It happens every year.
All the foodies around you start getting hyped up about the lobster rolls and churrasco and prosciutto they’re going to feast on during Miami Spice. And you, a vegetarian, begin to feel a bit left out. After all, a three-course prix fixe lunch for $23 and dinner for $39 sounds like something you’d be into.
This year, however, you’re in luck because there are actually a number of vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants happily dishing up what you’re looking for.
The best contenders are on this list, so read on and get hungry.
1. Plant Food + Wine
Plant Food + Wine is the only wholly plant-based vegan restaurant participating in this year’s event, and what a great way to introduce curious folks to the beauty of a gourmet vegan meal. Chef Matthew Kenney has prepared an amazing Miami Spice lunch menu featuring a Peruvian-influenced cauliflower and huancaina appetizer, plus a mushroom ropa vieja that is sure to impress the staunchest of carnivores. As for dinner, guests will dine on bahn mi rolls, green gazpacho and BBQ mamey for a feast of international flavors.
105 NE 24th Street, Wynwood; 305-814-5365
While some Grovites may have lamented the closing of Calamari earlier this year, there’s no doubt many have already returned to find this stellar new Italian restaurant in its place. Spasso brings authentic, delectable dishes to the table, many of which are wonderfully vegetarian-friendly. During Miami Spice, dinner guests will be pleased to find a caprese salad with smoked mozzarella and burrata cheeses, plus the tortello “cacio e pepe” (a tortellini on Umbrian black truffle fondue), plus ricotta cheesecake or afogato (espresso poured over vanilla gelato–basically heaven) for dessert.
3540 Main Highway, Coconut Grove; 305-441-0219
3. Essensia Restaurant and Lounge
Essensia’s dishes are the sort that are good for the body and the soul. Fresh, farm-to-table ingredients are used in all of the following meat-free dishes during Miami Spice: baby beet and burrata salad, charred kale and quinoa salad, tempura avocado, passion fruit key lime pie cheesecake, and even a vegan chocolate mousse. If you’re torn between going for lunch or dinner, stick with the lunch which has a larger variety of plant-based options.
3025 Collins Avenue (Inside The Palms Hotel & Spa), Miami Beach; 305-908-5458
4. Driftwood Room
This classy SoBe fixture inside the Nautilus Hotel is the creation of celebrity Chef Alex Guarnaschelli (who also happens to be the Executive Chef at New York City’s famous boite Butter), so you can already imagine what you’re in for when dining here. Aside from its star connections and and chic ambiance, Driftwood Room also delivers when it comes to vegetarian-friendly meals. Herbivores, make reservations for a Miami Spice dinner, which will include a compressed watermelon salad, a vegetable ragout papardelle in a sage pesto, and your choice of a sweet ending with the mango panna cotta or kahlua pot de creme with hazelnut and mocha cream.
1825 Collins Avenue (Inside the Nautilus Hotel), Miami Beach; 786-483-2650
5. Drunken Dragon
The Magic City was sorely lacking in Korean fare, but fortunately Drunken Dragon has arrived to remedy that situation. This alluring new restaurant is part Korean barbecue, part Asian tapas, and all lip-smackingly delicious. Not wanting to alienate the burgeoning plant-eating population, they’re offering both vegan and vegetarian options on their Miami Spice dinner menu. If you go, you’ll want to try the shiitake mushroom board, garlic rice, and green tea tres leches, no doubt a decadent treat for the end of your meal.
1424 Alton Road, South Beach; 305-397-8556
Brickell’s Coya takes Peruvian cuisine to another level, and fortunately they never forget to include vegetarian options. In fact, they always mark their menu so you know they’re thinking of you. Miami Spice season is no different, and this time around they’ll be including some wonderful dishes like papa seca con champinones, and torta de queso, a coconut cheesecake with roasted pineapple ice cream that you’ll have to taste to believe.
999 Brickell Avenue, Brickell; 305-415-9990
7. Market at EDITION
While Market is a bit more low-key than its upscale sister restaurant Matador Room at The EDITION Hotel, it’s an excellent place to grab lunch or dinner, especially when you’re on a meat-free diet. Market features light and pleasing fare, and for Miami Spice, it’s no different. Among your choices for lunch or dinner, you’ll find fresh ricotta with a strawberry compote, tomato gazpacho, and charred summer corn ravioli. Also, word has it that Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s carrot cake is to die for, so definitely grab a slice.
2901 Collins Avenue (Inside EDITION Hotel), Miami Beach; 786-257-4600