The Biscayne Times

May 19th
Tips for Tackling Miami Spice PDF Print E-mail
Written by Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin, BT Contributors   
August 2017

Food news we know you can use

IPix_Dish_8-17t’s every local foodie’s favorite time of the year: Miami Spice. More than 200 restaurants are participating in this year’s event, which kicked off August 1 and runs through the end of September. Throughout the annual two-month promotion, restaurants offer $23 (lunch and brunch) and $39 (dinner) prix-fixe menus at a fraction of what the same meal would cost if ordered à la carte.

These three-course deals are meant to drive foot traffic during what tends to be the slow season for dining out in the city. Because there are so many businesses taking part in Miami Spice, we’ve put together a short guide to help you find the best deals in an overwhelming lineup.

Our No.1 rule: Opt for options. Some places phone it in during Miami Spice by giving guests only one or two choices per course. At the opposite end of the spectrum, there are eateries like Big Easy (701 S. Miami Ave., 786-814-5955) in Brickell and GK Bistronomie (218 NW 25th St., 786-477-5151) in Wynwood that provide guests with up to four and six choices per course. Establishments like these -- ones that embrace the promotion rather than shun it -- are the ones you want to frequent.

Also make sure to check out restaurants you normally wouldn’t visit. It’s no secret that dining out can get expensive. Thanks to Miami Spice, though, you can enjoy places that usually wouldn’t be in your price range. Spots like Il Mulino New York (17875 Collins Ave., 305-466-9191) in Sunny Isles Beach and Aventura’s Bourbon Steak (19999 W. Country Club Dr., 786-279-6600), where a meal can quickly run into the hundreds, are suddenly affordable. If a venue has been on your bucket list for a while, see whether it’s participating in this year’s promotion.

Finally, always contact the restaurant beforehand. Miami Spice availability is subject to change, and these menus can be frustratingly fluid -- what’s on the menu one day might disappear the next.

In other news, we spoke too soon when we said new restaurant announcements were slowing down. One of the most exciting announcements of late involves Food & Wine “Best New Chef” Brad Kilgore. He’s opening two new concepts in the Design District: Kaido and Ember. The former is a Japanese cocktail lounge, while the latter is a wood-fire American bistro. Both are set to open sometime in 2018.

Further south, downtown Miami will soon be home to a “cocktail lodge” known as Over Under (155 E. Flagler St.), which is the brainchild of Broken Shaker alum Brian Griffiths. The master mixologist has teamed up with chef Cleophus Hethington (ex-Ariete and Cypress Tavern) to put together a watering hole with affordable craft cocktails and a creative menu emphasizing seafood and game. The venue is aiming for a late summer opening.



To keep you busy until then, let’s take a look at some of the latest restaurants to join Miami’s dining roster. First up: Gaijin Izakaya (3500 N. Miami Ave., 305-456-3207), a Japanese gastropub from the owners of The Gang and Cake Thai. Guests can enjoy Japanese specialties like ramen, donburi, and sushi inside the revamped Midtown Miami space where The Gang once stood.

Another recent opening is CRATE (901 S. Miami Ave., 786-334-5408). Vegetarian and vegan dishes like plant-based burritos and smoked tofu steaks make up the menu at this new Brickell eatery, which doubles as a bar and lounge at night. That duality should come as no surprise: CRATE is from the same team as Latin nightlife destinations Barú and Tu Candela.

Up in North Miami, Panarea Mediterranean Sea Grill (11052 Biscayne Blvd., 305-640-5580) has taken over the former NiDo Caffe outpost and swapped Italian fare for more seafood-focused offerings, which pull influences from all over the European region.



This time of year, closings in Miami are a dime a dozen. So far this year’s biggest closing (literally) is Coya. The Brickell Peruvian restaurant and member’s club has officially shut down for business; rumors of its impending demise had circulated for months.

PB Station in downtown Miami has also closed its doors but says it will return in the fall after minor renovations. Wynwood pioneer Lost & Found Saloon and Brickell’s Brother Jimmy’s BBQ have also bid diners farewell.


Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin are co-founders of Miami Food Pug, an award-winning South Florida food blog that fuses the couple’s love of dogs and food.


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