Taste of Gables Spice

From mouth-watering lunches to delectable dinners, here’s eight Miami Spice menus in the Gables.

Every year, Miami Spice comes to Coral Gables — and every year, we rejoice! Finally, we can visit some of our favorite restaurants without breaking the bank. This year, Coral Gables has 30 participants in Spice. Lunches are $30 or $35 and dinners are $45 or $60, each offering up three courses of high-quality cuisine, with a few $99 over-the-top five-course dinners. Miami Spice runs through the end of September so go and sample some fine dining without the “fine” price tag! Featured here are some of our favorites. View the complete list here.



A relative newcomer to the Gables, Tullio isn’t your regular neighborhood Italian restaurant — we certainly have enough of those. The menu here focuses on seafood and high-quality Northern Italian recipes, and the Spice lunch offerings are relatively short.

Panzanella Toscana (left) and pennette alla Norma (right)

For your appetizer, pick from tomato and mozzarella caprese, grilled baby cuttlefish, or panzanella Toscana. We tried the latter, a specialty salad from the Tuscany region that utilizes stale bread (don’t knock it ‘til you try it!), tomatoes, shallots, and panzanella dressing. Refreshing, light, and the perfect precursor to either of the entrees: pan-seared tuna or pennette alla Norma (a pasta dish with eggplants). Both are delicious and airy enough that you don’t feel like sinking into a food coma afterward.

Bombolini alla crema

For dessert, you could get tiramisu — but why not spice it up (pun intended) and try the bombolini alla crema: fried Italian doughnuts filled with pastry cream and coated with sugar (think beignets with an Italian twist). Almost like a mini dessert sandwich, these alone are worth the visit.

The only thing better than the food here is the service — owner Lucio Zanon (known for launching Portosole) is a charming, gracious host and every member of the staff is both well-trained and knowledgeable. A perfect fine dining experience.

160 Andalusia Ave.

Americana Kitchen

Hidden away in the Loews Coral Gables Hotel is a gem: Americana Kitchen, the brainchild of Executive Chef Ricardo Jarquin, who spearheads all culinary aspects of the hotel. This is classic American fare with global influences.

Gables Spice
Watermelon and jicama salad

The watermelon and jicama salad (cucumber, feta, tomatoes), for instance, comes in a pool of Spanish gazpacho, while the Calle Ocho roll (sweet plantain, mojo pork, and cilantro mayo, served with wasabi and soy sauce), is a fan favorite. The latter is the most filling of the three appetizer options for lunch, but the watermelon salad or the mango pineapple gazpacho are both rejuvenatingly fresh.

Gables Spice
Grilled barbecue pork chop

For entrees, you can pick from branzino, a grilled barbecue pork chop, rigatoni pasta with eggplant, or the grilled hanger steak. Our favorite was the pork chop, with barbecue sauce from the Funky Buddha brewery in Fort Lauderdale; it’s packed with a flavorful punch in each bite. Chef Jarquin plates it with a side of stuffing inspired by the traditional Thanksgiving Day dish but elevated by the addition of roasted corn and spinach.

Most intriguing, however, was the branzino, which is served with a green foam that looks like soap bubbles, pulled from green tomatoes, and a side salad with thinly sliced ribbons of squash and sunflower seeds — the kind of dish you won’t find anywhere else. We’ll be back for dinner.

2950 Coconut Grove Dr.


There is a reason why Mesa Mar is considered the best seafood restaurant in the Gables, and why our panel of epicureans gives it that Best Of award each year: stunningly fresh fish and crustaceans, prepared in both traditional and inventive ways, the latter with a Latin/Asian fusion of flavors. Their Miami Spice menu will let you sample a taste of that.

Lobster bisque

We went for lunch, which offers three appetizers: lobster bisque, yucca croquettes, and Caesar salad. We tried the Caesar — cool and crunchy, with shaved Parmesan — but were blown away by the velvety, creamy bisque, with succulent pieces of lobster meat. Divine.

