August is here and despite the record-breaking heat and humidity, locals know to celebrate. After all, it marks the start of Miami Spice, the restaurant promotion organized by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) that runs from August 1 through September.
With 169 restaurants already signed up (and more joining every day) Miami Spice offers those who may otherwise pass on pricy dining, a chance to sample some of the Magic City’s top culinary talent at an affordable price. The prix-fixe three-course meals run $28 for lunch and brunch and $45 or $60 for dinner (plus tax and tip). It’s also a perfect time to try out that brand new restaurant on the list without breaking the bank to do so, and below 14 new Miami restaurants that have Spice menus worthy of a try.
Estiatorio Ornos a Michael Mina Restaurant Miami
Michael Mina’s sleek Greek spot in Aventura is participating in Miami Spice for the first time this year offering a lunch menu that includes grilled octopus, roasted lemon chicken, grilled lamb chops, or wild mushroom pasta. For dinner, ouzo prawns, zucchini fritters, moussaka, and filet mignon are standouts. Desserts include baklava, ravani (sweet semolina cake), and crema sokolata, a chocolate Greek pudding. (Menus are available weekdays for lunch; Sunday-Thursday for dinner.)
Chef Jose Mendin’s latest restaurant embodies the same Italian flavors and attention to detail found in his cozy Italian restaurant in Miami Beach. Housed in what used to be La Placita, Patio Isola is serving appetizers like the arancini Isola, Brooklyn-style baked clams and cheesy garlic bone marrow, and main dishes such as the calzone proscuitto, rigatoni alla vodka, and chicken parm.
Executive chef and owner Mariano Araya brought refined Italian cuisine to Doral with the opening of the neighborhood restaurant last year. For Miami Spice, diners can enjoy brunch or dinner options with dishes like crab cake eggs Benedict with avocado mousse and Italian burrata with asparagus pesto, lobster thermidor, and Mariano’s short ribs. (Menus are available Sunday for brunch; daily for dinner.)
The stylish restaurant inside the Greystone Hotel made waves for its deft delivery of Japanese- cuisine using French techniques. Diners can now sample dishes like lobster uni-alfredo or the braised beef cheek in coconut curry, before ending with an appropriate summer dessert, the “Adults Only” popsicle that blends seasonal fruit infused with a shot or the pour le chocolat, a decadent chocolate souffle with rich chocolate ganache poured over the top. (Menu is available Thursday to Sunday for dinner.)
Heralded chef Michelle Bernstein’s latest venue will be participating in an all-day Spice menu. The Bayside Marketplace spot is celebrating Caribbean and Cuban cuisine with favorites like tropical ceviche, plantain and coconut-crusted shrimp, lechon asado, and braised oxtail. Save room for Michy’s key lime pie and flan de la flaca. (Menu is available weekdays for dinner.)
Mehzcla Restaurant South Beach
Showcasing dishes from Latin America, this newbie inside Miami Beach’s Balfour Hotel makes its Miami Spice debut with dishes that include crispy eggplant bravas, sticky ribs, and medianoche croquetas. Entrees like beef oxtail “encendido” pasta, served with gnocchetti sardi, boneless oxtail ragu; half roasted chicken fricassee; or surf and turf fried rice with crispy pork belly and rock shrimp will leave diners more than satisfied. End with bunuelos (mini fried doughnuts served with a spicy-chocolate dipping sauce) or coquito cheesecake. (Menus are available weekdays for lunch; Sunday-Thursday for dinner.)
Abbalé Telavivian Kitchen
The charming South of Fifth restaurant emulates the Mediterranean fare enjoyed in Tel-Aviv. For Miami Spice, diners can enjoy lunch dishes like roasted beets, babaganoush, shakshuka, and avo-egg feta Jerusalem bagel toast. Dinner options include grilled branzino, lamb kefte, and sumac chicken shashlik. Wrap things up with one of executive pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith’s creations: pistachio baklava with orange blossom-cardamon syrup or sticky date-feta caramel cake. (Menus are available Tuesday-Saturday for lunch; Tuesday-Saturday for dinner.)
Sexy Fish Miami
Participating in Miami Spice lunch, diners will be able to experience this extravagant, over-the-top newcomer (a visit to the bathroom is worth the trip alone) featuring seafood with an Asian spin.
Dishes like steamed sea bass with cilantro and lime, spicy yellowtail maki, bang bang vegetable salad, and burrata and kimchi will be featured. (Menus are available weekdays for lunch.)
Lion & The Rambler
Chef/owner Michael Bolen new restaurant opened in June and has already created quite a buzz for the creative, tapa-style dishes. Miami Spice will feature already popular dishes like white asparagus ajo blanco with sun gold melon and pickled cherry; yellowtail crudo with passionfruit, chile, and summer herbs, and, for entrees, sweet corn and ricotta agnolotti, pork short ribs, or Koji-aged New York strip. Dessert is a choice of one of its homemade ice creams, extra creamy thanks to the secret ingredient (butter). (Menus are available Wednesday-Sunday for dinner.)
The Key Club
This high-end Coconut Grove newcomer celebrating supper clubs of a bygone era will be participating in Miami Spice for brunch and dinner with dishes like black truffle omelet, spicy tuna roll, and Jah Mama barbecue baby back ribs. There will also be unlimited rose and sommelier wine pairings. (Menus are available weekends for brunch; Sunday-Thursday for dinner.)
The second of two restaurants helmed by James Beard Nominee Chef Niven Patel inside Coral Gables’ THesis Hotel, Orno offers a selection of New American cuisine featuring ingredients that mainly come from Patel’s own Homestead farm. Appetizers in the Spice menu include spicy tuna tartare, compressed melon salad and chorizo croquettes, with an entree lineup of grilled wagyu bavette, pan roasted snapper, and corn risotto. End on a sweet note with creme fraiche panna cotta or a warm chocolate cake. (Menus are available nightly for dinner.)