The Miami heat might be killing us slowly, but our consolation prize is finally here and we must seize it like there is no tomorrow! Well, it will be there tomorrow, but after September Miami Spice participating restaurants are a bit pricey to actually try them all, or a few, at least.
This year, 243 restaurants are participating vs. 181 last year. Restaurants such as Ariete and Michael Genuine have entered or re-entered this year because Miami Spice has become essential for the success of Miami restaurants during the slowest months of August and September.
Lucky for us, our summer just got spicier. With so many choices, we can get all mixed up, so allow us to guide you through our compilation of top 5 best culinary experiences in Miami Spice this year.
1. Los Fuegos at Faena Hotel
From the popular show “Chefs Table”, Francis Mallman, an international star chef from Argentina, brings his ancient South American open fire cooking tradition to the Faena Hotel in Miami.
Both lunch and dinner menus feature beautiful dishes cooked on open fire giving the dishes that distinctive smoky wood flavor. This meat-lover paradise also welcomes vegetarians and pescetarians for Miami Spice. Cobia with pickled onions, crunchy potatoes, cilantro and citrus cucumber dressing is fresh, citrusy, with crunchy and creamy elements. For those hot summer days, you can choose the Chilled Tomato Soup with breadcrumbs, cucumber, and celery, and for those who can´t wait to try Mallmans magic touch on red meat, go for the Wood Oven Empanada with llajua sauce. Entrees range from Roasted Chicken salad with roasted lettuce, pecorino cheese, puffed faro and pecan dressing to the Lomito Sandwich with prime beef, handmade pita bread, tomato, mustard, arugula, and wood oven potato wedges. Pizza is also on the menu for entrees, but this pizza is like no ordinary wood oven pizza- this is an open fire pizza baby, and your life will never be the same.
The dinner menu offers one appetizer from a list of mouthwatering dishes like Almond Soup with watermelon, olive oil, sherry vinegar and dill; Pink Grapefruit salad of arugula, avocado, aged Parmigiano-Reggiano and roasted hazelnuts; the Wood Oven Empanada from the lunch menu, and two additional plates that have a surcharge of $15: Octopus a la Plancha with potato confit, garlic aioli, smoked paprika oil, tomato, and sun-dried black olives and the Yellowfin Tuna with mango, shaved avocado, cilantro and sesame oil. The Wild Mushroom and Spinach Cannelloni with tomato Mornay sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano is wildly delicious and that is no pun intended. Local Snapper ratatouille, with rainbow chard and Mayer lemon dressing will have you believing local is always better, and the Skirt Steak a la Parrilla with heirloom tomato, mixed greens and salsa criolla, will have you feeling like a Gaucho fire master yourself when you try this one. Top off lunch or dinner with the Dulce de Leche Flan with mascarpone cream and all your culinary fantasies will be forever fulfilled.
2. Beaker & Gray
Beaker & Gray is brand new to Miami Spice offering only Miami Spice dinner menus. Besides the delicious experimental dishes, the excitement to participate, expressed by chef/owner Brian Nassajon, has landed them on our list this year. At this Wynwood restaurant, where sharing is encouraged, they have set a menu where Miami Spice guests pick two of four items served family style. The dishes are Pasta Salad with tiger shrimp, lemon-coriander and pickled peach; Silk Snapper with pepper-cream, finger lime and beer sorbet; Turkey Leg with butternut squash, green apple escabeche and garlic puree; and Rice Noodle with pork rib in finger-licking huancaina sauce with tomatillo. For dessert indulge in one out of two choices between the Coconut Bar with passion fruit, jalapeno, and mango or the Goat Cheese Cheesecake with jasmine, herb de provence, and rosemary. This is one original dining experience that is creative, tasty, and very out of the ordinary.
3. Plant Food + Wine
Plant Food + Wine Miami is a highly anticipated restaurant by vegan prodigy Mathew Kenney. We dare you to find finer, more satisfying and more expensive vegan food in the city! There is just no match for this 4 star restaurant. Well now, Miami Spice gives you the chance to try meat-less, dairy-less, egg-less food that will have you feeling alive and ready for a great night out in the town. The beautiful setting of this Wynwood restaurant is as posh as the presentation of each dish.
For lunch at Plant Food +Wine, choose one appetizer between Fennel Tostada with anise guacamole, black radish, lemon chili oil and basil or The Cauliflower + Huncaina with sousvide cauliflower, lime preserve and crispy quinoa. The two choices of entrees are Mushroom Ropa Vieja with heirloom tomato sofrito, castelvetrano olives and golden raisins, or the MK Bowl. End your lunch right with their refreshing and light Papaya Dessert.
For dinner choose one of two appetizers between a balanced Green Gazpacho or the warm Banh Mi Rolls. For main dish the two vegan options are Achiote Cauliflower Tacos with cream of cilantro, chayote slaw, radish pico and chilied cucumber; and BBQ Mamey with yellow corn cream, pickled ginger, sunflower sprouts and horseradish foam. Lucuma Quinoa Dessert wraps up the dinner so flawlessly. You will never feel the same about vegan dining, and that, is not a generic statement for meat lovers.
The progressive American “Supper Style” restaurant in Coconut Grove is an artsy yet family friendly place that brings adventure to the table. This restaurant by Michael Schwartz and Norman Van Aken makes way for a more sophisticated hipster-like dining culture in the Grove.
The dinner menu features appetizers like Ariete Nuggets of oxtail, venison and tamarind ketchup; Tuna Conserva with calabrian chilies and crostini; or the Market Salad that varies depending on what is fresh and local. As the main dish, choose between the Gnocchi with hunter sausage, wild mushrooms and seminole pumpkin; the Local Fish with charred broccoli, greens, bacon, almond, and buerre blanc with sour orange; or the Chug Burger, a double rib eye and chuck with American cheese, and house-made pickles on a freshly made bun- YUM! For dessert order the Seasonal Pie with vanilla ice cream or the House-Made Doughnuts.
5. Sweet Liberty
Last but not least, we put ourselves in the culinary picture of this once-a-year foodie dream opportunity. The Sweet Liberty Miami Spice dinner Menu is the only menu on this restaurant list, and the one of few from the 283 participating restaurants, that includes one cocktail, beer, or glass of wine with your meal. Did we mention we are the winners of Tales of Cocktails 2016 and awarded the best cocktail bar in America 2016? The included cocktail is no joke.
Sweet Liberty Miami Spice dinner menu has four choices of appetizers. The Watermelon Gazpacho with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and Jerez is pungent yet refreshing. Melon Meets Burrata with shaved melon, burrata cheese, jamon serrano, basil oil and aged balsamic is our version of the timeless Italian classic. Crunchy Green Salad is a crunchy green tomato salad with boursin cheese and tomato jam for those who like something different and surprising, and Crab Toast is perfectly balanced and hearty topped with java sea crab, green humus, radish, lemon, olive oil, sunflower seeds, peas, and fennel.
There is a Sweet Liberty main course for every diet. Our Miami Spice showcase menu features entrees such as Fried Chicken with biscuits, gravy and honey; Skirt Steak center cut with garlicky chimichurri, fries, and tarragon béarnaise; and Yellowtail Snapper with brown butter cauliflower mash and avocado mojo. Our vegetarian option, Roast Beet and Faro Risotto with grilled asparagus and mushrooms falls nothing short from amazing. The Warm Bread Pudding for desert bathed in bourbon and chocolate and topped with whipped cream and ice cream will warm your heart.
So, after all, there is a seriously good reason to look forward to Miami summers, and we are not talking about beach babes. 5 more weeks of Miami Spice left, so grab a date or some friends and show them how and where it’s done!