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Living in South and Central Florida throughout the summer can be a little daunting at times, as the summer heat tends to force locals to run from one air-conditioned oasis to the next. Luckily one of my favorite indoor past times of the summer has finally arrived – Miami Spice Restaurant Month.

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Miami Spice Restaurant Month Arrives

By Thomas Barker

Living in South and Central Florida throughout the summer can be a little daunting at times, as the summer heat tends to force locals to run from one air-conditioned oasis to the next. Luckily one of my favorite indoor past times of the summer has finally arrived – Miami Spice Restaurant Month.

Eleven years ago, while working with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor’s Bureau  (GMCVB), local restaurateur Steve Haas recognized that there was a need to better market our culinary destinations to the local community and created a month long dining event that would allow locals to enjoy the many fine dining establishments in South Florida at an incredibly affordable price.

Restaurants once thought of as tourist traps or too expensive for locals, immediately became accessible, providing locals with a chance to see why South Florida continues to be at the top of its game as a culinary destination.

As for the restaurants themselves, this was a huge opportunity for them to fill empty seats during August and September, which is also the slowest part of the tourist season. So it was pretty much a win, win for everyone!

Coming into its 11th year, Miami Spice has not only continued to be one of the most popular dining events in South Florida, it has also quadrupled in size since it first began, boasting over 150 participating restaurants.

This year, Miami Spice has so many restaurants participating in fact; they actually had to split the restaurants into two different categories with two different price points. Now, diners can enjoy a three course lunch ($19) or dinner ($33) at some of South Florida’s most popular fine dining restaurants like Bond Street, City Hall The Restaurant, and Front Porch Café or take it up a notch and experience a three course lunch ($23) or dinner ($39) at one or more of South Florida’s luxury dining destinations, including the uber trendy new Juvia at the 1100 Building on Lincoln Road, The Capital Grill, or STK at the Gansevoort among many more.

With so many options however, it can sometimes be a little difficult to choose which restaurants actually offer a really great Miami Spice menu. Over the years, I personally have come to discover a few places that never seem to disappoint and thought I would share a few of my favorites with you.

The Dutch at the W South Beach – Luxury

New York restaurateurs Chef Andrew Carmellini, Josh Pickard and Luke Ostrom bring their wildly popular American restaurant and its roots-inspired cuisine to the W South Beach Hotel. The menu at The Dutch pays homage to Carmellini’s roadtrips across America – the local cafes, corner taverns, neighborhood bistros, seaside shacks and roadside joints that dot our country’s culinary landscape.  For the Miami outpost, he has added some iconic dishes he associates with Miami, such as sour orange pie, little oyster sandwiches and local shrimp. As in Manhattan, the restaurant also features an oyster bar, signature cocktails and an extensive whiskey collection. The 170-seat indoor-outdoor restaurant serves Miami Spice lunch and dinner and is located at 2201 Collins Avenue in the W South Beach Hotel & Residences. Telephone: 305-938-3111. TheDutchMiami.com

 

Wynwood Kitchen & Bar – Fine Dining

A perfect blend of cutting-edge art, renowned music and authentic Miami-style cuisine, Jessica Goldman Srebnick and her partner and father, visionary C.E.O. Tony Goldman, opened Wynwood Kitchen & Bar (WKB) in November 2010, in the heart of Miami’s exciting up-and-coming arts district. Executive Chef Miguel Aguilar, formerly of Alma de Cuba and catering chef for acclaimed restaurateur Stephen Starr in Philadelphia, has created a delectable menu of small plates with subtly layered global-Latino flavors, affordably priced and designed to encourage mix and match dining. Innovative cocktails inspired by artists, artisanal beers and an international wine list, with a large selection of wines-by-the-glass, make this one of the coolest dining and drinking destinations in the U.S. Miami Spice lunch and dinner served Monday through Saturday. Wynwood Kitchen & Bar is located at 2550 N.W. 2nd Avenue. Telephone: 305-722-8959. WynwoodKitchenAndBar.com

RED The Steakhouse – Luxury

Located in the chic south of fifth area, Red has put a contemporary twist on the traditional steakhouse menu. The restaurant is a blend of the effervescent style and superior food and service that has made RED The Steakhouse one of the most popular high-end steakhouses in the country. Kick off your Miami Spice meal with a wedge of iceberg lettuce or the Red house salad and then move on to the fabulous petite 5 ounce CAB prime filet accompanied by asparagus and twice baked potato or the surf and turf with a 4 ounce Maine lobster tail also served with asparagus and potato. The best part of the Miami Spice menu at RED The Steakhouse is that they update their menu on a weekly basis, so you can go every week and experience something new. Also, if you are a big wine fan – like I am – Wednesdays are the day to check their menu out as they offer half priced bottles of wine during their Wine Wednesdays. RED, The Steakhouse is located at 119 Washington Ave. 305-534-3688.

Quattro – Luxury

Owned by acclaimed restaurateurs, KNR Restaurant Group, the stunning 170-seat indoor/outdoor eatery has become a Miami Beach staple for both locals as well as savvy visitors. The chefs look to the culinary traditions of their Piemonte homeland for inspiration, which is evident in dishes such as fontina ravioli drizzled with white truffle oil or braised beef ravioli with Piemontese sauce. Primi Piatti, pastas made in-house daily in an imported La Monferrina machine rarely used in the United States, are a must-try. Quattro offers lunch and dinner Miami Spice menus and is located at 1014 Lincoln Road. 305-531-4833. QuattroMiami.com.

For more information on Miami Spice and a complete list of participating restaurants, visit ILoveMiamiSpice.com

 

 

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