MIAbites...MIASpice! Our Contributors Picks

Miami Spice,  the 2 month long celebration of Miami’s diverse dining scene organized by the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau kicked off this week with the #EPIC Iron Fork Tasting Event and Chef Competition on Thursday July 31st at the downtown Hyatt Regency and officially runs from August 1st until September 30th, with over 160 restaurants participating.

That means we have only 61 days and nights to dine around town on special menus!

That means potentially 122 meals out!  All at prices of Lunch for $23 and Dinner for $39.

Miami Spice, now in its 13th year, has evolved over the many years as the Miami dining scene has grown and progressed from strictly expense account and hotel dining to creative and niche dining experiences with an International flair on the beach, downtown and in emerging areas like the Design District, Wynwood and MiMo .

In polling the MIAbites team for this article, I came away with mixed impressions of Miami Spice and a “How To” plan to navigate this annual opportunity to dine around town.  In point:

“Before hitting up any restaurant for Miami Spice, I go straight to the website and read through the posted menus.   I begin with a few basic questions:

1. Is this really a deal? Could I eat at the same restaurant anytime of year ordering whatever I wanted from the regular menu for the same price or maybe less?

2. Is the Miami Spice menu interesting?  Does it include unique dishes that are not on the regular menu?  Is it the cop-out cheapo salmon, chicken and short rib offering? 

3. Is the menu offered on weekends; or is the restaurant only serving weekday lunches so they can say they are on the list?

4. Is a new restaurant I've been meaning to try participating?

After answering those questions, I end up with a handful of prospects appearing to offer good values and thoughtful menus.  At this point, I put them on my calendar and make my dinner reservations.  This way, I don't let those two months mysteriously pass by because my best intentions were...well, you know.  Only intentions.” 

“Concentrate on favorite restaurants. There are also restaurants who add supplemental prices for the dishes you really want, which may be worth paying extra for if you really want something not on the Miami Spice menu.  Check ahead but many also offer some great wine specials during Miami Spice.”

“Miami Spice has been a double edge sword for me in most cases because I honestly believe it is too hard for some restaurants to get within the pricing norm without having to cut corners so every year I've used Spice to check off restaurants from my To Do list, specially the more expensive ones, and many times end up having a mediocre meal because the pricing is so challenging.

In summary I'm a fan but I'm not a fan, does that make sense?”

So, MIAbites readers, here goes the list we have compiled:

Always a good idea to check ahead to make sure they are offering the Miami Spice menu on the day/time you want to go. Many only offer Lunch or Dinner Spice menus and block out Friday-Saturdays.  But make reservations early, and make sure you ask for the Miami Spice menu when you arrive. 

The Beach:

The Restaurant at The Setai – 2001 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 305 520- 6000

Scarpetta – The Fontainebleau 4441 Collins Ave. Miami Beach, FL 33140 305 674- 4660

The Dutch - W Hotel 2201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 305 938-3111

BLT Steak Miami- The Betsy South Beach 1440 Ocean Drive Miami Beach, FL 33139  305 673-0044

The Traymore at Metropolitan by COMO- The Metropolitan By Como 2445 Collins Ave. Miami Beach, FL 33140 305 695-3600

 Hakkasan- The Fontainebleau 4441 Collins Ave. Miami Beach, FL 33140 786 276-1410

Sardinia- 1801 Purdy Ave. Miami Beach, FL 33139 305 531-2228

Tongue & Cheek - 431 Washington Ave. Miami Beach, FL 33139 305 704-2900

Milos- 730 1st St. Miami Beach, FL 33139 305 604-6800

Design District/ Midtown-

MC Kitchen- 4141 Ne 2nd Ave., Suite 101a Miami, FL 33137 305 456-9948

Cypress Room- 3620 Ne 2nd Ave. Miami, FL 33137 305 520-5197

Bocce Bar – 3250 NE 1st Avenue, Miami, FL 33137 786 245- 6211

SUGARCANE Raw Bar & Grill – 3252 NE 1st Ave, Miami, FL  33137  786 369 -0353

Downtown/ Brickell-

Azul at The Mandarin Oriental – 500 Brickell Key Dr, Miami, FL 33131 305 913 8358

EDGE Steakhouse- Four Seasons Hotel 1435 Brickell Ave. Miami, FL 33131 305 381-3190

Zuma- Epic Hotel 270 Biscayne Blvd. Way Miami, FL 33131 305 577-0277

Coral Gables-

Bulla Gastrobar – 2500 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, FL 33134 305 441-0107

Ortanique on the Mile – 278 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134 305 446 -7710

Palme d’Or- The Biltmore Hotel 1200 Anastasia Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134 855 969-3084

SUSHISAMBA- Westin Colonade Hotel 180 Aragon Ave. Coral Gables, FL 33134 304 448-4990

Bal Harbour/ Aventura-

J & G Grill- St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort Miami Beach 9703 Collins Ave. Bal Harbour, FL 33154 305 993-3333

Makoto- Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., Suite 107 Bal Harbour, FL 33154 305 864-8600

Bourbon Steak- Turnberry Isle Miami 19999 W. Country Club Drive Miami, FL 33180 786 279-6600


Happy Eating in...5...4...3...2...1....GO!