Grilled branzino plated with mushrooms

For lunch entrees, they offer a filleted branzino, linguine with clam sauce and an eight-ounce New York strip. My dining partner perversely ordered the steak, which was tasty, but the show stopper was the branzino, grilled with garlic butter and olive oil, enhanced by mushrooms and a sprig of rosemary. Seafood does not get better than this: light, flakey, flavorful.

RELATED: MesaMar Seafood – Keeping it Fresh


Dessert consists of homemade flan, which is done just right, creamy, smooth vanilla-infused custard with a caramelized top.

The setting, meanwhile, is perfectly elegant, with white tablecloths and several rooms to choose from. Our favorite is the “library,” with its bookshelves filled with leather-bound volumes. There is also the main room, with its display of fresh fish on ice, one more indication of their commitment to freshness. Outside seating on Giralda is also available, though you may want to wait a few months for that.

264 Giralda Ave.

Looking for more lunch options? View the full list of the Gables Spice menus here.


NOMA Beach at Redfish

When you arrive at NOMA Beach, you may be surprised to hear that the Miami Spice dinner menu has changed. Chef Donatella Arpaia is so committed to quality that the 18-ounce T-bone steak currently listed on the menu has changed to an eight-ounce filet. The T-bone, she says, simply wasn’t up to par. But no matter, because while you may have lost 10 ounces in the switch, you’ve gained at least that many points in flavor and caliber.

Eight-ounce filet

While the appetizers (yellowfin tuna sashimi and the Noma salad) and the desserts (tiramisu or your choice of sorbet) are also worthy of merit and exquisitely presented, it’s the steak that shines. We picked it over the branzino or the chicken marsala entrees so we could see what the fuss was all about — and we were delighted. Easily a top five steak in Coral Gables, the filet is toothsomely tender, bathed in its own juices and a savory sauce that doubles down on the flavoring. Garnished with microgreens but bereft of a side, the only downside here is that you may want to order an add-on if you’re coming with an empty stomach.

Even though the sunset is beautiful here on Matheson Hammock, we recommend sitting inside to avoid the heat and the mosquitoes. Luckily, NOMA has plenty of indoor seating and if you do choose to sit outside, just make sure you get a seat by one of the fans.

9610 Old Cutler Rd.


In search of fine dining in South Gables? Look no further than Fiola. This upscale Italian restaurant is showcasing some of its best seasonal dishes during Miami Spice.

For dinner, we started with the crispy nduja arancini stuffed with fontina and pecorino and laid on top of pomodoro sauce. Our knife cut into the three perfectly circular deep-fried rice balls like butter, melting right onto our taste buds. Other appetizer options include East Coast oysters, peach gazpacho, Wagyu steak tartare, and burrata.

Moving onto our entrees, we ordered the prime bavette steak (there’s a wagyu option for an additional $15), plated with caramelized cipollini onion, rosemary, and osso buco sauce. Want a more Italian dish? Try the radiatore cacio e pepe, a textured pasta coated in the traditional cheese and pepper sauce. (Pasta lovers: Fiola is also offering a four-course pasta omakase menu with dessert for $95.)

Fiola’s Miami Spice spread (top left), the peach gazpacho (right), and the radiatore cacio e pepe (bottom left)

Although every plate was beautifully presented, dessert was the most decadent in both looks and taste. The budino di cioccolato (or chocolate pudding) was layered with whipped cream and garnished with toasted pine nuts and gold leaf flakes. It was our favorite dish of the night.

Fiola impresses on many levels, not just with its culinary creations, but also in the attention to detail. From designer porcelain plates and beamed ceilings to the knowledgeable waitstaff guiding you through the menu, everything is curated to elevate your dining experience.

1500 San Ignacio Ave.


Turn any date night this month into a romantic outing at Zucca, located inside the historic Hotel St. Michel. During Miami Spice, our “Best Fine Dining in Coral Gables” winner is offering its three-course $60 pre-fixe dinner Sunday through Thursday.

Gables Spice
Fried zucchini flowers

For the appetizer, we had the lightly fried zucchini flowers (“zucca” is Italian for zucchini) stuffed with prawns and soft Stracciatella cheese. One bite into the crispy, golden exterior reveals a creamy center. The other antipasti options are Wagyu beef carpaccio with white beech mushrooms and summer truffles or crispy potato balls with marinated salmon, caviar, and sour cream.

