It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And no, we don’t mean Christmas. Every August and September, Miami celebrates Miami Spice, an event meant to showcase the best of Miami when it comes to dining locally.
The good news is that restaurants throughout the city offer three-course prix fixe meals priced at $23 per person for both brunch and lunch and $39 per person for dinner (wine, beer and cocktails are not included in Miami Spice, but are offered at an additional price). Many of these restaurants have four and five stars and a price tag to match. But during Miami Spice, everyone can all eat like kings and queens for weeks without breaking the bank.
The even better news? You can try every restaurant if you'd like because you have two full months to hop from eatery to eatery tasting signature dishes created by world-renowned chefs, whether you fancy brunch, lunch or dinner the most.
A concept born in 2001 shortly after 9/11, Miami Spice was created by the Greater Miami Conventions and Visitors Bureau, in order to boost tourism in Miami at a time when people were hesitant to travel. Not only have visitors to the city caught on since then, but locals eagerly anticipate late summer/early fall outings because of it as well. Slip on something comfortable — think a flowy sundress or guayabera and effortless shoes— and get ready to paint the town red. For 60 days, you can embark on the ultimate food tour that’ll lead you to some places you’ve never heard of and others you’ll go out of your way to return to for years to come.
How to Participate
Participating in Miami Spice is easy. Most restaurants allow walk-ins and during lunch, this makes total sense, but brunch and dinner reservations through Open Table are highly recommended. Remember, everyone is excited for Miami Spice so many restaurants will be crowded.
Every year the list changes and participants are announced in July, a month ahead of the madness. But some restaurateurs have made it a point to take part in Miami Spice year after year. In a city as diverse as Miami, offerings are endless with chefs from all over the world gracing us with their divine presence and unique flavors. A few of our favorite Miami Spice regulars are listed below:
For Spanish tapas done right, visit The Bazaar by José Andrés. The menu combines traditional dishes with out-of-the-box ones, all meant for sharing. During Miami Spice, the restaurant is packed with tapas-loving patrons, so be sure to make a reservation far in advance.
Every restaurant housed inside a Four Seasons we’ve ever experienced, no matter the city, is superb. And as you know, you can rack up a bill at a steakhouse fast. At Chef Aaron Brooks’ Edge Steak & Bar, you can have your ribeye and eat it, too. And during Spice, thankfully, you won’t have to break the bank to eat like a champ.
Michael's Genuine Food & Drink in the Design District is always amazing, whether you opt for the lamb ribs or the classic burger. Dessert here is a must, too. If you’re on a Michael’s kick, you can also try out Chef Michael Schwartz’s other restaurants around town, Amara at Paraiso, Harry’s Pizzeria, Fi’lia, pop-up cafe ella and more.
Boulud Sud is Mediterranean spot tucked away inside the JW Marriott Marquis in Downtown Miami by famed New York Chef Daniel Boulud, Boulud Sud offers up tons of fresh seafood as well as regional veggies, grains and herbs inspired by dishes served in Italy, Spain, Greece, Morocco and more. Escape the city and feel as if you’re abroad when you dine here. If both crispy artichokes alla romana and shrimp al ajillo are on the menu, you know your stomach and heart will be happy. Desserts like pistachio yogurt mousse, pumpkin flan and coffee cassata surprise and delight — they’ll absolutely leave you wanting more.
Serving modern Italian food with a hint of the Caribbean, what we love most about Caffe Vialetto is how it flies under the radar. The Coral Gables restaurant has been around for years, yet still delivers the same upscale quality and flavors no matter what.
Both Blue Collar and Mignonette are owned by Chef Daniel Serfer, each presents its own version of James Beard Award-quality comfort food. At either restaurant, you’ll immediately feel like you’re home. Shrimp and grits is a must at Blue Collar, while Mignonette serves up some serious raw bar offerings. Can’t ever go wrong with oysters and a glass of champagne, can you?