). For that price, however, limitless mimosas are not included.
Here are my top picks for Miami Spice restaurants to try this year.
Eating House Coral Gables Lunch $35, Dinner $60
I haven’t been to Eating House since it moved to its new location on Giralda. Supposedly, it’s more sophisticated and grown up, but I just love Giorgio Rapicavolli’s food in any form. There are 3 choices for appetizers, 3 for entrees and 2 for dessert, including the famous (not so grown up) Dirt Cup.
Joe’s Stone Crab Miami Beach Lunch $35 or Dinner, $45 or $60
Wow! Joe’s, one of my favorite restaurants and a Miami institution, has never been on Miami Spice before, so this is a historic moment. I’m skipping lunch (no stone crabs) and the $45 Dinner (ditto) and heading straight for the $60 Taste of Joe’s. With their two most famous entrees- Fried Chicken and 3 Stone Crab Claws- how can you go wrong? You also get one yummy side and, of course, you have to top it off with their famous Key Lime Pie.
Komodo Downtown/Brickell Dinner only $60
I’ve always wanted to try Komodo and Miami Spice is the perfect time to sample this Pan-Asian hot spot. I would get the Korean Chicken Salad for an app and the Wild Mushroom Lo Mein or Korean Fried Chicken for an entree. For dessert, it’s hard to choose between Miso Chocolate Temptation and Japanese Cheesecake with Berry Compote, so I would kindly ask my companion to order the one I don’t get, so I can have a bite.
Marygold’s Brasserie Wynwood Dinner $60
Chef Brad Kilgore’s latest restaurant is located in the Arlo Hotel in Wynwood, cooking modern American cuisine. The appetizers, like Corn Mousse Angolotti or Jerk Oxtail Beignets sound amazing and hard to decide between Short Rib Vacca Frita and Ricotta Pillows for an entree. After all that rich food, I’ll opt for the Sorbet Trio.
Cafe La Trova Little Havana Dinner $45
I’ve been dying to try Michelle Berstein’s Michelin-recommended Restaurant and Bar for a while. Miami Spice offers the perfect time to go and dinner will only set you back $45, but I’m sure I’ll have to try one of their famous cocktails. Empanadas or Croquettas for apps, Skirt Steak or Fresh Catch for entree and Michy’s Bread Pudding with rum-soaked raisins for dessert is my vote.
LPM Restaurant and Bar Downtown $60
I had lunch here one time for a birthday and the food and service was amazing; it feels like you’re in Europe. At a recent dinner party, we all agreed this is one of the most consistently good restaurants in Miami. Serving light French fare with a Mediterranean twist, this restaurant would be perfect for a date night. I would get either the Sweet Corn Salad or Sea Bass Croquettes to start, the Salt-baked Snapper with artichokes and tomatoes for my entree and for dessert, the French toast with Spiced Ice Cream. Ooh la la! Viva la France.
Le Jardinier Design District Lunch $35, Dinner $60
This one-star Michelin Star French restaurant, has a modern, light-filled garden vibe and is veggie-forward. I prefer the lunch, with Salmon Crudo with cucumber vinaigrette, crispy quinoa for appetizer and either the Duck Confit Pave with fennel-apple puree or Couscous with Squash Blossoms for the main course. For dessert, Espresso Tres Leche with vanilla ice sounds refreshing.
Brasserie Laurel Downtown Brunch $35, Dinner $45
This is Michael Beltran’s (executive chef at Ariete) newest restaurant, located in the Miami World Center. For appetizer, I’m going for the Escargot, entree is French Onion Agnolotti (pasta) and the Blood Orange Granita with Lavender Ice Cream is dessert.
27 Restaurant Miami Beach Dinner $45
I try to avoid Miami Beach and I’m not a big fan of communal dining, but this restaurant might be worth the trek and it is Michelin-recommended. Another plus, their Miami Spice dinner is a deal at $45, hard to find on the Beach. Griot + Pikliz of Haitian Pork Shoulder with Spicy Slaw and Green Plantains sounds delicious for an appetizer, as well as Jerk Smoked Short Rib and Panna Cotta with granita, for entree and dessert.
Avra Estiatoria Sunny Isles Dinner $60
This sophisticated Greek restaurant is a hike, but it’s on many lists for recommended Miami Spice to try, so maybe the hike is worth it. Billed as “refined Greek food, with pure ingredients and simple preparation”, the interior is beautiful with muted colors and cozy banquettes. I would try the Three-spread Trio or Salmon Tartar to start, Branzino for a main course and Olive Oil Cake with Greek Yogurt for dessert.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your Spice on!
Up Next: Five Star Weekend Book Club Meeting