Gables Spice
Tenderloin laid on polenta

For the main course, we ordered the sliced seared tenderloin laid on velvety polenta with spinach and Reggiano cream. The tender, juicy steak flawlessly combined with its cornmeal base. Other entree options include agnolotti pasta filled with lamb, artichokes, and mint crema, or sea bass al cartoccio (baked in a folded parcel) with asparagus, artichokes, and Sardinian fregola.

We closed out the night with their homemade tiramisu, which pairs great with the ice cream of the day or a nice cup of coffee (both of which are also dessert options on the Spice menu). Aside from the delectable cuisine, Zucca shines in providing an amazing customer experience. From the perfect cocktail recommendations to the attentive waitstaff, you’ll feel like you’re dining in the heart of Italy.

162 Alcazar Ave.

Perry’s Steakhouse

While Perry’s offers a $60 Spice dinner, they also have a five-course $99 Spice menu for an over-the-top culinary experience. The first course choices include tempura fried lobster with crabmeat, and either three ounces of sliced Texas Wagyu NY strip or two ounces of “true” Japanese Wagyu beef. While this is a steakhouse, we’ve never tasted better lobster or crab, both soft, moist, and redolent with flavor. The NY Wagyu was like beef butter with a crispy edge.

For the second course, we tried the creamy artichoke, potato, and leek soup with truffle oil (wonderful), and the signature wedge salad, which came ice cold and sliced horizontally on the plate — for an even spread of crumbled bacon and blue cheese, cherry tomatoes, and blue cheese dressing. Superb for blue cheese lovers. You can also pick French onion soup or Caesar salad.

Bone-in New York strip steak

The third course is a lemon or raspberry sorbet to cleanse the palate for course four: one of two steaks (we let the cedar plank-fired redfish go). The first was an eight-ounce filet, served on a hot cast-iron plate and topped with fresh crab meat. Delicious, but the real flavor came packed in the 20-ounce prime, bone-in, New York strip, beautifully seasoned and grilled. Each bite a thrilling burst of salty, juicy flavor.

The final course was the dessert, with three choices. We tried the orange vanilla cream cheesecake, bright and sweet like an orange cream ice cream bar. There is also crème brûlée, but we loved the chocolate crunch — dark chocolate mousse on a cracker base with a nut-sprinkled whip cream on top. A decadent ending to a decadent Spice menu, served in the low-lit elegance of Perry’s.

4251 Salzedo St.


The only drawback to having a Miami Spice dinner at Fontana this month is that it’s too hot outside to enjoy the restaurant’s outdoor courtyard at the Biltmore. But sitting inside by the kitchen is an elegant experience itself.

Gables Spice
Fiori di Zucca Ripieni

The Fiori di Zucca Ripieni is our appetizer of choice from the Spice dinner menu, a fried squash blossom stuffed with ricotta and parmesan cheese, tomato coulis (a thin tomato sauce seasoned with herbs), and a hint of lemon zest. Make sure you get a bit of sauce with every bite. Despite the fried rind, it’s a deceptively light dish.

For an entrée, the Aragosta Fra Diavolo is the perfect combination of two of the other options – lasagna or grilled octopus. The fettucine pasta dish comes with cold water lobster and a thick pomodoro sauce. The addition of Calabrian pepper gives it a little bit of a devilish kick, where we expect the “Diavolo” comes from (it means “devil” in Italian). A hearty meal, so take your time if you want to leave room for dessert — tiramisu, blackout chocolate cake, or a choice of seasonal gelato or sorbet.

Gables Spice
Aragosta Fra Diavolo

As part of the experience, Woodford Reserve is partnering with Miami Spice to offer up discounted cocktails. At Fontana, that means a $15 Manhattan or Whiskey Sour. If you take a photo of your favorite dish paired with one of the Woodford cocktails, you can enter for a chance to win $500. Bon appetit!

1200 Anastasia Ave., Suite C (Biltmore Hotel)

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