Loosen Your Belts, Folks, Because Miami Spice is in Full Swing
Story and photos by Lizzie Wilcox
The two-month gourmet sampling, where top Miami restaurants offer a discounted three-course meal ($23 for lunch, $39 for dinner) is in full bloom through September.
The idea is to go where you’ve never gone before. And while restaurants all over Miami-Dade are taking part, you don’t have to leave the Gables, where more than 30 restaurants are participating.
So, you might as well let your pants out now because you’ve got a lot of ground to cover. We sampled a half dozen for you, but the rest is up to you: Aromas Del Peru • Bellmónt •
Bocas House • Brasserie Central • Bricktop’s • Bulla Gastrobar • Caffe Vialetto • Christy’s Restaurant • Cibo Wine Bar • Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse Fontana • Graziano’s • Kao Sushi & Grill by Sushiclub • La Palma • Le Provençal • M House • Mariposa • Maroosh Mediterranean • Mesa Mar Seafood • Mikuna Peruvian Cuisine • Morton’s • Ortanique • Palme D’Or • Pascal’s on Ponce • Ruth’s Chris Steak House • Sawa • Seasons 52 • Shula’s 347 Grill • Swine Southern Table • Talavera Cocina Mexicana • Tap 42 • The Seven Dials • Xixon Spanish Restaurant • Zucca
Appetizer: Rollitos San Jacobo, Sauteed vegetables
Main Course: Fresh King Wild Canadian Salmon, Paella, Pork Loin Bocata
Dessert: Tarta San Marcos, Homemade nougat ice cream
Bellmónt’s menu will make any Spaniard feel right at home.
What we sampled:
Appetizer: Rollitos San Jacobo. To translate to Cuban, it’s like a cheesy croqueta, with chicken, Swiss cheese and ham rolled together and fried, delivering a warm, heavenly taste.
Main Course: Paella Mariscos (seafood). It’s a Spanish restaurant, so we had to order paella. We opted for the seafood variety, and the assortment of shrimp, clams, mussels and more did not disappoint.
Dessert: Tarta San Marcos. There are so many different textures, from the mousse-like top layer to the airy cream filling; together they form a confectionary masterpiece.
Appetizer: Albondigas, Croquetas de pollo, Huevos cabreados, Ceviche de jalapenos, Caesar salad
Main Course: Salmon, Peas and ham, Branzino con kale, Herb marinated grilled pork tenderloin, Cumin marinated grilled chicken skewers
Dessert: Crema catalana, Churros con chocolate
Bulla wins big for including a glass of sangria in the menu. Try the beer version. What we sampled:
Appetizer: Ceviche de Jalapeño. Wow. The orange and lime juices kill the spice, but you still have all the flavor.
Main Course: Pintxo y Tostada de Aguacate. For gringos, this means grilled chicken skewers over avocado toast. You can live off the avocado toast and tomato salad alone.
Dessert: Churros con Chocolate. Six fried dough churros with warm milk chocolate and cool dulce de leche for all your dipping needs.
Ortanique’s Miami Spice menu changes every day, so call ahead for its daily offerings. When you find the giant flamingo, you’ve reached your destination. Ortanique is famous for its Caribbean cuisine.
What we sampled:
Appetizer: Watermelon and Mango Salad. We can only describe this as the perfect summer salad, light and refreshing, topped with feta cheese and the perfect amount of dressing.
Main Course: Skirt Steak. Everything about this dish was drool-inducing. The steak was perfectly marinated and sliced, served atop veggies and mashed potatoes. Needless to say, we cleared the plate.
Dessert: Tres Leche. Nothing says Miami like tres leche, so what better way to round out a Miami Spice meal than with this classic dessert? Ortanique’s version with shaved coconut is now our favorite.
Appetizer: Pâté en croute, Frog legs tempura
Main Course: Poulet roti, Veal sirloin, Striped bass
Dessert: Île flotantte, Raspberry napoleon
This is classic French cuisine coupled with the perfect wines. What we sampled:
Appetizer: Cuisses de Grenouille Tempura. Frog Legs – but tastes better than chicken. Chef James Rogers makes them “tempura style,” battered and fried. Served atop a sweet and sour garlic sauce. Amazing.
Main Course: Filet de Dorade. Striped bass cooked to perfection. The meat could easily be pulled apart, but the skin was crispy and flavorful, with a red wine beurre rouge sauce.
Dessert: Napoléan Framboise. This classic French pastry has flaky puff pastry, sweet raspberries, blueberry sauce and a cool mixed-berry sorbet.
Appetizer: Salad duo, Kibby Sampler, Spicy potato wrapped filet mignon yakitori, Shrimp kataif, Salmon volcano wraps
Main Course: Palm Goddess salad, Pistachio crusted lamb rack, Dolphin a la plancha, Filet mignon strips with pomme dauphinois, Ravishing radish roll, Lotus roll
Dessert: Mocha mochio mélange, Chocolate baklava ice cream
Despite the humidity, seating outside on the patio, underneath the palm trees and green umbrellas makes for the perfect dining experience. What we sampled:
Appetizer: Shrimp Kataifi. Sounds like a weird combination – shrimp, kataifi (dough), brie and sweet chili sauce – but it works. Tasty as heck.
Main Course: Pistachio Crusted Lamb Rack. Lamb is one of the reasons we will never be vegetarian, and this dish is one of the reasons we will never ever be vegetarian. Stupendous.
Dessert: Baklava. Baklava consists of layers of filo dough sandwiched together with chopped nuts and honey or syrup. Sweet!
Appetizer: Corvina Marinata, Burratina con carpaccio di Pomodoro, Arugula and pear salad
Main Course: Tagliatelle pasta with dugh ragu, Artichoke ravioli, Mahi mahi filet, Cube of New York steak
Dessert: Tiramisu, Gelato
Chef Simone Mua, who hails from Milan, cooks all dishes with a signature ingredient that he calls passion. What we sampled:
Appetizer: Arugula and pear salad with caciotta cheese and walnuts. Perfectly delicious, and perfect to hold you over until the entrée.
Main Course: Artichoke ravioli served in a walnut and rosemary sauce. The pasta was cooked just right and the sauce was savory. We ate every last ravioli.
Dessert: Tiramisu. It’s an Italian restaurant, so how could we not go with the tiramisu, which was nothing short of perfection.